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McIntyre Memories

On June 6, 2003 the staff of former Senator Thomas J. McIntyre held a reunion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the birthday of Mrs. Myrtle McIntyre.  Former staff members were encouraged to submit their rememberences - "McIntyre Memories" - some of which were read at the reunion and all of which were provided to Mrs. McIntyre.  The following are some of the submissions:
Norman Abelson: It was a moment in time rich with hope, excitement and possibility.

A bright and handsome young war hero with a Boston accent, and a "D" after his name, occupied the Oval Office. He called for sacrifice for the betterment one's country and the world, and of the honor of public service.

John F. Kennedy's light shone, it seemed, everywhere. Even in the historically Republican precincts of New Hampshire where a Democratic legislator from Manchester was elected governor, and a former infantry officer from Laconia defeated an old-line Republican congressman, and was on his way to the United States Senate.

Tom and Myrtle McIntyre invited me, a young Associated Press reporter, to their home to talk about a job. "How'd you like to be my press secretary?" Tom asked me. Almost before he finished the sentence, I had accepted. I was half-way home before I realized I hadn't asked a single question about the position, such as how much it paid; I hadn't given a thought to giving up a 12-year career with The AP. The job offer wasn't a complete surprise. My wife, Dina, and I had bumped into the McIntyres a few weeks earlier at a football game at Tom's beloved Dartmouth. They talked to us about staffing their Washington office, and asked if I had any interest.

I spent more than two years on the staff as press secretary and speech writer for Tom, who I now referred to - and from then on always would - as The Senator. Myrtle, of course, became Mrs. McIntyre. But she was so much more than that. A long-time political activist, Mrs. McIntyre was at the least a partner with The Senator, at the most almost a co-Senator. Her political instincts, which were deep and certain, were always at play. Her skills as strategist were at the fore of every McIntyre campaign. She always was The Senator's front line of encouragement, cheer-leading and, when she felt it necessary, criticism.

Four decades have passed since my time with the Mclntyres. But there remain many bright moments, still sharp in my memory, of those years when the future looked bright and promising, and when I truly believe we did make a difference.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. McIntyre. Happy Birthday, Myrtle

Judy (Walker) Bennett:  My memories center around "firsts".

I was the first to join the staff - a week after the senator announced his candidacy. I was at the employment office in Laconia and Mrs. McIntyre called to see if they had talked with anyone who would like to be a secretary on a political campaign. About an hour later, I was interviewing with Mrs. McIntyre and before I left, she had offered me the job.

I also learned how to use some very old office equipment - maybe the first mimeograph machine ever made. We had to spread the ink inside the drum in order to make copies. Mrs. McIntyre and I became very efficient at running this machine. It was fun and challenging. Working on the campaign was a wonderful experience and one that helped me grow and get self-confident. I learned how to dress warm for a factory visit at 5 a.m., attend a coffee at someone's house at 10, dress up a little to attend a luncheon at noon, walk through another factory in the afternoon, and dress up for a dinner in the evening (all while wearing the same dress or suit). This was not easy to do, but it helped me become very adaptable.

After the Senator won the election, he asked if I wanted to go to Washington to be his receptionist - since I had traveled with him during the campaign and had met the VIPs in the state. He wanted to make sure that any VIP from the state was recognized when they walked in the door. This was my first time to see and of, course, live in Washington DC.

While working for the Senator, I got engaged. This was the first engagement of anyone on his staff and it led to the first marriage of a staff member. He never liked that idea, as after the staff started getting married, we left the office. I left because my husband went on active duty in the Air Force.

When my husband got an assignment back here in Washington, I called the Senator and Mrs. McIntyre. We were able to enjoy each other's company once again and they were able to visit to see our first child.

Susan Buffone: Sam and I are so sorry to miss your wonderful party.  We are vacationing in Italy and I give you credit for our ability to travel internationally.  In many ways, I wouldn’t even be here were it not for you!

My earliest remembrances start even before I was born.  Stories have been passed down of you and my mother, Hank, as girlhood friends.  After the war, my mother was a war widow and left with a small child, my sister, Terrie.  You and the Senator, who was then a young attorney, introduced my parents.  I know the four of you shared many New Year’s Eve’s with the Spaulding’s, the Leahy’s and the O’Shea’s at the Laconia Country Club.  I remember going to Laconia in the summer and visiting your beautiful house on the lake.  You drove a Thunderbird, I think, and smoked with the cigarette holder.  I thought you were dazzling.  Some years there were campaign workers camped out in the basement.  It seemed there were always attempts to get Martha to pal around with my brother Tom and my Aunt Jean’s son Chucky as it wasn’t easy for Martha as an adolescent to live in NH and in DC.  I think, though, that she had her own ideas about how to spend her summers.  Remember the summer parties at my Aunt Jean and Uncle Earle’s house with Bernie Boutin and Ollie Huot and all the laughs!

When we lived in Watertown, Mass., I can picture you standing on airplane steps getting your picture taken before your trip to Ireland.  You won a radio essay contest to go to Ireland to find an Irish orphan.  I thought you were so marvelous!

The stories my Dad would return with from your trips were amazing.  I can picture the bottle of dark Bacardi Rum you got when touring their factory in Puerto Rico and the keys to the City of San Juan you received from the Mayoress.

We moved back to New Hampshire when I was in High School and we conveniently moved to Concord where we established a McIntyre beachhead in Republican territory.  I remember putting on many bumper stickers in the 60’s.  I can still see you in my living room having one of your famous Washington’s Coffees and amazing my mother’s gathered guests with tales of life in Washington.  That was how we campaigned back then.

Once in college it became time to introduce me to the real world of politics so off to Washington I went for my summer internship.  Safely in the hands of Henry Wrona, Ken Burkhead and John Obert I learned the professional side of politics.  Joanie, Betty, Rosalie and Larry did their share of shaping as well.  Henry making sure I didn’t hitch hike as I wanted to do.  John’s elegant wordsmithing and Ken who knew everybody in Washington or so it seemed.

After college, there was the ’72 campaign. Ken would pay me in cash on an as needed basis.  He always seemed to have a roll of bills in his pocket.  Mike Radway and I embarked on a College Radio Interview Tour and I think made up most of the answers as we went.  It was heady make policy at 21 years of age!!   Same days I got to do advance work and go with the Senator and Kris Durmer.  Going to the Seacoast, walking into a shoe factory and realizing that people were sitting at sewing machines making shoes by hand was such an eye opener!  Victory meant not only the return of the McIntyre machine to Washington it also meant that I got to go along.  As a Legislative Aide I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was the era of Watergate, which was incredibly exciting, and our offices were right by the door where all the witnesses were brought in.  We would stand on our chairs and watch the circus of the comings and goings of the hearings.  The Caucus Room was right above us so we could sneek up stairs to hear Sam Ervin zero in on John Dean or see John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the audience.  There were great debates about Carswell and Hainsworth and the Trident submarine.  When we got the 200 mile fishing limit legislation through the Arm Services Committee it was such a coup that the Senator got invited to Geneva to observe the negotiations for the Law of the Sea Treaty.  When Joan La Flam said I got to go with the Senator, as this was my issue, I couldn’t believe it.  My first trip to Europe and I was to fly First Class, dine with Ambassadors and add on a few days by myself for a trip to Paris.   At 23 years old it just doesn’t get much better.

By this time I had met Sam and when we decided to get married in Washington, the McIntyre family embraced me once again.  My mother had passed away and nothing more need be said about my step mother other than she fit the stereo - type of step mother to a tee.  Mrs. Mac, you took me under your wing and introduced me to Gretchen Posten.  At that time she hadn’t yet joined the administration as Social Secretary and was a party planner.  I was swept into a membership at the Women’s National Democratic Club and the wedding was well in hand.  Henry drove me to the wedding and Sam and I from the church to the reception. T.J. Oden had never been to a Catholic service and given the length probably never went to one again.

So you can see that you and many in the McIntyre family molded me as a young girl professionally, personally and spiritually.  Without you, the Senator and the McIntyre family I would not be the person I am today.

Sam and I salute you on your special day and thank you.  My life in Washington has been wonderful.  We have two great kids and a wonderful marriage.  I now have a very close friend whose husband is a Congressman.   We travel with them much as you did with my parents.  Many years ago you gave me a beautiful glass polar bear as a house warming gift and a tribute to my environmental consciousness.  Just recently my Congressional friend gave me a similar one and, oddly enough, their necks entwine in a most endearing way.  For me these are symbols of the continuum of life and I think of you often as these beautiful glass figurines grace my living room.

Thank you for these wonderful memories and the million more I keep in my heart.  Happy Birthday!

John Cross: Over the four years or so I worked for the Senator, I must have staffed about three dozen hearings of the Small Business Committee's subcommittee on government regulation. During that time, we covered such issues as:

Then there were the personal things like: But most of all, I remember taking my daughter Anne, now 26, to a staff meeting when the babysitter and her mother were delayed. Anne was about three months old, and hungry. Being a bit deaf, he never heard her cries, and when I took her out, he turned round the room, addressing the staff as if one of them were missing and saying "Where's Anne?"

What a wonderful man,

Ed Dooley: My gosh, how fast time flies by.  It was 37 years ago – the same year you celebrated your 49th birthday -- when Tom McIntyre breezed into my tiny UPI office in the Concord Monitor Building.  Wearing a trench coat with a fedora pushed back on his head, he poked his head through the door and shouted at me over the sound of clacking wire service teletype machines.  “Dooley, I’m Tom McIntyre,” he said, rushing at me to shake hands.  Thus began the fastest-paced 15 minutes of my then young career as a reporter.  It was “Dooley this” and “Dooley that” until I began to wonder if he really thought my first name was Dooley.  Then with a rush and a kind of twinkle in his eyes, he swirled out the door and up the hall to the Monitor’s city room, leaving me wondering whether I had interviewed him or he had interviewed me.

It was vintage McIntyre, an uncontainable personality who instantly bonded with people, engulfing them in an irrepressible and guileless way that was so very unique and so very genuine.  So it was with some curiosity that I wondered about the personality and style of the woman the senator referred to as “Myrtie Mac.”  It was not until a few years later in Washington that I got a little closer to understanding that Myrtle is to the Rock of Gibraltar what Tom McIntyre is to a tornado.  Steady and unflappable, Myrtle announced one evening in 1971 to a house full of dinner guests that included the Bentsens, the Muskies and the Dooleys that the standing rib roast would be a little delayed because of a blown electric fuse.  The senator instantly considered a roaring bonfire in the back yard to cook the beef.  Fortunately, Myrtle prevailed, Early Times came to the rescue and the dinner, although delayed, was a huge success.

I will always remember you Myrtle for so many other wonderful things.  Like your gregarious laugh and patience when the senator was trying to discover a complex Latin name for a rare seashell that had just arrived from some distant shore.  How you took all those calls at home from constituents because the senator insisted on listing his name in the phone book.  The pool parties at your home in Washington and the backyard barbecue in Rye, N.H. where you welcomed the McIntyre staff like members of the family.  The loving care you gave the senator when he was sick.  Or, how you punctuated sentences with a burning cigarette stuck in a long black filter.  And, your extraordinary patience in not sticking that cigarette holder in John Durkin’s ear during the September 16, 1975 special election in which Durkin asked for votes with the pretentious theme:  “He just might be the best senator we ever had.”

Durkin was dead wrong.  Tom McIntyre was hands down the best damn senator New Hampshire will ever know.  His many achievements outlive him and improve our lives in countless ways – like interest on checking accounts, a strong and versatile national defense, consumer protections and environmental actions from energy conservation and solar energy technology to saving the ozone layer and reducing skin cancer deaths.  He battled the radical right and made us proud with his courageous vote on the Panama Canal treaties.  The Washington Post said, Tom McIntyre “ought to find a place in the anthology of courage and wisdom.”

He was really special, Myrtle, and I wish I could have been there in 1977, in Laconia, to see your reaction when the senator was honored at a testimonial prior to his run for re-election.  Remember how he, as an Irish Catholic, the only Democratic senator from New Hampshire ever re-elected and a frequent target of attacks by Mel Thomson and Bill Loeb, did not want to cause criticism of retired Senator Norris Cotton, the loyal Republican and stalwart conservative.  The senator told Norris that he did not want him to come to the testimonial if it would mean personal trouble.  But Norris Cotton came anyway, and stood tall before the group, and said:

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause from withdrawing from a friend.  I haven’t a better friend, a closer friend, in this world than Tom McIntyre.”

I would have liked to have been there, Myrtle, to hear those words and to see how proud you were of the man who did so much for so many. You had a wonderful life together and I know that all of us in the extended McIntyre family feel very privileged to have spent the best years of our lives with you and the senator.  Happy birthday and best wishes.

Kris Durmer: I don't care what they say about Charlie, Henry, Ned, Ed, or Mark (good guys all), I still think that I am the best damn driver that you all ever had. Now, I know I almost lost my job in the first week because of that silly little "hand/wrist" move on the steering wheel to make sure we weren't speeding, but I am still convinced (at least in my own mind) that I continue to be the world record holder for McIntyre "At-a-boy" points, especially after packing and moving all of those law books to Exeter.

You know, I never did get that hardware store (although Home Depot seems to have done okay in that regard), but I have enjoyed the last some 25 years practicing law and raising my family here in Nashua, and reflecting upon the many fond memories and great lessons learned having traveled those tens of thousands of miles with you and the late Senator. Thank you.

Mrs. Mac, my very best to you on this special day. Happy Birthday!

Jane Harris: After the election of 1962, I literally wandered off the halls of the Old Senate Office Building (Sen. Russell was very much alive then) into the temporary McIntyre offices and was offered a job by Jim Keefe and "big bad" Bob Shane. I recall being awed by word about the wunderkind Philip C. Ritterbush .with whom I would be working in legislation. Soon we ended up in the back room of the New Senate Office Building above Sen. Proxmire whose staff occasionally would complain about our noise. The back room was farthest from the Senator's office, and there was usually an interesting cast of characters from Phil's Yale friends on spring break such as Jerry Brown to student interns with New Hampshire connections such as Alan Novins to the occasional "little fox"--Mary Ellen Terizu (sp?), a former pseudo bunny girl without any New Hampshire connections (another Keefe hire) who practiced high speed typing with a multitude of errors and one day gave us all a scare with what was later diagnosed as a low blood sugar attack. Never a dull moment!

I have many fond recollections of spending time in New Hampshire with the Senator and Mrs. McIntyre, especially during the 1964 campaign when we were supporting the Democratic ticket from President to Congressman (Ollie Huot). One special image is etched vividly and that was on the Saturday of the Harvard-Dartmouth football game. Mrs. McIntyre and I had been shopping for clothes for Martha, and when we returned to the Carpenter Hotel in Manchester what to our astonishment should we see upon entering the room but the Senator dressed in overcoat and hat sitting in a chair atop the bed in front of the TV cheering for Dartmouth! Never had he dreamed that his "little surprise" for us would first be seen by the maid who came to make up the room. I wonder if she ever voted for that Senator who sat on top of the bed with his coat and hat on. But that was New Hampshire 1964! A good year for Democrats!

Jeff Kelley: I began working in Senator McIntyre’s office in February of 1971, fresh out National Guard training at Fort Knox.  My connection was Larry Smith, who I had as a professor at Dartmouth, but beyond that I knew little about the Senator or Mrs. Mac.  Quickly, however, I became part of the office family, working closely with John Obert, taking orders from Henry and meeting Ellen – actually she invited me to lunch the first day for bean soup in the Senate cafeteria.

My early recollections are extended trips to NH to “get to know” the editors of the local newspapers.  Larry’s idea, of course.  With one exception they were all Republicans, so it was a hard sell.  Another of Larry’s ideas was a weekly news release sent to Lucy on an archaic fax system.  And in between there were softball games, lunches and dinners at Henry’s apartment, addressing and stamping Christmas cards to a few hundred thousand of the Senator’s closest friends, and continuing to drive to NH every month for National Guard meetings because Larry thought it would “help us in Claremont”.

Of course, it was also a very serious time.  The country was torn apart by the war, and the issue became quite poignant within the office.  The Senator’s natural instincts led him to support the President and the war.  His turnaround was long and painful, and in the end it took great courage to dissent while representing a conservative state like New Hampshire.  But the war was not the only example.  We saw the same courage on the Panama Canal treaty, on abortion rights and on dozens of other issues where he chose leadership over safety.  I suppose in the end, taking the unpopular side so often led to the 1978 defeat.  But I remember the Senator saying so often, “My father always said to me, never be a floor-flusher.  I guess I’d rather lose an election than be that.”

I think I got to know the Senator and Mrs. Mac better in NH during campaigns than in Washington.  In 1972 they were very concerned that they would lose, and with good reason.  We had to buck what we knew would be a Nixon landslide over McGovern – and beat old Wesley Powell to do it.  It was one of the single most satisfying work experiences of my life.  With Larry’s guidance we did it by the numbers, leaving no constituency untouched.  It ranged from the brilliant to the “sublime” – National Hunting and Fishing Day!  We even fixed up an apartment in Laconia as “home.”  It all came together so perfectly on election night, even if Larry and I never did fulfill our pledge to walk to the Union Leader building and ceremoniously relieve ourselves on Bill Loeb.

Throughout the campaign, the Senator remained on message, reciting his index card answers and giving and taking away “atta-boys” as deserved.  Mrs. Mac called the campaign office on Saturdays to take attendance and make sure we were working hard.  They were worried to the end – I remember sitting in the Carpenter going over the numbers again and again before we finally signaled the band to begin playing “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

Of course, I remember the next election night, too.  It was excruciatingly painful – not just because we were so disappointed, but because we knew how hard it hit the Senator.  But he conceded gracefully and within weeks mustered the courage to take on the challenge of a serious illness.  I can almost hear Mrs. Mac telling him, “Buster, you’re going to be just fine.”  He did come back, and with John’s help, produced a book that predicted the radical right agenda that has gripped the country for too many years.

Ellen and I and our kids visited the McIntyres many times in Rye in the following years.  There were good times, like the staff reunion or working with him on a speech to the Dartmouth Class of ‘37, and some painful ones as well.  No one should ever have to suffer a disease like that, but no one ever had a more loving, patient caretaker and partner than Mrs. Mac.

It is a little remarkable that the McIntyre staff, over several generations, keeps in touch.  In part, I guess it’s the intensity of the experience – working so closely on things we believed were important.  And in part, it’s because we were young and still making close friendships.  But there’s got to be more, and I think it has a lot to do with the McIntyres themselves.  They were anything but perfect, pre-packaged, blow dried politicians.  We knew they were real people because they never tried to hide their insecurities and vulnerabilities.  And in the end, we came to realize that they were also showing us real courage and integrity.  And for that we feel privileged and thankful.

Tony Mazzaschi: I joined Senator McIntyre's staff in June 1976 - at the ripe age of 20 - as an intern, and subsequently became a legislative correspondent and then legislative assistant. It was a critically important part of my personal life and has shaped my entire professional career.

I obtained my intern position only through the generous intercession of Mrs. McIntyre. I had lined up an internship with Senator John Durkin through the good graces of his AAmy brother-in-law's brother - Joe Grandmaison. As Durkin was prone to do, he fired his entire staff shortly before I was to arrive in D.C. My mother mentioned my plight to Mrs. McIntyre's sister, who spoke to Mrs. McIntyre, who spoke to Ken Birkhead. When I called to inquire about a possible internship, Ken was incredibly helpful and made it happen. Only later did I discover my secret patrons.

It was in Senator McIntyre's office that I met my wife Harlie Sponaugle. When I first visited the office, even before starting my internship, Harlie greeted me at the front desk with a smile. She invited me to attend a softball game to meet the rest of the gang, and the rest is history.

Senator McIntyre's office was my first professional position and the lessons I learned have had a profound affect on my life. At Henry's knee I learned the importance of doing whatever was needed to get the job done, regardless of how menial the task or what your title was. His dedication, hard work, curmudgeon-like-nature, and generosity continue to inspire me. Liz Webber was my intellectual mentor in the office. I learned a tremendous amount from her. She helped me learn to write crisply and quickly, and to survive the mountains of constituent mail. She also helped me hone my analytical skills. More importantly, she provided guidance to a young pup in an encouraging and thoughtful way and in a style that encouraged intellectual curiosity. She has been my model in serving as a mentor.

John Obert and Ken Birkhead also were important role models for me. Their astute political minds and superb writing skills were matched only by their warm personal charms and willingness to engage neophytes like myself.

I thought I knew a lot about Senator and Mrs. McIntyre, since I had come from Laconia and my parents, especially my mother, knew both of them. However, I was unprepared for the reality of this complex and dynamic couple. Mrs. McIntyre was always kind to me and went out of her way to invite me to visit with her New Hampshire - especially Laconia - visitors and friends. Senator McIntyre, who could never get my name right - I was usually called Maserati (after the Italian sports car), always was a delight.

One highlight of my time with the Senator centers on an amendment I drafted on a VA benefits issue that had generated a tremendous amount of mail I came up with an innovative way around the budget act in order to solve the problem. Liz and I sold it to the Senator. I spent hours preparing all the requisite talking points and statements, all edited by Liz. I remember going to the floor with the Senator and Liz and he did a masterful job in securing passage of the amendment. Senators Gaylord Nelson and Ed Muskie were livid about the breaching of the rather new budget act, but in the end both voted for the Senator's amendment. On the way back to the office, Senator McIntyre was giddy about the amendment's passage, but what I remember most was his final remarks. He said that the amendment was sure to be dropped in conference, but that it was an important fight nonetheless, remarking that at least the veterans affected would know someone cared.

The most important lesson I learned from the Senator was not to be certain that your position was correct. He was always willing to concede that his opponents might be right. When I hear many of today's Senators voice moral absolutism and intellectual certainty, I long for the Senator McIntyre's of this world - individuals who are moral, just, and willing to take on tough causes, but are honest in admitting that they don't have all the answers and self-confident enough to be willing to admit it to both themselves and the people they hold dear.

Liz McGee: The fondest memories of my Senate career were the fourteen years I spent working for Senator McIntyre and my association with you and Martha. I often think of you and I keep a picture of the Senator in my home office along with a Christmas card of the McIntyre family that you so graciously sent my Mother and Father in the 1960's. They kept the card until their deaths.

I still maintain many of the friendships that I established while working for the Senator. This Tennessee girl will always be grateful for the opportunity to have worked for the sweetest and greatest Senator that the state of New Hampshire ever elected. When answering the phone I was often asked what part of New Hampshire I was from. I would always smile to myself and say, from the southern part. I do not think I ever convinced. anyone, but due to your kindness I always felt I was a part of the New Hampshire family.

There are no words to adequately express all of my wonderful memories with the McIntyre family.

I am sorry that I can not be there with you to celebrate this special birthday, but know that my thoughts and best wishes are with you tonight and always. With love.

Patty McHugh: I have many fond memories of the time I served on Senator Tom McIntyre's staff, and I am certain that the experience and knowledge I gained from him, Mrs. McIntyre, and the talented group of people he attracted enabled me to realize my dream of working in a Democratic White House.

One of my favorite memories is of a day in the Senate shortly after Senator McIntyre gave his historic speech about his brave vote in support of the Panama Canal Treaty. I took a call from the White House Social Secretary's Office inviting Senator and Mrs. McIntyre to join President and Mrs. Carter in the Kennedy Center's Presidential Box for a performance by Mikhail Baryshnikov and the American Ballet Theatre. Suspecting that this was not what the Senator would enjoy doing on his one free night before he left for two weeks in New Hampshire, I called Mrs. McIntyre, who agreed that this was something they must do. She told me she would track him down through the Democratic Cloak Room and discuss it with him.

I then typed up his schedule for the next day, including the Kennedy Center event, and put it on his desk. Soon thereafter I heard Senator McIntyre come into his office through his private door. A few minutes later he called out, "Patricia," and I knew by his tone that he had not talked to Mrs. McIntyre. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he had no interest in ballet. I tried as best I could to explain to him that Baryshnikov was not your average ballet dancer. He talked to Mrs. McIntyre and then went (grumbling, I'm sure) to the ballet the next evening.

We didn't talk again until two weeks later at the staff debriefing following his trip to New Hampshire. At the beginning of the meeting he came up to me, took my hand in his, and said he hadn't washed it since he met Mikhail Baryshnikov. He then told the assembled staff what a wonderful evening he and Mrs. McIntyre had at the Kennedy Center, beginning with everyone in the theater turning to applaud them (oh, yes, the President and First Lady were there too). He described in great detail the wonderful dance program, and the incredible, athletic performance by Baryshnikov. He truly enjoyed ballet that night!

Steve Merrill: I well remember you and the Senator. The McIntyre office was really my first foray into politics and therefore was even more important than I realized at the time. While attending Georgetown Law School, my father had sent me to ask Louis Wyman for a job and Louis had in turn sent me to the Senator. I was both surprised and flattered when Larry Smith took the time to interview me and then shocked when he actually hired me. It was the beginning of a truly memorable experience: The McIntyre's and their staff set a standard of warmth, kindness, and professionalism that I have tried to emulate in the years that have followed. From the top on down, this Republican was treated as well as, say, a Democrat!

I have two recollections that are dear to me. The first was one day when the Senator was reviewing his vote on a piece of legislation and asked me, "What does your father say about it?" I laughed and answered, "He thinks you did the right thing." The Senator beamed and said, "Well, if I've got the Merrills then I know I'll have the rest of the state!" The second recollection was the day at the Office Party at your Washington home when we played charades around the swimming pool. I remember that you stumped the Senator with a book title. And when he responded, "Myrtle, I never heard of that book", you replied, "Tom, it’s the book you are reading now. Its right on your bed stand table-and I knew you wouldn't remember!"

I wish you the grandest of evenings and I thank you and all my colleagues from the McIntyre years. Your friendship means a great deal to me. I have always tried to live up to the standard of congeniality you all set.

Earl and Monique Noelte: Numerous memories of the Senator and of Mrs. McIntyre come to mind as I, Earl Noelte, write these words. I finally chose those recollections that frame the Senator’s visit to Geneva, Switzerland, and his opportunity to meet my wife, Monique, and our daughter, Natacha in 1977.

The Senator’s visit was official. He spoke before the United Nations Conference on Disarmament and attended other diplomatic meetings while he was in Geneva. As Assistant to a professor of International Relations, Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva, I arranged a dinner in honour of the Senator. Two professors of International Relations, Monique, the Senator and I went to the Auberge of Jussy in the countryside of Geneva. During the course of our traditional Genevese dinner, the Senator was examined and cross-examined on United States foreign policy and American strategic interests. The debate especially became heated when one of the professors of Indian origin took issue with the United States military presence on the Island of Diego Garcia. Diplomacy quickly fell by the wayside. The Senator raised his voice - ! - ; hit the table with his fist - !! - and forcefully claimed America’s rights to the island.

Monique and I also recall the Senator’s raising his voice when he came for dinner in our home and met our three-year old daughter. With her seated on his knees, he began to sing to Natacha and their merriment became contagious for all of us. The Senator commented several times on the view of Lake Geneva from our living room window, of the original Aubusson tapestry on one of our walls and of a “certain” comfort with us. He, in fact, relaxed and became a man of interpersonal character that I never had known.

How we only had begun to know the Senator became most obvious when the official visit of the Senator ended and he came with a small group of our friends to visit Annecy, France.  A short hour’s drive from Geneva, Annecy sets upon its natural lake amongst the Savoy Alps. A festival of music and street art animated the Old City. As we had lunch on an open terrace, the music came near and, once more, the Senator began to sing. The mood became jovial, convivial and so natural. He mentioned several times: “Myrtle would be so happy here!”

In the afternoon we took an outboard boat ride on Lake Annecy that recalled to the Senator, his Lakes Region and the mountains of New Hampshire. Though by then he had no need to tell us, his words became most memorable. Leaving political and diplomatic appearance aside, he said how comfortable his day had become. He said how rare had been the opportunity for him to relax when he traveled. How memorable for Monique, our friends and me to think that the Senator was at home.

Natalia Obert: I do remember when John was so ill that the Senator voiced concern.  You were in Florida then.  He told me when he arrived that you were the one who told him to fly to D.C. and to go out to visit with John.

Ed Dooley picked him up at the airport and brought him to the house.  Ed and I stayed mostly in the living room so the two has a nice long visit in the bedroom.  Thank you for suggesting to him to make the trip…

T.J. Oden: During my career in Washington I had the opportunity and pleasure of working for three members of Congress. All democrat. All yankee. All liberal. But without a doubt Tom McIntyre was the most of all. A Kefauver democrat. A Granite Stater, and a true liberal. To Senator McIntyre, the issue always was the public interest.

I can stilI hear the roll can clerk calling the Senate roll. . . Mr. McGovern, Mr. Mclntyre, Mr. Mondale, Mr. Muskie. Oh, those were the days. I can still remember the 1978 campaign and Senator McIntyre proclaiming to the New Hampshire media that he was a liberal democrat and proud of that label.

Though it is not unusual for the spouse of a politician to be involved, the Mclntyres were a truly unique couple. Myrtle, they say that a man is as large as the woman behind him, which makes Tom McIntyre a giant

I am sorry for not being able to attend your birthday party but events precluded the opportunity. Please give my best to the staff.

Mike Radway: Unfortunately, my nephew's graduation will prohibit me from joining you and your legions of fans at your reunion this weekend.  I hope you are well and have a wonderful time.

As my family gathered in Hanover last month and reviewed many of my father's old files and pictures, we were amazed (if not surprised) how many of them featured you and the Senator.  They were living proof of the fact that when all the Democrats in New Hampshire could (and did) fit into a living room, you and the Senator were invariably there.

Our party, our state, and our nation owe you both a tremendous debt of gratitude for having the courage to speak out when few would do so, and for training a generation (and probably two) of our state's future leaders.  Our nation's founding father's may have lived in the 18th century, but the New Hampshire Democratic party's lived in the second half of the 20th century.  I'll always consider you our first lady.

At the age of eight my parents dressed me up as a politician for Halloween, complete with a fake mustache, a bowler hat, a cigar and a McIntyre button.  That may explain why I didn't get candy at every house, but the good houses usually gave me twice as much.

My first major political jobs came during the 1972 campaign.  In 1971 and 1972 I remember conducting countless phone interviews with voters to find out whether or not they liked the Senator.  I think I can still recite the entire script from memory, "Hello, my name is Mike Radway and I'm a volunteer with the Voter Information Service...."

In 1972 as campaigns hit the computer era for the first time, I learned how to use them to create robo letters, complete with typeovers so that they would look individually produced.  I also logged thousands of miles in a pick-up truck putting up road signs, winning me the Senator's nickname, "Roadway."

Although I lived and worked on Capitol Hill for 22 years, my first, and lowest-paying job is the one I will remember and appreciate the most.  It was as an intern in the Senator's Washington office the summer of the Watergate hearings.  I lived in Jeff Kelley's and Pete Rouse's attic and worked with a group of wonderful people who remained my close friends for decades.  Who can forget Larry Smith's lessons, Henry Wrona's kind but forceful whip, Ken Birkhead's and John Obert's stories, and the support and encouragement I received from Jeff and Ellen Kelley, Joan Laflam, Bob Span, Sue Martell Buffonne, Rosalie Kirstein, Betty McQueen, Pat McHugh and others.  I don't know how much I contributed to our nation's discourse that summer, or to the record of the "McIntyre Maulers," but I had a wonderful summer, and even got to sit next to John Lennon and Yoko Ono as John Dean testified before the Watergate Committee.  What more could a 19 year-old ask for?

To this day I don't know how you and the Senator survived the endless round of coffee-clatches and fundraisers you had to attend, never mind the mindless editorials you had to endure, but I know that our country is a better place to live and work in because of your sacrifices.  Were we only so fortunate to have such leadership today!

As I left my own father's memorial service last month, a large "Roadway" truck turned the corner and passed in front of the chapel.  I knew it was a sign, and I smiled and told the people I was with about my nickname, how it was coined and how much the Senator meant to my father and me.

Thousands of men (and a few women) have served in the United States Senate, but MY senator will always be Tom McIntyre, and just as there is only one "the Senator" there is only one "Mrs. Mac."

Thanks for everything. Vote early and often!


Marc Scheer: My McIntyre memories begin back in Nashua in the late summer, early fall of 1972. I was fresh from the Muskie presidential campaign, and the political bug had bitten real hard. I was lucky enough to be going to college at Tufts University, which had a unique independent studies program which allowed students to devise their own off campus study curriculum. As a political science major, and with my experience in the New Hampshire Muskie campaign earlier in the year, I signed up as a full time campaign aide in Nashua, to help run the Nashua campaign, and ultimately the get out the vote operation.

I remember sometime in this time frame sitting at my desk in the Nashua headquarters, with my feet on the desk, no doubt thinking big thoughts about how to organize Nashua to assure the Senator a victory in the 1972 campaign. Two very nicely dressed women came into the office. The first was Mrs Mac. This was the first time I met her. The other was Natalia Obert. Mrs. Mac wryly observed how my managerial style set such a nice appearance for an energetic campaign. To quote Bogart's famous line from Casablanca, this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

My work in Nashua led to the Senator's office in Washington, first as an intern, in the summer of 1973, then as part time legislative correspondent in law school, and finally, as a legislative assistant on the full time staff from 1977 thought the end of the Senator's term.

Senator and Mrs Mac were not only gracious to me, but were really role models for me during an important period in my life. I had a terrific time working with them, as well as the staff, and every day was a real hoot.

I still have many great memories. Titus Plomeritus and the Guatemalan parrot, the rock on the McIntyre's front lawn harvested from Rockville (I think Tony was involved in that one), the intern party in the summer of 1973 when Senator McIntyre told me what he really thought about Lloyd Bentsen, the hilarity in the legislative shop, and just being able to be a part of history in the making. I'll never forget being on the floor of the US Senate with the Senator late one night, trying to undo the infamous Buck Act to make the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard free from the oppressive Maine taxing authorities. We lost in a landslide, but not without notice from both Maine Senators Muskie and Hathaway who colorfully shared their bemusement with the futility of our effort. It turned out the Louisiana benefited handsomely from this obscure law allowing state taxation on federal territory, and there was no way Russell Long, then Senate Finance Chair, was going to let this baby slip through the cracks.

I also remember campaigning with Mrs Mac back home in 1978. I had just bought my first new car, and I was to pick up Mrs. Mac and Dottie O'Shea to go to the Manchester airport to meet Rosalyn Carter. The car was a small, two door German sports model. Poor Dottie had to squeeze into the back in a very undignified manner. Mrs. Mac sat gamely in the front, and we made it to the airport, somewhat rumpled, but in time to greet the First Lady on the Tarmac. I still have the photo of the four of us (Mrs. Mac, Mrs. Carter, Dottie and me) taken just as Mrs Mac greeted Mrs. Carter just as she got off the plane.

There were other great times, including the party at the White House in February 1978 in honor of the New Hampshire Primary. I remember the McIntyres were in fine style. I also remember the principled stands that we took on the issues, the most famous of which was on the Panama Canal Treaty. I was very proud to have been a part of the team.

Senator and Mrs. Mac were particularly kind to me after the election. After they moved to Rye, I would just drop in unannounced on occasion to visit. They always opened their door to me and made me feel right at home. It was a great way for me to keep in touch, and I was thrilled each time they welcomed me into their home. Senator McIntyre would always during those years (while I was in the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office) urge me to go into private practice. I finally took the advice, which was very good advice, which I have followed for the last eighteen years. As good and rewarding as the practice of law has been, I still fondly recall the personal and professional satisfaction of having been associated with Senator and Mrs. McIntyre and the staff in those years not really so long ago.

Congratulations and fond wishes to Mrs. Mac on her birthday.

Harlie Sponaugle: I didn’t work for Senator McIntyre for very long – only about 9 months – but it was my first job out of college, and important in several different ways.

First, as Tony mentioned, we met in McIntyre’s office. It wasn’t the typical office romance – I hated men at the time, and Tony was seven years my junior – but in the long run, everything turned out just fine. Even after 25 years together, we can still make each other laugh!

I’ll never forget my first day in the Senator’s office. Henry had hired me as his general assistant and dog’s body. I was to have the privilege of doing everything that Henry didn’t have time to do – which turned out to be quite a lot of things. Being the eager young person that I was, I arrived quite early for my first day – so early that Henry wasn’t even there yet. So I went upstairs to visit my friend who had suggested that I look for a job on Capitol Hill in the first place. We sat and chatted while she answered the occasional phone call in a professional and cheerful manner – “Good morning, Senator Hart’s office.” After about half an hour, I went back downstairs and Henry let me into the office, sat me down at his desk, gave me a quick rundown on how to answer the phone, even though it was too early for anyone to really be calling, and then went out to run one of his errands (I think he went for donuts for the office). Anyway, the phone soon rang, and in my best imitation of my friend’s professional yet cheerful tone, I answered “Good morning, Senator Hart’s office.” The voice on the other end of the line hesitated, then said, “Oh, excuse me, I have the wrong number,” and hung up. It was quite a relief, actually, because I had no idea what I would say if he asked me for any type of information. But a minute later, the phone range again. I answered promptly and sweetly – “Good morning, Senator Hart’s office.” Again a hesitation on the other end of the line, and then “This is Senator McIntyre and I’m trying to reach my office. Who is this?” Of course, I realized instantly what I had been saying, and apologized profusely – “Oh, Senator McIntyre, I’m so sorry, this is your office! This is Harlie Sponaugle, and it’s my first day and I got a little confused.” After a moment, Senator McIntyre just gave a little snort and said, “Well, just have Henry call me right away.” He and Henry had a good laugh over it when he got into the office and we were introduced. Despite our rocky beginning, he never held it against me. As a matter of fact, despite his predilection for getting names wrong, he never forgot mine!

My days in the Senator’s office were brief but exciting – working with people like Henry, Ken Burkhead, John Obert, Liz Webber, Ed Dooley, Susan Pitts. The energy was always high, and I felt like I was part of a group that was doing God’s work. What a rush to be able to listen to the evening news and know more about what was going on than the news anchorman.

Even though I was the lowliest of the low in the office hierarchy, everyone always treated me as an equal. When a big job had to be done, we all pitched in and got it done, even if it required a small bribe of pizza and beer. I was also honored to pitch for the softball team for a season. Working or playing, the tone was set by the man at the top, the Senator, and our lives were all richer and wiser for it.

Jim Stearns: I was a kid of 22, fresh out of Dartmouth College, when I joined the staff for that very successful election campaign of 1972.  I had known both the McIntyre's slightly from growing up in Laconia, New Hampshire, but my family knew John, the Senator's brother, better because he lived down the street from us.  What I remember most about the Senator and Mrs. Mac, and what has stayed with me through the years as I have become a Washington lawyer/lobbyist, was how real they remained coming to Washington and how unfailingly courteous they were.

My family never wanted me to practice in Washington, and because I got out of law school in 1976 and was at Georgetown Law right after the advent of Watergate, I cannot blame them for believing I should return to Laconia, New Hampshire or somewhere else in the state to practice.  Whenever I was arguing that there could be good people in Washington, and that there was a duty for such people to serve, I would lose that argument until I reminded them of Senator McIntyre.  At that point, the response would be that he was unusual, and my counter was that was fine – I too would be unusual.

I was privileged to serve in the Carter administration from 1977 through 1980.  I had a sickening feeling, as many of us did, when the Senator lost in 1978.  The spin of the Washington media at that time was he had been simply upset by a media campaign.  I was concerned that his defeat was a sign of negative things to come.  Unfortunately, the 1980 senatorial elections proved that, as many of the Senator's good friends and colleagues lost.  As I reflect upon what the Senator and Mrs. Mac brought to Washington, as I on occasion move through the halls of Congress, I believe that it is remarkable for the Senator to have served so long and that his, and Mrs. Mac's, human qualities were what made the Senate great.  Those qualities are unfortunately, in my view, sorely lacking today.

My favorite memory of that year in 1972 is a huge mistake I made, which I have not repeated to this day in any Presidential election campaign.  You will remember that Senator McGovern opened up his Presidential campaign in Manchester.  You will also recall that the noise was deafening, and the Secret Service was fairly nervous.  As a young kid, I was carried away by the moment and had been told to deliver a message to the Senator.  I exercised poor judgment and reached around Senator McGovern to tap Senator McIntyre on the shoulder.  That was not very smart with a nervous Secret Service contingent.  The error was compounded by the reality that I walked on crutches and a dangling crutch in the air (as I've learned on other occasions) looks somewhat like a weapon.  The Secret Service, as was their job, knocked me away from the candidate, and I fell rather hard.  I was picked up, I believe, by David Broder, the Washington Post columnist.  Senator McGovern did not see me, and I made real certain that I got away from Senator McIntyre before my folly became known.  He heard later about the incident and asked me whether I was all right, which I found remarkable during what was a busy day for him both because he was campaigning and hosting the Presidential candidate.  Nothing was hurt but my pride, but I have always remembered that he had thought enough of a staff member to inquire as to my well-being, when he could have told me what bad judgment I exercised.

To submit a memory or to edit an existing memory, contact Tony Mazzaschi.

Page last updated on June 9, 2003 at 10:00 a.m.