The Jack Kemp Oral History Project

Kemp Legacy Project

The Kemp Legacy project was established to honor Jack Kemp's public service, perpetuate and advance his contributions to American political thought, and help educate the next generation of political leaders.

The Jack Kemp Oral History Project

Welcome to the Jack Kemp Oral History Archive, an original collection of spoken recollections and reflections that illuminate Jack Kemp’s public life, his vocation, the ideas central to his commitment to public service, and the political world in which he moved.

In the space of four years, Mort Kondracke (lead interviewer) and Brien Williams (Kemp Oral History Project historian) interviewed over a hundred people who were central to Jack Kemp’s  life and career.  Our goal was to enable future generations to learn about the American democracy of our time directly from those entrusted with its governance.  Along the way, we gathered some fascinating insights about our country’s recent past, including Presidential politics, competition on the playing field and in the halls of Congress, and the power of ideas.

As Jack said time and again, “history matters.”  We hope that these wide-ranging personal experiences, judgments, and lessons learned will also serve as a resource for  carrying on the cause about which he cared so much:  the American Idea.

We are indebted to the support we received from the Conrad Hilton Foundation, the guidance provided by the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, and the generous contributions of the men and women listed below who graciously consented to be interviewed.

Michelle Van Cleave
Kemp Legacy Program Director


  • Eddie Abramoski
    • “Jack was one of the first players to lift weights, and in them days it was taboo for a pitcher or a quarterback or anybody to lift weights, and Jack, as the guys attested, he could throw the ball through a brick wall. He could throw it eighty yards. He was fantastic.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
  • Richard Ahearn
    • “I said, ‘Politically you just can’t do this, Jack. You’re going to alienate every Republican voter in every border state there is, California, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, everywhere illegal immigration is an issue.’ It got to the point where he threw me out of his suite, which he regularly did, but then the next day or a few hours later we’d talk it over and he’d laugh and I’d laugh, and we’d patch everything up.”

    • On the Road with Jack Kemp, September 6, 2012
  • Jennifer (Kemp) Andrews
    • “I remember when he was sick, and he couldn’t speak… so he would have to whisper. And one of our kids had an assignment, a question about what role did the radio have in World War II? …So this child called up Grandpa and he whispered… and over the phone explained for about half an hour, Winston Churchill and his address to the British people. It really gave us chills. We put it on speakerphone, and it was really moving….”

    • Interview, November 7, 2012
  • Rick Azar
    • “Got a call from Dr. Bernstein and said, “How would you like to have lunch with Jack Kemp?” Dr. Bernstein was taking care of him. So he drags me out to Niagara Falls because they were at Niagara at training camp, and that’s how I met Jack Kemp. We became good friends, which at the time there was a whole metamorphosis in the sports business.”

    • Interview, June 25, 2011
  • James Baker
    • “I bent over backwards to make sure that everybody knew where my loyalties were. They were to Ronald Reagan. Now, if seeing Reagan succeed enhanced Bush’s opportunities, so much the better. He was vice president of that administration. But to say that somehow that we were doing in order to defeat the hopes of Jack Kemp for running for president, that’s crazy. I did everything I could to defeat Jack Kemp, and did defeat him, okay?”

    • Interview, March 13, 2013
  • Fred Barnes
    • “Well, he did have a dynamic personality, and it was overpowering in so many cases, but he also had something else. It wasn’t just that he had intellectual curiosity, which he did, but he had mastered the subject matter of economics, of tax cuts and all the ramifications of that… But he had mastered it, so he could answer all the questions.

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 1, March 6, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 2, March 6, 2012
  • Bruce Bartlett
    • “I remember distinctly him asking me if I was a supply-side fiscalist. That was the term that was being used in those days. I swear to God I’d never heard that term before in my life. But I didn’t have anything to lose, so I said, “Well, sure. Who isn’t?” or something like that. And I think that’s all he needed to hear, because he ran off, and then Randy and I went and had a couple of beers, and the next thing I know, I was hired.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 1, April 18, 2011
    • Interview, June 3, 2011
  • Jeff Bell
    • “I was working for Reagan in ’76, and I was out at the Kansas City convention where Ford defeated Reagan, and I remember seeing Jack and Jude together and they were trying to sell Reagan on the first version of the Kemp tax-cut bill. It wasn’t yet Kemp-Roth. It was just a 30 percent tax cut.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 3, April 14, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 2, April 18, 2011
    • Interview, July 15, 2011
  • Al Bemiller
    • “Jack was fairly quiet person, as far as I’m concerned. He was a very smart individual, and he knew that he wouldn’t let a screwed-up pass bother him, and that’s what kept him—he just kept going. He wouldn’t quit. Jack was a tough—the thing I remember about Jack the most is his toughness.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
  • Bill Bennett
    • “Jack would say that ownership itself will transform, and I said it can’t transform character. He said when a guy has never had anything, and he gets something, he has a chance then. I’d say he has a chance, but if the right values haven’t in some ways been inculcated in him, it could happen, but it’s miraculous. And why can’t we just agree that you give people opportunity, but you also need instruction, habits, Aristotle. He’d say fine, but you can’t wait. So this was the argument that went on and on with us.”

    • Interview, September 17, 2012
  • Wayne Berman
    • “So when he and I met in Russell, Kansas, and got the great Bob Dole introduction [imitating], ‘Jack, Berman’s going to run the campaign for ya.’ The look on Jack’s face was precious… Sort of like ‘This stranger, effectively, is going to run my campaign,’ and Jack had no ability to govern his body language or his facial language at all, and you could just tell his attitude was, ‘Oh, no he’s not’.”

    • Interview, March 21, 2013
  • Richard Billmire
    • “The way the Kemp office worked,…a lot of times there’d be, as I always used to joke, 832 people in the room, and at times you’d go, “Oh my God, how does anything ever get done?” And he would bring everybody in, he would. It was not well managed. But what happened is then, I’ve always thought, there were no secrets. …it was all wide-open.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
    • Interview, February 7, 2012
  • Charlie Black
    • “We really started working with Jack in 1984, and it was sort of a tacit plan to get him to run for president. He didn’t have to commit to it and we didn’t expect him to, and he didn’t really make the decision until sometime in the second half of 1986, but that group that had formed around him pretty much was the makings of a campaign team.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 3, April 14, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 1, April 14, 2012
  • George Borelli
    • “I’m the over-the-hill political reporter for the Buffalo News, who retired in 1992, and I covered all nine of Jack’s campaigns for the House.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 2, March 4, 2011
  • Bill Bradley
    • “I’d known about Jack Kemp before 1978, because he was in the football players and I was in the basketball players union, and he had supported a merger of the two leagues, AFL and NFL, which was really an amendment to an Appropriations or Finance Committee bill by Russell Long, that allowed the two to merge without violating antitrust laws. In the basketball players, we took a different tact. We challenged the situation in the court and fought against a legislative fix.”

    • Interview, March 11, 2011
  • Ed Brady
    • “So 25-year-old Ed Brady got to play tennis with him… I’m kind of nonchalant, because I don’t know if I’m supposed to try to beat him, or not beat him, you know, am I going to get back on the plane with him or not? Well I hit a drop shot, and he’s at the baseline, and he goes flying across the court, and takes a dive, and skins his forehead, his shoulder. He makes the shot and he wins the point. I turned around thinking, ‘What the hell’s going on here?’”

    • On the Road with Jack Kemp, September 6, 2012
  • William Brock
    • “I was probably focused more on myself that first year in the Senate than anything else, trying to figure out what I could do to get things going on my own behalf. But it couldn’t have been very long after that before you began to sense that in that freshman class in the House, which I had just left, there were some really exciting new people that were hard-chargers and that were going to change the conversation. Jack was probably foremost among those.”

    • Interview, June 23, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 1, April 18, 2011
  • John Buckley
    • “I certainly understood New York politics, and then I’d just come fresh off the Reagan/Bush campaign, so I was current with the reporters who were covering national politics and current with all of the issues from the presidential campaign. But Jack in that first conversation was all in. No question in my mind. He was running for president, he needed somebody who could help him do that…”

    • Interview, April 24, 2012
    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
  • Frank Cannon
    • “[I]t was pretty standard at that point that you’d have a political action committee foundation and whatever office you held, and each of those would work on various aspects of creating a profile for a national figure, allow them to participate in elections around the country, allow them to produce books, make trips … I was deputy director of the political action committee, I guess, starting in ’86, with the intention that Jack would run.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 3, April 14, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 1, April 14, 2012
  • Mary Cannon
    • “John and I …would take turns traveling with him out on different trips. We had a list—I don’t know if you remember this—on the back of the door of the things we didn’t want him to say anymore, Moses, Maimonides, and things that we just knew were dear to him, but we could see in these little forums that we’d be in, that the eyes are glazing over and people don’t know what he’s talking about.”

    • Interview, June 18, 2012
    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
  • Mac Carey
    • “My first day on the job as press secretary, Jack was on the front page of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and on all three networks. My mom called me up and she said, ‘You are really, really doing a good job.’ [laughter] I’ve said ever since then, the many decades since then, that the easiest job in the world was to be Jack Kemp’s press secretary.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
  • Michael Castine
    • “I was the third one who had this type of role, sort of this Jack of all trades, called “Aide to Kemp,” so I started in December of 1978, I believe, and stayed through ’81, was asked to interview at the White House and got a job at the White House day one in the Reagan Administration. So I went from intern, to staff, to friend of the family.”

    • On the Road with Jack Kemp, September 6, 2012
  • Mona Charen
    • “When Jack used to introduce me as his speechwriter, I used to say “Well, I write them; he doesn’t very often deliver them,” because Jack was ebullient and full of ideas, and a little undisciplined, and so sometimes we would spend days working on a speech and going back and forth with drafts, and he would critique what you had done and tell you he wanted to do this differently or that differently, so you’d work hard…”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 3, April 14, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 1, April 14, 2012
  • Dick Cheney
    • In the George H.W. Bush administration,“ the standing joke on Jack always was, he had his own foreign policy. He had a broad enough range of interests that I didn’t really hear from him much on defense. I remember he and Baker, Jim Baker, getting into it over who was running foreign policy.”

    • Interview, November 30, 2011
  • Dan Coats
    • “I had met Jack Kemp through Dan Quayle, because I was working for Dan Quayle prior to my getting into the race when he made his decision to run for the Senate. I was introduced to Jack Kemp, and once you’re introduced to Jack Kemp, you never forget him. He becomes a part of your life, and he makes you a part of his life. That was one of his great strengths, I think.”

    • Interview, June 14, 2012
  • William Dal Col
    • “I first went to work for Jack at HUD in February of 1989, and worked through various capacities till 1996… At HUD we’d have huge debates, and then you had Sharon’s golden rule at the end of the day, ‘If you really want Jack to do something, ask him to do the opposite.’ And you’ll get what you need… We were never bored, never bored.”

    • On the Road with Jack Kemp, September 6, 2012
  • Pete Dawkins
    • “So the first time I met him was at, I think, a cocktail party in Vail given by Rod Slifer and Beth. I don’t know if those names mean anything to you. Rod at the time wasn’t, but became the mayor of Vail for several terms. We immediately hit it off, partly because he knew my background and I knew his, so it wasn’t we were total strangers in that sense.”

    • Interview, August 10, 2011
  • Al DelliBovi
    • “Jack basically said he needed somebody to operate the thing day-to-day to help keep the trains running on time so to speak, and offered me the job. And I was frankly very excited. I was under consideration for a deputy secretary job at another department, which is the reason for the call. He had gotten wind of that and basically said that he didn’t want me to go the other way. But I was excited. He was the exciting domestic policy person, probably the most exciting of the whole Bush Cabinet, and you know, to be there was going to be a lot more fun than to be at some backwater.”

    • Secretary Kemp: Quarterback in the Cabinet, June 29, 2012
  • Bob Dole
    • “Well, I think it was pretty matter-of-fact, you know, that it’s getting time for the Convention. I thought we should have announced early, because we were grasping for straws on how we can pick up some more states, and there were quite a few in play that we lost by fairly close margins. And that’s where I thought Jack, kind of a utility guy, I don’t think he ever had an enemy. He was always full of pep and full of vigor, patting you on the back. He was strong. And I think he did do that in some states.”

    • Interview, September 17, 2012
  • Clark Durant
    • “I got involved in the campaign because Jack and I served on the Republican Party Platform Committee in 1984 down in Dallas. We first met in 1980 in Detroit, and I remember Drew Lewis coming up one time and saying, “You guys have got to tone down those issues a little bit.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 2, April 14, 2012
  • Booker T Edgerson
    • “I remember talking to Jack, not knowing Jack at any point. To me, at that time, he started talking with his proper talk and everything, that he came from California, went to Occidental and all those things. And I’m saying, ‘What is this guy coming from?’ Because he was so proper and pompous, and I said, ‘How can he quarterback us to any kind of wins? And why did Lou Saban pick this guy off the waiver wire?’”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
  • Mickey Edwards
    • “Jack Kemp was pretty much what I came into politics to be about, and more than anybody I ever met he exemplified that idea of what I thought the Republican Party should be. Outreach, making it a true national party.”

    • Interview, March 22, 2012
  • Larry Felser
    • “Even the flights were using prop, and you didn’t get a lot of jets, so you spent a lot of time together. Well, Jack used to come down to my seat, looking for a debating partner, and I had a lot with him. He was fun to debate with, never raised our voices ever, respected what we had to say.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
  • Charley Ferguson
    • “My first experience with Jack coming here and I was on the bench, I’d just played coming into my first game with Jack, and about the last twenty seconds of the game we were playing the Patriots and we were behind. Coach Saban and John Mazur said, ‘Ferg, we want to put you in and run a post and run like hell.’… Jack threw the ball, and it was there, and I caught the pass and it was an 80-yard touchdown pass. We won the game.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
  • Raul Fernandez
    • “I always think of something I heard him say at many points in our relationship, and our relationship was one where I was an intern, where I was a staffer, where then I went off and started my company and he joined my boards… But there is always one line which I try to remember all the time in business and in life, and that is being worthy of winning. Winning, not necessarily at all costs, not just for the outcome, but being worthy of being a winner and what that meant. He really did live that completely.”

    • Interview, February 28, 2012
  • Ed Feulner
    • “My first meeting with him I’ll never forget. I went in, his whole desk was full of a stack of newspaper clips, or whole pages just kind of folded over with something marked and some correspondence, I suppose, for Tilly Smith who didn’t get her Social Security check in Buffalo, New York, in the middle, and he had two books on his desk. One was the Bible to keep his moral compass straight, and the other was F.A. Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty, to keep his economic thinking straight. And I thought, ‘Man, this is a guy I can work with.’”

    • Interview, April 12, 2012
  • Charlie Flowers
    • “The first year of the AFL we were the Los Angeles Chargers. We knew we were, but not too many people in Los Angeles knew we were. But anyway, so Jack and I met the first day of practice, and for some reason we hit it off as friends, and his roommate and my roommate at the time got cut pretty early and we roomed together.”

    • Interview, August 16, 2011
  • Steve Forbes
    • “And I ran into Jude at one of these things, maybe it was National Journal, I can’t remember, but he said, ‘Oh, there’s this wonderful congressman, big tax cut, pro-growth.’ I said, ‘Wow, this goes against the grain.’ And first heard Laffer’s name. So I read about Laffer, read about Jack, loved the Kemp-Roth bill. Met him soon thereafter, wasn’t hard, you know you wanted to meet him you met him.”

    • Interview, February 12, 2012
  • Bob Garcia
    • “I was eulogizing [Muños Marín] on the floor by trying to get this resolution passed and Jack jumps up and starts to carry on. And my immediate reaction, Where is he coming from? But as he went on and on, he obviously knew a great deal, read a great deal about Muños Marín. … I said, Wow. So after it was all over, either I walked over to him or he walked over to me. But I thanked him because I thought he was right on in terms of what he said … especially about the creation of jobs in Puerto Rico: the tax incentives that became available to bring manufacturers onto the island.”

    • Interview, July 8, 2011
  • Newt Gingrich
    • “I don’t know how much I influenced Jack. I think Jack influenced me. He strengthened the idea you could be idea-oriented, he strengthened the idea you could be inclusive, he got me much more intrigued with inner-city problems and how we were going to fix these and how we would take responsibility for them, and he convinced me that you had to be permanently on offense on ideas in a way that was much more aggressive than I probably would have been if I never met Kemp.”

    • Interview, December 13, 2013
  • Tony Gioia
    • “I remember I was in the pasta business at the time and we used to have these meetings in Washington once a year, and you were allowed to invite your congressman. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll invite Jack. I never expected that Jack would actually come, because he was a superstar, as far as I was concerned.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 2, March 4, 2011
  • Steve Goldsmith
    • “When I would come in and out of the Bush White House,… as one of the few Republican mayors, then I’d have the opportunity to intersect with Jack, and then after he left, we stayed as friends [H]e knew I remained an advocate for his policies, so when he had something particularly enthusiastic to say he thought mayors should pay attention to he would call and I would repeat it with equal vigor.”

    • Secretary Kemp: Quarterback in the Cabinet, June 29, 2012
  • Russ Gugino
    • “Well, I remember the first time that I met him. It was a Farewell to Football event. He’d decided to run for Congress, but he hadn’t declared yet… It was an event at the Heartstone Manor in Cheektowaga, a very Democratic town, but a very big banquet hall. They had a bunch of people there, former football players, some people that you may have met. Paul Maguire was there. Lou Saban, the former coach; Daryle Lamonica; “Cookie” Gilchrist; a number of them. Everyone had wonderful things to say about him, about how he was more involved in politics, it seemed to be, than football sometimes.”

    • Interview, July 7, 2011
  • Barron Hilton
    • “My earliest memory of Jack Kemp was not on the gridiron, but in my living room in Santa Monica. He exuded all the confidence of a born winner, yet he had not thrown his first pass in the fledgling American Football League.”

    • Recorded Recollections
  • Dave Hoppe
    • “I remember after the convention in ’88, Jack said, “I’ll do what you want. Tell me where you want me to go. I’ll go and give speeches and anything I can to help.” He came back after one of them and he said to me, “I’m giving these speeches and I realize about halfway through, I’m not talking about Bush anymore; I’m talking about me.” It was always, “Bush will do this and this and this and this,” and it was all the things Jack had been saying up to the point of leaving the campaign about what Jack Kemp would do. And in truth, there actually wasn’t all that much difference between what Bush was saying that he would do and Jack, because it was following on Ronald Reagan.”

    • Interview, January 17, 2012
    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 3, April 14, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 1, April 18, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 2, April 18, 2011
  • Al Hunt
    • “It was by the late seventies I had formed, I think, a pretty close friendship with him… Jack used to love to go in front of groups, particularly if we’re out in Vail, Colorado it would be a bunch of wealthy businessmen, and he’d say ‘I want you to meet Al Hunt because he thinks all the problems of the world would be solved if you just paid more taxes.’”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 2, March 6, 2012
  • Robert Kasten
    • “When I came to the House in ’74, Bill [Steiger] and Jack were already talking and working on things like reducing the capital gains tax. I joined into that debate, and from that point Jack and I became friends and co-sponsored each other’s legislations and bills.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 2, April 18, 2011
  • Paul Kemp Jr.
    • “It was Jack competing, Jack pushing, pushing to win and pushing to achieve….”

    • Interview, August 2, 2011
  • Dick Kemp
    • “He was my coach; he was my mentor; he was my teacher.”

    • Interview, August 3, 2011
  • James Kemp
    • “I went to Detroit for the Convention, and I was stunned to walk into the Convention Center Hall and the Convention Hall filled with Reagan-Kemp signs. That was the first time that I recognized on a national scale that Dad was very well known and a celebrity, although we certainly didn’t think of it in those terms then.”

    • Interview, November 9, 2010
  • Jeff Kemp
    • “We threw the ball together as a little boy. That’s something I loved doing with him, and he could tell, so he never thought that he was pushing it on me.”

    • Interview, December 5, 2012
  • Joanne Kemp
    • He was not self-reflective. He didn’t talk about, “Well, I wonder if I’m going to make this.” He just, in his mind, I guess, was determined what he was going to do.

    • Interview, December 10, 2012
  • Larry Kudlow
    • “Reagan knew that Jack would be purer than him, right? Because Reagan was governor, he knew how to do that stuff and would always say to Jack, ‘Keep pushing me. Keep pushing me. We need this.’ But my sense is it was a pretty good relationship until ’82…”

    • Interview, December 8, 2011
  • John LaFalce
    • “I remember in 1970 Jack and I were running for the first time, and we both were elected, and I was a little concerned. I thought, ‘Well, he’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat.’ I remember the very first few times that we were appearing together at different forums as elected officials, and Jack was unbelievably generous in including me in his remarks and including me in the efforts that he was undertaking. His was the politics of inclusion rather than exclusion.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 3, March 4, 2011
  • Art Laffer
    • “Jude Wanniski told me about this freshman congressman coming from Buffalo who was a football player, and that he was open to our ideas, to growth, and was very pro-growth, and I’ve got to get there and meet him and talk to him.”

    • Interview, June 14, 2011
  • Lew Lehrman
    • “A statesman who could have been President. He was one of those remarkable men who did so many different things extremely well.”

    • Interview, December 14, 2011
  • Bob Livingston
    • “I got to know him on a personal basis because of his efforts and Ronald Reagan’s landslide in 1980. I got transferred, unwillingly at first, to the Appropriations Committee, and worked with Jack during those formative years of my career on Appropriations, on the same subcommittees, particularly Foreign Operations.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 1, March 6, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 2, March 6, 2012
  • Trent Lott
    • “We were the revolutionaries and Jack was our leader, he was our spiritual leader. Now Jack was undisciplined as a leader. That’s why he needed, modestly, somebody like me that would actually take the time to count the votes and try to help make it happen. He was out there driving it with a vision, but somebody else had to do the routine work.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 2, March 6, 2012
    • Interview, June 13, 2012
  • Dan Lungren
    • “Well, if I were to use a scriptural reference, Jack was the John the Baptist of the conservative movement. Ronald Reagan was the one who made us capable of being able to actually have the conservative movement, and ended up in changing America and ultimately changing the world. Jack was there before Ronald Reagan was in Washington, D.C.; Jack had the power of his ideas.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 1, March 6, 2012
  • Connie Mack
    • “The first thing I wrote down was presence. When he walked in, there was something about the guy that just drew you to him. Charisma, however you want to define it.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 1, March 6, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 2, March 6, 2012
  • Paul Maguire
    • “I said, ‘Jack, how’s it going?’ He said, ‘You know, Paul, I really like your perspicacity.’ Now, I didn’t know whether to punch him or thank him. But he smiled, so I figured it was good.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
  • Fred Malek
    • “Jack got up there just before lunch, and he got really impassioned about the economy, and he really got impassioned and he really got worked up and he really delivered it, to the fact that people were just coming out of their chairs. And I’ll never forget it, when he finished, he’s standing there, he just tossed the mike to me across the room and walked off, and people got up and were cheering. It was a great sendoff.”

    • Interview, September 21, 2012
  • Bob McCarthy
    • “I think I met Jack Kemp in a different kind of circumstance from this distinguished group, who has always been involved in politics. I started to meet him as a reporter, and it was before I worked in Buffalo.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 3, March 4, 2011
  • Henry McMaster
    • “I first met Jack in February of 1987. He came to South Carolina to do a fundraiser, and I was there with my wife Peggy, and he made one of his usual speeches and he talked about master carpenters and mezzo-sopranos and the good shepherd leaving the 99 to go get the one and all that, and it was so inspirational we both thought that he was our man.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 2, April 14, 2012
  • Ed Meese
    • “The first that I heard about Jack Kemp was when I first met him, which was in the summer of 1967. It was prior to the start of the football season and he volunteered to become an intern for then Governor Reagan.”

    • Interview, October 13, 2011
  • Jim Mora
    • “We were good friends off the field. It wasn’t like we just got together and played together. I mean, we went out together, went to movies together, had good times in the fraternity house together, although neither one of us were what you would call frat rats or something like that. But we did live in the house some and were good friends there, and we just hit it off.”

    • Interview, August 5, 2011
  • John Mueller
    • “Yes, Jack didn’t think the cuts would materialize, and I think … that President Reagan actually made a note that he thought that Jack was being unreasonable. It was a three-for-one deal. What’s not to like? But in fact, Jack was right about it that the tax increase would materialize, but the spending cuts would not.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 1, September 19, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 1, April 18, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 2, April 18, 2011
    • Interview, January 18, 2012
  • Alan Murray
    • “It’s pretty hard to find anyone else in the Republican Party over the last thirty-five years who didn’t achieve the presidency, who has had such an impact on the course of the national affairs of this country.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 1, April 18, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 2, April 18, 2011
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
    • “First of all, he was a totally reliable and constant friend. He was an ally in the deepest sense of the word, and it didn’t make any difference what the prevailing mood was.”

    • Interview, March 26, 2014
  • Judith (Kemp) Nolan
    • “In high school I felt like I got more than I did at other parts of my life, but it was after a ballet recital, I’d get one on my pillow, “Great job,” even if he wasn’t there. “Mom said you did a great job and I’m proud of you.”

    • Interview, November 7, 2012
  • Michael Novak
    • “Jack invited me to innumerable Super Bowls. He always had a right to bring 30 friends or something like that. And bring his biggest financial contributors and me, for the price of a talk to the group. It was a ball of fun, and my kids got to go and we all have very happy memories about them in city after city. The most important thing for me is Jack was the agent of completing my intellectual turn on economics.”

    • Interview, January 20, 2012
  • David Obey
    • “He was conservative, and conservatives according to stereotype, are supposed to be duller, but Jack was not. He was ever the optimist. Maybe that comes from being a quarterback in the NFL, I don’t know. But I think it was the upbeat feeling that he gave to the practice of politics.”

    • Interview, December 13, 2011
  • Michael O’Connell
    • “I was with Jack for four and a half years, ended up being special assistant, and Sharon and I were trying to figure it out yesterday, but in October of ’84, Jack and I travelled to about 35 or 40 cities in the month of October. He was number three on the campaign circuit for speakers, so we did a lot of travelling.”

    • On the Road with Jack Kemp, September 6, 2012
  • Leon Parma
    • “I guess we went to a football banquet or something like that, and we met Jack then and got to know him very well. Herb and I took him to the 1964 convention in San Francisco, where he was exposed to Goldwater, which had a lasting influence on him. And from then on we were good, close friends.”

    • Interview, August 4, 2011
  • Rusty Paul
    • “I had first met Jack at a Newt Gingrich fundraiser in Atlanta, and it was a transformational experience. You’ve heard all the conversation about inspiration, and it was beyond that. It was almost a religious transformation for me, because as a young, aspiring politician, Republicans were kind of against everything when I was starting out. I was wondering why I wanted to become a politician if I was always going to be opposing things. Jack was the first Republican that gave me a positive reason to engage in government, and it truly was transformational.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 2, April 14, 2012
  • Bill Paxon
    • “That campaign in 1970 in Williamsville, New York, at the campaign headquarters. We all went over there to volunteer. Everybody in the world wanted to work in the Republican side on Jack Kemp’s campaign. Everybody was exciting.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 3, March 4, 2011
  • Jack Quinn
    • “[The] first time I met Jack Kemp was not in a political situation. I started my career as a teacher here in the Orchard Park Central School District, and each year at the middle school we had a trip to Washington, D.C., where we took three hundred eighth graders, almost the entire class, to Washington. And because I lived in Hamburg, where Jack and his family lived, the principal thought it would be a good idea if I tried to get Jack Kemp to speak to our students.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 3, March 4, 2011
  • Richard Rahn
    • “I went down and I thought Jack gave a dynamite speech. Afterwards, people introduced us and we started talking. He realized I was a young economist and he said, “Did I get it right?”

    • Interview, August 22, 2011
  • Russell Ray
    • “We first met in a homeroom at Bancroft Junior High School in the east part of Hollywood, California. Our mothers were very outgoing, very active, very bright, both of them, very forthright in their views, and they had a common bond… We went to Fairfax High School, which in itself has some interesting points, Fairfax being at the corner of Melrose and Fairfax, in Hollywood.”

    • Interview, October 16, 2012
  • Scott Reed
    • “[His] not wanting to read a thoughtful speech that strategically was important to his campaign, and almost disregard it, to me showed a lack of discipline, but at the same time, when the plane would land in Ames, Iowa, or wherever we were campaigning that day, he would get off the plane rested, thoughtful, ready to go. I’d brief him on why we were doing what we were doing, why it was important, and he would go and perform at an exceptionally high level nine out of 10 times.”

    • Secretary Kemp: Quarterback in the Cabinet, June 29, 2012
    • Interview, October 26, 2012
  • Alan Reynolds
    • “I was like cub reporter at The Wall Street Journal. The only reason I was allowed to cover the damn thing was because nobody thought it was going to happen. The President didn’t think it was going to happen.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 1, April 18, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 2, April 18, 2011
  • Tom Reynolds
    • “So he was in my hometown, and I wanted to hear him as the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills and get his autograph. When you think about accessible, he was great with kids. He was great with people back when he was in the glory of the Buffalo Bills as the star quarterback.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 3, March 4, 2011
  • Marci Robinson
    • “I was the Congressional press secretary during the campaign. I come to the Kemp camp from a little bit of a different outlook. I was a big time lefty, I worked for CBS and then became a convert, I became a Kemp Republican and a very enthusiastic one.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 3, April 14, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 1, April 14, 2012
  • Joe Rogers
    • “We had an amendment on the floor of the House for the protection of Taiwan and its membership in the Asian Development Bank… the [same] day that they were trying to settle the Martin Luther King Holiday… And it was not at all clear how this was going to go, because if I remember correctly it failed the first time by five votes, and so it was shaky. So Jack was in with the Speaker and Mrs. King, discussing the holiday while this amendment which was very important to him and to Taiwan was on the floor, and he stayed in the meeting because he thought that was the important thing to be doing.”

    • Interview, April 10, 2012
  • Ed Rutkowski
    • “So when I came to Buffalo, I had never met a Republican until I met Jack and we started talking politics, and what he was talking about I certainly agreed with. He said, ‘You’re not a Democrat; you’re a Republican.’ I said, ‘I realize that.” He said somewhere along the line he was going to get involved in politics after football and he wanted me to help him. In fact, when he retired, I happened to retire at the same time, I ran his campaign.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 2, March 4, 2011
    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
    • Interview, July 7, 2011
  • Paul Ryan
    • “I had a chance of working for Jack for a couple of good years as his staff sort-of economics policy person at Empower America, his think tank. I traveled the country with him. I was drawn to politics by Jack Kemp. My own goal in life was to go on to grad school and study economics and work in the field of economics…I just wanted to learn from what I thought was the best economic mind in the conservative movement at the time, in the early nineties. What I guess I didn’t expect was how he would draw me so much into public service as a vocation that I ended up going into politics myself, basically as a result of the mentorship that he gave me and the example he set.”

    • Interview, September 27, 2013
  • Allan Ryskind
    • “Jack would be about maybe next-to-last or something like that, and he would just, as people know, be a little bit verbose from time to time. It was 20 minutes, a half-hour, 45 minutes past, he’s still not moving, and Senator Hatch is the one who’s supposed to speak next. So somebody runs up to Jack and says, ‘Senator Hatch is here, it’s over time’ and all that, and he takes it and he actually ripped it up. He ripped it up and he talked again for another half-hour. So after that we scheduled Jack last. He was the last person to speak so that nobody else would come in.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 1, March 6, 2012
  • Bill Schneider
    • “President Reagan ultimately saying rhetorically to Gorbachev to ‘Take down this wall’ was an illustration of the notion that we should not accept the permanent division of Europe and the U.S. foreign policies that were obliged to respect that division. I think Jack was an important player in the run-up to what ultimately became a policy commitment during the Reagan administration not to accept the division of Europe, and, indeed, in areas that I had a small part in when I served in the government, to begin to attack Soviet power and its extremities in Nicaragua and Afghanistan and Africa.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 1, September 19, 2011
  • Marie Shattuck
    • “I worked for Jack in his Buffalo congressional office from 1974 until December of 1988, when he closed the office door for good. I was his executive assistant.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 2, March 4, 2011
  • Billy Shaw
    • “I’m often asked about Jack, and I have to answer that Jack was probably one of the more intelligent people that I’d ever been around. Doesn’t matter what we were talking about or where we were going with that conversation, but you knew immediately that Jack had some special gifts when it came to the intelligent side of our character.”

    • Interview, August 17, 2011
  • Dave Smick
    • “You know most people who come to Washington are fixated on finding out what the conventional wisdom is and staying with it, and Kemp really didn’t have that chip.”

    • Interview, January 19, 2012
  • David Stockman
    • “He had a fervent agenda. Not all of it was right; a lot of it was. And that’s pretty unique, because it’s hard not to be cynical about American politics as it’s evolved over the decades, and there are few people that were as agenda-driven, as idea-driven, that had all of the combination of talents, energy, charisma, oratorical skills, and so forth that Jack had.”

    • Interview, December 8, 2011
  • J.T. Taylor
    • “I’ve got many different lives with Jack Kemp … almost nine lives.”

    • On the Road with Jack Kemp, September 6, 2012
  • Randy Teague
    • “I had met Jack in the 1970 campaign, which was his first campaign for Congress. I was involved, as was another person on this panel, in the Buckley for Senate campaign in New York, and the intersection of Youth for Kemp in Buffalo and Youth for Buckley throughout the state brought us together for one time.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 1, September 19, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 1, April 18, 2011
    • Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986, Panel 2, April 18, 2011
  • Michelle Van Cleave
    • “The only time I ever saw Jack really get angry was not sitting in his office. It was when we were in Russia. We were in Moscow. We were in a meeting with this guy who was the head of the Gosplan, and he was an old-style Soviet. And through the interpreter he was spouting a lot of propaganda. At one point where he ended up coming close to comparing Ronald Reagan to Adolf Hitler, at that point I thought Jack was going to get up and punch him.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
    • Interview, February 3, 2012
  • Bob Walker
    • “I believe that there is growth economics at the base of most of the discussion in the Republican Party this year. I believe that there’s also a belief in a U.S. presence in the world that is a positive presence. And I think that’s a legacy that Jack Kemp has.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 1, March 6, 2012
  • Ernie Warlick
    • “I’m very pleased that Jack came to the Bills, because he could really fire that ball, and, fortunately, I had a big hand, so I could catch it. I think playing with him helped me stabilize my career with the Bills.”

    • Jack Kemp, the Bills and Buffalo, Panel 1, March 4, 2011
  • Vin Weber
    • “Every battle was an opportunity to accomplish something. Every crisis was an opportunity to improve things. And I think that permeated his approach to politics and was tremendously important. But I also think it’s just hugely important for people to understand, there was no ill will in Jack Kemp. I mean, it’s not that he was a flawless human being. He had flaws, of course, but I never ever heard him demean anybody else, I never heard him speak with anything that might have approached what we would call hateful feelings.”

    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 1, March 6, 2012
    • Jack Kemp and the Reagan Revolutionaries in the House, Panel 2, March 6, 2012
    • Interview, December 3, 2012
  • John Weicher
    • “Well I think it’s, we talked about that in a different context. It wasn’t very appealing to Democrats, and it was not going to be helpful to Republicans in their districts, particularly. The places that needed enterprise zones, the places that we identified as deserving of enterprise zones, the poorest places, they were in Democratic congressional districts by and large, and also in states where the senators were usually Democratic. So there wasn’t much in it for Republicans, and the Democrats didn’t want it at all.”

    • Secretary Kemp: Quarterback in the Cabinet, June 29, 2012
  • Bob Woodson
    • “I said to Jack, I said ‘Jack, do me a favor. When you’re ready to go to these cities, do not get off the plane and go downtown and speak to Rotary. You get off the plane and you go to public housing first, and then you invite the mayors and the governors to join you, because those liberal governors may have never been to public housing.’”

    • Secretary Kemp: Quarterback in the Cabinet, June 29, 2012
  • Stephen Yianakopolos
    • “I was the New Hampshire political director, and 25 years old at the time… I started volunteering for the campaign, and pretty much I think I harassed them so much about trying to get a job, and I think I was one of the only people in New Hampshire that may have had a computer. The campaign office didn’t have any equipment that they finally relented. I don’t know if it’s because of my skills or because I had technology.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 2, April 14, 2012
  • Paul Young
    • “I got involved with Jack because I wanted the Reagan Revolution to continue. I knew in my early twenties, coinciding with the Reagan Revolution, I was working in the U.S. Senate and I saw what Bush and the people around Bush were doing to the Reagan Revolution.”

    • Jack Kemp and the 1988 Republican Presidential Primary, Panel 2, April 14, 2012
  • Sharon Zelaska
    • “I was working at the American Enterprise Institute at the time… I got a call on April 16th, 1977 from Jack, personally, he called me on the phone and he said, “I have an opening in my office and I’ve heard a lot about you. Would you come in for an interview?” I was totally taken aback because I certainly didn’t expect to pick up the phone and hear his voice.”

    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 2, September 19, 2011
    • Kemp Congressional Staff, Panel 1, September 19, 2011
    • Interview, January 23, 2012
This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.