madly looking around for more people to greet. He is most at ease in one-to-one situations, where he can go up and shake someone’s hand and chat for a minute or so. It is more than just something he puts up with. Then back to the airport for the flight to Temple. During the flight Yarborough caught up on his mail, 50 or 60 letters and leaflets, and read various urgent memos prepared for him by his staff. He worked through a long list of potential contributors, marking checks by some names with a red felt-tipped pen, and question marks by others. He read a Dolph Briscoe pamphlet, sniffed, and put it back in his briefcase. In Temple we were met by Garry Mauro, the 24-year-old head of Youth for Yarborough, who drove us to the KCEN-TV studios to tape an interview. Yarborough gives terrible form al interviews. He can’t relax in that kind of structured situation. He sits straight up in the chair with his back about a foot away from the chairback, and looks like he is wearing a back-brace. He is self-conscious about his expression and about the placement of the cameras. His speech becomes stilted. The problem is that Yarborough draws his energy from a responsive crowd or from the people whose hands he is shaking. But in a studio there is only the camera and the interviewer. The camera just stares, and the interviewer asks pre-set formal questions. It is a dry situation, one in which all natural energy or communication is bleached out by the studio lights. Yarborough will never make a media candidate; he is most at home in a crowd. And then north to Waco, Garry driving 90 miles an hour, looking out for cops. During the drive, Yarborough leaned back over the seat and delivered a detailed lecture on the history of Waco. He talked about the steel bridge over the Brazos which transformed Waco from a small town into the cattle and railroad center of Texas a hundred years ago. Then he spoke of the Laceys and Camerons, the families that have held almost total economic and political power for decades. Yarborough’s knowledge of local histories is overwhelming. He can tell you who carried any county in the state in any election for the past 20 years, and where the power lies in every town. And why it is against him. HIS SCHEDULE in Waco was a full one. His first stop was the Holiday Inn, where a room was waiting for him. He rested for about ten minutes enough rest to keep him going for another eight or ten hours made a couple of phone calls, and then went to one of the small banquet rooms for a 1 p.m. press conference. The press conference wasn’t too interesting. About a half-dozen reporters showed up, from the newpapers and radio and TV stations of Waco, and asked run-of-the-mill questions in piofessional reportorial voices. Yarborough talked about the sad state of the economy, his lack of campaign funds, John Tower’s support of the big-money people and the corruption taking over in Austin and Washington. The whole repertoire. Yarborough can get more into one answer than most politicians get into a full-length speech. Even on boring questions, Yarborough bowls the interviewer over with his voluminous and detailed answers. From the Holiday Inn, he went to a country and western radio station for a taped interview, ran out of there with a new green paper shamrock on his lapel, dashed over to KWTX-TV for a live interview, found out he was too early, went back to the Holiday Inn to make some calls, and returned to KWTX for the interview. The interviews went about the same as the press conference. Interviewers make sure that nothing exciting happens on their shows, and Yarborough does what he can to thwart them. What Yarborough enjoyed the most was dashing around the city, chatting with his aides and local campaign people, discussing topics ranging from the artistic composition of his campaign posters to new theories of why the dinosaurs became extinct. Running into the studios or back out to the car, Yarborough was always in front. At about 4 o’clock, when the interviews were finally over, Yarborough spoke at the South Terrace housing project in south Waco. He spoke to about 40 people, almost all black, in the small all-purpose recreation hall of Armstrong ceilings and cinder-block walls at one edge of the project. He was introduced by the Reverend Dewey Pinkney, a black man in his 30s who grew up in the cotton fields of North Carolina, left for New York as soon as he could escape, didn’t like it there and finally made his way down to Texas. “Some call me a radical,” Pinkney said, “some call me a Panther and some call me an Uncle Tom. I’m all three in one.” He faces you with a cold, unrelieved, level stare that pierces through all liberal defenses. He is a hard man, and doesn’t let you off the hook easily. “I don’t idolize very many men,” he continued, “but I idolize Ralph Yarborough.” YARBOROUGH STOOD behind the small white wooden table being used as the lectern, between the American flag and the Texas flag, and began to speak. “Thank you all for coming out here,” he began. “It’s not the most convenient time of day, late in the afternoon when a lot of people are just getting off from work, or getting ready to go home, maybe go over to the grocery store to pick up a little lean basket of groceries” it doesn’t take him long to get to the point “you can’t get much at these inflated prices with a frozen income. We were doing some campaigning in Austin a week ago, and we stopped at a corner south of the bridge, in south Austin, by a big supermarket. I talked to the housewives coming out, didn’t know them, to ask them about things, and one beautiful young lady came along, and said she was the mother of six children. I don’t know how she could be, she looked young enough to me to be a freshman in college, maybe I’m a little bit older than I used to be. But anyway, I said, ‘How’s this economy affecting you?’ She said, ‘I used to buy two weeks of groceries, every two weeks I’d buy groceries for the family. They’ve gone up so much since Nixon put the price freeze in, now” can just buy one week at a time. My husband and I have to scrounge around to get money, we can’t buy two weeks of groceries at one time.’ I think that’s one of the most dramatic pieces of evidence I’ve seen of how this economy is squeezing people.” And he was off. Speaking faster and faster, pumping his arms up and down, sweeping his arm and just as suddenly pulling it back in like he had just awakened from 10 hours of sleep Yarborough became a revivalist preacher telling his flock in no uncertain terms how it is. The old black women in the second row punctuated his remarks with “Amen” and “Yes, Lord.” “They’ve made it their number one priority in America to re-elect Nixon and Agnew, and they’ve made it their number two priority to re-elect Tower, because he’s the most anti-people senator they’ve got up there. That’s the reason the big banks of this country have sent out an appeal to the thousands of banks in America to contribute to Tower’s campaign, and we’re fighting him, we’re fighting the bank money of the nation. The Washington Star last week printed a story about them raising some money for certain senators that the bankers want back in there, because they’re helping hold up those high interest rates that are squeezing the people. And 40 percent, two-fifths of all the money they are raising over this nation for the senate from those bankers goes to John Tower. You’re going to see an effort to buy this election that’s never been seen but once before in Texas, and that’s when Bentsen bought it in 1970.” Yarborough, against the advice of his staff, is still running the 1970 race against Lloyd Bentsen, as he still runs against Allan Shivers, John Connally and Lyndon Johnson. He is angry, has always been angry and does not forgive. It has been the same battle for years, and the victories have been fleeting. “I’ve got to have your help,” he told his supporters at the housing project, “because I don’t have big money. I ought to be elected to show that crowd that spent six and a half meel-yon dollars to buy a senate seat that they can’t keep it bought, because they’re going to try to buy it again. The people ought to elect me if I died the next day just to show ’em that they can’t keep that bought forever. Nobody’s running April 28, 1972 5
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