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In considering Bullock’s character and career, one recurring question is how literally to interpret that admittedly exaggerated description. ‘Bullock’s reputation for political explosiveness extends to his private personality. He can be kind and engaging one moment and a raging tyrant the next. One current staffer says, “there’s a lot of paranoia and fear” in the atmosphere of Bullock’s office. His legendary temper has also created rocky relationships with Other state officialsalthough it is not clear how much of that reflects Bullock’s character, how much is calculated. One example was his-relationship with former Governor Ann Richards. Richards, herself a recovering alcoholic, had supported Bullock when he gave up drinking; but the two had an uneasy relationship during her term as governor, perhaps because they were still political rivals. Several sources recount an occasion in 1994, when Bullock invited Richards to his office only to scream at her over an issue that a former Richards aide says was of little consequence. “He ‘was so furious that he was screaming at her, and she was dumbfounded,” the aide said. “She couldn’t understand the force of his anger or the velocity. It was completely out of the blue.” The aide attributed the difficult relationship to Bullock’s “animosity toward Richards, because Bullock thought she got press that he deserved….There appeared to be jealousy about who was in the spotlight.” Bullock is said to despise Attorney General Dan Morales, and he has reportedly also had high-decibel disagreements during recent meetings over tax and finance issues with Comptroller John Sharp. ALTARS, HOSPITALS, AND “DRUNK SCHOOL” Although Bullock the politician sometimes seems invincible, his personal life has been tumultuous and marked by dramatic excess. He married for the first time in 1950, shortly before he joined the Air Force. He married Austin realtor Amelia Bullock twice. In 1978, three months after Bullock’s divorce from Amelia was finalized, he married Diane 0. Burney, a Dallas socialite. Six months after that wedding, Bullock signed the divorce paperswhile lying in a hospital bed in Houston, where he was being treated for depression. Two years later, he became romantically involved with one of his employees at the comptroller’s office. He defended the relationship in an interview with the El Paso Times, saying, “Yeah, I’m single. Just because somebody works for me doesn’t mean I can’t date them.” In 1985, he married the former Jan Felts Teague, a striking blonde twenty years his junior. The current alliance has lasted, and seems happy and relatively untroubled, although Teague must inevitably endure the burdens of being a political spouselike the public displays of ritual affection. Bullock often cheerfully proclaims her presence at political functions with a practiced phrase, “Well, I may be deafbut you can see that I’m not blind.” The lieutenant governor may not be blind, but he has had more than a few other ailments. In 1972, he went to Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital initially for treatment of a kidney disorderand left the hospital a few weeks later minus half of his right lung, from which surgeons had snipped several tumors. Six years later, he was hospitalized for severe depression and was placed on a suicide watch. Press reports at the time said Bullock was being treated with lithium to counteract manic-depressive tendencies. A In an earlier incarnation Susan Sanders In April of 1979, Bullock issued a sardonic statement to the Capitol press corps, inviting them to watch an operation on his hemorrhoids. A year after that, he had a heart attack. In 1983, he had surgery on a ruptured spinal disk. \(That same year, he was ticketed for driving 106 miles per hour on Interstate 35 near Georgecampaign, he went into the hospital for heart bypass surgery. Only a year ago, he broke his wrist while hunting. While recuperating from that injury, he was hospitalized for pneumonia. Bullock has displayed a stoic sense of humor about his recurrent health problems. In the late ’70s, between numerous trips by their boss to the hospital, Bullock’s aides began issuing press statements that began, “If still alive, Comptroller Bob Bullock will address….” His best line came shortly after his lung surgery when he told a reporter, “I’d like just one cigarettesixty miles long and thick as a garden hose.” Until he stopped drinking, Bullock favored Old Charter bourbon. In 1978, he was arrested by the Austin Police Department and charged with driving while intoxicated. Bullock joked the next morning with reporters, telling them that he had been drinking “apple juice…fermented thirty-four years,” and reminding the JANUARY 31, 1997 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9