In 1984, she served as Travis County campaign chairman for Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale. Two years later, she switched her affiliation to Republican and ran for Congress against Democrat J.J. Pickle, but lost.
“I wonder if it’s just the basic bias showing that Scott grew up with and may not even know he has,” said Bill Crocker, an Austin lawyer and longtime Republican activist.
Mrs. Strayhorn did not answer phone calls placed to her home and did not respond to inquiries made through a social networking site.
Mr. McClellan’s status back home had already been under attack. Some of his former White House colleagues who have returned to Texas from Washington have been speaking ill of him for some time, Mr. Burka said.
“You’ve heard from a lot of Bushies who have come back to town that Scott was not that good,” Mr. Burka said. “I just don’t think they thought he did much for Bush. He wasn’t that strong about it.”
“And if you’re not loyal, then you’re out. Totally out.”
Mr. Sullivan, who used to work for Karl Rove, yesterday articulated some of the reasons that Mr. McClellan may be viewed as something of a pariah in his hometown.
“It’s important to remember that Scott was working for his mother when Karen Hughes and Karl Rove and George W. Bush scooped him up and gave him incredible opportunities,” Mr. Sullivan said.
“So his career was essentially made by the Bush team, and it’s surprising, disappointing, that he would apparently turn his back on those friends and colleagues.”
In the first of several TV interviews yesterday, Mr. McClellan defended the timing of his dissent, which comes after he left the White House, and said his book has a larger message about the culture of Washington that he hopes will change.
He said he came to his dissenting views on the Iraq war and the White House “propaganda campaign” to sell the war only after leaving the White House.
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