- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2012


In trying to describe the way I felt about Tony to the readers of this newspaper I’m going to resort to an adjective that is frequently used in New Orleans and rarely in Washington and that is classy. Tony was in every sense of the word a classy guy. He was classy in the way that he treated people, in the language that he used, and famously classy for the way that he dressed. Deep down inside I’m sure that Tony was as partisan as the rest of us but he never resorted to the shouting (yes, I’m guilty as charged) that has become a staple of cable television.

He was a dear friend who had a real streak of generosity. I fondly remember some years back when I was teaching a class at Northern Virginia Community College and Tony came out and gave a speech. He spent time with my students. His ability to connect with people in the manner that he did was unmatched. Anybody who has ever been in a community college classroom will tell you that the hallmark of any classroom is diversity. I don’t just mean ethnic and racial diversity, there was also substantial age diversity in my classroom. Tony was really able to relate to these students.

Lucy Spiegel, longtime CNN producer, and I were discussing Tony’s legacy just prior to the polls closing in the New Hampshire primary. She made what I thought to be an interesting and accurate statement: Tony was as fastidious about the facts as he was about his clothes. Tony was a man who had such great respect for the truth that he didn’t believe it needed to be stretched.

Most kids learn in their high school poetry class the death of any man diminishes us all. But the truth is that the death of some diminishes us a little more. I think that, especially in the case of Tony, humanity has been diminished but I am certain it has diminished me. Tony was a classy man who will be greatly missed by all.

James Carville was President Bill Clinton’s campaign manager in 1992.

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