More Thoughts About Jody

Filed under: Asides,Jody Powell

(New York) A week has passed and the outpouring of fond reminiscences about Jody Powell continues. It should. From Sam Donaldson, we learned that Jody once poured a glass of red wine over his head in response to an ABC News segment. Did Jody have malice aforethought? Knowing Jody, there’s only one possible answer.

Personally, my favorite anecdote involving Jody happened on election night 1992: It was the loudest I ever heard him laugh. The networks had made a point of declaring that they wouldn’t predict a winner in the Presidential contest until the polls had closed in California. That was 10 PM EST. But at 9:30, Ross Perot came out and declared that Bill Clinton would be the next President. I was at the Powell Tate election party at the Willard in DC. There were about a dozen of us and Jody burst into the room laughing furiously and saying (approximately), “Did you just see how Ross stuck it to the networks?!?!”

Of course, there were the memorable “Jody-isms”:

“Getting pissed off is not a strategy.”

“Sometimes what the client thinks is a PR problem isn’t.”

“Don’t tell us what to say. Tell us what happened.”

When I joined Powell Tate in 1991, shortly after its founding, there were about 30 of us, of which perhaps five were red-state types. But to Jody, we were all part of the family. No question about it. When God made Jody, He broke the mold.