Norma Udall on Friday issued a letter to Foley that said she had discussed Mo Udall's medical prognosis with him, his doctors, family members and staff.
"Our reluctant conclusion is that any improvement in his condition will be insufficient to allow him to resume his duties and responsibilities," she wrote.
"Mr. Speaker, for nearly 30 years, Mo's life has been dedicated to the people of Arizona and to the Congress. His integrity and decency, his love of the land, and his warm, selfdeprecating humor are his legacy to his state and to his country."
The clerk of the House, Donnald Anderson, will run Udall's Washington and Arizona district offices until a successor is picked in a special election. A Udall aide said that approximately $70,000 is surplus Udall campaign funds would be donated to the Udall Center for Public Policy at the University of Arizona.
PRAISES FROM CONGRESS
Udall's friends and colleagues in Congress, as well as the environmental community, continued to pour out adulation.
Foley issued a statement saying "it was with sadness and reluctance that I accepted today the decision" of Udall to resign.
"Upon the effective date of his resignation, Mo Udall will have a 30-year legacy of service to his constituents and the nation which is all but impossible to quantify in a brief statement," Foley wrote.
He said Udall, who has headed the House Interior Committee since 1977 and sought the presidency in 1976, carried "out a standard of public service, integrity, legislative vision and just plain hard, good-humored work that will inspire the colleagues that he is leaving."
Senator Bill Bradley, (D-NJ) said that in 30 years, Udall has "represented by people of Arizona with distinction."
"He has worked hard, fighting to protect the environment and improve the quality of their lives, and the example he has set will serve all of us for years to come," Bradley said.
"Even as he fought this tragic illness he served with grace, dignity and a unique sense of humor," he said. "My thoughts and wishes for a healthy, peaceful retirement are with him and Norma."
Democratic Party National Chairman Ron Brown said, "While Morris Udall may be retiring from public service, he will always remain a vital part of the history tradition and spirit of the Democratic Party."
After visiting his brother at the hospital, Stewart Udall composed a poem "Elegy At A Brother's Bedside," that he sent to his friends and friends of the ailing congressman. He wrote:
"Like the hawks he knew as a boy
FAREWELL, MO--WE'RE REMINDED OF A STORY OR TWO OR THREE
One of Mo Udall's early leadership tasks in Congress was to oversee reorganization of the U.S. Post Office into an independent Postal Service.
|He used to
joke after accomplishing that task that his biggest fear in life was that
he would be remembered as "the father of the modern postal system."
No problem, Mo.
As the accolades coming forth in the wake of his announced retirement indicate, Morris K. Udall will be remembered for a lot more than that.
He is the man who oversaw vast expansion of the Nation's wilderness system.
He is the man who saved Alaska's wilderness, what he called "the crown jewels" of the country's parks and wilderness.
He is the man who brought the Central Arizona Project to Tucson.
He is the man who worked hard throughout his 30-year career as the Representative from Arizona's Second Congressional District to reform the seniority system in Congress, and the way campaigns are run.
He championed clean air and clean water legislation and restoration of lands destroyed by strip mining. He promoted an environmental ethic that saw its way into scores of bills.
He did it all with a wit and grace that did Arizona proud. No doubt he enjoyed the honors and awards that came his way, but he had a down-to-earth assessment of self. He never became "a legend in his own mind"--the phrase he often used to describe some of his more pumped-up contemporaries.
He came close to being President of the United States. It was emblematic of the Udall style that he turned the disappointing experience of the many narrowly lost primaries in 1976 into more grist for the Udall humor mill.
It became a series of jokes about how "presidentialitis" could be cured only with embalming fluid, and how mothers in Arizona, knowing of his and Barry Goldwater's failed tries, couldn't tell their children that they could grow up to be president.
It became a book title: "Too Funny To Be President."
Year after year, until his recent illness, Udall's House colleagues voted him the most persuasive orator in the House and ranked him among the most effective legislators. The reason was always apparent--he had integrity. He kept his covenant with his colleagues, his district, his country and his conscience.
It would have been fitting to see Mo Udall walk boldly from the House where he served 30 years. It would have been satisfying to see him step to the podium one more time to make his farewell. "I'm reminded of a story," he would begin.
But the manner of his leaving diminishes none of what he did there. It doesn't diminish his earlier career as county attorney, as lawyer for the defense, as professional basketball player, UA student body president, pride of St. Johns, AZ.
He will be missed.
We will not see his equal soon--if
MO UDALL'S RETIREMENT--THE END OF AN ERA
Through the years Arizona has enjoyed the services of a number of able and respected politicians. Barry Goldwater, Paul Fannin, John Rhodes, Carl Hayden and Ernest MacFarland left enduring legacies. Those not fortunate enough to live in Arizona have marveled at how a sparsely populated western State could produce political giants who left their mark on America's national life.
Add to that august list the name of Morris Udall, the last of his generation. Reduced by Parkinson's disease to a shadow of his former self, Mr. Udall has decided to hang up his spurs. The decision to retire from Congress on May 4 is the right one for the ailing 68-year-old native Arizonan. He will be missed. His self-deprecating
intelligence and home-spun humility have made him one of the most respected
In 1976 Mr. Udall made a gritty run for the Presidency. He placed second in a series of close primaries, but his dignified campaign never could overtake Jimmy Carter. The reluctance of other long-shot liberals to withdraw from the race likely sealed the Udall defeat. Mr. Udall frequently joked that the voters simply had grown sick of him, and in 1984 he nixed talk of another run, saying he would not want the campaign to become a forum on Parkinson's disease.
Whatever Mr. Udall's failings in Presidential politics, his success in the legislative arena was remarkable. He was the driving force in campaign finance reform, he helped forge reforms in the House's creaky seniority system and he was the floor whip for the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act.
As chairman of the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Mr. Udall recorded several major environmental achievements, including the regulation of reclamation on strip-mined land and the Alaska lands act that doubled the size of the national park system and tripled the amount of wilderness area. Truly, Mr. Udall was ahead of his time on environmental concerns.
Several years ago, when concern over his health was becoming public, Mr. Udall was asked how he would like to be remembered. I would hope, he said, "that in Arizona people would think of me as somebody who cared about the land deeply, who left a legacy of national parks and wilderness areas and resource policies that give future generations some idea of what kind of love of the land and environment that I've always felt."
Clearly, Mr. Udall achieved that
and more. His distinguished example in gentle word and historic deed set
a standard for public service. In riding into the sunset Mr. Udall carries
the heartfelt admiration of the Arizonans. We wish him Godspeed.
MO GOES--30 YEARS OF WARMTH AND WIT
The last days of Morris K. Udall's service to his country were an embarrassment. But the embarrassing actions were not Udall's; they came from others.
The man from Arizona's Second district, hospitalized with advancing Parkinson's disease, debilitated by severe injuries suffered in a January 6 fall, was withering away--and everyone knew it, it was only a matter of time, as his wife and family and staff put his affairs in order, before the inevitable retirement announcement came. Still, the unnecessary, tasteless calls for his resignation cascaded from editorials and calculating columnists who showed all the emotion of Cleveland pathologists.
The Udall years were pushed to one side, forgotten in the rush to see who would be Arizona's next Congressman. The tawdry display was in the genre of Evan Mecham, the King holiday and AzScam. It was an embarrassment. But now that the inevitable, announcement has come, now that Udall's departure from Congress is official, perhaps the ambitious and the calculating, the impatient and the unsympathetic can join with the rest of Arizona to pay Udall the tribute he is due.
As chairman of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, Udall was an incredibly powerful and influential engine of government. While he served, Udall made the most of his energies and influence for Arizona. He was Arizona's wilderness man, introducing legislation that added to the State's wilderness system, in addition to shepherding the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, enacted and signed into law in 1980, doubling the size of the National Park System.
Udall was instrumental in securing passage of legislation that provided direction for the mining industry in the reclamation and restoration of land. He was a bold champion for the causes of native Americans. He was a basketball player and a
candidate, a tall presence wherever his pursuits drew him. He is a good
fellow and has been a good colleague--wise, warm and witty.
Were Mo in better health, the embarrassing moments that presaged his farewell to Congress would undoubtedly have been countered by his wit and humor.
"Through their tears," he might have said, "some of those who have been mourning my departure, still managed to pack my bags without missing a pair of socks or pad of paper."
Fortunately, for the rest of us,
what Mo Udall did for Arizona and the United States cannot be packed away
to make way for his replacement. It is too vast, too wide, too heavy to
be put in a box, or ever forgotten.
Anyone who appreciates the wondrous beauty of America's public lands should share the sadness as one of its most eloquent and powerful protectors steps down.
Morris K. Udall, who rose to within grasp of the Democratic Presidential nomination during three decades as a respected and beloved leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Friday resigned his seat. Regardless of political persuasion, all Americans--and particularly Arizonans--should feel the loss of his effective and humane leadership.
Above all, Udall was a strong advocate for protecting wilderness and natural waterways, preserving water quality, improving conditions for native Americans and ensuring the safety of nuclear energy. He also has been an effective team player with the rest of the State's congressional delegation in advancing causes of particular importance to Arizona.
Some people have criticized Udall for not resigning sooner as the ravages of Parkinson's disease steadily withered his once athletic 6-foot-5-inch frame. Only after being hospitalized for more than 3 months following a fall down a flight of stairs at his Arlington, VA, home did he concede his position.
But Udall would have been out of character had he resigned sooner. He is no quitter. And he has pursued his chosen causes as tenaciously as he has waved off those who questioned his physical ability to do the job.
He can be proud of his many accomplishments. After winning the southern Arizona House seat vacated in 1961 by his brother Stewart's appointment to Interior Secretary, Mo was instrumental in winning congressional approval for the Central Arizona Project.
Through his long tenure as head of the House Interior Committee he earned his reputation as protector of America's scenic and recreational assets. When he hasn't been working to add to the Nation's inventory of protected lands, he has fought to broaden the scope of those protections.
A high point in Udall's career came with passage of his Alaska Lands bill, which preserves what he refers to as the "crown jewels" of North America.
He also has been a friend and advocate for the Nation's Indian tribes as they have struggled to improve education, health care and economic conditions on their reservations.
Udall the man has given us as much as has Udall the politician. He never backed down from a tough battle, even if he didn't always win. But he never succumbed to bitterness or personal attacks.
Through the years, Udall's ever-ready sense of humor has endeared him to political friend and foe alike. He has used it as often to publicly poke fun at himself as to disarm his opponents.
Truly, he has earned the rank of statesman when there are precious few around.
has relinquished his seat in Congress, he surely hasn't given up the ultimate
fight. He will be in our prayers.
MORRIS K. UDALL, A MAN OF INTEGRITY
I'm reminded of a story.
That's the way Mo Udall began every speech I ever saw him make.
But the story I'm reminded of is not one of his. It may seem an odd metaphor for a democrat, but you remember the tale about the blind men who each felt a different part of the elephant and deduced it to be quite different things depending on whether a tusk, a tail, a trunk or a leg was being touched and described.
A lot of Udall yarns have been swapped lately, a lot of the parts and pieces of the Udall legacy have been described.
And it's true that Mo Udall was an effective legislator, a friend of the environment, a witty, Lincolnesque orator, a man who used his powers of persuasion and his personal friendships to get the job done.
But it's also true he was a powerful figure who wielded that power to accomplish what personal persuasion could not. And like every great legislator, he was a creature of compromise, willing to shave off the more extreme edges of a bill or a policy to satisfy critics willing to trade votes.
He was, critics will note, the savior of wilderness who once lobbied for dams at the edges of the Grand Canyon and did little for the Mount Graham red squirrel.
He was the conservationist who spent most of his legislative career pushing a waiver reclamation project that urbanized his native state.
He was the friend of labor who voted to protect his home state's right-to-work law.
And he would be the first to admit, were he able to speak for himself in this Udall lovefest that surrounds his retirement yesterday from Congress, that politics is not a game for the overfastidious.
He was a careful legislator, who researched issues and argued them with friends and foes before making a commitment. He had a reputation for integrity, fairness and kindness, but he was no bloodless saint.
If he could raise that magnificent voice in protest one more time, he would tell us all to end this damn wake---and pour him three fingers of scotch.
"Perfection is the enemy of the merely good," he would say, as his friend Jim McNulty remembers him saying on one particular occasion of comprise.
He wasn't perfect. He was merely better than the rest of us.
DRIVE TO EXCEL
He always excelled at everything he did.
Growing up in St. Johns, where he lost his right eye at age 6 in an accident, he was the center of attention--the center of the community that his grandfather founded as a Mormon settlement in 1880.
He wasn't just the star center of the basketball team, he was the pitcher on the baseball team and the quarterback of the football team. On football Saturdays, he changed quickly at halftime so that he could join the band on the field. He was a top student and one of the town's best poker players.
Tom Chandler, a Tucson lawyer who has known the Udall family since his days at the university was a contemporary of Mo's big brother, Stewart. He remembers being across the street, says Udall was the finest courtroom lawyer he ever saw. "He didn't try a case, he produced it, he put on a show."
every inch of his 6-foot-5 frame and every bit of his no-frills country
manner to his advantage. Because he had his own planes, he was fond of
using aerial photographs of accident and crime scenes. Chandler remembers
losing a lawsuit to Udall when a woman tripped over a step at the Flamingo
Hotel despite the fact that the step Udall called hidden was clearly visible.
Chandler told the jury, from 1,000 feet in the air.
Udall ran for his first office in 1950--county attorney--and won, becoming, in Chandler's eyes at least, the best county attorney Pima ever had. "There are very few public officials who will ever measure up to that man as far as gut integrity is concerned," Chandler said.
Integrity is a word mentioned often when you ask Udall's friends and colleagues to describe him. It was the only thing that occurred to Prior Pray, Udall's longtime district aide, when asked to sum up the man's career, "Integrity is the word I keep coming back to," he said.
Udall was elected to Congress on May 2, 1961, in a special election to replace his brother Stewart who was named Interior Secretary by President Kennedy.
He began the practice of making his income tax records public because he didn't think the required congressional disclosure was tough enough. He fought for campaign finance reform and reform of the seniority system in Congress.
Over the years, he would lead successful battles for reform of campaign laws and the civil service system.
And he led the battle, of course, for the Central Arizona Project--the State's biggest Federal bonanza--a project originally geared toward the State's farmers that is ending its construction as a lifeline to the State's rapidly growing water-starved cities.
Much, much later, he would concede that it would have been better for Arizona to develop a string of cities along the Colorado instead of bringing the water to Phoenix and Tucson. But that was more regret than admission of mistake. The die had been cast when Udall went to Congress. He simply delivered what the Congressman was supposed to deliver--though many thought he never would do it.
The dams on the Colorado are another story. Had they been developed to supply power to the CAP, they would have further controlled the flow of the Colorado, already a mechanized spigot rather than a river. But while they would have created reservoirs upstream and downstream from the national park, they would also have provided a more even flow than that coming through Glen Canyon Dam, whose fluctuations are now blamed for much environmental damage in Grand Canyon.
And you could argue that those dams would have been better for the State's environment than their replacement--the Navajo Generating Station at Page--blamed for air pollution that obscures canyon views.
Of course, purists can argue that nothing at all would have been the best solution--no dams, no reaction when he walked out of the snow and into a New Hampshire barber shop and introduced himself- "Hi, I'm Mo Udall and I'm running for President."
"We know," answered one of the townsfolk passing time there. "We were just laughin' about that this morning."
Udall lost, in primary after primary, to Jimmy Carter. His delegates learned in turn their "MO" buttons upside-down to read 'low."
Tom Chandler thinks Udall could have won if a few more influential Arizona friends had believed more strongly in the possibility.
A HERO ABROAD
But Udall always seemed to command more respect on that national level than at home. That's partly because his increasingly conservative district was often out of
Udall's progressive stands. And it's partly because in Tucson he was simply
the local Congressman.
Michael McNulty, local lawyer and son of Mo's friend Jim, was a Udall staffer for 4 years and once accompanied him to a speech at the University of Virginia law school. When Mo entered the auditorium, the place erupted in cheers and applause. Udall turned to McNulty and said, "Sometime I wish I could get a reaction like that in Tucson."
Udall's last campaign was first rumored to be in 1980. That was the first year Udall admitted publicly that he had Parkinson's disease. J. Dan O'Neill, a longtime friend, said he went to work running Udall's Tucson office then, figuring on 2 to 4 years max.
But Udall kept running, finally announcing his final campaign in 1990. His physical condition was painful to behold and he made few public appearances, but he did kick off his re-election campaign in April with a speech to the Democrats of greater Tucson.
As always, his own frailties were the brunt of the famous Udall humor. In a voice that was barely audible in the respectfully silent room, Udall told the tale of the Senator who was approaching his 100th birthday and was asked how he felt. "Considering the alternatives, not too bad," was the answer.
"Well, I stand before you with a painful old back, Parkinson's disease, arthritis, one good eye, and I can tell you, considering the alternatives, I feel pretty good," said Udall.
He held hope of being fully involved in his final term. He was investigating fetal-tissue surgery that held some promise for him and was on new medication for Parkinson's. "Some days it seems it really does the job and I can bounce into the car without any help. Then the hoarse voice, all these things assert themselves again."
There is a tendency to make this a sad occasion. But what did Mo Udall wish to be his political legacy?
In 1973, as the Watergate scandal was pulling down a Presidency and the reputation of politics in general, Udall penned one of his famous newsletters, arguing that public servants could still be found practicing the Nation's politics. He mentioned Arizona's Goldwater, John Rhodes and Carl Hayden and his own brother, Stewart.
"I have had Arizona ancestors and relatives in both political parties serve in all kinds of public offices from the President's Cabinet to local school boards. Not one has been touched with a breath of scandal or abuse of public trust. My greatest desire is to retire from public office someday with a record that will enhance that tradition."
Yesterday, Morris K. Udall retired
from Congress with a record of integrity in public service that is a credit
to his relatives and ancestors and to the people of Arizona whom he served
for 30 years.
(By Joseph M. Bauman)
Representative Wayne Ownes, D-UT, had a haunting comment: What would have happened if 15,000 more citizens had voted for Morris Udall in the 1976 Presidential primaries?
"What a lot of people don't know is that with a change of 15,000 votes in five primaries in 1976, he would have won those five primaries.... Those were the key primaries. He ran a razor-thin second in each of five primaries," Owens said.
It's always fun to speculate about what might have been, and in this case, it's rumination on a gargantuan scale. If Udall's campaign had pushed just a little harder; if a few more environmental groups had worked for him; if, if, if. As it hap-
was the last opponent of Jimmy Carter to drop out of the Democratic primaries.
If the Arizona Congressman had won those critical five races, and assuming he then collected the nomination and went on to defeat Gerald Ford, the world certainly would be different today.
For one thing, Udall had political savvy, while Carter was deficient in that department, leading to this century's only turnover in a President's re-election bid.
So much for what-if's. What really happened is that Udall classically fit John F. Kennedy's definition of courage: grace under pressure.
In the past few years, he has been tormented by Parkinson's disease, deteriorating more fearsomely all the time, until last week his family was forced to announce he was retiring from the House of Representatives.
Throughout a decade and a half of increasing pain and disability, he bravely went about his business, chairing the House Interior Committee with his trademark skill and good humor.
I remember seeing him when he arrived in Salt Lake City for a hearing on the proposal to build a high-level nuclear waste repository on the doorsteps of Canyonlands National Park, around 1982. Udall had just flown over the site. (He had a special interest in Canyonlands, beyond his usual efforts to protect national parks, because his brother, the great conservationist Stewart Udall, was instrumental in establishing Canyonlands.)
Morris Udall exited the plane and shuffled into the airport, and I was shocked by his pained, weary expression and stiff gait. It was terrible to see how he was wracked. He headed for the men's room, not looking right or left.
But as Terri Martin, Utah representative of the National Parks and Conservation Association, said, he then "chaired this hearing with command, humor, direction and clarity."
Brant Calkin, now the director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Cedar City, ran for state land commissioner in New Mexico several years ago. Udall took time to speak at a fund-raising function in Santa Fe, after working all day.
When he arrived, Udall was clearly suffering from fatigue and the effects of Parkinson's disease, but he still held a press conference for Calkin. Reporters seemed interested in talking to the Representative all night, although Udall was getting extremely tired.
So when a reporter asked Calkin something, and Calkin answered, Udall took the opportunity to close the press conference, saying--as is traditional at the end of a White House meeting with reporters--"Thank you, Mr. President."
Udall had difficulty putting on his jacket because it required reaching painfully behind himself. He chatted about this, perfectly candid.
"Even though he was very ill, if you asked him about it he didn't shy away and he didn't seek any particular pity. He just told how he dealt with it," Calkin said.
Roland Robison, now regional director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, knew Udall when Robison worked on the staff of another Congressman, and later as an official with the BLM and then Reclamation.
"Morris Udall always livened up committee meetings," he said. "He always had something witty to say, but it was never mean. It was frequently directed toward himself.
"His humor was the type that made people laugh, but at the same time made them feel good."
Udall used humor to turn aside anger, soothe ruffled feathers, throw light on an issue. "Even though he was totally substantive, he used humor as a tool, and had the quickest wit of anybody that I've ever known," Owens said.
"I'm using superlatives, but it's hard to talk in any other terms."
could turn almost any situation into a telling quip, he was totally substantive,
Owens said. In difficult mark-up sessions, when everybody was getting hot
and bothered over the wording of some bill, "inevitably he would come up
with the language that solved all the problems."
"He was the most creative legislator I ever knew. He saw legislative opportunity and was able to cast chaff aside.... He was really not only unsurpassed, he was really unequaled in the House."
"We held the guy in the highest esteem," said George Nickas of the Utah Wilderness Association. "We had our differences on policy issues at times with Mo Udall. He was always a very strong supporter of the mining interests and the 1872 Mining Law, for example."
He also was an especially strong advocate of the Central Arizona Project, a monstrously big water project in that State. He watched out like a hawk for his constituents, miners, small ranchers, other public-land users.
"Even though he was supporting some things that we environmentalists didn't agree with, you always knew he would deal fairly with you on the issue--and that he was always concerned about the environment," Nickas said.
Let that ideal serve as a beacon
in our rough-and-tumble environmental debates; deal fairly and openly,
state positions honestly. A clean fighter, regardless of which side he
espouses, should win the respect of all.
(Compiled by Olivia Olivares)
Morris Udall will be remembered as a man of many talents and achievements, but the most endearing facet of his character and one which will be recalled with fondness for many years is his inimitable sense of humor.
Udall's intelligence, wit and affinity for quips and one-liners combined to produce a man of astonishing warmth and generosity of spirit. Former House of Representatives Speaker Jim Wright described him as a man of "charming grace" and "irresistible good humor," and once called him "the wit emeritus of the Congress." Former Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan, who served on the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, remarked "everybody likes Mo," and the present House Speaker, Tom Foley, has said: "People who oppose him simply cannot dislike him."
His humor occasionally got him in trouble with newspaper editors and other political observers. Many of them wrote that such an irrepressible sense of fun might be a liability to one so constantly under intense scrutiny as a political candidate for high office. Udall was not unaware of this, and true to form, joked about it by titling the last of his three books "Too Funny To Be President."
Udall's humor has proven to be a greater asset than a liability, and it remains the quality his family, friends and the general public alike most cherish and appreciate. Following is a selection of the anecdotes and one-liners Udall so loved.
As a child in St. Johns, Arizona, Udall lost an eye while playing with a friend. He was fitted with a glass prosthesis, and the loss of the eye did not keep him from becoming a star basketball player for the University of Arizona.
During one game, while sitting on the bench, Udall overheard a man behind him in the bleachers remark that Udall must have lied about the loss of his eye: "No one with one eye could shoot that good."
Udall promptly removed his glass eye and, without turning around, raised it over his shoulder and "stared" at the startled man.
target was himself, and many of his best one-liners were at his own expense.
His favorite sources were his political career and his ill-fated 1976 presidential
After an unsuccessful bid for the majority leadership of the House in 1970, Udall had his staffers turn their "MO" campaign buttons upside-down: "OW".
At the opening night ceremonies for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1971, Udall accidentally hit the alarm button on a crowded elevator, which triggered the alarm and brought the elevator to a halt, temporarily trapping everyone within. He turned to the irritated passengers and said smoothly: "I called you here today to ask for your support for my candidacy."
Udall's favorite story takes place in Manchester, N.H. during the 1976 presidential campaign. Udall walked into a barbershop and announced to everyone present, "Hi, I'm Mo Udall, and I'm running for president."
Without missing a beat, the barber turned to him and said, "Yes, we know. We were all just laughing about that this morning."
Udall also told a story of a campaign flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles to Sacramento, where they landed at the wrong airport--"and for God's sake, there aren't that many airports in Sacramento.
"The indignity didn't stop there. We wound up at a hotel that night that told me I would be staying in the Gerald R. Ford Suite."
Udall was to finish second to Jimmy Carter in seven primaries.
Joking about his loss, he said, "The voters have spoken ... the bastards."
He later advised reporters: "You know all those times I said 'won' last night? Well, just strike that and insert 'lost'."
Udall supporters urged him to run again for president in 1980. He replied: "If nominated, I will run--for the Mexican border. If elected, I will fight extradition."
Udall once noted with chagrin that he and fellow Arizonans Governor Bruce Babbitt and Senator Barry Goldwater had all lost bids for the presidency.
He said, "Arizona is the only state where mothers don't tell their children they can grow up to be president."
Udall occasionally turned his wit on others, with predictably hilarious results.
In a 1975 campaign speech in which he blasted Democratic rival George Wallace, Udall said of Wallace: "If he's a serious candidate, he ought to be asked to come forward and tell us his program, and not the same old tired speech about pointy-headed professors."
Udall then qualified his speech by saying he liked pointy-headed professors. "Occasionally they have a good idea ... and their mothers love them."
During the Vietnam War, he suggested the Defense Department allow the Postal Service to handle the conflict: "If they can't stop the war, they can at least slow it down."
He also suggested the problems of court-ordered busing and prayer-in-school be solved by having school children pray in buses.
During the past few years, Udall has fought a drawn-out battle with Parkinson's disease. With typical humor and courage, he spoke to a meeting of the Greater Democrats of Tucson in 1990:
"I stand before you today with a painful old back, loaded with arthritis, and one eye.
With perfect timing, he waited a beat, then added: "But considering the alternative, I feel pretty damn good."
Udall wrote, "I am often accused of having a sense of humor. And I always say, 'It's better to have a sense of humor than no sense at all."'
Main | Contents | Illustrations | Book Cover | Title Page
Addresses and Special Orders Held in the U.S. House of Representatives
and the Senate, Presented in Honor of The Honorable Morris K. "Mo" Udall,
A Representative from Arizona, One Hundred Second Congress, First Session
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993