December 18, 2007

Incredibly Random Bit of RI Political Trivia

Carroll Andrew Morse

I've thought of myself as pretty well tuned into Rhode Island political trivia, but until I stumbled across this Weekly Standard article mentioning a "famous Rhode Island drawl", I never realized that John McLaughlin – the McLaughlin of The McLaughlin Group -- was a native Rhode Islander. Here's the opening of his Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame entry

The marvelous story of Rhode Island's own John Joseph McLaughlin leads one through more twists and turns than a Rocky Point roller coaster. Born on March 29, 1927 to Augustus and Eva (Turcotte) McLaughlin, he grew up in the neighborhoods of Edgewood and Mount Pleasant. His earliest run at greatness included stints as a pharmacy soda jerk, Triggs greenskeeper and caddy, Narragansett Park racetrack money-runner and a stock boy at Shepard's department store.
(I am now trying to picture McLaughlin as a Triggs caddy)...
Golfer: Do you think I should use my six-iron here?

McLaughlin: WRONG!!!

McLaughlin even ran against John O. Pastore for Senate in 1970…
John "tiptoed" onto the political scene in 1970 by brashly challenging the iconic Senator John Pastore in McLaughlin's very first, and Pastore's very last, political campaign.
Knowing John McLaughlin's origins certainly goes a long way towards explaining the rough-and-tumble format of his TV show!

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In the old days on the show, panelists (especially Pat Buchanan) would bring up McLaughlin's run against Pastore. Haven't heard it mentioned in a long time, though. If memory serves, John McLaughlin was also a priest.

Posted by: Bob Walsh at December 18, 2007 10:06 AM

McLaughlin was a member of the Jesuits. After his losing campaign, he worked in the Nixon White House (as a speech writer, I think).

He left the order at some point and got married to a woman who became Secretary of Labor in the Reagan Administration, but I think they split at some point.

Some interesting observations about McLaughlin can be found in Bob Novak's recent autobiography (which is a great read, by the way). Seems like everyone who works with McLaughlin, sooner or later, comes to dislike him.

Posted by: brassband at December 18, 2007 5:02 PM

I always knew that Triggs was hallowed ground.


That made my night...

Thanks, Andrew.

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at December 18, 2007 6:34 PM

Yup, great line, Andrew.

Posted by: Monique at December 18, 2007 9:37 PM
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