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Feb 9, 2009 4:48 pm


Mass Transit



The recent story concerning poor Donald Rumsfeld having to wait for a bus in the cold in Washington called to mind an another sad story about an out-of-power bureaucrat having to deal with mass transit. In the late winter of 1983, I had scheduled an interview with McGeorge Bundy in New York City as part of a project that became Johnson, Nixon, and the Doves (1988). Bundy was then a member of the history department at NYU. His office suite, which was spacious, was situated in an older, undistinguished building on campus. He did, however, have his own personal secretary who complained, after telling me she was with Mr. Bundy at the White House and at the Ford Foundation, “Isn’t this the pits?” It really wasn’t bad for history department digs, but it obviously was not what they had been used to. When Bundy arrived a bit late for the interview, somewhat out of breath and in a mildly disheveled state with his galoshes flopping open, he explained that there was a problem with the subway that he had taken from uptown. It gave me some pleasure to see the “pits” into which Bundy had descended. But I have to admit that he was most gracious and helpful with my research.



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