JUST before he died earlier this year, Tip O'Neill came...

salmagundi

March 17, 1994

JUST before he died earlier this year, Tip O'Neill came out with a primer called "All Politics Is Local (and Other Rules of the Game)."

The slim book is full of political advice from the former House Speaker, presented in brief, folksy anecdotes. Like this one titled "Know Your Audience," about a St. Patrick's Day appearance by O'Neill:

"Once I was invited to deliver a St. Patrick's Day speech before the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. A piece of cake, or so I thought. I figured those Irishmen would arrive early for the dinner, have a few pops (that's drinks to you ZTC outlanders) and by speech-making time would be receptive to anything I said as long as I kept it short and humorous. A few stories and I would get out of there.

"Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. As I was in my hotel room dressing, one of my aides came in out of breath. He had just found out no drinking was allowed before the dinner -- only afterwards. Now suddenly my audience had changed. I had to give a serious speech. Luckily, my staff had copied some pages from a book Famous Irishmen in America. All through the preliminaries and during the dinner, I was flipping through these pages and underlining passages. When I got up to speak before this thoroughly sober crowd, I was ready. They applauded afterwards and complimented me on my thoroughness. Ha!"

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