Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saint Pete

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Years before Albuquerque Tribune’s managing editor and political commentator Kate Nelson tagged Republican U.S. Senator Pete Domenici with the moniker, "Saint Pete," for bringing home the bacon of federal spending, I photographed the former City Commissioner in 1970, while he addressed an Albuquerque Press Club luncheon during his gubernatorial race. This picture was shot at the Downtowner hotel that had a large convex mirror, resembling a halo behind Domenici.

This 100 photo essay contains some images that have been previously posted.

Domenici was president of the Albuquerque City Commission, March 28, 1969, when he spoke at the grand opening of the Albuquerque Sports Stadium, before throwing out the first pitch.

Domenici had been a pitcher at St. Mary's High School, the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande, later designated the University of Albuquerque. He transfered to the University of New Mexico, played as a Lobo before his 1954 graduation; that summer he pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers' farm club, the Albuquerque Dukes.

I photographed Domenici’s 1970 campaign as the Republican candidate for governor where he lost to Bruce King, right.

These two photographs show Domenici’s body language during a day of visits in the Los Alamos and White Rock area. Domenici’s demeanor, cross legged on a couch and standing behind a chair, against the wall, while former Gov. Tom Bolack introduced him, could not possibly have helped him.

My color photographs went to the campaign. Albuquerque News Editor Fred McCaffery was also the campaigns communications director and chose not to use the pictures because they accurately reflected an image deemed not helpful to the election. Those photographs were never used, nor have they resurfaced.

Domenici sat on the platform with President Richard Nixon, October 31, 1970, with his wife, Nancy and Rep. Ed Formen.

Formen, left, was one of only two members of Congress to ever serve from two different States. He served Texas' 18th District representing El Paso to Midland – Odessa during the mid 1960s and the New Mexico southern District in the early 70s.

Nixon raises the arms of U.S. Senate candidate Anderson Carter, left, and New Mexico Gov. David Cargo's at the end of his speech. Cargo raised Domenici's arm.

However, at the airport, Domenici allowed Carter to elbow him out of most photo opportunities.

In later runs, Domenici did not make such blunders and became a fierce campaigner.

Domenici sat on the City of Albuquerque’s Charter Revision Commission during a mid Feb. 1971, work session.
In 1972, Domenici was elected to the U.S. Senate by beating former State Representative Jack Daniels, who was current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish’s father.

In January 1973, I had the opportunity to cover Domenici’s first couple of weeks as New Mexico’s junior Senator in Washington, D.C.

My fly on the wall photo essay, consisting of nearly 200 images, was done for airing on KOAT TV. It was not the first time that a series of still pictures were used in political photo coverage. Self-Portrait: U.S.A by David Douglas Duncan documented the 1968 national conventions; the Republicans in Miami and Democrats in Chicago for NBC News.

Duncan provided a model for my coverage.

In November 1972, Domenici was elected from New Mexico, replacing Clinton Anderson who retired after 24 years in the Senate. Anderson had been elected to the House of Representatives three times and served as Secretary of Agriculture for President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

As a rookie Senator, a staff has to be gathered and the duties of each decided. Policy has to be made, on how to communication with the constituency and legislation has to be gone over.

Work on the Senate floor, does not begin immediately.

There is a lot of groundwork to be done, including moving into an office.

Domenici awaits the arrival of a 30-minute delayed flight at Washington National Airport carrying Mrs. Domenici and five of the eight children.

Three children were sick with the flu and did not travel.

Then it was on to a new home with a lot of unpacking, but first a bucket of chicken.

Domenici checks with his secretary on the day's schedule.

New Mexico State Rep. Murray Ryan of Silver City spent most of the day with the Senator. Here he travels with Domenici from his Senate Office building to the Capitol, using a subway.

The new Senator stops to get directions from a Capitol police officer. The officer knew Domenici on sight.
Domenici was headed to give his first speech on "the floor." Cameras were not allowed in the gallery so there are no pictures in the Senate chamber. The rules on still cameras have changed little over the years. It was six years later, 1979 before Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network began video broadcasting House sessions. C-Span coverage of the Senate would not follow until 1986.
Then he stopped by the Congressional military staffed medical clinic to consult the Doctor about his sore throat.
The Senator learned his way around the halls of power. The marble tiled halls are lined with some of the greatest Americana art.
Domenici takes a taxi ride to the Republican National Committee luncheon.
He meets with national Republican officials and Party members from New Mexico.

New Mexico's Francine Irving Neff, center, who became the U.S Treasurer under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, greets Domenici.
She has a conversation with him prior to the start of the meal.

Freshman Republican Congressmen await in a back room to be introduced to the RNC.

Domenici, right, was on the dais with two men who would later become President: Minority Leader, Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford, third from the right, and former Texas Rep. and RNC Chairman George H.W. Bush, partly hidden behind the speaker at the podium. The woman in the white dress is Barbara Bush.

Domenici was introduced as the first Republican Senator from New Mexico in over 40 years, by Hugh Scott.
However, he still lives in the shadow of ex-Senator Clinton Anderson as he sits at the junior end of the Aeronautic and Space Committee, that Anderson, below, chaired.

Utah Democratic Sen. Frank Edward Moss, right, chaired the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. Arizona Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater, left, was the ranking member. They sit under the portraits of the former Committee chairs, all Democrats: Lyndon B. Johnson, Texas, Robert S. Kerr, Okla., and Clinton P. Anderson, N.M.

Washington is all in a whirl. It's Inauguration Day.

President Nixon was sworn in to his second term by Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, as his wife Pat hold two family Bibles while Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, right, looks on at the January 20, 1973, inauguration on the East steps of the Capitol.

From the left are: Mamie Eisenhower, wife of former President Dwight Eisenhower and grand-mother of David, Nixon's daughter Julie's husband, cabinet members Secretary of the Treasury George P. Shultz, Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Secretary of Labor James D. Hodgson, and former Secretary of the Treasury John B. Connally, Jr.

Nixon beat his Democratic rival, Sen. George McGovern, by the largest landslide in American Presidential political history, yet there were dignitary seats available about 200 feet from the podium.

In contrast, the crowd for the inauguration of Barak Obama was estimated to be between one and two million people.

Domenici met with a lobbyist from New Mexico.

At another Committee meeting, Domenici sat as the most junior member, being a member of the minority Party, with Florida Sen. Edward Gurney, left, and Vermont Sen. Robert Stafford.

Domenici was so new that he had a hand lettered paper nameplate.

Domenici gathered with a large group of members of Co-ops to discuss Rural Electrification loans.
The New Mexico Congressional Delegation: Rep. Manuel Lujan, left, R, District 1, Domenici, Sen. Joseph Montoya, D, partially hidden and Rep. Harold "Mud" Runnels, right, D, District 2, all spoke in the way that each thought the constituents wanted to hear the problem of Rural Electrification loans.

The loans were considered unnecessary by the Nixon Administration.

Sen. Montoya berated Domenici for the Republican administration's position.

Domenici knew the thinking of the administration and said he hoped he could help change their position.
As is the custom of the Senate, a collegial atmosphere was maintained at the end of the meeting, with good natured ribbing and backslapping.
Domenici, as one of the "One Hundred," paid his last respects to the Ex-Congressman, Senator, Vice President and President of the United States Lyndon Johnson. Domenici is above the first soldier carrying the casket, on the right with the blue hat.
NOTE: Due to complaints from viewers who were unable to locate Domenici, a cropped area of the picture is shown on the right. Click on any picture to enlarge.
The next day, a closed meeting with Henry Kissenger and more meetings with New Mexicans; talk was of peace and what Kissenger had said.

Then more paperwork, reviewing legislation and drafting correspondence.

Sundays belong to his kids. They go to church, then the zoo or a large park with a playground.

Washington seems very different from New Mexico. Even though it rains in New Mexico once in a while, Albuquerque's winters are usually a little brighter.

The problems of getting settled in the new job seem great, but not ones that time wouldn't help.
I have more than a twenty-year gap in pictures. Though I saw and met with the Senator on several occasions during this time, I was not actively photographing.

Domenici received the political endorsements from several Albuquerque area police organizations, Oct. 9, 1996, as he campaigned for his fifth term.

In the 1996, race he defeated Bernalillo County Democratic Party chairman, Art Trujillo, Green Party candidate Abraham J. Gutmann, and Libertarian Bruce M. Bush.

Domenici, with a halo, spoke to the media during Heather Wilson’s June 23, 1998, victory celebration of her special Congressional election to fill the unexpired term of Congressman Steve Schiff, who had died in office. Domenici was the strongest supporter of Wilson.

Domenici held Wilson’s arm high in a victory celebration on June 23, 1998. From the left are: her son Josh, her husband Jay Hone, Wilson, Domenici, then to the right are the late Dee Johnson and her husband, then Gov. Gary Johnson. Wilson had been Johnson’s cabinet secretary of New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department before running. She defeated former State Senator Phil Maloof.

During that event, there already was talk about Domenici grooming Wilson to eventually take his seat in the Senate.
Domenici, center, stands with several of the 2006 Republican candidates at a Bernalillo County Republican Party Bar-B-Q.
Domenici implored support for fellow Republican candidates.

Domenici helped dedicate the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service’s newly consolidated Albuquerque Service Center for Human Capital Management Office, Nov. 1, 2006. With him are: U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, left, senior Rep. Wilson, along with Undersecretary Mark Rey, right, who is in charge of the Forest Service.

Domenici’s remarks skirted the non-partisan line as he spoke of the upcoming election and the need to maintain Wilson's House seat.

Domenici became embroiled in the political scandal involving New Mexico's U.S. Attorney David Iglesias. Iglesias, above, obtained corruption indictments in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse construction kickback scheme in the summer of 2006. The indictments were then sealed by the Federal District Court.

At the time, Rep. Wilson, left, running to retain her Congressional seat, was trailing her challenger, Democratic New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid, center, in the polls.

Domenici, right, within weeks of this picture being taken, called Iglesias asking if the indictments were forthcoming, and if they would be released prior to the November election. Iglesias would later testify that he told the Senator that the indictments would not be released before the end of the year.

Wilson also called, trying to spur the release of the sealed indictments prior to the election.

Iglesias was fired from his post with seven other U.S. Attorneys from around the country.

Iglesias charged that his departure was due to political pressure directed at the White House; applied by N.M. Republicans, including: Domenici, Wilson and State GOP chair Allen Weh, among others.

Domenici would admit the phone call might have been inappropriate and the Senate Ethics Committee issued a "public letter of qualified admonition." The Ethics Committee, in announcing the second lightest form of censure, found “no substantial evidence,” that Domenici's attempt was to influence Iglesias' decision.

Wilson steadfastly claimed everything she did regarding Iglesias was appropriate.

Domenici, with his wife, Nancy, saluting the American flag when he announced his candidacy for a seventh, six-year term to the Senate, on Feb. 20, 2007.

There were muffled questions about his health.

At the time, he was 73.
Domenici announced his retirement from the Senate, Oct. 4, 2007.
He spoke at St. Mary's High School, where he graduated, before family, friends and staff. Three of his sister's are behind him, to the left, including Sister Marianella, center, the principal at St. Mary's.
He was initially diagnosed with Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration or FTLD, an incurable disease that causes brain dysfunction. More recently, that diagnosis was called into question.

At the 2008 Memorial Day ceremonies, Domenici hosted Sen. John McCain, in sunglasses, then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, of N.C.

Domenici spoke, showing the front page of the Albuquerque Journal's coverage of the faces of New Mexican soldier's killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Reps. Steve Pearce, left, and Wilson, both vying for Domenici’s vacant seat, were present.

The ceremonies became a partisan Republican event, with McCain giving his presidential stump speech. Wilson gave the "Keynote" address, in part, because the venue was within her district. Pearce was not permitted to speak.

"Here's to Pete!" A Celebration of Senator Domenici's Service to New Mexico and the Nation, was a tribute, sponsored by New Mexico First, on June 28, 2008. It brought together many people who had worked with and for Domenici.

New Mexico Senators Domenici and Jeff Binagaman, right, co-founded New Mexico First.

New Mexico native Sam Donaldson, of ABC News, was master of ceremonies.

Fran Langholf was Domenici's local office manager and served him back to the 1970 gubernatorial race.

Domenici makes a face at former New Mexico Representative and Secretary of Interior Manuel Lujan, Jr. Lujan, preceded Domenici into Congress by four years, in 1969.

Domenici's family, friends and staffers joined about 600 supporters. Janet Napolitano, left, is a former Albuquerque resident, Sandia High School graduate, was a staffer when Domenici chaired the Senate Budget Committee, and until this week, the Democratic Governor of Arizona. She resigned to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and was a featured speaker. Thelma Domenici, right, is the Senator's sister and the Albuquerque Journal's etiquette columnist.
Domenici, with his wife of 50 years, the former Nancy Burk, entering the Albuquerque Journal Theatre.
Democratic politicians, fellow Sen. Bingaman and Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chávez , who briefly considered running for the vacated Senate seat, praised Domenici's service to the nation, state and city. Gov. Bill Richardson appeared via video, also thanking the Senator and poking fun at Domenici's new beard.

Dancers from the National Dance Institute of New Mexico and the National Institute of Flamenco performed.

Three of the State's six higher education institutions were represented, in the left picture, by: New Mexico Tech President Dan Lopez, Central New Mexico Community College Board Member Robert Matteucci, and University New Mexico President David Schmidly. They joked about school rivalries and praised Domenici's dedication to education, since he taught science and math at Albuquerque's Garfield Junior High.

In the right picture, National Laboratories Presidents: Dr. Michael Anastasio, left, of Los Alamos National Laboratories and Dr. Tom Hunter, right, Sandia National Laboratories, spoke of Domenici's continued support of the labs' missions.

Little girls cheering and old guys, the New MexiChords, singing.

Domenici and his family and close friends in the balcony, acknowledging comments from the stage.
Domenici speaks with U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman, fellow New Mexico Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, second to the left and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernard "Bernie" Sanders, behind Domenici.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee met at the International Programs Building, in Sandia Science and Technology Park. The Committee members took testimony from energy providers before a packed room.

Domenici asked questions of the gathered witnesses before slipping out of the hall to attend another meeting.
Domenici founded the MIND Institute in 1999, as a non-profit organization dedicated to getting medical schools, research institutions and national laboratories to form partnerships for the use of electronic imaging in researching the brain.

The Pete and Nancy Domenici Hall is located on the North UNM campus.

In 2004, the United States District Court House in Albuquerque was named for Senator Pete V. Domenici.

Outgoing Bush administration U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, named a group of Los Alamos National Laboratory administrative buildings, the "Pete V. Domenici National Security Complex."
Domenici receives a hug from Rep. Wilson after being introduced to endorse Rep. Steve Pearce, right, for his vacated U.S. Senate seat against Rep. Tom Udall. During the Republican primary, Domenici had endorsed Wilson over Pearce. New Mexico Republican National Committeeman Patrick Roger, center, was master of ceremonies.

So what’s Wrong With This Picture?

I considered trying to arrange a bookend photo essay of Domenici’s last couple of weeks in Washington, but it didn’t come together.

The last photograph I have taken of the Senator, above, was after Sen. McCain's visit to UNM on Oct. 2, 2008.

I observed Domenici experience a mental lapse. I had reintroduced myself to him, citing the 1973 photo essay, and he commented about details that indicated he remembered. Then, moments later, his expression changed and he appeared confused, asking me, "who are you?"

Based on this display of apparent confusion, and another moment during his retirement announcement, when he admitted he had to ask Nancy's help in remembering to recognize all the people he should, I suspended my conversation with his staff to try to arrange the bookend photo essay.