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Interview with Buddy Darden, June 18, 2008

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:53 - Early life and education

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Partial Transcript: Sparta, Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Darden recalls growing up in rural Hancock County, attending school in Sparta, Georgia, enrolling in school at North Georgia College and then transferring to the University of Georgia. Darden talks his family home and its importance to him.

Keywords: Hancock County; North Georgia College; Sparta, Georgia; University of Georgia; education; family

00:05:04 - Working as student in Washington, D.C.

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Partial Transcript: But at the end of the summer, they were looking for some folks to go to Washington to serve as patronage employees for Richard B. Russell.

Segment Synopsis: Darden remembers working as a patronage employee in Senator Russell's administration while in college and recalls memorable moments. He talks about becoming involved in campus politics after returning to the University of Georgia.

Keywords: Richard Russell; University of Georgia; patronage employee

00:13:18 - Views on Richard B. Russell and Carl Vinson

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Partial Transcript: Before we get too far away from these two icons...

Segment Synopsis: Darden recalls his impressions of Senators Richard Russell and Carl Vinson, their interaction with staff and the public, and their legacies.

Keywords: Carl Vinson; Georgia politics; Richard Russell; sentator

00:23:02 - Work as a prosecutor, District Attorney

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Partial Transcript: Getting back now to Buddy Darden. After law school you became prosecutor in Cobb County.

Segment Synopsis: Darden recalls working as as prosecutor then Assistant District Attorney after law school, becoming the youngest DA in his county, and challenges he faced in his position.

Keywords: Cobb County; District Attorney; law school; prosecutor

00:30:28 - Election to Georgia Legislature

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Partial Transcript: Until four years, yes, I stayed involved in politics.

Segment Synopsis: Darden reflects on his election to the Georgia House of Representatives from Cobb County. He discusses member of the delegations he served in, Speaker Tom Murphy, and his extensive work on local legislation.

Keywords: Cobb County; Georgia Representative; Tom Murphy; judiciary committee; local legislation

00:39:17 - Election to U.S. House of Represenatives

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Partial Transcript: You're in your second term.

Segment Synopsis: Darden talks about the death of Congressman Larry McDonald that opened up a seat for the U.S. House of Representatives. Darden recalls his decision to run in the special election, his opponent Kathy McDonald, McDonald's widow, and the runoff election that ultimately elected him as the next Representatives.

Keywords: House of Representatives; Larry McDonald; runoff; special election

00:48:48 - Committee assignments / State versus national responsibilities

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Partial Transcript: How did you come about your committee assignments?

Segment Synopsis: Darden talks about his initial committee assignments and working to get placed on his preferred committee, the difference in responsibility between the Georgia versus the U.S. House of Representatives, and his relationships to House members and Speaker Tip O'Neill. Darden also discusses his political identification as moderate and his views on the Boll Weevil Coalition.

Keywords: Armed Services Committee; Tip O'Neill; boll weevil; committee assignment

00:59:11 - Work on Appropriations Committee

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Partial Transcript: Congressman Darden, you were also a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Segment Synopsis: Darden talks about the three areas of influence in the House of Representatives, describes serving on the Ethics Committee and his selection to the Appropriations Committee. Darden also describes his work on Defense Appropriations, travelling to political hot spots, and saving the Lockheed Martin plant from being outsourced from his district.

Keywords: Appropriations Committee; Ethic Committee; John Murtha; bipartisanship; defense; political conflict

01:10:44 - Earmarks and budgeting / Relationship to Clinton

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Partial Transcript: Nowadays we hear a lot about earmarks. Are you for them or against them?

Segment Synopsis: Darden discusses his views on earmarked legislation, appropriation of funds to local districts, and abuses of earmarks. He also talks about the budget approval in Congress, the national deficit, and President's power in affecting the budget. Darden discusses his relationship to Bill Clinton and what he admires.

Keywords: Bill Clinton; Hillary Clinton; appropriation; budget approval; budgeting; deficit; earmarks

01:19:21 - U.S. military Interventionism

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Partial Transcript: Buddy, to change the subject now.

Segment Synopsis: Darden discusses his views on U.S. political interventionism, military engagement, and the Iraq War. He talks about terrorism, and his views on reducing the threat of terrorism through establishing good international relations. Darden also discusses immigration and the country's and state's response to immigrants.

Keywords: Iraq War; immigration; international relations; interventionism; military engagement; terrorism

01:27:03 - Party switch

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Partial Transcript: Moving ahead now to 1994, not a good year for Democrats in America.

Segment Synopsis: Darden talks about supporting Clinton's legislations during his first term as president, redistricting in Georgia, losing his seat in the 1994 election, and the growth of a Republican Majority in Congress.

Keywords: Congress; Republican Party; Rise of the Republican Party; majority; party realignment; political shift; redistricting

01:36:07 - Campaign spending

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk for a minute about campaign spending.

Segment Synopsis: Darden discusses the growth of campaign spending, spending limits, and compares public versus private financing.

Keywords: campaign financing; private donation; public financing; spending limits

01:43:40 - Rise of Repubilcan Party in Georgia

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Partial Transcript: Let's turn now to party politics in Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Darden reflects on the realignment of party politics in Georgia and hypothesizes what the future of politics in Georgia could look like. He talks about the increasing rural-urban dichotomy. Darden also talks about his views on party-switching and party registration.

Keywords: agriculture; party registration; political realignment; urbanization

01:55:55 - Reflection on career and legacy

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Partial Transcript: Who if anyone is your political role model?

Segment Synopsis: Darden reflects on his political role models, his political achievements and regrets. He describes his fondest memory of working in Congress.

Keywords: Carl Sanders; Richard B. Russell; Roy Barnes; achievements; memory; role model

02:01:46 - Wife and children

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Partial Transcript: Congressmen, your friend Governor Roy Barnes, said this about you.

Segment Synopsis: Darden talks meeting his wife Lillian at the University of Georgia, the support she has provided him in his political career, and her role in raising their children. He talks about his wife's career in fundraising for Alzheimer's research, and his daughter's and son's education and careers.

Keywords: childraising; education; family; marriage; teaching

02:08:23 - Involvement post-politics

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Partial Transcript: Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you about your life after politics.

Segment Synopsis: Darden talks about working in a law firm after retiring from politics. He talks about briefly serving on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and volunteering for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He reflects on the multiple shifts in the course of his career and his interest in a wide variety of issues.

Keywords: National democratic Institute for International Affairs; Overseas Private Investment Corporation; career change; law firm; political retirement