The Gephardt Collection: Quite a Load

Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:36pm

There was a time when the name Richard A. Gephardt was on everybody’s lips.

The longtime Missouri Democrat, who served from 1977 to 2005 and twice made a run for the White House, still does the occasional media hit — he’s president and CEO of his own local lobbying shop, Gephardt Government Affairs. But he has mostly faded from the small screen.

Until now.

During the past seven years, the Missouri History Museum has wrestled with how best to showcase the nearly 18,000 pieces of political memorabilia Gephardt donated when he left office, a collection that includes congressional documents, campaign papers, official photographs and more than 600 campaign videos.

The treasure trove of TV coverage bears everything, warts and all. Yes, there are plenty of slickly produced campaign spots. But there’s also footage from bizarro test shoots, eerily silent B-roll and poorly lit/mic’d/focused footage, presumably shot by friends, family or staff.

Gephardt remains terribly proud of it all.

“I’m very honored by the Missouri History Museum for making video of the campaign available online. The many people who served on the campaign deserve their moment in history,” he told HOH via email.

So, does he have a personal favorite?

Nope. He’s got two.

His most treasured print mention dates back a quarter-century. “In my office today, there is one of my very favorite memories—a framed cover story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Feb. 24, 1987, the day I announced my candidacy alongside my wife, three children, mother and several of my colleagues from the House,” he shared.

On the video side, Gephardt leaned toward a 2003 appearance with James Hoffa and the Teamsters Union, for purely sentimental reasons. “My father was a union member, so it was particularly meaningful to me to have their backing,” he said.