That’s Rufus

A Memoir of Tar Heel Politics, Watergate and Public Life

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About the Book

A farm boy from the mountains of North Carolina, Rufus Edmisten could not have been prepared for the halls of power in Washington, D.C., during the Vietnam War era, as young men burned their draft cards and pro-cannabis factions held “smoke-ins” in the capital. A University of North Carolina Chapel Hill graduate, he earned a law degree at George Washington University and landed a job as counsel to U.S. senator Samuel J. Ervin, Jr. This led to Edmisten’s appointment as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee—he personally served Richard Nixon the first ever subpoena of a sitting president by Congress. Returning to North Carolina, he served as Attorney General and Secretary of State before retiring from public life to practice law and participate in charitable activities. Written with humor and candor, his memoir recalls the cultural contrasts of American life in the 1970s and 1980s, and affirms that the business of government is to enable us to live together peacefully.

About the Author(s)

Former North Carolina Attorney General and Secretary of State, Rufus L. Edmisten drew international attention when he served as deputy chief counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee. His work, together with that of others, uncovered the truth about the Watergate scandal in 1973. He has the distinction of being the first person on a congressional committee to serve a subpoena to a sitting president of the United States. A practicing lawyer and lobbyist, he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Rufus L. Edmisten

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 234
Bibliographic Info: 108 photos (6 in color), index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7797-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3676-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Introduction 2
1. Issuing the Watergate Subpoena 5
2. My Mountain Home 7
3. The Foundations of My Political Leanings 51
4. High School Days 53
5. Going to Carolina 64
6. Law School and Washington, D.C.: Sam Ervin,­Teacher-in-Chief 74
7. Watergate 80
8. The Attorney General Years 107
9. The 1984 North Carolina Governor’s Race 138
10. My First Private Law Practice 149
11. The Secretary of State Years 152
12. Hubris 162
13. Friends of Rufus (FOR) to the Rescue 166
14. Exoneration and Rebuilding My Life 168
15. My Garden and Our ­Four-Footed Friends 172
Between pages 178 and 179 are 2 plates with 6 color photographs
16. The Grim Intruder: ­Guillain-Barré Syndrome 179
17. Remembering Watergate 187
18. A Few of My Favorite Things 190
Between pages 200 and 201 are 8 plates with 13 b&w photographs
19. Thoughts on a Life Fully Lived 201
Index 205