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Politics

Michael Dukakis Speaks Exclusively to TNH about His Friend Paul Sarbanes

December 9, 2020

BOSTON – Michael Dukakis mourns the death of his dear friend Paul Sarbanes, whom he met in 1957 when both were students at Harvard Law School. In a telephone interview with The National Herald the first words that spoken by Governor Dukakis said were: “We lost a great man Theodore; we were very close.”

Mr. Dukakis reminisced about how the two of them met some 63 years ago. “I had heard about Paul from people who knew him but I never met him until he arrived at Harvard Law School where I was. That was the beginning of a long friendship, in 1957. We started the law school together. He was Rhodes Scholar and he had some credits from Oxford and that got him into law school with a year’s credit. From that point on we became very close. We were the same age and continued to be close as both of us got actively involved in politics in our states. He was in the Maryland House of Delegates and then he became a congressman first and then a senator, and of course I was doing my thing here moving up in the governorship.”

Dukakis also said, “Paul was extremely helpful in my presidential campaign … I can’t say enough for him. He was another example of America at its best. His father was an immigrant and he had a little restaurant in Maryland and Paul became a United States Senator. He did a great work. He was very bright, intelligent, thoughtful.”

Asked what was most memorable from their political conversations, Dukakis said “he was one of the most intelligent and the most thoughtful people I ever worked with in public life. He was just remarkable. He wasn’t only a good friend but a wonderful mind.”

Asked what his departure means for the Greek-American community and also for Greece, he said “he was a great champion of Greece and you know all about that. One of the things that I say these days is that we may be pioneers but we need more young Greek-Americans getting deeply involved in politics, with Paul being a wonderful example of what we want our young people to become.”

He also said that Sarbanes “lived to see the victory of Joe Biden for the Presidency of the United States,” and added “we still have this crazy man running around telling people that he won the election. He is really a disturbed guy. I am serious about this – we never had anything like it. Thank God Biden won and he won by a lot and I don’t know what Trump is talking about, or thinking … Biden is a good man and he is the right guy to get us through this pandemic and get us back on track.”

Of his family, Dukakis said, “thank God we are ok. I had to retire from active teaching in June but I am quite busy doing a lot of things, but obviously until we get this vaccine we can’t do much, I have to say close to home and I can’t run around.”     

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Ambassador Dimitrios Tsikouris (JD, MA) has a 36-year-long career in the Greek Diplomatic Service with assignments in Germany, the United Nations, New Orleans, Washington, DC, NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, Iran, Belgium, Indonesia, Malaysia, and ASEAN.

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