Ed Rendell: The Oral History

Looking back on the former mayor as his political career in Pennsylvania nears its end.


• John Street
: Ed and David never wore overcoats — they prided themselves on never being cold. One day the wind chill was about 20 or 30 below, and we were getting ready to have our Tuesday meeting. About an hour before they came, I opened up all the windows and ran the temperature down, and it had to be in the teens. I had long underwear on, but they didn’t know that. I could hardly contain myself. But they wouldn’t say anything. And they sat there for two hours, and finally the meeting ended and they left. And somebody told me it was the first time they ever heard David curse. David said, “It’s f-ing cold in there.”

THE TEMPER AND THE PRANKS

• Bob Brady: He got mad once, threw an ashtray on the table, and it bounced up and hit me in the shoulder. I went around the table screaming at him.

• Sharon Wohlmuth
, Philadelphia photographer. At a party for her book Sisters, Rendell mistakenly thought she wanted to take his picture, grabbed her arm, and ripped her jacket. It was unfortunate, but that was the past. He did more for the city than any mayor in my lifetime. And I know he’s human, and he had a moment. … Oh, did you call Amy Rosenberg?

• Amy Rosenberg, Inquirer reporter who covered City Hall: There was a story where the city was going to lose a lot of federal money for Sister Mary Scullion and Project H.O.M.E. because of some stance that Rendell had taken. I waited for him outside his office. Rendell comes out, and I start asking him about it, and he just turns to me and says, “They’re wrong, they’re wrong.” And then he took his hand and kind of clamped it down on my neck. He clenched it. The city editor sent a letter to Rendell that said it’s never appropriate to grab a reporter by the neck. Rendell sent a letter back that said: “I’m sorry. I realize it’s never appropriate to touch a reporter. However, you know how Amy can get. I was just trying to slow her down.” Which was kind of funny, in a way.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 < Previous Next >View as One Page

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • colleen

    Having read your story on the Governor, it reminded me of his 1977 DA run. In 1977 I was an 18 year old cashier at the A & P on Roosevelt Boulevard. One afternoon the candidate and his campaign manager came in the store. They were to attend a fundraiser at The Shack Restaurant next door. The campaign manager asked, “What aisle is the Scotch-tape?” I told him the aisle, only for him to reaapear at my register and ask, “What aisle are toilet brushes?” At this point, realizing it was Mr. Rendell, I asked why they needed Scotch-tape and toilet brushes. The campaign manager informed me they were trying to get the fuzzies off of Mr. Rendell’s suit. Classic. Only in Philly. I’m sure the Governor is dressing better nowadays. C. C. Young

  • colleen

    Having read your story on the Governor, it reminded me of his 1977 DA run. In 1977 I was an 18 year old cashier at the A & P on Roosevelt Boulevard. One afternoon the candidate and his campaign manager came in the store. They were to attend a fundraiser at The Shack Restaurant next door. The campaign manager asked, “What aisle is the Scotch-tape?” I told him the aisle, only for him to reaapear at my register and ask, “What aisle are toilet brushes?” At this point, realizing it was Mr. Rendell, I asked why they needed Scotch-tape and toilet brushes. The campaign manager informed me they were trying to get the fuzzies off of Mr. Rendell’s suit. Classic. Only in Philly. I’m sure the Governor is dressing better nowadays. C. C. Young

  • Mark

    Like Rendell, I am a native New Yorker and I know his mindset regarding Philly and Pennsylvania for that matter.When he went to Penn and saw Philly he couldn’t believe the corrupt bunch of rubes who run the place. Knowing his BS wouldn’t fly in savvy NY, he proceeded to grease his sleazy political career to the point where he was dubbed “Americas mayor” Please! I saw this character close up and he may be a god here but the guys a total fraud.

  • Eric

    Mr. Rendell eliminated the motorcycle helmet law when he began his career as Governor. On his way out he vetoed both the “residential sprinkler bill” AND the “cancer presumption” bill. This man has no soul…