One of Us: Bob Brady

The nine-term U.S. Congressman and local Democratic boss, 68, tells us about his job in Washington (and his mean Jewish apple cake).

Democratic Boss Bob Brady

Illustration by Andy Friedman

My name is … Bob Brady, or Robert A. Brady. The “A” stands for Alan. My father was Robert G. Brady, and he didn’t want a junior, and my mother liked Alan Ladd, so…

I am a … nice guy.




My job is … a pain in the ass.

I live in … the greatest city in the United States. And I mean that.

Governor Corbett needs to … get a filter between his brain and his mouth.

When I was 16 … I was cool. I had nice long hair, and I was hanging out at dances. Well, at least I thought I was cool.

My most prized material possession is … my car. I have a Corvette, a ’95 ZR-1. It only has 2,500 miles on it. That’s the sad thing: I don’t even have time to drive it.

I wanted to grow up to be … an athlete. I played football in high school. I was a linebacker. And then I played semi-pro for 10 years.

If I’m at Wawa, I always get … French vanilla coffee.

I make a mean … Jewish apple cake. And I make a huge mess. My wife goes crazy, because the mess is just major.

To stay in shape … I work out three or four days a week. I have a Nautilus in my garage.

If you are going to take me out to dinner … take me to Tony Luke’s for the veal cutlet with broccoli rabe. But I take the bread off most of it.

My secret talent is … fixing things. I can fix anything that’s broken, and there’s always something broken somewhere.

The worst part about getting older is … getting older.

My biggest regret is … not going to college. Although now I’ve been teaching at Penn for 15 years. Go figure. I teach organizational dynamics, more or less; it’s political philosophy. Though that’s an oxymoron.

If I’m going to have one drink, it will be … a Dewar’s on the rocks.

The next mayor of Philadelphia is going to be … Tony Williams. He’s putting the most effort into it of any candidate.

One game I am really good at is … poker. I play seven-card stud.

The last book I read cover-to-cover is … Manhunt, about John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of Abe Lincoln. I didn’t want to put it down.

I can’t give up … pizza. I have never met a pizza I didn’t like.

If you really want to piss me off … don’t believe me. I never lie. My mother taught me that.

My favorite outdoor space in Philadelphia is … the Linc. I don’t get to see enough Eagles games, but I go when I can. They are on their way. This town will go crazy if the Eagles win. Remember how crazy it went when the Phillies won? It will go twice as crazy. Be ready.

On Sundays … I have dinner with my family. My wife’s Italian, so of course we have pasta. Well, actually, we have macaroni with gravy, not pasta and sauce. My granddaughters make the meatballs. It’s a good day.

The first concert I ever went to was … Chuck Berry at the Electric Factory. Maybe in 1965.

I will retire … probably never. They’ll have to carry me out.

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