Paul Newman, robocaller

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I didn't care much for his politics, but there was a lot to like about Paul Newman's character and personality. I was tickled by this anecdote, told by Ned Lamont, the left-winger who beat Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, about Newman's willingness not only to voice a recorded endorsement call, but to write it and field-test it, too.

Newman was one of Lamont's early supporters and made phone calls and commercials for the upstart candidate.

"At first he just wanted to voice his private support," Lamont said. "He had been public on behalf of a number of candidates . . . and he remembered that a Wall Street Journal columnist had been so outraged they suggested boycotting Newman's salad dressing."

Lamont said a week later Newman changed his mind.

"He called back and said, 'What the hell, let's do it,' " Lamont said, recalling how Newman wrote his own robo-call script.

"It was the funniest thing," Lamont said. "He then called around the state just to test it out and pretended he was a 'robo call.' He called me back up a day or so later and said, 'Ned, two people hung up, I got two answering machines, and the fifth person yelled to his wife - 'It's some quack pretending to be Paul Newman.' "

That anecdote is one of a number of tributes to Newman from his neighbors in Westport, Ct., his adopted hometown of half a century.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 30, 2008 7:26 PM.

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