Robert Strauss, the statesman and former ambassador to the Soviet Union who died March 19 at age 95, began his public life in the 1920s serving patrons in a small grocery store that his German-immigrant family owned in the tiny town of Stamford.
Those who knew him as a boy had no idea he would one day advise presidents, begin one of the world’s most influential law firms and donate millions of dollars to academic and civic institutions in Dallas, which he adopted as his home.
When the Democratic Party found itself in turmoil after the 1972 elections, its leaders turned to Strauss, who meticulously mended broken fences and hearts, successfully guiding a little-known governor from Georgia, Jimmy Carter, to the White House in the 1976 presidential election.
During the four years that Strauss led our party, we gained nearly 50 members in the House and seven in the Senate. Six Democratic governors were elected. His imprint was on every single victory.
When the history of American politics is written, the name of Robert Strauss will be as prominent as the names of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Johnson, Obama and Kennedy.
— Eddie Bernice Johnson,
U.S. Representative, Dallas