A film on the life of former California Congressman Pete McCloskey, the charismatic war veteran from the Bay Area who famously ran for president against Richard Nixon, will air on KQED public television next month.
Filmmaker Robert Caughlan has been working on “Pete McCloskey: Leading from the Front” film for several years but his 81-year-old subject refused to slow down long enough for Caughlan to finish it. First, the former politician decided to run for Congress against Richard Pombo in 2006 and then McCloskey, an environmental lawyer, took on a high-profile case.
Caughlan’s efforts were further complicated with the death last year of the film’s narrator, Paul Newman.
I met McCloskey for the first time in 2006 when he ran for Congress and found him to be an extraordinarily charming man. I visited McCloskey at his Rumsey property, where he persuaded me to interview him while I drove a tractor through his orange grove. The tractor’s bucket was loaded with horse manure and he walked ahead of me and talked while he threw shovelfuls of the stuff onto his trees.
I also got to know Caughlan during that time period and found him a personable and good-humored foil to McCloskey’s sometimes mercurial personality. I had the chance at the time to see pieces of the McCloskey film that were adapted for use during the campaign.
I’m looking forward to seeing the final version. Someone remind me to set my DVR!