Albany - Friends, family, and a former President are mourning the loss of a political legend from Albany tonight. Former White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan died last night after a more than 20-year battle with cancer. President Carter says Jordan was his closest political advisor and a friend.
Even as a young man Hamilton Jordan was active in politics. "We all knew growing up that if we aspired to hold any type of class office, the person you wanted on your team, or to direct your campaign was Hamilton, back then," said Lacy Lee. "He loved elections. He loved politics." Lacy Lee is a lifelong friend of Jordan's. She and her husband Spencer stayed in close contact with Jordan, even spending time at the White House.
She said, "We will never forget the memories of those wonderful times in Washington with him." A few years ago, Lee had the honor of introducing Jordan at an event in Albany where he spoke about his struggle with cancer. She says although politics was his career and cancer his demise, family defined him. "I've never seen a man that committed to his family," she said. "He concentrated all of his energy and his being and gave them his greatest gift and that was his time."
Tommy Coleman wasn't a close personal friend, but knew Jordan through the political arena... an arena in which he says Jordan was pure genius. He said, "Whether you agreed with the Carter administration or Hamilton Jordan or not, his sense of commitment to making this a better place for us all to live was extraordinary. He was certainly the most central person in my mind to the ascendancy of Jimmy Carter as President of the United States."
And a man who may appreciate that political talent more than anyone, is the man he helped elect. From the Carter Center in Atlanta today, President Carter said, "I followed almost meticulously, it modified as it went along, Hamilton's plan and by the time the other candidates woke up, they had already lost the election and I prevailed." He said, "He was one of the world's extraordinary people. "
An extraordinary man who's memoir reflected his outlook on life..."No Such Thing As a Bad Day."
Jordan fought cancer for 22-years before succumbing Tuesday. Cancer also took the lives of his parents, Dick and Adelaide Jordan.