Reader RD has a whole series of questions on the George Gorton profile. I’m going to take them one at a time and my colleague Kelly Bennett‘s handling one of them separately in an upcoming post.

who are the other people in the photo with Nixon? College Republicans? I love the dress, the hair and the shoes on the blonde.

Great question. I admittedly didn’t take great notes when Gorton was explaining this to me (and he didn’t remember everyone), so I’m going to see if he can answer the question. But he goes off the grid for a while so I can’t guarantee an answer anytime soon.

I do know that the blonde with the hair, dress and shoes that you love is Tricia Nixon Cox, the president’s oldest daughter. She’s the first one on the left, seated closest to the camera. On the opposite side, first on the right, is her husband, Edward Cox.

and… how’d Kelly get Susan Golding to talk? I thought she was pretty much incommunicado these days.

Good old-fashioned persistence. I got her number from a source a long time ago but never really had any reason to use it. Kelly then just plugged away, calling her over and over and over again until she sat down and met with her for at least an hour or so.

“I think I left 25 messages for her,” Kelly said when I asked her about it.

does Kelly have theories about why he’s such a lady magnet? I’ll bet some readers would like to know 🙂 … he’s seriously been monogamous all these years? Hard to believe.

Kelly dealt with this question in the previous post here.

and… this may be answered in the stories… how’d you get on this story? what intrigued you two about this guy? how did you gain his trust?

I was hoping someone would ask this one. Sometime in January or February our colleague Scott Lewis came back from having coffee with a source (note for all you young journalists out there, going to coffee with sources one of the top three things you can do in your life) and said he’d just heard the most amazing story.

He was quite animated in telling us Gorton’s tale about Parkinson’s and the possible poisoning in Russia. It sounded amazing.

I knew Gorton, but not very well. I’d first heard of him when he returned to San Diego politics in 2005 to do Steve Francis’ campaign for mayor. At the time, a mutual acquaintance sent me a link to the movie “Spinning Boris” so that I had an idea of the guy’s background.

I also happened to bump into him at my wife’s work Christmas party at the end of last year. And, I’d noticed his name appear when I read “All the President’s Men” while on vacation after the 2005 election.

So, we were familiar with him but really didn’t know much about him except for the Russia thing and, then, the poisoning theory.

We were obviously intrigued. Kelly got really interested and I could tell by how many links to old stories she sent me (and the enthusiasm with which she did so) that she wanted to be involved too.

We went through that mutual acquaintance and tried to set up a meeting with Gorton. That’s kind of hard with a guy who lives in an RV. So it took a while.

We finally sat down for breakfast at World Famous in early March. He asked us what we wanted to know about. We said Russia and the poisoning. And he said something like, “You don’t know about the guru stuff or anything else?” We flatly said, No. And so he took us through his whole life story. By the time we were done, it was lunch time.

I would guess we earned his trust when we came back to do a second interview with him and had learned a lot about his life since then independently and talked to a lot of people from his past. In all, we probably spent between 12 and 15 hours interviewing him in person.

another one that’s probably answered (but you only gave readers til tomorrow to ask questions): New Age-ers and the GOP aren’t a great match. Did he ever drift toward Dems?

I tried to answer that one here.

also, thought you might get a kick out of what Google ads pulled up on the VoSD page when I just read the Gorton’s women story. Very appropriate:

Make Him Fall In Love
How To Become The Woman He Adores And Never Wants
To Leave TheWomenMenAdore.com

Yeah, reader RD, we saw that too and quickly worked to get rid it.

This is fun. Please keep the questions coming. Remember, just e-mail me> here or comment below on this post or previous posts.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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