Aug 17, 2011 9:18 PM by Drew Trafton
BILLINGS- If you've ever spent even a short amount of time with Wyoming's former U.S. Senator, Al Simpson, you'd probably agree the title of his biography, Shooting From the Lip, is fitting for the nearly 80-year-old icon from the Cowboy State.
Of course, when the author is a close personal friend (and former Chief of Staff) you can expect several close, personal touches.
And that personal relationship with Hardy was just one of many reasons which prompted Simpson to ask his friend to write the biography.
"About 10 years ago, people said, 'I'd like to do a book on you,'" said Simpson. "I didn't even know who they were-- that happened twice. So, I called Don and said, 'You know, if anyone's going to do a book on me, it should be you.' "
Donald Loren Hardy and Alan Simpson have known each other for more than 50 years.
Their paths first crossed formally when both were on probation, Simpson on federal probation and Hardy on state probation, during their childhood in Cody, Wyoming.
"After we visited, I said, 'You're a very salvageable person, you have a great future in front of you,'" said Simpson. "He didn't need me to tell him that."
Hardy's career spanned a stretch in the world of broadcast news before he joined Simpson's staff, where he rose to the position Chief of Staff and enjoyed an 18- year ride with Simpson in the U.S. Senate, which included stints as assistant majority leader and assistant minority leader.
Although Hardy did have the advantage of already having close access to Simpson throughout the years, it proved to be a double edged sword.
The nature of his relationship with Simpson was also the main concern for Hardy as he prepared to write the biography.
"I knew that people would look at this book and say, 'Well, you worked for this guy for 18 years. You were dependent on that income, you're probably going to write a puff piece,' "said Hardy.
Of course, that's not what Hardy did.
In fact, he laid it all out on the line.
"When he (Simpson) read the first chapter, when Anne read the first chapter, it starts out talking about some of the things that Al did when he was young," said Hardy. " Anne looked over and said, 'Al, he makes you look like a monster, when you were young.' And he looked over and said, ' I was.' "
"It's a hell of a remarkable book because it's real and it's not edited by me. I did proof it. I found several, glaring typographical errors," joked Simpson, who's famous for meticulously proofing and editing his staff's letters while working on the hill in Washington.
Shooting From the Lip: The Life of Senator Al Simpson will hit book shelves on Labor Day Weekend.
A book signing will be held at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming on September 4th, 2011.
Both Senator Simpson and Hardy will be on hand for the book signing.
Tomorrow, we'll post another segment of our interview with Senator Simpson and Don Hardy.
To learn more about the biography, click here to visit Senator Simpson's website.