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Dan Carter, author, on
Wallace's first defeat

Dan Carter George Wallace lost in 1958. It was his first defeat he had ever suffered in anything he had ever run for. And those around him -- newspaper people who covered him, his friends -- noticed a real change in his personality. Moved his family to Montgomery, sort of dropped them off at an apartment there, and hit the road, planning for the next election. And whether it was because of the pressure of losing or whatever, his friends noticed a big change. He drank for the first time, he was never a serious drinker, but it didn't take but a couple of drinks to throw him off balance. He began having sexual liaisons in a pretty indiscriminate and careless kind of way during that period, from 1959 to 1962. And those people who backed him, who supported him, were afraid that he was going to go over the edge. That is, that he was so unstable that he wasn't going to be able to make a serious run in 1962. But as always, when the prize was within reach, Wallace straightened up. He cut back on the drinking. He began to focus on the campaign, and although he had a rough and rocky start, once he got going, he was his usual dynamic presence on the stump. He hired a first-class speech writer who kind of gave him some good lines to try out. And mainly, he found the themes he needed for that election of 1962. But for his family, the years from 1958 to 1962 were a kind of purgatory, I think.

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