Scott recalled, “I knew Joe had been advising the campaign but didn’t actually meet him until the night of the primary election. My desk was in the corner of a large room in the Cayetano headquarters which was packed with volunteersNapolitan, politicians and political wannabes; a virtual mirror of Hawaii’s diverse ethnic mix.  Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, Samoan, Hawaiians and a few haoles — a sometimes derogatory word for a ‘white person.’ Most people were eating and talking loudly; trying to be heard over the three large televisions blaring their take on the latest statewide election returns.”

“Over this general cacophony, I heard someone shout, ‘Are you Scott?’ and I turned to find a dapper man with a bushy white mustache and a well-chewed cigar stub between the fingers of his right hand. I said ‘yes, I’m Scott’ and Joe introduced himself. Realizing I was standing face-to-face with the man who had advised President John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, I nervously blurted out, ‘Joe! You’re the guru!” and he replied, ‘Yeah, that’s what they call you when you get old.’

Joe told me he had been seeing my work and to ‘just keep doing what your doing and we’ll win this.” We did win it, and thanks to Joe’s sage guidance, we won Governor Ben Cayetano’s 1998 re-election campaign as well.Anyone who knew Joe well had to at least laugh at the photo on his December 9, 2013 New York Times obituary. Sitting there in his classic pose, Joe holds an unlit cigar stub that was seemingly always in his hand. In fact, I can’t recall having ever seen him without it. I never asked and he never told me about his “cigar thing” but today, I truly believe it was a contrived stage prop; like a “brand.” By the way, Joe’s personal email address was “cigar777@aol.com.”

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