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The 'He-Coon' speaks


Lawton Chiles
1930-1998

Chiles' last journey to recall his famous first

MacKay steps into awkward 23 days

MacKay's statement

Tim Nickens: He-Coon' walked own path

Howard Troxler: Chiles had faith in politics and trust in the voters

Words from the heart of a He-Coon

Funeral plans

Chiles photo gallery

Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay: a quick look at the man who will take over until Jeb Bush is sworn in.

Times forum: What will be Chiles' legacy in Florida? Participate in a special forum and share your thoughts.


Earlier coverage:
Gov. Chiles dies

To the end, Chiles had plans for new career

Chiles' legacy to grow with Florida's children

Floridians remember a man of the people

Chiles' health an issue for years

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 14, 1998


"Cracker," Gov. Lawton Chiles once told a Jeb Bush supporter, "is a plain-spoken language of the country, spoken from the heart so anybody can understand."

Some Chiles colloquialisms

"The old he-coon walks just before the light of day."

-- Final debate with Jeb Bush, Nov. 1, 1994, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Bush looked baffled. Chiles was implying he would score a come-from-behind victory, which he did.

"It's sort of like saying, "Don't mess with the Lone Ranger.' "

-- Backstage after the debate, explaining his enigmatic "he-coon" comment.

"You know how a deer looks in headlights? That's the sight I saw last night."

-- The day after the debate.

Random Crackerisms

"Even a blind hog will root out an acorn once in a while."

"A cut dog barks."

"It's a sorry frog who won't holler in his own pond."

On Jeb Bush, 1994

"They tried to put him in a grade he wasn't ready for."

"The state is a 747. It does not fly by itself. Jeb needs to solo before he flies the 747."

On tobacco

"I've been in a lot of fights, but this is the best fight I have ever been in. We whipped them, and we are going to keep them down."

-- Speaking to a group dedicated to nonviolence.

"Heifer dust."

-- Dismissing arguments that the state's tobacco bill was so broad, any business could be sued.

On the campaign trail, 1994

"The hare is young, attractive, fast, quick, strong. The cooter just kind of plods along. The hare gets so far ahead, he stops to take a nap. And when the finish line comes, who's first? The cooter!"

Looking forward to retirement

"There's a place called "the glory hole' down in Central Florida. This fishing hole in an old phosphate pit. I haven't had a chance to go there in a number of years."

1992 State of the State address

"I didn't come here to stay. But I came here to make a difference."

 

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