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Sam Rayburn was Speaker of the House of Representatives longer than any other man in our history. There is a story about him that reveals the kind of man he really was.


The teenage daughter of a friend of his died suddenly one night. Early the next morning the man heard a knock on his door, and, when he opened it, there was Mr, Rayburn standing outside.


The Speaker said, "I just came by to see what I could do to help."


The father replied in his deep grief, "I don’t think there is anything you can do, Mr. Speaker. We are making all the arrangements."


"Well," Mr. Rayburn said, "have you had your coffee this morning?"


The man replied that they had not taken time for breakfast. So Mr. Rayburn said that he could at least make coffee for them. While he was working in the kitchen, the man came in and said, "Mr. Speaker, I thought you were supposed to be having breakfast at the White House this morning."


"Well I was," Mr. Rayburn said, "but I called the President and told him I had a friend who was in trouble, and I couldn’t come."


* Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes, Robert J. Morgan

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