While describing Rockefeller's eight-year governorship as "mostly mundane," he lays out the corruption in the Moore administration that eventually sent Moore to federal prison. In interview remarks about the book, Brunner said: "I personally liked Arch Moore -- I don't know whether he'd say the same of me. He called me names and et cetera, et cetera."
Before he was finally brought low by long-rumored corruption charges, Moore was in his element, Brunner writes:
"Moore relished the political warfare. He seemed to come alive when the battle was joined. I'll never forget his first Christmas in the governor's mansion when relations with reporters were still relatively amicable. There was an annual reception for the media involving drinks, food, and off-the-record conversation. Several reporters had gathered around Moore for some back-and-forth. The conventional wisdom at the time was that Moore was making a brief stop at the statehouse and had his eye on Jennings Randolph's Senate seat. But Moore suddenly became serious and looked out at us and said in his most serious voice, 'Fellows, I love this job.' He meant it.
"The diminutive Moore had some unusual security requests. As you might assume, most state troopers were large, burly men. When they surrounded the governor, he tended to disappear in a sea of uniforms. Moore asked his state police superintendent Bob Bonar to remedy that. For the next six years, Moore was surrounded by the shortest troopers in the 600-man force."
Later in his career, Brunner stepped across the aisle into the office of the governor, joining the Caperton administration in 1990 as communications director. Brunner describes the rocky outset of the businessman and political outsider's administration and the complications as Caperton's marriage to then state legislator and former Miss West Virginia, Dee (Kessel) Caperton, dissolved in pubic view.
At the time, Don Marsh, then editor of The Charleston Gazette, told Brunner he was making a bad decision, especially as the Caperton administration seemed to be floundering at the time.
Brunner, in interview remarks, noted that: "Don Marsh stopped me in a parking lot and said 'Please don't do this.' Caperton's a political dead man and you'll regret it for the rest of your life."
Marsh's remarks "gave me a lot of pause," said Brunner.
But Brunner said he was burned out with being a TV newsman. In the WSAZ archives, he said, "they had 10,000 stories on file under my name. There's only about 50 stories a reporter does -- that means I'd done each 200 times."
Plus, unlike his complicated feelings about Rockefeller and Moore, he esteemed Caperton's motivations and outlook, said Brunner. "I finally went back to Don and said, 'Don, he's honest and he cares. And I haven't run into too many people around here who have those qualities.'"
How does he sum up the one big left turn out of his life as a newsman?
"I would say most of my time with Caperton was positive and productive. There were some obvious frustrations. Nothing caused me to change my mind about him -- he's honest and he cares."
Want to go?
WHAT: Bob Brunner will sign copies of his book, "Bob Brunner's Reporter's Recollections"
WHEN: June 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reach Douglas Imbrogno at doug...@cnpapers.com or 304-348-3017.