Eleven things you didn’t know about Jamie Dupree

Included: Twinkies, ham radio, a loud crow & Opie Taylor

Originally posted Monday, June 11, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Jamie Dupree, over nearly 30 years at Cox, is known as the consummate political reporter in D.C. He has faced his biggest work-related challenge to date over the past two years since he lost his ability to talk due to a rare neurological condition.

Next week, using a special text-to-voice application, he will now again be heard on Cox stations, including News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB.

Here are some random facts Dupree provided to me about himself that you may not know. I also got a little help from Neal Boortz, the retired WSB talk show host who for years talked to Dupree every day about the news of the day. Boortz always tried to get an actual opinion out of Dupree but said he failed miserably.

Credit: Dupree, Jamie (CMG-WNB)

Credit: Dupree, Jamie (CMG-WNB)

1) Golfing is his biggest hobby. He said his handicap is now a 7, down from 11 since he lost his voice. "I think that happened because I can't talk to others in my group and I focus more," he wrote. Boortz said he neither veers right or left, though that was probably alluding to his ability to stay right down the middle when discussing politics. "I can work the ball left to right or right to left," he added. "I shot a 76 two weeks ago."

2) He's a sucker for seersucker during the summer. "As I tell my colleagues," Dupree wrote, "if you are wearing the same suit in July that you are wearing in January, you are doing it wrong."

3) Not crowing about this story: Dupree one time got to sit outside the Oval Office to interview Bill Clinton. Problem: a pesky crow made so much noise, it rendered the audio for his interview virtually useless.

4) His ties to D.C. run deep. His parents met and worked on Capitol Hill for decades. He's been working on a book about their experience. "I Love the Hill" is the tentative title, stemming from a letter his father wrote to a friend in 1960. The subtitle: "Alcohol is a Depressant, But so is the Senate"

5) D.C. matchmaking at work. Not surprisingly, he too met his wife Emily while working on Capitol Hill. He proposed to her on the Capitol Hill lawn.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

6) Watch out, Jim Cantore! "Other than politics," Dupree writes, "I love covering hurricanes. I carry three coolers - one for food, one for water, one for booze."

7) Is his nickname really Opie? Boortz says so, referencing the "Andy Griffith Show" character, but Dupree demurred. "But once I gave a speech at a county jail where two rather large inmates got in an argument over whether I look more like Opie Taylor or Howdy Doody."

8) Ham on what? Besides golf, he is a licensed ham radio operator. Ham radio was used for decades to interact with people from around the world before the Internet or the cellular phone. There are still hobbyists out there who do this though it's obviously an aging, shrinking group. "I got my license when I was 17," he wrote. "It allows you to talk to amateur radio operators all over the world. I came down to Atlanta a couple of years ago to speak to a local ham radio group." He can still correspond easily using Morse Code.

9) Could be a Congressional "referee": He has a knack for knowing the most arcane rules of parliamentary procedure in both the House and the Senate thanks to a lifetime of exposure.

Credit: Dupree, Jamie (CMG-WNB)

Credit: Dupree, Jamie (CMG-WNB)

10) No fear or loathing on the campaign trail. Dupree loves covering presidential campaigns and has tracked the past seven. "The best days," he wrote, "are when you drive over 400 miles and cover 4-5 events, and you go from 6 a.m. to midnight non-stop!"

11) Junk food of choice? Dupree loves Twinkies and asks that they are in the green room when he makes appearances, according to Boortz. Dupree admitted that this is indeed a weakness of his. "I do ask for Twinkies, yes!" he wrote. "The problem is that everyone else wants them too!"

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