- KDKA.com - Murphy: Perceived Rivalry With O'Connor Not True after Bob O'Connor's death in September, 2006
Murphy: Perceived Rivalry With O'Connor Not TrueEdit
SLIDESHOW: Remembering Mayor Bob O'Connor
VIDEO: A Video Tribute To Mayor O'Connor
(KDKA) PITTSBURGH Former Mayor Tom Murphy made it a point not to say a word to the media during Mayor Bob O'Connor's first year in office.
But with O'Connor's death, Murphy decided it was time to break his silence.
"It's terrible for the family and it's terrible for the city," Murphy said.
Most people think Tom Murphy and Bob O'Connor have been adversaries for years � a perception that is not true, says the former mayor.
"Bob and I had a long relationship," Murphy said. "Actually, he worked with my dad at Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation."
Murphy says he helped O'Connor get started politically when Murphy was a legislator and O'Connor wanted to get on city council.
�He came to me and we talked, and I helped him in his first campaign,� Murphy said. �A lot of my campaign people went over and helped to run his campaign.
We had a whole relationship before we started to run against each other.�
When O'Connor was City Council President, Murphy says they met weekly and O'Connor was very helpful in lining up the five council votes needed to pass bills.
"Bob brought people together," Murphy said. "Bob really worked hard to figure out what the common ground was and I was probably more head strong."
Murphy admits he lacked O'Connor's people skills and appreciated the balance that O'Connor brought to city government.
"I was more focused on thinking about the big picture and try to figure out how to get there," Murphy said. "Bob was much more a people person than I was."
"Bob's enthusiasm for Pittsburgh and love of Pittsburgh was really contagious."
He says neither O'Connor nor he took their later political rivalry personally.
"We went through campaigns, but for both of us I don't know that there was a great deal of bitterness," Murphy said.
Murphy salutes O'Connor for helping to heal the city.
"His role in many ways would be to bring the city back together again and to inject a spirit of optimism," Murphy said.
Despite the popular perception, Murphy insists that he and O'Connor agreed on Pittsburgh issues more than 90 percent of the time and that it was their style that separated them.
The former mayor says he and his wife, Mona, plan to attend O'Connor's funeral mass on Thursday.
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