By Wayne Slater
The Dallas Morning News
A new documentary about Ann Richards arrives this political season just as another woman is facing long odds and slaughterhouse politics in her bid to become the next governor of Texas.
For all the differences between then and now, the film offers some fresh reminders — and striking parallels for today — about how a woman got elected. And how four years later, she didn’t.
Greg Abbott, Wendy Davis’ Republican opponent, should take notes.
The HBO film, All About Ann, opened this month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and premieres on the cable network at 8 p.m. Dallas time Monday.
It is a starry-eyed portrayal of Richards’ remarkable life, with a rich set of archival photos and film footage, some of it not widely seen before. There are interviews with famous people saying nice things: Bill Clinton, columnist Liz Smith, Henry Cisneros, Dan Rather, Willie Nelson.
The film opens with a vintage moment of Richards on stage at the 1988 Democratic convention, resplendent in a blue dress and that glossy confederacy of white hair. She delivers the line about George H.W. Bush that catapulted her to national attention: “Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”
Two years later, she was governor. But it wasn’t easy, as the documentary notes.