Strauss rose from the Texas Plains to become an influential Washington insider, leading the Democratic Party and hopscotching among White House posts when not making millions as a lobbyist and deal maker.
When President Carter ordered White House personnel to fly coach, reporters asked Mr. Strauss if he would still fly first-class. “Yes,” he said, “unless there is something better.”
Others joked about Mr. Strauss’s cultivation of the role of “insider’s insider.” Jim Wright, the former House speaker and a fellow Texan, said of him, “It’s an honor to have with us a close friend of the next president of the United States — whoever the hell he may be.”
He was indeed a "close friend" of President Carter's:
Five months later he resigned to become chairman of Mr. Carter’s 1980 re-election campaign. After Mr. Carter lost to Reagan, Mr. Strauss slipped into the role of unofficial adviser to the new president and a lunchtime companion of Mrs. Reagan’s.
“Bob Strauss is a very loyal friend,” Mr. Carter remarked. “He waited a whole week after the election before he had dinner with Ronald Reagan.”