Johnson was calm, even chatty, in the waiting room before his speech. When he stepped to the podium, he faltered a moment, because microphone and TelePrompTer were too low for his six-foot seven-inch frame. After he said his piece and came down from the podium, he turned to Starr and said, "Man, that was a kick." It was a national political debut, even if, as he later joked to Starr, "Maybe a couple of retired folks were watching on TV," but he enjoyed it.

Since Tsongas' withdrawal, Johnson's been campaigning for Bill Clinton, making good impressions as the budget-balancing Democrat from Arizona, and of course making connections that may help him in the future.

Johnson states unabashedly that he will probably run for the U.S. Senate or for governor of Arizona, but he won't commit to either, not because he wants to be coy, but because it's too early to decide. Likely he'll watch his options carefully, figure how long he can stay mayor without losing too much political capital, decide which is the safer bet. He's got more than $200,000 in his campaign war chest left over from his unopposed mayoral race. One could do some serious damage with that much cash.

When pressed on which race he'll run, Johnson counters facetiously by asking, "Why not vice president?" Then he muses, "Senator? That's heady stuff, but you have to understand demagoguery and give good speeches." And besides, he continues, it takes a while to earn enough seniority to accomplish anything.

"The day you become governor, you can start making a difference," he says. And, one supposes, he wouldn't have to move out of Sunnyslope.

And then where does one go after being governor?
"Look at Mr. Clinton," he says playfully.

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