By Carol Kozma

Statehouse Correspondent

BOSTON -- Former Gov. Endicott "Chub" Peabody wanted to announce his candidacy for vice president in 1972. He walked up to Rachelle Cohen, then a Statehouse reporter for The Associated Press and later the Boston Herald, saying, "Hi doll, Chub Peabody here."

No one had ever called Cohen "doll" before.

"So after that, we could not wait to acquire a bumper sticker to add him to the 'Wall of Shame,'" said Cohen, now the editorial page editor at the Herald.

The Wall of Shame, (aka The Wall of Losers) is a tradition at the Statehouse. The colorful mosaic of bumper stickers that adorns a wall of the fourth-floor press gallery, where a number of newspaper, television and radio reporters work, all share the same distinction -- they belong to candidates who ran, but lost their bids for office.

One of the newest additions to the wall came earlier this summer when former Republican state Rep. Dan Winslow of Norfolk brought a sticker from his failed U.S. Senate campaign to the newsroom. He said he first learned about the wall in the 1980s but was able to steer clear of it until now.

"I like to think of it as a wall of third-place winners," he said over the phone.

Winslow, who ran for the seat formerly held by Secretary of State John Kerry, came in third in the Republican primary behind Michael Sullivan and Gabriel Gomez. Democrat Edward Markey would go on to win in the general election.

"I think it's good to poke fun at yourself," Winslow said.


Richard Bastien, a former state representative who was just elected to the Gardner School Committee, said the wall is well known at the Statehouse.

"Obviously, you would prefer your name not to be up there," sad Bastien, a Gardner Republican.

Bastien gave the bumper sticker to a Statehouse reporter after losing his seat last year to Gardner Democrat Jonathan Zlotnik.

"Too often in politics people take themselves a bit too seriously," said Bastien. "When you do lose, I think it's important to go on with tradition. Some of those stickers have been up there for years and years."

Bastien and Winslow both said they visited the newsroom regularly while serving in the House.

"I had a very good relationship with the press people when I was in," Bastien said. "I always made a point to try and seek them out and talk to them."

Cohen said the relationship between reporters and lawmakers has changed over time.

"Reporters had a lot more time, and I think you could actually go off the record; there was not always somebody with a recorder, a microphone," she said.

That changed with the arrival of the Internet, Twitter, and blogs. "That era is gone forever," she said.

David Guarino, a former reporter who later served as press secretary to former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, remembers putting Shannon O'Brien and Chris Gabrieli stickers on the wall when he covered the Statehouse for The Sun of Lowell and the Metro West Daily News of Framingham. The pair ran for governor and lieutenant governor in 2002.

Guarino, who now works for a Boston public relations firm, understands the relationship between politician and reporter.

"They are constantly testing each other, sometimes avoiding each other," but if all goes well, lawmakers and reporters can also cross the street and share a beer, Guarino said.

Reporters hold an annual holiday party in the Statehouse newsroom. They buy "horrible appetizers" and stock coolers with cheep beer, but lawmakers always drop by, Guarino said. DiMasi used to send canollis to the event. Senate President Therese Murray sends wine, and last year Gov. Deval Patrick contributed beer from Massachusetts microbreweries.

"They know they need each other," Guarino said. Reporters look for stories, and public officials want their names in papers, he said.

Unfortunately, sometimes the names end up on the wall instead.

The wall was featured in "Beacon Hill," a 2004 movie directed by Michael Connolly, the father of recent Boston mayoral candidate John Connolly. The movie's main character is named Billy Dylan.

"It was sort of a low-budget movie about a state representative," Guarino said. "Kind of a Mr. Smith goes to Washington."

When filmmakers saw the newsroom, they decided it was too good to be true, Guarino said, and filmed a scene there. To commemorate the event, reporters stuck a Billy Dylan bumper sticker on the wall.

"It's a good tradition. There is a lot of good tradition in that room," Guarino said. "It's the same with some of the piles in that room. That room sort of collects things."