07/25/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT
Cable Neuhaus, PEOPLE's indefatigable Boston bureau chief, has a reputation for being thorough. He's known at the magazine as the kind of reporter who would work round-the-clock to dog the tiniest detail for a story, which is, in fact, what he did for this week's cover on Democratic presidential contender Michael Dukakis. When Neuhaus was finished, everyone agreed that he had outdone himself. "He sent in so much stuff, I've got the start of the Dukakis presidential library in my office," said Alan Richman, who wrote the story.
Neuhaus set out two months ago to "find Dukakis' roots." Along the way, he interviewed 35 people and traveled to nine different cities with the Governor. "He's not Mr. Excitement, that's for sure," says Neuhaus, 40. "But he doesn't want to be. He does have the ability to be a lot more relaxed in person, especially when you talk about something he cares about. Growing cucumbers and tomatoes, for example."
In a way, Neuhaus feels as though he has been working on the Dukakis story since 1983. That was the year he and his wife, Carol, moved to Boston from Pittsburgh, where he ran a one-man bureau at breakneck speed for four years. A consummate, even obsessive observer, Neuhaus was naturally inclined to follow the Governor's career. But there was something more: a sense that he and Dukakis shared "an immigrant mentality." The German-born son of two Holocaust survivors, Neuhaus was raised to value hard work and education, just as Dukakis was by his Greek immigrant parents. Neuhaus' late father, Norman, started life in America as a laborer and became president of his own manufacturing company; his mother, Ruth, 63, still works part-time as a seamstress.
Neuhaus decided at 13 that he wanted to be a journalist. He earned a master's degree from Pennsylvania State University, where he later taught writing for six years. He joined PEOPLE in 1977, and has been one of its most prolific contributors ever since. "I don't know when the man ever sleeps," says Assistant Managing Editor Hal Wingo. "In many ways I wish I could clone him and have 12 Cables. We would never miss a story anywhere in the world, and no story would ever be late."
During his tenure in Boston, Neuhaus has profiled celebrities such as Rev. Jerry Falwell and Arlo Guthrie, as well as bringing national attention to lesser knowns such as Boston hermit Bill Britt. Dukakis, a man who closely guards his feelings, presented a special challenge. But Neuhaus believes he established "a real rapport" with the presidential candidate. For one thing, he says, "I think it helps that I'm 5'6" and Dukakis is 5'8"," even though the Governor took umbrage at the suggestion that he might be "shortish."
For another, there was a feeling shared by both men, says Neuhaus, "that it's a gift to be living in this country."