Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, who won reelection last week by a single percentage point, said at a news, conference the next day he didn't think the voters were trying to tell him anything.
And he's been paying ever since.
The conservative Republican, who won his third consecutive Senate term and his fifth overall, bought full page ads in Arizona newspapers this week to make amends for some of his less than humble remarks.
When he was asked at his post-election news conference if he thought voters had given him a message, Goldwater, who polled 100,000 fewer votes in Arizona than did Republican President-elect Ronald Reagan, snapped:
"I don't know and I don't particularly care."
Goldwater defeated Democrat Bill Schulz by a scant 9,000 votes on Nov. 4 and angered even some of his diehard supporters by failing to show up at an election night victory party.
Asked if he would try to improve what his opponent had charged was the worst attendance record in the Senate, he replied that he wasn't going to "break my back" to show up more often.
Goldwater acknowledged that Reagan's sweep contributed to his victory, but he said the president-elect owed him a favor.
"It was me who got Reagan into politics," he said, referring to his 1964 run for the presidency. "If it hadn't been for me he would still be chasing cows over the horizon."
In a column by Tom Fitzpatrick of The Arizona Republic, Goldwater was accused of arrogance and of failing to thank his supporters and workers.
The top half of Goldwater's ad, published Tuesday, was blank. In large type, starting just above the fold, it read:
"You've probably never seen a political ad after an election."
Then, in smaller type, Goldwater, who was pictured wearing a cowboy hat, said the ad "a thank you.And a commitment."
He thanked "the people who worked so hard to help us win" and "the people who supported me with their votes."
Goldwater, who will be 72 on Jan. 1, said his commitment "goes to all Arizonans." He continued:
"It's a pledge to continue to work for our state and our nation with the kind of dedication and enthusiasm you have a right to expect. Please join me in this commitment. The election is over, but the job is just beginning."
The ad was a follow-up to a letter Goldwater wrote to the editor of The Republic.
The letter, which appeared last Sunday, took Fitzpatrick to task for his column, in which he referred to Goldwater as "boastful, insensitive and more than a little arrogant."
In a conciliatory tone, Goldwater wrote:
"I did not conduct the kind of press conference I intended it to be. I was asked some very legitimate questions. I answered them poorly. And I apologize for that."
He conceded that because of his blunt style, a tough campaign and a lack of sleep he was "abrasive instead of responsive."
He then put forth "the proper answers." Credited Schulz with a tough race, and said, "I do care what the people of Arizona think. I always have."
And, "Yes, I intend to work hard. I intend to join the incoming Republican Senate and adminstration in energetically tackling the problems ahead of us."