tv 1976 Republican National Convention Discussion CSPAN August 21, 2016 4:30pm-5:50pm EDT
, panelists discuss the 1976 republican national convention in kansas city missouri, the last contested republican city -- republican convention. gerald ford and ronald reagan were in a close race. they did not have the number of delegates when the race began. the panelists member the role played by republican senator bob dole, who was contemporary convention chairman and was selected by president ford to be his vice presidential running mate. the kansas city public library hosted this 90 minute event. >> so ladies and gentlemen my , thanks to bill lacy and audrey coleman and dole institute for putting this on and creating this exhibit and helping us to put on this panel. and also to senator dole and mrs. dole. senator dole of course famously said, when president ford picked him and they did the press conference right after they picked him, he said, dole is a
four letter word you can say in public. [laughter] >> so our panelists now as we get the chairs arranged our jerry fogel, who is chairman of the jackson county republican party, the boy wonder chair of the jackson county republican party of 1976, and part of the host committee for the convention. he is a graduate of southwest high in the university of missouri. besides being chair of the republican party in 1976, he has worked in the danforth and bond campaigns over the years in senior roles. been president of part of the , america boy scout council and chairman of the aviation committee of the greater kansas city chamber of commerce. he may have some interesting things to say about our airport. [laughter] >> steve winn, steve has held several writing positions as a -- at the kansas city star. he has written about local education in the kansas city
public library. as a young reporter, he helped cover the 1976 republican national convention for the star. today he is the communications director of the concorde coalition, a nonpartisan organization based in washington that promotes a responsible federal budget. and he might also be called sisyphus. [laughter] >> and last but not least laura , luckert. laura is a writer and editor who has been working on this 1976 republican national convention exhibit. she was a sophomore at the university of kansas in 1976. she has degrees in education and journalism and has been in corporate communications, and now in her retirement from that she is working on projects such , as this. so. [applause]
>> i would like to open our discussion by pointing out the kansas city has been the site of three national political conventions. in 1900, kansas city was the site of the them accredit convention, a famous moment in , becausety's history the convention center actually burns down 90 days before the democratic national convention was supposed to be held. and we rebuilt it in 90 days. it was called the kansas city miracle, and the kansas city spirit. on the other hand, we did nominate william jennings bryan, and he was massacred by william mckinley and teddy roosevelt in the 1900 general election. and then in 1928, we hosted another convention, a republican convention, that nominated herbert hoover. now, he was pretty successful in the general election, he won in a landslide, in fact. but the next four years were
terribly not successful, the great depression. in 1976, there were humorous comments, mostly by democrats, about the previous republican convention in kansas city and the nomination of president ford was hoped by the ford folks. so kansas city has a background in this. i also want to mention one other fact before i go to the panel about kansas city's background. as audrey mentioned, the convention held is in kemper arena. that might seem there is a coincidence with my name. in fact kemper arena was funded , in part by a gift from my father out of my great-grandfather's charitable trust in order to save the american royal. and in the first major event held after that, as will happen, was the republican national convention. and he did, as audrey said, he welcomed everyone. i've been at one national
convention, the 1964 convention. i was a 13-year-old honorary assistant sergeant at arms. not nelson rockefeller -- nelson rockefeller. i didn't get to the 1976 convention because i was in italy on my honeymoon. but i did get to read about it in italian. [laughter] >> so i would like to start out winn to talk a little bit about the background of this. 1976 was the last time we had a truly contested convention. president ford was the first president who had not been elected to campaign for reelection, but of course not reelection at all, election. he was 30 points behind jimmy carter. the convention in which he was being challenged by former governor reagan of california was a dramatic one.
can you give us some of the background to that, steve, and what you remember about that moment? steve: the week before the convention, the star ran some house ads about the star that talked about, boy, we are going to be on the international stage. all of these top journalists from over the country and journalists from all over the world are going to be here. kansas city is really going to be in the spotlight. i think the circumstances that it turned out all this was going to be a real contest was amped up. it wasn't going to just be a television show. it was going to be a real contest. and even the week before the convention, there was a lot going on. and i think at the star, we really decided, probably any hometown paper would say this, but we really felt like we were going to pull out all the stops and cover this thing just as thoroughly as we could.
we had people on 12 or 18 hour shifts. we added pages to the paper every day with special editions. we had 34 newsboys to run around the kemper arena. but i think that was seen in a way as part of a greater effort by the city to do a really good job on the convention. there had been a lot of people elsewhere who had questioned whether kansas city was up to this kind of thing, whether there was enough hotel space, whether the arena was going to be big enough, whether it was going to be too hot. so i think there was a feeling in kansas city that we really want to do a good job on this. show the world what we could do. crosby: jerry, you were part of the host committee, and the logistics were pretty phenomenal. jerry: the host committee had a dual role, and it was made up of
largely republicans, but it could have gone to -- because this was actually a citywide effort. but it was interesting to see the jobs shift from -- the republican party handled the housing. so if you got a hotel room in saint joe, that wasn't on our back, fortunately. crosby: it said the hotel rooms were as far away as 70 miles away. jerry: and lawrence got a few. and it was -- we were having to dodge the bullets there so that we didn't get a black eye, because we didn't place them in those particular locations. and then the other thing that we did was the host committee hosted the vips. and when you speak of vips, you are really speaking of elected officials and people who had
high positions in the republican party nationally. and that turned out to be a real treat. and an interesting one. and i will give you an example. there was a vip party at henry block's house, of h and r block, and i happened to be invited because i was county chairman. i was standing there next to henry bloch. don hall, who, these people are giants compared to me. and then, up walks a nice-looking gentlemen, and is joe coors. i said, like as beer? i was completely smitten by joe coors. [laughter] jerry: i knew about those other two guys. so we really put on a good show. there were other people who were in that mix.
i could name names, but it was a real lights out, and it was a time when kansas city could show its best. crosby: because it was a contested convention, and going into the convention as you indicated the various reports , about the delegate counts, there were a lot of uncommitted delegates to neither president ford nor governor ragan. there were a number of uncommitted slates and delegates called trojan horse delegates at the convention, which is to say delegates required by law were rules of the state party were to vote in one way but whose hearts were another way. and of course most of those were people being required to vote one way or another, or for other reasons to vote for president ford, but whose hearts were really with president reagan. so they had some of the celebrities where people got either governor reagan or president ford brought in.
the delegation -- to lobby the delegation. there was the story of pat boone coming in to lobby a mississippi delegate, an african-american woman -- i think her name was jean young, and to try to get her to switch from president ford. and then efraim zimbalist junior and cary grant came in to lobby for president ford. there were a lot of celebrities around, and some of them were doing real work. steve: some of that started earlier in the summer. the ford white house, they were inviting delegates to the state dinners and stuff. crosby: and of course not only , is the ford white house inviting people to a lot of white house dinners, but a certain amount of pork barrel that was being rolled out. and then there was one accusation made by the ford folks that an illinois delegate
for reagan was trying to bribe other -- somebody from the reagan campaign was trying to bribe illinois delegates, which was an accusation that was taken seriously enough that the fbi investigated it after the convention. and the fbi the guy who gave the , truth test to the republican, the reagan guy, he was the first politician who ever passed the test. [laughter] in your research on this, did senator dole, how much did he know about where he was on president ford's list? did he think he had a serious shot at being vice president? laura: yeah, i think he was doing a lot in politics for himself. he was pushing himself and talking to people. and that sort of thing. of course you know, he had that great manner and that great sense of humor and that sort of
thing. but everybody kept telling him to mid are sort of low level. there were a lot of candidates that even reagan himself was considered a possible vp candidate for ford, even though reagan said, no, i don't want that. there clearly was some friction between the two. it wasn't going to be -- crosby: reagan liked the toll a lot. and dole had a good relationship with gerry ford because they had been in the house together. but reagan had let ford know that he would not be his vice president, but later said in an interview, later on said, if the president comes to you and ask you in person, i would have said yes. but the moment that it happened -- one of the interesting things about the convention is there was a huge fight. john sears, who was reagan's campaign manager, everybody knew
that he was going to do something. he was going to shake things up. what he decided to do, which in the end turned out to be the wrong thing to do, clearly turned out to be the wrong thing to do, he proposed a rule called the 16-c rule, in which you would force the candidate any , candidate for president to attend at least 10 hours before the roll call on the vote for the presidential nomination to reveal their vice presidential nomination. of course president reagan had already announced a liberal republican from pennsylvania, in the vain hope that they may have been able to swing some of the pennsylvania delegates, north east delegates. the ford people absolutely wanted to avoid letting out who they were going to pick at that point. steve or jerry? jerry: i went to that day they where they were having the parliamentary fight out on the floor.
and it was just terrible. they couldn't get control of the audience, the delegates. it was a wonder they ever got to turn the page to the next day, because it was such a bitter division among republicans. and so, it wasn't a fun place to be, and it certainly was a lot of action. it wasn't pretty, and we didn't have a lot to be proud of. crosby: there is a famous moment speaking of nelson rockefeller where nelson rockefeller grabbed the sign, a reagan sign, and ripped it up. delegates, a delegate, not a campaign person went out and ripped out the , white phone that connected the new york delegation to the ford campaign. jerry: you have got to remember that at this point, he was vice president of the united states. crosby: right, he is vice
president of the united states, and it looks like they are about to have a fist fight. and some very large -- i think it was a reagan delegate. a very, very large man stepped into the middle of it, everybody just backed off at that point. steve: one of the striking , looking back on that rules fight is, what a crazy thing to have the rules get figured out at the time of the convention to apply to that convention. so you have got people right in the middle of a terribly partisan -- not partisan, but a terribly tough contest. but before we do that, let's decide what the rules are. and that rule vote on the first monday, night of the convention, was seen as the really critical vote. once ford won that vote it was, you know -- crosby: it is so interesting of course, it is about the vice presidential pick. there was one other great floor fight on the platform, which jim
baker, who was a ford delegate counter, one of the top ford delegate counters, said, if the reagan people had been smarter, if john sears had been smarter this would have worked. , but the great debate in the republican party was mainly about foreign policy at that point, and it was mainly about henry kissinger's foreign policy that more of the conservative folks felt. it was about the panama canal, about taiwan, the recognition or nonrecognition of taiwan, it was about nuclear testing and relationships, the detente going on with the soviet union. the helsinki accords, etc. it was basically about henry kissinger, jim baker later said. another floorosed fight, this time platform fight, over what was called the morality in foreign policy plank of the platform, which essentially was an attack on henry kissinger, but was watered down so that they could get it
passed without some of the ford delegates voting for it. and jim baker said that was their big mistake. they should have gone all out and they should have had a two , word let form that probably a majority of delegates would have voted for, which is, fire kissinger. if they proposed that a majority of the delegates would have voted ford, henry kissinger would have resigned. all hell would have broken out. steve: there is a funny story about that. kissinger was still upset about the way things were going in the platform plot. so this is the week before the convention, but the ford people were really backing off. they didn't want to have any big fights over platform stuff because they didn't want to give the other side any ammunition. crosby: they didn't want to lose at any point. steve: they were conceding a lot. and kissinger thought they were conceding too much. answer he was threatening -- he was here, and he started threatening to resign. somebodyeting,
apparently said to him, henry, when are you going to resign? we need the delegates. [laughter] crosby: it was also said at the time by a couple people and has been written, others have written about the convention, that essentially i quote henry , kissinger was placed under political house arrest in his hotel room by the ford people so he wouldn't get out and say something that would lead to all that mayhem. but it is interesting, you know that sears was trying to make , the vice presidential nomination itself the major issue, in part because, he probably knew -- and laura you , did research on this. the president really didn't want a terribly conservative person, in part because he had always been a moderately conservative guy in the house who liked working with other people both in his own party and on the other side.
so his top picks -- he thought originally about keeping nelson rockefeller which would have , been a disaster. laura: right. crosby: and his other things were -- laura: john connolly was one, and he had flip-flopped from republican to democrat. crosby: he was under investigation by the fbi, so he turned out not to be the perfect pick. laura: anyway what surprised me , was the clip of the doles. before we started, and really, was i think in the morning when 6:30 they got the call or were starting to listen and they could hear this. gerald ford visited ronald reagan after he had won, because that was an agreement that the campaign managers had set up before the convention was set. the winner would go to the loser's hotel, which ronald reagan was staying at the alameda. and you know, they would sort of make up and come together. and from that point, from what i understand, gerald ford
sort of presented his list of possible candidates, bob dole being one, but there were a lot of others as well. so you have got 1:30 in the morning, gerald ford has won the nomination, and he is coming up with a vice presidential candidate. and then you have the announcement -- how many hours is that to make a decision that is literally one heartbeat away from the president? i mean -- crosby: he had senior staffers himesident ford talking to before he went to see reagan, and the list was bounced around. he had some favorites like an armstrong who had been ambassador to great britain, -- he did some polling and said he thought a woman as a candidate on the ticket wouldn't be of benefit. but howard baker was on the list. but the president's own favorite was a guy named bill ruppel shaft, who had been in congress with the president, who was the
head of the epa of all things. imagine how the reagan people felt about that. he was also the assistant attorney general involved in watergate. not happy from everyone's point of view. and probably governor reagan let him know that he was not a big fan of elliott richardson or ruppel shaft. but baker was also on the list. i don't know if he said anything about baker, but the only candidate on the list governor reagan mentioned was senator dole. i like bob dole. one of the reasons he did that -- correct me if i am wrong -- was that he was one of the closest political operatives to governor reagan, has been called by senator dole that afternoon or evening and said, could you whisper in the governor's ear that i would be a good vice presidential candidate? and lynn did that.
so the last thing anybody had said to ronald reagan about the vice presidential pick with lynn, who had been induced to do so by senator dole. steve: i read somewhere that he , throughout the week, had sort of been kidding dole. you switched over to our side, we could get you in the vice president's job. crosby: which is also the question, i guess at that point, a temporary chairman, senator donnelly was not interested in -- senator dole was not interested in taking a position. he was not a delegate, i gathered, himself. and didn't take a position as far as we know on who is close to both of them. it ruined the friendship, probably. so jerry, this was really good can't for kansas city -- good for kansas city in 1976. we were the focus of the nation. jerry: let me pick up on that. we were bidding for the
convention in 1975. well, awfullyd -- -- committeeent chairman of jackson county republican committee and i got , to go to washington with 17 other major city chairman. en. and here i am, really half their age in most cases. we went to the white house. went to the -- in the west wing, the cabinet room. i sat in the secretary of state's chair. there is the oval office, the oval office door opens, out walks ford. and we go through this seating chart questionnaire. cutting to the chase, i was down at the nearly at the end of the group. and it was really boring to listen to all these chairmen of these cities. and i said, oh, first of all the president turned and looked at
me in his squeaky chair, and he said "ah, jerry. " he said, "how are things in kansas city?" i said, "great. we have a prime time in kansas city, and we would like you to come to kansas city and be nominated for kansas city, and bring the convention." theof course the house, guys who really wanted it someplace else from cleveland, wherever groaned because i had , stolen the invitation away from anybody else doing that. and president ford at that point had not announced his candidacy. it was still -- so he dodged it in that regard, he would hope that he could get nominated if that was how it was going to come down.
and later on, i was we went out , on the white house lawn. and the interviewed us, and it was the ap and the upi, i thought they would zone in on kansas city, getting the convention, and all they wanted to talk to me about was whether ford was going to be a candidate or not, and i had no earthly idea. mind you, this was at least six months before the convention. so, but i did get our line in the water, and who knows if it did anything good, but it sure made me feel good. [laughter] obviously keyre to getting the convention, and the convention -- the articles written about kansas city. an awful lot about how we transcended our cowtown image. so the new york times editorial said, kansas city obliterated its cowtown reputation. named jerryuy
zipped in who was like a truman capote figure who made all the columns in new york, they interviewed him and said, that is really quite civilized. [laughter] crosby: it of course also -- steve: a bunch of low expectations. crosby: you are right, exactly. jerry you probably remember , this, there were a lot of visitors to town besides the media and politicians. there were yippies and coyotes. that would be the organization to defend, legalized prostitution. those folks were out en force. it must have been, around the convention hall, it must have been a pretty exciting place to be. jerry: let me give you a quick story on that. the host committee, which i was a part of we had all these , breakfasts and luncheons with and stuff with all of the vips and bigwigs from the
administration. he is sitting at my table, george bush the senior, and we talked about airplanes. he was the nicest man in the world. he is the head of the cia, and so much for being big and bad. and then we had the secretary of the interior, postmaster general, and donald rumsfeld, who was, who was the defense secretary at the time. backlked out of the evil after this wonderful lunch, and i ready to go back to my office am and see if i can still earn a living. and donald rumsfeld looks at me , and he says, "what now, jerry?" and i thought i was going to pass out, because i had no earthly plan for him, and somewhere or another, i had a stroke, and i said, "what do you think about going down to kemper arena and watching them in a shop for getting ready for the occupation the next day?" which we did, and he was blown
away. it was the most impressive thing, and we had every reason to be proud of kemper arena. i could have done that again in 1000 years, but it was really an extraordinary experience to see what they did with all the trailers and all the american royal anscillary buildings where they had caucus rooms and cafeterias. it was stunning to see what we were able to accomplish for that convention. and we didn't have to we didn't , have to apologize to anybody for that. crosby: jewels wit cover wrote a book, referred to as the bizarre new building. course, all the people i have heard talk about it, remembered as three years after the convention debt, -- convention the roof collapsed in , the arena. all the books wonder what would have happened if the roofs would have collapsed if the
republicans were inside. jerry: donald rumsfeld liked it. that was such a long road. crosby: yeah, exactly. and kansas city, of course, put on is best face, and we highlighted found other places to go in kansas city. and the beginning of calvin's apotheosis. and arthur bryant. they found the golden ox as well. and i think the chicago tribune, if anybody remembers that.... steve: i ended up doing an interview with the guy who was the mayor of cleveland. that was sort of our main competition. his comment was, "no hard feelings. it's good to compete.
he couldn't help but adding, "we need to add more hotel space." crosby: they went out to the hotels and the hospitality suites and sampled the good food that were available there. and if i'm correct, the best was new york and texas and the worst was kansas. [laughter] i want to go back to the politics of this, laura. senator dole was surprised in one way when he actually got the call from president ford. she had heard
before he was going to be the pick. he said i can't believe it. we heard mrs. dole talking about it. it really changed his political career. not immediately entirely for the better given the campaign. talk about that a little bit.... laura: a national convention is a national stage. we have seen different candidates that have risen to national acclaim at conventions. and i imagine we will in the next couple of weeks at the republican and democratic national conventions as well. people get up and give speeches and really show their ability to communicate and relate to the american people. and i think bob dole just made a connection with people. as we all think in the
midwest he is very plain speaking, but at times really gets to the heart of things. he was young, he was good-looking, he was a war hero. he had a wife who was also accomplished. let's not forget she had a position on ford's administration at the time. so a very sharp woman. it was just an opportunity really for the american people to see the dole's, and like them.... crosby: it was six in the morning he got the call. but president ford in his acceptance speech, it was something that changed american politics as far
as we can see. there had only been one actual presidential debate before 1976, the kennedy-nixon debate. the lincoln-douglas debates were a sort of presidential debate. there never had been one before kennedy-nixon. president ford in his acceptance speech said, i challenge you to debates. it ended up not only having the three debates, where president ford liberated poland, but also the vice presidential debate, which got senator dole into a little trouble. he talked about democrat wars. and the interesting thing about that as he thought he won that debate. and then the next day, overwhelming negative response from everybody. on the other
hand it did put him in the spotlight to allow him to become the next presidential candidate.... laura: these kind of things aren't spontaneous breed i didn't mean to make it; but he fell in love with bob dole at this convention. it was his speech and the reaction to him was kind of lukewarm. people were like, who? and the groups that had come into politics for reagan and ford, the young folks, youth for reagan. they were like, whoi is -- like, who is bob dole? i think some of the broadcasters looking back on it were like, we don't know how this will work out. but in
hindsight it was a great stage for bob dole. he took advantage.... crosby: the media loved bob dole. steve: i don't think he was a total dark horse pit he had been chairman of the republican national committee. steve: he was a very strong campaigner. and ford was way behind. this was not something that was -- there were a lot of headlines about the republican party at a crossroads.... crosby: a commentator said in kansas city during the convention it was during the end of the republican party.
steve: and was a lot of speculation, because watergate had happened. since they had to do a lot better quick, i think dole was a strong campaigner. but he was a forceful campaigner.... crosby: this is what is interesting to me. they are 30 points behind at the august convention. they make these mistakes in the debates pre-and that's what we remember about the campaign, president ford abrading poland. if 9000 votes had changed in at ohio and west virginia, they would have won the electoral vote. they made most of it up. and yet the polls were showing they had in the week....
jerry: a complete surprise and it -- it's not over until it's over. i would say that's where we are today. crosby: conventions make a difference, i think. and the 76 convention makes out a difference in another speech that happened at the end. it was totally accidental, which was governor reagan's speech. he was not going to speak at the end when president ford gave his acceptance speech. they tried to call him down. they were actually in the process of exiting the hall and getting out to go back to california. i forgot who actually showed up, some significant person showed
up in their sweet and said, no you have to come, the president really wants you to come down. the president invited them to make some remarks and he gave a fabulous short seven minute speech that really turned on the delegates and the convention, and was positive from the point of view of the president.... jerry: if you go back there was an awful lot of talent available in that election on the republican side. if anybody thinks that john connolly was a nobody and didn't know good politicians, he was the former governor of texas. i put them back down and municipal to take them to a private fundraiser. this is years after the tragedy in dallas. i said governor connally, would you like
security? that can be arranged quickly. and he said no. i said, yes sir. ok, we will go on out. and we went to his private residence. and i look in the rearview mirror. there are two of kansas city's finest. they were good -- they weren't going to take no for an answer. and this really great personality was outselling himself to be a great candidate for this election. if he didn't have so much political baggage he would have been a real player for being president of the united states....
jerry: if you go back there was the other thing that's interesting to me about the convention is the partisanship that is tremendous. , wonder how you guys saw it the partisanship was tremendous. the reaganites were going after henry kissinger. there were these huge fight inside delegations in mississippi the. yet when i read about it tonight read about what happens on the form at the end it seems and there are moments
were they told him he should going in a cutthroat way for certain things. ultimately the tone was very tough and it was hard-fought. there was a sensibility that we lack today. >> i agree with that. maderade-offs that are around convention time are extraordinary and are made by real vessels who have the leverage. i'm talking about congressman and groups of power people in the party. they are influencing a lot of the result. votero than the regular would even imagine.
there's an awful lot of horse going which i didn't appreciate until i saw the 1976 convention. there were deals being made that we haven't taught about. that's for future legislation. it is to give somebody a bridge in alaska. that is what politics is about at convention time. and if you're and the inside and get here some of it it is a job dropper.... crosby: watching it from a journalist point of view and subsequent conventions, are there any distinctions you trough from the 76 convention and the convention we are about to see?... steve: i think after you have a very hard-fought contest like that, you have a lot of people in tears, a lot of volunteers.
they are devastated and there is an initial reaction, there is no way i'm going to support this. you see this with the democrats and bernie's people. "well, i'm not going to vote for her." and i think after, there are some healing that starts after the convention. what reagan did with that speech is sort of a masterpiece and that -- masterpiece in late that, in terms of -- masterpiece in that, in terms of setting the stage.... so that people can start to say i guess i can support the candidate that we came up with. crosby: in your view senator dole has this tough guy repetition over the years. but he is chair of the party and as a candidate he always seems to be about bringing people
together, bringing all factions of the party together.... laura: in researching it i wish i could have been. it does sound amazing. you hear so many conflicting viewpoints. there is the story that falls off the stage. their vote would have gone to the alternate and the alternate was a reagan person. very contentious. you have the phone with the rockefeller. flip-flopping. then you get the
perspective of may be a week after the convention. it really wasn't that bad. it's hard to say from somebody who is reading accounts of what it is like. it is beastly hot in kansas city. lots of polyester. just all kinds of strange people coming together and at the very end they are going after jimmy carter. we will see it in the next few weeks play out all over again.... crosby: the democrats have already started to do it with
bernie endorsing hillary. and mike pence looks like he's tried to make up for some of the conservative republicans who have disdained him. you talk about addressing the delegates, one of my favorite quotes about -- i think the chicago tribune went out and covered carly price before he became ambassador to belgium in the reagan administration. a through the big party at the walnuts for 300 people, they had to move furniture to accommodate the 300 people. i think it is the chicago tribune that covered it. no one will mistake carol price. for a new yorker. she is too well dressed. the various things are meant to
show off kansas city. i much or that would ever happen at a convention.... i have to tell you one other jerry: we sat on an aisle one. because i wasn't on the floor with the secretary of state. i went blank on names. in any event we saw one of the lives -- wives who had been in some soiree earlier coming down to their seat with a hot dog from a vendor out in the foyer.... crosby: probably got a good hot dog, maybe with a little barbecue sauce. any summarizing thoughts about 1976 and its place in american politics?
steve: i think a lot of figures in that came later and did other things. it is interesting to have been there in 76 and see those players. as you said, 20 years later, dole getting nominated for the presidency. i recognition in 1980 was reagan was in in terms of the nomination. the way he handled things at the end of 76.... jerry: and a reagan won at the end of 76, which was extraordinary. when you have dan ford and lockstep with the
presidency of ford, and reagan won missouri. it wasn't even close. there is another world out there in politics. if you are not paying attention it can turn on you.... crosby: one of the interesting things about the convention is a local result of the convention. this missouri state convention that year. jerry: i have to tell you about that. [laughter] if there is hell on earth it was that convention. it was in springfield, missouri in the shriners hall with no air conditioning in june. and both candidates came to that convention. as you can imagine it was somebody -- it was like somebody landing in luke's park. and for two days, mind you, no air-conditioning, these party people, who i didn't even know
and hadn't met until that time, were bearing down on us and i had to keep the fourth, fifth, and sixth congressional districts in the ford camp, as part of my role-playing as republican chairman at the party, and that is the hardest thing i've ever said -- hardest thing i ever did. part of them bolted and part of them didn't. i was able to maintain party discipline.... crosby: it was essentially a reagan takeover of the party the governor misinterpreted. he was defeated by joe for reelection for governor that year. there was a split in the republican party that you can see in the primaries this year. they ultimately come from that split
at that springfield convention in 1976.... national convention. jerry: if there ever was a place i'd never wanted to go back to, that would do yet. it was just terrible. crosby: and apotheosis in kansas city? did it break him? laura: maybe not at that exact moment, but i think over time he was interested to read it wasn't like he was a nobody. he really was introduced to the average joe, that the nonpolitical expert at that time --... crosby: the other thing about bob dole is he is a leader. it showed. he took almost the street riot and made it into something that
got the job done. ,t was through his persistence nobody else was able to do it. he did it and it is to his credit. say one thing about the change from 1976 to today in kansas city. one member of the host committee told me, she was put in charge ,f the massachusetts delegation they had a number of jewish members. evening a late in the were asking for some kosher food and she had to wake up the owner of that new york deli. it was the only place in time at that point you could get kosher food and he was close. she had to go find him and wake him up. things have changed in kansas city. questions.pen up to we have two microphones appear. there are also one or two
people, are you in the audience, jerry? you have a story or two because you are on the host committee. , my wife and i worked the convention and we loved it. i thought she was going to be in her pants when she saw tony .rlando she was working with trying to do the luggage with some other people and tony came in. then he was gone and she never got to say anything about it. >> and he famously danced with betty for two "tie a letter that -- tie a yellow ribbon." i heard a lot of negative things to bob dole. he was called the bulldog. and a guy that would go for the jugular. a lot of people were scared. thank you for the nice panel or
it wrecks thank you for the comments. the job of a vice presidential candidate is to be a bulldog and go on the attack. >> absolutely right. >> i was a delegate at the convention from douglas county. ferguson,ing to neil a storm, and he said i'm not an american i am just researching american politics. he said he said i see there's a lot of blacks the hader that went on. i suggest because we had kegs of your on the floor. c-spanwatch the clips on of the 76 convention everybody is smoking cigars, chain smoking camels are at it was unbelievable to it seemed natural men.
and people felt and what went on in kansas city it was a vegas type of atmosphere. ferguson told us one state at then who had his wife crown center hotel and his girlfriend in a winnebago at the kemper arena. one of my late father's friend he said he israel brave. it was interesting and certainly change. the other thing is security was so lacks. you just passed your bags around it there was no photo id, there was no shooter day, no facial record and i -- got a badge to lend it to a friend and i looked at it the other day and it was from an iscure white house for that brought it from and gave it to
my friend so he could get in kemper. and that staffers name was richard cheney. i still have it. i would like to ask your question. i don't think 1976 can happen again because then the was a party establishment. they could deliver delegations are they could offer favors and everything. bob dole was the establishment and he was the chairman of the rnc you i don't think the donald could havemenon happened back then. i don't think the party establishment could muscle in and turned aside a challenger like ronald reagan. otherwise jeb bush would be nominated this week. >> no reaction out of me.
there are signs you can challenge the establishment. the establishment didn't want some nominees. i think the situation is different today and the trump candidacy is unique in american history. you have somebody without a real political value. -- will be nominated nominated by the republican party area >> i think you might have a lot of ambiguity -- feelings with the american public. you don't want the party bosses to pick a candidate. the party getting involved more than it has been in shaping who becomes the eventual nominee. i think a lot of the public is
ambiguous about it. and hillary's superdelegates. should there be superdelegates? have?t a good thing to >> you have a couple stories? of the --.ber welcome to the committee on this. your dad was very act in republican politics for years before. jerry and i were -- both work in 1962. airport welcoming committee and we welcomed all the delegates and got them to the cars anyone to the hotels and things. we had six charter airplanes
that came in. one day we had a charter coming in at two 140, they wanted us to have three good-looking young pick up six up to suitcases and take to the alameda hotel. we met that airplane as well as many others and we happened to meet the governor of california ronald reagan. suitcases eight or 10 to the alameda hotel and then over,the convention was we took him back to the air work. president reagan in him a coke when he got to the air were day. in the state in eight nobody would be able to touch suitcases anywhere like that. but security was completely different than.
you could get in and out of kemper. my wife and i sat in action to to four. many people have passes. a colleague of mine a couple securitygo regarding -- he was thinking that howard aker was probably going to get the vp nomination or it he slipped outside howard baker's room in the hallway. can you imagine doing that today. you can't. over time, more people joined him and people from the delegation in the hallway. it sounds like that's how it was with conway's people. i can imagine this. security is a little tighter now. >> i'm interested in the panels
reception of the evolving political humor of the american body politic from then to now. it seems like we have to convention and both parties are probably facing the most intense internal conflict as her was maybe for the publicans in 1970's and. -- 1978. what's your perception of the desire to transcend the old binary choice that was being presented to us by establishment and how it might play out the sheer where there is a lot of thinking about other potential options, especially with the ongoing allegations in the democratic primary election fraud that are now going into the court to is it an evolution of the american body politic and its humors towards
bipartisanship were artists ship or have we devolved? >> my belief about that is we .ave a unique moment i think the establishment has been challenged plenty of times. we have two candidates from two probablyties who are the most unpopular candidates that we have ever had here at there is something about that and i don't odd think it can continue. the people right now are very to very except, contradictory things are going on. if you look at obama's readings, they had been going up or it -- lately. -- ratings, they have been going up lately. if you look at the poll about the direction of the united --tes it is at the lowest the sense we are on the right track is a lowe's number it has
ever been -- littlest number that it has ever been. 7% and democrats at 9%. you mentioned ripping a phone card out of the wall. we would have on have to worry about that now? on npr this week i heard that cleveland has taken out a $50 million insurance policy to cover potential damage. that makes me wonder what did the drop -- dump drop people have up to sleeve. were they worried about anything like that in kansas city? >> when i took rumsfeld down there was a construction gay, it was the loosest thing
you ever some. -- construction gauge. i got to looking at the fence and that wouldn't stop all large hall -- a large hog. a kansas city image. i said to rumsfeld, i said that will keep them out. he said yeah maybe if they are from iowa. then we ran into dan rather and that was the india that area >> you have to remember the 68 -- democratic convention in chicago was a mess. were mailer wrote about it. he said there were some problems.
the interesting thing is that there will want -- there wasn't. they had 7000 protesters. the city management did not give them permission to park. when i understand a couple hundred showed up. there was so much -- many them --ators, one of one of the great pieces of art from the convention, the illustrations by john steadman in which he betrays a pattern going into the --. and theome great images chance to go back and look at convention. of the
some great illustrations from the protesters and delegates. to put historical if you could, senator don't was the republican national chairman that at the time of the convention he was not the chairman of the aren't. called to order by 100 any thoughts about that? , bobe story behind that over asall took temporary chairman of the convention. >> he was chairman of the party in 1972 years i worked for him at had orders in washington. he sent me into watergate in 1972.
who had ad somebody claim other than being a member to get the delegate list what they would give the democratic delegate list to the rnc. i wondered around inside the watergate. , jerryirman of the party probably remembers us to, the party at that point, bob dole hated the next reelection camp during thethe rnc summer of 72, they couldn't stand the nixon people at all. they were the enemy. worsen the democrats. -- worse then the democrats. i wondered to the mezzanine , and a reception happened in there. >> nicely done.
thank you. have one could he have run again in 1980? reagan really work hard for him? from what i understand, he did work for ford to try to get him elected. did.he absolutely that's a good question. [indiscernible] right. ok. you have to remember that 1970d reagan was 65 at the six convention. the assumption by politicians and the media was that he was
too old to ever run again. whoops. >> thank you for doing this. if at theo ask you end of the hit more -- vietnam -- did it come up? i think it did. i think the republican party talked about that a little bit. it was watergate and vietnam. road was taking the middle in promoting daytime -- detente. he said we need to be military strong, and sort of that kind of thing. i believe it did. because the republican
party was in a recovery mode, and it had to a lot to do with watergate. out --to do we lost [indiscernible] i don't think president florida it lame by the to the extent was a little bit kissinger and a lot the democratic congress. -- overght over the morality and foreign policy platform was ultimately had a lot to do with vietnam. similar toetoric was some of the things today about we are following behind, losing,
we are not respected and are being pushed around. of we areeneral sense just getting pushed around. it's kind of interesting that donald trump is using that line of attack. >> thank you. i've never been able to brag about my memory but it seems to me that this is the first time as a potential nominee or nominee that we have had a loose as a serious candidate. >> are you talking about hillary clinton? applause] >> as you just said, reagan was considered a loose cannon by a
lot of people. ae was clearly let's have 600 ship navy. nobody was going to push around the united states. goteagan's credit gorbachev us out of the cold war and bless his heart. i think muscle did that. it may not work again, but it did work then. i can remember some of the attitudes of some people that he was a loose cannon. mother,ht remember my she called me the day after the 1980 election and we had a serious conversation about whether or not ronald reagan would create a nuclear war. notion of i think the
loose cannons go back to the 1860 election, and we created a civil war of that. there was the assumption made in american politics that sometimes get to the level of demonization. we will probably see some of that in the fall, i would guess in this election to it certainly did happen with ronald reagan in 1980. >> you were talking about this late in the were public and party in terms of form policy, the element in the geo unit is unhappy with kissinger. i was reading an article from , fromrk times magazine richard allen. he talked about the behind the scenes element where george herbert walker bush became vp. of that process.
when you look at the differences at the gop, and trying to bring kissinger back into the fold, i'm curious to know your perspective on the -- how much of an influence, some people call neoconservative elements have on the vice presidential process and the process of donald trump picking a guy like mike hansen was more in line with their goals. choice was not well seen by other supporters. sweitzer was more on the moderate side.
donald trumps victim. -- pants is interesting. there is an attempt to try to broadeninggates by your desirability to the populace. work.mes it doesn't with interesting question hands, i think what he did with him is to guarantee that the convention itself would not be a problem. i think the vice presidential candidate is usual not terribly meaningful during the course of the campaign. mike pence will be getting headlines that would be bigger than donald trumps won't work. the thing about foreign policy interesting. if you look at kissinger's
reputation, his reputation on the right with people that were be onite who would today the ted cruz side of things. where it is risen substantially since then. some of this is simply about positioning of the moment. it's about making sure that you place your opponent in a category. reagan was really at that i asnk with ford, what reagan resident would have done in 1975 is very unclear. what he did as president after 1980 is he took the framework of detente and added a much stronger military presence and ended the cold war. in partnership with the russian leader, could kissinger have done that? no but he's a order the idea. the more complicated world
sometimes than it looks like on the outs side and any other comments? thank you all for a great discussion. applause] >> american history tv airs on sees them three every weekend. telling the american story through events come interviews and visits to locations for this we are in prime time to introduce you to program cupid see every weekend a c-span3. features include lectures in
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