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tv   1976 Republican National Convention Discussion  CSPAN  August 27, 2016 8:30am-10:01am EDT

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republican national convention in kansas city, missouri. the last contested republican convention. president gerald ford and former california governor ronald reagan were in a close race for the nomination. neither had a majority of delegates when the convention began. in this discussion, the panelists remember the role play by bob dole who was chosen by president ford to be his runningmate. the kansas city public library hosted this 90-minute event. >> it is with shared purpose that the institute and the library celebrate shared history oday with an installment, your story, his story, the legacy and contributing the republican showdown in kansas city. the kickoff events funded by the kuemper foundation. it was in the arena the summer of 1976 that rendell gats went
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to choose their party's presidential nominee. a contest on the convention floor between gerald ford, a president who had never been elected or former governor ronald reagan, challenger and star of the conservative wing of the republican party. the temporary chairman presiding over the convention's opening days was senator bob dole and he would take his place on the republican ticket as president ford's vice-presidential running mate. , i re i turn the floor over have a host of things i want to be sure to give before i lose my spot here. let's see, first of all to the kansas city public library, carey r cosby kemp and cooking on a. we have had pleasure of working
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emw them over the past few months. my own director bill lacy and the staff of the institute for their unfailing support. enator dole. and to our panel guests and theenid and crosby kuemper foundation for making this event possible . and all of you for being here today. we have a video greeting from senator bob dole. he is getting ready to celebrate his 93rd birthday in a few days. couple of years ago he made a tour of all 105 kansas counties. it has been 40 years since 1976. you'll enjoy hearing from him i'm sure. he is just as engaged as ever. the second clip is senator elizabeth dole who is here in
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kansas city accompanying senator ole in 1976 and it is with the permission of john robert green, he went up to d.c. and spoke with senator elizabeth and with his permission and courtesy we have that footage here. i will close. thank you again for being with us this afternoon. i'll turn it over to senators dole and crosby and our panelists. thank you. [applause] >> greet the people of kansas city, missouri and kansas city, kansas. we had a great convention. he location was perfect. we were praised for the way we an the convention.
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people in kansas city volunteered and helped us and did a lot of work. i'll never forget my time in kansas city. i remember waiting by the phone to see if president ford was going to call me because bob clarke of abc called me and said you're going to be the nominee for vice president. and bob and i were good friends. john conley was right down the hall. it was a line is great place for a convention. i think everyone agreed.
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,egardless of party or whatever we did have a good convention. people came and spoke their minds. we had a full house every night. the t say enough about ood people of kansas city. >> let's start with the story to have memories you have of kansas, the convention. > well, i had been very much immersed in policy issues for a number of years but not politics.
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i had not been involved at all in political matters. next thing i knew, sam donaldson had his microphone in my house asking me all sorts of questions bout politics. we started out with bob as the temporary chairman to the convention. we thought ok. we both are going to have a lot of activity and things to do and you're the temporary chair and let's just get through it and then we're going to go to a beach and rest for a couple of days. of course we never saw that beach. walter cronkite said bob dole was the only man who could get order on the convention floor at the same time he got the
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reporters -- the chairman running that convention but at hitting that nk heavy gavel down so many times he burst a blood vessel in his eye. his eye was red the whole time. what bad luck to have that happen to you. so it was of course a very, very funny time for us. i recall especially on the morning of august 19, that there was noise outside our door and ey were next door. i said i think there are reports. he said elizabeth, put your ear up to the door and see what they are saying. i did. i heard his name. mentionled several times. it was shortly after that, he received a call from bob clarke
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-- of ats saying you are abc news. they said you're it. >> he heard from clarke before he heard from ford? >> that's right. that's right. of course we were believing that it was not long after that, i think it was about 10:30 that bob received a call from president ford and of course life changed. -- and rainbow. bob was a go gert. a strong chairman to have convention. i was trying to be happy with everyone be congenial. really kind of still unbelieving.
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we had not heard from the president. obviously, you know, it was -- i was stunned. my goodness. i'm going to be in the midst of a presidential campaign. you know? i was happy. it was kind of mixed feelings in a way at that very moment. on the one hand you were thrilled for your husband and all that this would mean for him and at the same time i guess i realized the honeymoon was over, you know? life was not -- we were not going to that beach. it was going to be challenging for a person who has never been involved in politics at all. [applause] >> so, ladies and gentlemen, my thanks to bill lacy and audrey coleman and the whole institute for putting this on
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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. so our panelists today are 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 onvention. besides being chair of the republican party in 76 he has worked in the danforth and bond campaigns over the years in enior roles. part of the america boy scout council and chairman of the aviation committee of the greater kansas city chamber of ommerce.
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he may have some interesting things on say about our airport. steve winn, steve winn has held several writing positions as a kansas city star, he has written about local education in the kansas city public library. he covered the national onvention. today he is the communications director of the concorde coalition, a nonpartisan organization based in washington that promotes responsible federal budget. he might be called -- therefore. last but not least is laura luckert. she is a writer and editor. she has been working on this 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 in her retirement from that. she is working on projects such
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as this. [applause] >> i would like to open our discussion by pointing out that kansas city has been the site of three national political conventions. in 1900 kansas city was the site of the democratic national convention, a famous moment in kansas city history because the convention center actually burned down 90 days before the democratic national convention was supposed to be held. and we rebuilt it in 90 ays. on the other hand we did ominate william jennings bryan and he was massacred by william mckinley and teddy roosevelt in the 1900 general election. in 1928 we hosted another convention, a republican
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convention that nominated herbert hoover. he was pre-successful in the general election. he won and a landslide -- won in a landslide. in 1976, there were humorous comments, musty by democrats -- mostly by democrats, about the previous -- kansas city has a background in this. i also wanted to mention one other fact about kansas city's ackground. as audrey mentioned, the convention held is in kemper arena. that may be a coincidence with my name. n fact kemper arena was funded in part by a gift of my father and great-grandfather's charitable trust in order to save the american royal.
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and then the first major event that was held after that was the republican national onvention. he welcomed everyone. i've been at one national convention, the 1964 onvention. i was a 13-year-old honorary assistant of arms. i booed 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. i wanted to ask steve winn about the background of this 1976 -- the last time we had a truly contested convention. president ford was the first president who had not been elected to campaign for eelection.
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he was 30 points behind jimmy carter. the convention in which he was being challenged by former governor ragan of california was dramatic one. can you give us some background in that and what you remember about that moment? steve: the week before the convention the star ran some house ads that talked about, boy the 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 t turned out was that it was going to be a real contest too. just amped that 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 n.
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i think at the start we really decided, any hometown paper would say this, but we felt like we were really going to pull out all the stops and cover this thing just as thoroughly as we could. e had people on 12 or 18-hour shifts. they added pages to the paper every day. we had 34 newsboys to run around the kemper arena. that was seen in a way as part of a greater effort of the city to do a really good job on the convention. there are a lot of people elsewhere who 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 e too hot. there was a feeling in kansas city that we really want to do a ood job on this.
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crosby: jerry, you are part of the host committee and the logistics where pretty henomenal. jerry: the host committee had a ual 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. 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
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did was the host committee hosted the vips. and when you speak of vips, you are really speaking of elected officials and people that 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. here was a v.i.p. party at henry block's house, and i happened to be invited because i was county chairman. i was standing there next to henry bloch. bloch is a nice looking gentleman. and here is joe coors.
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i said like as beer? i was completely smitten by joe coors. i knew about those other two guys. we really put on a good show. there were other people in that mix, i could name names, but it was a time when kansas city could show its best. crosby: because it was a contested convention going into the convention come as you indicated, the various reports about the delegate counts, there were a lot of uncommitted delegates to neither president ford nor governor ragan. and governor reagan had the majority of the delegates for sure. there were delegates that were trojan horse delegates, which is to say delegates required by law ere to vote one way, but whose hearts were another way.
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and most of that was being required to vote one way or another, or for other reasons to vote for president ford but whose hearts were really with ronald reagan. we had celebrities wear either governor reagan or president ford brought in. there was the story of pat boone the singer coming in to lobby a mississippi delegate, an african-american woman named jean young, and to try to get her to switch from resident ford. cary grant came in to lobby for resident ford. there were a lot of celebrities around. some of them were doing real work. steve: the ford white house, they were inviting delegates to the state dinners and stuff. crosby: not only is the ford white house inviting people to a
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lot of white house dinners, but a certain amount of pork barrel was being rolled out. and then there was one ccusation made by the ford folks, an illinois delegate for reagan was trying to bribe -- somebody from the reagan campaign was trying to bribe illinois delegates, which was an accusation that was taken seriously because the fbi investigated it after the onvention. and the guy who gave the truth test to the republican, the reagan guy, he was the first politician to ever pass 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
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shot at being vice president? laura: yes, he was doing a lot in politics for himself. he was pushing himself and talking to people. of course he had that great manner and that great sense of humor and that sort of thing. everybody kept telling him no, you are sort of low to mid level. even reagan himself was considered a possible vp candidate for ford, even though reagan said, no, i don't want hat. there clearly was some friction between the two. crosby: reagan liked dole a lot. they had a good relationship. dole had a good relationship with ford too. but reagan had let ford know he would not be his vice president,
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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. the moment that it had 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 he was going to do something, he was going to shake things up. what he had 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 he 16-c rule, in which you -- he would force any candidate for president to attend at least 10 hours before the roll call on the vote for the presidential omination to review the vice presidential candidate. 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 delegations to the northeast delegates. the ford people absolutely
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wanted to avoid letting out who they were going to pick at that point. jerry: i went to that day they were having the parliamentary fight out on the floor. it was just terrible, they couldn't get control of the audience, of the delegates. it is a wonder they ever got to turn the page to the next day, because it was such a bitter division among republicans. it wasn't a fun place to be and it certainly was a lot of ction. it wasn't pretty and we didn't have a lot to be proud of as republicans. crosby: there is a famous moment when nelson rockefeller grabbed a reagan sign and ripped it up. one of the reagan delegates went
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out and ripped out the white phone that connected the new york delegation to the ford ampaign. jerry: you have to remember at this point he was vice president of the united states. crosby: right, 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 in the middle of it and everybody just kind of backed off at that point. steve: one of the striking things looking back on that point is what a crazy thing to have the rules get figured out at the time of the convention to apply to that convention. you have 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. that rule vote on the first night of the convention was really seen as the critical vote.
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once ford won that vote it was, you know -- crosby: it is about the vice presidential pick. there was one other great floor fight, in which jim baker, 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 is mainly about foreign policy at that point, and it is about henry kissinger's foreign policy that more of the conservative folks felt. it was about the panama canal, about taiwan recognition, or nonrecognition of taiwan, it was about nuclear testing and relationships, the détente going on with the soviet union. it was basically about henry kissinger, jim baker later said. there was another floor fight, this time a platform fight, over
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what was called the morality in foreign policy plank of the platform, which essentially was n attack on henry kissinger, but was watered down so they get it passed with some of the ford delegates voting for it and ford ultimately accepted it. and jim baker said that was their big mistake. they should have gone all out and they should have had a two word platform that the majority of the delegates would have voted for. but would have really harmed president ford, 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 broke out. jerry: there is a funny story about that. steve: there is a funny story about that. 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.
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they were conceding a lot. and kissinger thought they were conceding too much. he started threatening to esign. at one meeting someone apparently said to him, henry, when are you going to resign? we need to delegates. [laughter] crosby: you have written about the convention. essentially, 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. it was interesting that sears as trying to make the vice presidential nomination itself the major issue. in part because he probably knew. laura, you did research on this.
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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 other party and on the ther side. so his top picks -- he thought about keeping nelson rockefeller, which would have been a disaster. laura: and conley 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: what surprised me was the clip of the doles. really i think it was 6:30 in the morning when they got the call. gerald ford visited ronald reagan after he had won, because that was an agreement that the campaign managers had set up before the convention. the winner would go to the
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loser's hotel, which ronald reagan was staying at the alameda. they would sort of makeup and come together. and from that point, from what i understand, gerald ford presented his list of possible candidates, bob dole being one, and but there were a lot of others as well. at 1:30 in the morning, gerald ford has won the nomination and he is coming up with a vice presidential candidate. how many hours is that to make a decision that is literally one heartbeat away from the president? crosby: he had senior staffers talking to him before he went to see reagan, and the list was bounced around. he had some favorites, like armstrong, who had abbasid are two great -- who had been ambassador to great britain. he said that he thought a woman on -- he thought a woman as a candidate on the ticket wouldn't be of benefit.
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but the president's own favorite was a guy named -- also had been an assistant attorney general involved in watergate. and probably governor reagan let him know he was not a fan. baker was also on the list. the only candidate on the list governor reagan mentioned was senator dole. one of the reasons he did that was one of the closest lyrical operative been called by senator dole that afternoon or evening and said, could you whisper in
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the governor's ear that i would be a good vice presidential candidate? the last thing anybody said to ronald reagan about the pick -- steve: i read somewhere that he had been kidding dole. crosby: which also the question is at that point, a temporary chairman, senator and all 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. jerry, this is really good for
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kansas city. we are the focus of the nation. jerry: let me pick up on that. we are bidding for the convention in 75. and i was an awefully young committee chairman, and i got to go to washington with 17 other major city chairman. and here i am, half their age in most cases. we went to the white house. in the west wing, the cabinet room. there is the oval office, the oval office door opens, out walks ford. cutting to the chase, i was down near the end of the group.
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and it was really boring to listen to all these chairmen of these cities. he said, "ah, jerry. how are things in kansas city?" i said, "great. we have a prime time in kansas city and we would love you to come to kansas city and be nominated for kansas city, and bring the convention. and the guy who wanted it from cleveland groaned because i had stolen the invitation away from anybody else doing that. president ford at that point had
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not announced his candidacy. 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. later on we went out on the white house lawn. and i thought there going to zone in on kansas city, get 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. i did get our line in the water, and who knows if it did anything good, but it sure made me feel good. [laughter] crosby: you are obviously a key
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to getting the convention, and the article is written about kansas city. an awful lot about this is how we transcended our cowtown image. so the new york times editorial said, kansas city obliterated its cowtown reputation. a truman capote like figure who made all the columns in new york, they interviewed him and said, that is really quite civilized. [laughter] steve: a bunch of low expectations. crosby: you probably remember this, there were a lot of visitors to town sites and the media. there were yet these -- there were yippies, and coyotes. those folks were out en force. the convention hall must have been an exciting place to be. steve: limit give you a story on that.
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the host committee, which i was a part of, we had all these breakfasts and luncheons with the vips. there were the cabinet members and the bigwigs from administrations. sitting at my table was george bush the senior. who we talked about airplanes and he was the nicest man in the world. he heads the cia, so i thought so much for being a good and bad. and then we had the secretary of the interior, postmaster general, and donald rumsfeld, who was defense secretary at the time. we walk out after this wonderful lunch and i'm ready to go back to my office and see if i can still earn a living. donald rumsfeld looks at me and says, "what now, jerry?" i thought i was going to pass out because i had no earthly plan for him, and somewhere or
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another i had a stroke and said, "what do you think about going down to kemper arena and watch them finish up for getting ready for the occupation the next day?" and he did and was blown away. we had every reason to be proud of kemper arena. i couldn't do that again in 1000 years. but it was an extraordinary experience for all of us to see what they did with all the trailers and all the anscillary buildings where they had caucus rooms and cafeterias. we didn't have to apologize to anybody for that. crosby: it was referred to as the bizarre new building.
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all the old people, three years after the 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. we highlighted our food. people 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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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they were 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. crosby: at the rnc -- 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
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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 and that's what we remember about the campaign, president ford abrading poland.
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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
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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
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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 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.
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crosby: he did run again in 1980 and raised a lot of money, got one delegate. i did watch his speech. you can see all the speeches from the convention on youtube. he was very forceful and very partisan. the other thing that is interesting to me about the convention is the partisanship is really tremendous, and i wonder how you guys saw it on the floor. the partisanship was really tremendous. the reaganites were going after henry kissinger. there were serious issues. there were huge fights within the delegations. the mississippi delegation,
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north carolina delegation, famously, etc. when i look at what happens on the platform in the end, it seems so civil. there are moments when people said -- john c are set at one point, they should be going at a cutthroat way on certain things. there is a question of responsibility on this. ultimately the tone was very tough and hard fought. there is a civility that we lack today. what do you think? jerry: will i certainly agree with that. the trade-offs that are made around convention time are really extraordinary and they are made by real professionals that have leverage. i'm talking about congressman and groups of power people in
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the party. they end up influencing a lot of the results. more so than the regular voter would even imagine. there is an awful lot of horse playing going on. there were deals being made that we hadn't even thought about. yet they happen. that is 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?
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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.
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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
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rockefeller. flip-flopping. then you get the perspective of maybe 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.
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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 and dressing hillary on their side. 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.
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no one will mistake carol price. 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. jerry: we sat on an aisle 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 wives who had been in some soiree earlier coming down to their seat with a hot dog from a vendor out in the foyer.
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[laughter] 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 think reagan, really, my recollection of 1980 was reagan was in in terms of the nomination. the way he handled things at the end of 76.
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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.
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as you can imagine 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 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
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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. 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 --
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crosby: the other thing about bob dole -- jerry: the other thing about bob dole was he was a leader. he made it into something that finally got the job done. and it was through his persistence nobody was able to do it. and it was to his credit. crosby: i will say one thing about the change from 1976 kansas city to today, i was put in charge of the massachusetts delegation. they had a number of jewish members. relatively late in the evening they were asking for some kosher food and she had to wake up the owner of the new york deli, the only place in town you could get kosher food. and he was closed for the day so she had to go and find him and wake him up.
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things changed in kansas city since 1976. i want to open up to questions. we have two microphones up here. are you here in the audience? i know you have a story or two. you were on the host committee. >> a sidebar, my wife and i worked the convention and she loved it. i thought she was going to her pants when she saw tony orlando. -- going to pee in her pants when she saw tony orlando. [laughter] tony came in and before he was gone she was gone. crosby: tony orlando famously danced with betty ford to "tie a yellow ribbon." >> i heard a lot of negative things about bob dole getting the vice presidency.
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he was called a bulldog and a guy who would go for the jugular. and people were terribly scared he would go off the rail. it has been a nice panel. crosby: thank you for your comment. steve: that is the job of a vice presidential candidate to go on the attack. crosby: absolutely. >> i was a delegate to the convention from douglas county, where i was a student at ku. two comments come house talking with neil ferguson, the historian, who said i'm not an american, i'm just researching american politics for the first time. i said there was a lot of relaxed behavior that went on 40 years ago. i said, just because we had
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kegs of beer on the floor -- and you're absolutely right as to who made this comment. if you watch the clips on c-span of the 76 convention, everybody is smoking cigars, chain smoking camels. it was unbelievable, it just seemed natural. and people sort of felt that what went on in kansas city stayed in kansas city, it was a vegas type atmosphere. ferguson told me there was one problem, a state chairman who had his wife at the ground center hotel and his girlfriend in a winnebago at the kemper arena. as one of my late father said, he brave, he real brave. another thing is, security was so relaxed you just passed your badge around. there was no photo id, no
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computer thing, no facial recognition. i got a badge to lend to a friend and i went to see it the other day and it was from an obscure white house staffer, and the staffer's name was richard cheney. i still have it in my desk. but seriously, i would like to ask you a question. i don't think 76 could happen again because back then there was a party establishment. they could deliver delegations, they could offer favors and everything. bob dole was the establishment, he was the chairman of the rnc. and i don't think the trunk phenomenon where people come up from the grassroots, mediated by the party establishment, could have happened back then. conversely i don't think the party establishment could muscle in and turn aside a challenger like ronald reagan, otherwise
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jeb bush would be nominated this week. i would like to get your reaction to that. crosby: i think the mcgovern campaign, are all signs you could challenge the establishment. establishment didn't want any of those nominees. i agree, i think the situation is different today, the trump candidacy is unique in american history. you have something without real political value of any kind, left, right, or center, will be nominated by the republican party. that is unique. steve: i think you have a lot of ambiguous feeling with the general public. on the one hand you don't want to have the party bosses pick a candidate. that doesn't sound good. but on the other hand you have
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people saying the party will be getting involved more than it has been in shaping the eventual nominee. i think a lot of the public is ambiguous about it. you see some of this now, talking about hillary's superdelegates. should there be superdelegates? is that a good thing to have? crosby: you have a couple of stories. >> i was a member in 1976. your dad was very active in republican politics before. >> he ran for the senate in 1962.
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>> my story is i was the airport welcoming committee. we met all of the delegates when they got up the plane. we went to the hotel and thinks. we had about six airplane charters. one day we had a charter coming in and they wanted us to have three good-looking young guys pick up eight or 10 suitcases to take to the alameda hotel. >> they specified good-looking and guys? >> yes. sure. we met the airplane and it happened to be the governor from california, ronald reagan. we took his 8 or 10 suitcases to the alameda hotel and then after the convention was over they said, though that you do take
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him back to the airport so we took him back and then mr. reagan gave them a coke when they got to the airport that they. in this day in age, nobody would be able to touch his suitcases anywhere like that. security was completely different than the and you could get in and out of kemper. my wife in and i sat in section 224 and many people had passes. >> a former colleague of mine a couple days ago remembered security, he was thinking howard baker was probably going to get vp nomination in he swept up by howard baker's room in the hallway. then you imagine today? >> no, you can't. >> and then over time more people joined him and people from the delegation and everything was in the hallway.
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the people were just right up by the doors. >> it is amazing. amazing. >> i am interested in the panel perception of the evolving political humor of the american body politic. we have two conventions where both parties are facing the most intense internal conflict as it was for the republicans in 1976. maybe the democrats in 1968. what is your perception of the american people paths desire back then to transcend the old dual binary choice that has been presented to us apparently by the establishment? how might it play out this year where there is a of people thinking about other potential options, especially with the ongoing allegations in the
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democrat primary of election fraud now going to the court. what is your sense? is there in evolution of the american body politic and its trans-partisan ship or have we developed? >> my believe about that is we have a unique moment. i do not completely agree with the comment about the establishment. the establishment has been challenged plenty of time. we do have two candidates from two major parties, probably two of the most unpopular candidates with them are heading and there is something about that that is very odd. people in the united states right now are very unhappy. except, two very contradictory things are going on.
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if you look at president obama's ratings, they have been going up lately. that is in contrast to both party candidates. if you look at a poll about the direction of the united states, it is at the lowest number it has ever been in the sense if we are on the right track. republicans are about rock bottom, 7%. democrats, 9%. >> thank you. >> you mentioned ripping up a place card and yanking a phone colored out of the wall. in 1976 -- and yanking a phone cord out of the wall. we don't have to worry about that in 2016. i heard cleveland has taken out a 50 million dollars insurance policy to cover potential damage and that makes me wonder, what do the trump people have up their sleeve? was there any worry about anything like that in kansas
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city? >> when i took donald rumsfeld down there, we put them through this sort through this sort of gauge. it was the loosest thing you have ever seen. it would not stop a dog. >> the kansas city image. >> to secretary rumsfeld i said, that will keep them out. and he said, yeah, maybe if they are from iowa. then we ran into dan rather. >> you have to remember the 1968 convention, a convention in
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chicago was a total mess. 1972, republican convention, norman mailer wrote about it, too. in 1972 there were some problems. there were considerations that could have been problems. the interesting thing, there were not. the yippies were there. >> they expected 7000 protesters. the management did not give them permission to camp in the park. from what i understand, a couple hundred showed up. you had so many fewer demonstrators that -- you know -- now, one of the great pieces of art from the convention was
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some illustrations by, i think it was ralph steadman, with the rolling stone, in which she portrayed the delegates as cattle going through the stockyards. he has some great images if you get a chance to go back and look at the 1976 rolling stone coverage of the convention. some great illustrations on the protesters and delegates and that kind of thing. >> thank you. >> forestar group verification, senator donnelly was the republican national chairman early in the 1970's, but at the time of the convention he was not the chairman of the rnc. the convention was the first one organized and called to order by a woman. any thoughts about that? >> i don't know the story behind that. >> mary louise smith. >> yes, she was the one but bob dole took over as temporary chairman of the convention. >> he was chairman of the party
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of 1972, i worked format the headquarters and washington, d.c., someone lower down sent me into the watergate in 1972. i got to go visit the watergate for the democratic national committee because they wanted somebody who had a claim other than a member of the rnc, i claim to be a reporter from the news to get the delegate list which they would not give to the rnc. so i wandered around inside the watergate. he was chairman of the party in 1972 and interestingly enough, chairman of the party and jerry probably remembers this, the party at that point, bob dole, headed the nixon reelection -- hated the nixon reelection campaign. the rnc, they could not stand the nixon people at all. they were the enemy.
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they were worse than the democrats. >> we're going to adjourn to the second floor where we have the wonderful dole institute exhibit of the 1976 convention and a reception. >> if ford would have won, could he have run again in 1980? and, did ronald reagan really work hard for him after the convention through the election? >> from what i understood, yes. reagan did work for ford to try to get him elected. he did. he absolutely did. that is a good question on the constitutional >> i don't know. [indiscernible]
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>> you have to remember ronald reagan was 65-years-old at the 1976 convention. the assumption by other politicians and the media was that he was too old to ever run again. >> thank you for doing this. i wanted to ask you what -- if the end of the vietnam war had any role in the convention rhetoric or did it come up? >> i think pardoning -- well that was the watergate with nixon -- yeah, i think it did. i think the republican party in and we talked about it a little bit, was struggling. and it was watergate, vietnam. ford was taking the middle road and promoting detente and some of that.
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reagan was coming out and saying we need to be militarily strong. we need to be the strongest country in the world and sort of that kind of thing so that, i believe it did. >> i would say it absolutely did because i think the republican party was in a recovery mode and the recovery had a lot to do with watergate and the fact we left with our tail between our legs almost exactly a year after the defection from vietnam. i do not think president nothing was primed for that, but i think there is by man's identity can party. a little bit of kissinger and a lot democratic congress. still, i think the whole fight over the -- the non-fight over the morality and foreign policy platform was ultimately -- had a lot to do with vietnam. a lot.
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reagan's rhetoric was in a lot of ways similar to the comments today about we are falling behind, we're losing, we're not respected, we're been pushed around. a general sense of we're getting pushed around on the international stage. it is kind of interesting that donald trump is using a lot of that same line of attack. >> i have never been able to brag about my memory, but it seems to me this is the first time as a potential nominee or a nominee that we actually had a loose cannon as a serious candidate. >> you are talking about hillary
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clinton? [laughter] [applause] >> only meant it as a joke. but as you just said, reagan was considered a loose cannon by lot of people. you probably heard those arguments. we heard that in kansas city. >> he was clearly a let's have a 600 chip navy. that was the watchword. nobody was going to take the united states. to reagan's credit, which i've got us out of the cold war. this is hard. i think that's a good that. it might not work again, but it worked then. >> i briefly chaired governor reagan's campaign in kansas city 1979 before i went for the legislature myself so i can remember some of the attitudes about how this a cannon was. some of few in the audience might've met my mother who was a
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very rational, good thinking person. the day after the 1980 election, we had a serious conversation about whether or not ronald reagan would create a nuclear war . so i think the notion, the notion of loose cannons, you go back to the 1860 election and of course we created the civil war out of that but that was in assumption assumptions are made in america and politics about people on the other side that sometimes get to the level of immunization. -- demonization. we will probably see some of that in the fall i would guess in this election. it certainly happened with ronald reagan in 1980. >> you guys were talking about the split in the republican party in terms of foreign policy. an element of the gop unhappy with kissinger. with the soviets. i was reading an article in the
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new york times magazine in stumble upon it from richard allen, ronald reagan's first national security advisor he talks about the 1980 convention where george herbert walker bush became vp to get the last minute of a gerald ford. i am curious, i think this dovetails into today when you look at the difference is the gop chair techs about and the i happiness bringing henry kissinger it into the fold again. i am curious to know, you guys lost perspective on just how much of an influence these neoconservative elements had on the 1980 vice presidential process and also on the process of trump, how trump to a guy like mike pence more go with
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their foreign policies. >> i think reagan's choice of richard schweiker was not well-seen by reagan's supporters because richard schweiker was more on the moderate side. trump's pick of mike pence is it interesting because you see sort of a balance a hand attempt to gather delegates by broadening your desirability to the populace. but sometimes it does not work. >> i think it is in interesting question with parents. i think what he did with pence was a guarantee that the convention itself would not be a problem. i think the vice presidential candidate is usually not terribly meaningful during the course of the campaign. i think that will not be true in
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this campaign. mike pence will not get headlines as big as donald trump. on the other hand, i think the thing about foreign policy is foreign policy is interesting. if you look at henry kissinger's reputation. if you look at the people who were for reagan then who would today be maybe on the ted cruz side of things. it has risen substantially. some of this is still about positioning of the moment. making sure if you place the opponent in the category, reagan was brilliant with that. reagan but he would've done in 1975 was very uncleared and what he did is as president in the 1980's of course, he took the framework at the time and added it much stronger military presence and ended the cold war.
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now, could kissinger have done that? i don't know. it is a complicated world sometimes more than it looks like on the outside. >> thank you all for a great discussion. [applause] >> please come to the second floor for a reception and the exhibit. [indiscernible]
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>> american history three as on c-span3 every weekend. this month, american history tv is in primetime to entities you two programs you could see every weekend on c-span3. our figures include lectures in history, as is to college classrooms across the country, lectures from top history investors. american artifacts takes a look at -- real america, looking at america through newsreels. civil war, where you hear about people who shaped the civil war. learn about ladies and politics and their legacy. all of this month in primetime and on every weekend on american history tv on c-span3. there was an average of one rachel lynching a week in the south.
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each week, american history tv's real america brings you archival films. that provide context for today's up next, "know your ally: britain." it is a 42 minute training film produced by the u.s. army signal corps. this introduction to english society and to the events that led the united kingdom into world war ii, was shown to american troops before they arrived on the british isles on the british in the lead up to the 1944 d-day invasion. ♪


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