tv The Presidency Ronald Reagans Presidential Campaigns CSPAN October 27, 2019 8:00pm-10:06pm EDT
ford took place as part of mr. shirley's university of virginia course, ragging on leadership. -- craig: frank, thanks for being with us. this is our course, you are german -- you are joining an august group such as john meacham. make: always wanted to grad school. craig: you finally did. i didn't get a chance to email out frank's bio. this is may the single most important, critical keeper of , the reaganegacy
legacy in america today. 1976 reagan on the campaign, he worked on the 1980 campaign, he worked in the white house, he worked on the 1984 campaign, and he has been the longtime chairman of the reagan ranch, which has been one of the three major vantage points in american politics today. there is the library in simi valley, the ranch in santa barbara, and eureka college. frank, thank you for being here. thene get right into it, the students will ask questions. firstganized the very conservative political action conference in 1973. frank: 1974, right? craig: 1974. and reagan spoke as the keynote speaker, the star attraction. frank: first of all, thank you
for having me. the great baseball player who used to play for the yankees, yogi berra, had a 10 seat to mangle his sin -- had a tendency to mangle his syntax. readce was asked if he had a biography about himself. he said, why should i, i was there? we will be talking about things tonight where i was there. first political action conference was held in january of 1974, a lifetime ago. there was really a twofold idea behind this. the first was that the nixon administration was in all kinds of trouble at that time, being and all theatergate attendant problems.
the first goal was to say that the conservative movement is allied with the republican party but not the same as the republican party. there republican party is a political vehicle and the conservative movement we always thought stood for ideas which had a home may be in the republican party. that therepoint was was this governor way out in california that was probably the most consistent conservative on the national scene we had had, but a lot of people nationally did not know about him. him aea was to give national forum to introduced him to americans. remember, this was way before talk radio and cable television. a big deal used to be getting an article about your candidate in the new york times or washington post, then send it around to
people. it was a much bigger job to get the word out. those were the two main purposes. craig: how many people attended? frank: we put it together in about two months. it wasn't a bad attendance. i would say about several hundred attended. theut ads in some of conservative newspapers, we did a lot of mailings to donors. the irony was that we did not really know who was going to show up because you did not have instant registration. people might have gotten it in the mail and said, i will go to that. the reagan banquet, which was the highlight of the conference and the most widely attended event, literally 200 people showed up that we did not expect to show up. we were kind of barricading them, holding them outside while
the program director of the mayflower hotel was literally leading an effort to put up more tables. literally putting up tables and trying to find silverware and so forth. they finally got in. but we had a very good crowd. craig: cpac is a lot different today. frank: now it is institutionalized and there are thousands people who have it on their calendar already for the next year. craig: how did you get involved in politics? frank: two things. one is that i was assigned -- i went to a catholic boys high school in pittsburgh and, believe it or not, i was assigned by our teacher to read "the conscience of a conservative" by barry goldwater. i came from a democratic family but i remember thinking, i
believe in a lot of this stuff. in college, it was the high point of the campus uprisings, the new left and so on. it is an interesting statistic that the leadership of the new left was drawn primarily from upper wealthy families. one of thee in conservative organizations, young americans for freedom, and we came primarily from working-class backgrounds. a lot of blue-collar. 19 76 you worked on the reagan campaign. frank: i did. i was the co-youth director. [laughter] frank: i told you not to laugh. craig: he ran briefly in 1968 but even he denied that he ran briefly in 1968. wasthe 1976 campaign monumental, important, and did
change the republican party and the ark of reagan's future. frank: it definitely did change all of that. it was a long shot because we were challenging and incumbent president. craig: which is very unusual in the republican party. the last time was 1912. frank: the other thing you have to remember, president ford, and modern, is thought of as a moderate republican. in the republican party in 1975 and 1976, he was conservative. he led the result against -- led the revolt against what he considered to be a moderate republican leadership 30 years before newt gingrich did the same thing. craig: when he first ran for congress, it was a primary challenge to a more moderate
candidate and he ran to his right, i recall. that: as i said, i think ford, if you want to talk about the old conservatism, which was balanced budget conservatism, he would have been a strong conservative. but once you got into talking about a broader panoply of issues, especially social issues and, most amazingly, foreign policy, jerry ford had been captured by henry kissinger and detente, so that created a big opening. i guess the point i would like to make as we go through this whenssion is that, i think we talk about instances in both the 1976 and 1980 campaign, there are many junctures where reagan is one step removed from disaster and if he falls off the ledge at any of those points, you probably never hear from him
again. said in theonce sports context, great teams aren't always great, they are just great when they have to be. i would say, if you look at political record, and each point he faced a crisis, when he had to come up big, he did. took: a lot of times he his own destiny into himself, like the nashua debate, the carter debate. frank: i like to think he had a brilliant staff. craig: because you were on that staff. frank: of course. in point of fact, at these critical junctures, it was him. the race withinto much fanfare and proceeds to lose the first five primaries in a row. his staff is looking for a graceful way for him to withdraw
without being humiliated. reagan goes on national television before the north carolina primary and gives one of his patented speeches. the money in those days, $2 million was a lot of money, poured in. soin, there is no internet, people actually had to take down the address, write a check, put it in the mail, and all that. after that speech, reagan goes wednesdayensive and -- and wins the north carolina primary. it rejuvenates him. to that point, all the way through until he wins california decisively, jerry ford is kind of hanging on. craig: to your point about reagan at the precipice, if he loses north carolina --
frank: i would think that he would have agreed and probably would have withdrawn. and that would have been the end. there would have obviously been no future campaign. he doesn't win 1980, he becomes a footnote. frank: latest crazy person to challenge and incumbent president goes nowhere. craig: north carolina changes everything. the american people see him now mortgage a -- more legitimately because he beats an incumbent president. frank: you've got to win. winning builds credibility. it wasn't just the wind. it was how he won. he won this himself with one speech where he found his voice in foreign policy. craig: he started to reject the
advice of his campaign manager and started going after issues that his campaign manager at the time did not want him to go after. frank: it was a foreign policy based campaign for the bulk of the campaign. it resonated not only with republican voters, but with a lot of democratic voters. socially ors, maybe economically liberal, but on foreign policy, being tough on the russians, they were on the republican side more than the democratic side. we felt that we had a ready-made coalition if we could get the nomination. from north carolina on, he wins the vast majority of the primaries. he wins a lot of delegates. the only reason we wind up losing in the end is that we
outran our supply lines. we had a very small staff and we literally could not put up delegate candidates in some key states. ohio and new jersey. the last day of the primary campaign, reagan won california overwhelmingly. in those days, it was winner take all. had like nine out of 88 delegates in ohio and similar in new jersey. in the fall, they all go to ford and he ends up with another -- with enough uncommitted delegates to win the nomination. policyit was a foreign election but he threw in some other things. the ford administration was handing out federal largess. sewer contracts, tree cutting contracts, anything they could do, and reagan was on the stump
saying, whether they say hail to the chief or santa claus is coming to town. the panama canal treaty, we have not talked about that, but they played a critical role. it was still bubbling up as an issue in 1976 because the ford campaign was in negotiations with panama to transfer control. reach full fruition until 1978 but it was starting to bubble up. frank: this was a very difficult time in american life. especially in the foreign policy side. lostse america had just its first war ever. we were humiliated. we got kicked out of vietnam. we lost the war in vietnam. craig: laos, cambodia. frank: the russians seemed to be
on the march and the so-called third world. they had a tremendous presence in africa, for example, and as we later learned, in central america. on top of that, we kind of took a kid gloves approach to the soviet union, even when they imprisoned their own citizens in the gulags, like alexander solzhenitsyn. it seemed like no one was willing to speak up to how america had a critical role to play in trying to stem the advance of communism. reagan spoke up. craig: reagan really, from the mutual containment and cooperation, he is the first one really to break with the bipartisan precedent of everyone going forward from truman right up until ford.
the soviet union is a thing of permanence, the berlin wall is a thing of permanence. we have to find a way to coexist. he says, we will transcend them. this is terrifying to the establishment. frank: i think that becomes evident in the 1980 campaign. he was able to realize the scenario whereby the soviet union would not be permanent, where we could utilize a combination of diplomatic and especially economic pressure to force them into places where they could not go, because they could not compete with us economically. therefore, reagan envisioned that, plus, i think, a strong ideological appeal to freedom. he always believed individuals, no matter where they were, wanted to be free and wanted the freedom that we have in the united states.
that really resonated behind the so-called iron curtain with the satellites and so forth. aaig: if nixon can run for third -- cannot run for a third term in 1976, if he survives watergate, if agnew survives watergate, agnew almost certainly runs for the nomination in 1976. i think agnew would have beaten john connolly. connolly was a lifetime democrat and newcomer to the republican party. agnew runs absent watergate, does reagan challenge him? it is hypothetical. frank: i would say to you that it would depend on what kind of if he wouldew ran
have broken, in important ways, and may be adopted some of the things that reagan strongly believed about foreign policy, i think there would have been a possibility he could have been co-opted. reagan was a practical man. to be not one that wanted on fools errands. at the 1975 cpac when there was so much pressure to form a third party, reagan was setadult in the room, he everybody down and said, the largest grouping of conservatives is in the republican party. why should we try to start some new organization that we know nothing about? he was always a practical man. i think another thing he would have considered, with agnew running essentially a third term for nixon, would he have been a
stronger candidate maybe then reagan would have been as an outside force? reagan takes on ford, this is pretty monumental. -- there of the reason are a lot of policy differences, --ente, henry kissinger, he social issues are just starting to -- energy independence. and the soviets and all of those other things. but also, there was a personal reagans and the fords did not get along with each other. frank: i think that is fair. i don't think reagan was ever overly personal. i think he grounded his opposition more on policy and on
real differences even though he -- i think he sort of viewed ford as an accidental president. i think ford resented the fact that reagan didn't give him more efforts. he was the president. i think ford felt that he was the president now and he deserved support if reagan wanted to run next time, so be it. craig: but it did get back to reagan that they were jokes being made at his extent -- at his expense in the ford white house. and ford went to the gridiron speech and said, it is not true that ronald reagan dyes his hair, it is just turning prematurely orange. misses reagan was upset about that. frank: a lot of that was generated by the people around
ford. the one exception to that was dick cheney. i once asked cheney about this. he always got along well with ronald reagan. i said, i am a little surprised because you started your political life with gerald ford and yet, he and all of his -- he said, you have to understand that i was more conservative than ford. obviously, i have sympathy for my boss. but it was not a problem for me when reagan became president or became the nominee, to support him. interviewed cheney on my book on the 1976 campaign, he said the exact same thing. because i he said,
was a westerner like reagan and i understood what he was talking about as far as the populist resentment toward washington. i don't think nelson rockefeller never really got that. by theloses to ford narrowest of margins. this is the last openly it isted nomination and all being broadcast live. the convention hinged on a rule that required the delegates to vote the way their states had voted. we won and let the delegates vote their conscience, i think
we had a chance. i was so despondent that night that i remember i walked out and just shook my head. we just blew the best chance we ever had to elected a conservative, that's how down everybody was, because he was soon to be the next governor of california. he was 65 years old which, in those days, was considered old. the idea of him running again in four years was certainly not viable. frank: --craig: all the newspaper columns and said, into the sunset you tried twice and failed twice. as low as ink i was
ever recalled. craig: until he gives the incredible speech. to be ae had intended spectator at the convention. the delegates are the ones that started this, i think. "viva ole,"reaming reagan battle cry. craig: the texas delegation would say "viva" and the california delegation would say "ole." frank: we have got to unite the convention. craig: half support ford, half support reagan. ford invites reagan up to say a few words. i think he was sincere, he won, it should be his night. craig: just prior, tom brokaw
was in his skybox live on nbc and he says, governor, are you going to address the convention tonight, and reagan says no. the convention gets louder and louder, so he finally feels he has to say something. i think mike dever told me the story, he walks out of his box to walk down and say something and he turns and says, what do i say? he says, i don't know, you will think of something. craig: mike told me the same thing. frank: anyway, he gets up and it is like he had a five minute speech prepared. are you going to show that? craig: yeah. frank: it is not totally ex-tem p, because he had been working on an article that was going to
say this same thing. he kind of talked about 50 years from now. the theme of the speech was, 50 years from now, they will know if we met the challenge here tonight because they will know if america was still free or not. craig: he talked about a letter in a time capsule. frank: you will still see that. typically, so beautifully delivered. reagan never raised his voice. he is one of the great writers of our time -- great orators of our time who never had to pound the table or shout. there was a little humor in it. it was just perfect. unfortunately, the convention erupted. craig: which was embarrassing to ford. frank: in fairness, ford gave a good speech. it was one of the best speeches he ever made. it was a good speech.
him andagan challenged said, i have to step up here. anyway, that kind of electrified everyone. ford doesn'tg, if make it, or if he does, what about reagan in four years? literally aou that week later, i got a personal note from reagan saying, thank you for everything you have done. i want to let you know, we are not going to just stand around, we will stay in the battle. that made me think, this is more than just a pat on the back letter. then, i was still executive director of the young americans for freedom at the time and we invited to our convention, the next july of 1977. he accepted immediately.
so, he is still -- we used to call it the mashed potato circuit. he is still on the mashed potato circuit. who knows? convinced that why he decided to run in 1980 -- of course my research and writing various books -- he went out stumping for republican candidates all through the fall of 1976. he went every place. every place he went, stewardesses, bellhop's, police officers, every place he went, people saw the speech in kansas city because it was the only thing they watched on television. people said, governor, you have to do it one more time. i think that grassroots outpouring is what convinced him as much as anything to run again in 1980. frank: that could be.
he was a populist in the good sense. a phony populist says to the people, what should i believe? a real populist says to the people, here's what i believe, i need your help. craig: the essence of leadership. frank: i think that is true. so i came into contact with him a few times after that in 1978. -- this was not a guy who was looking at his watch , feeling like he has to do this for the sake of the party. i got the impression that this was somebody who really felt like he had one more fight in him. speechafter he gives the interviewedty, i you and everybody else about the convention.
one of the things, kenny klink, old friend who was with reagan in 1976 and 80 and 84. supporter, and after reagan gives this magnificent speech, she says, we have nominated the wrong man. i have heard that story from others. i don't think it was isolated. craig: i think it was the feeling of a lot of ford people. ford's hold on the nomination was very tenuous. after you get this note and after 1978, you are convinced he is going to run again in 1980. frank: i think, by the end of
1978, when the republicans did so well in the off year elections, i think the decision was pretty well made at that point. craig: on reagan issues? the republican party was moving toward reagan. frank: it was a very ideological election and that virtually all of the republicans who were elected -- hatch, gordon .umphrey, steve sims armstrong in colorado. it is really interesting, the republican party today is almost uniformly conservative. if you looked in 1976 and a list of republican senators and said,
are they moderate or conservative, it was like 50-50. there were several who were liberal republicans. craig: what i tell people is that there used to be the wednesday club, the meeting of moderate republican senators. that doesn't exist. we think of jacob javits, clifford case, others who were their whole philosophy is pretty much gone in the republican party. when you work on most ready to sign on to the 1980 campaign, were you thinking about connolly or bob dole, or any of the others> -- of the others? frank: there were some good candidates running but this was someone who i had been hoping for 10 years that he would get a shot, to see what we would do
with genuine conservatives as president of the united states. there was really no doubt that is where i would be. craig: what did you do for the campaign? frank: i was one of the regional political directors. who were some of the others? frank: charlie black. craig: this was really the cream of the crop of republican operatives in 1980. frank: should i mention all of the names? craig: well, some of them. i want you to name drop, ok? frank: charlie black is a long time republican political operative, still act of on today's scene. bill timmons was a longtime workedcan lobbyist and on capitol hill. he was active in the young
republicans. lee atwater, everyone has heard of lee. under chairman of the rnc george h w bush. managed the 1988 campaign. team. a really strong charlie black was in charge of and heitical operation did really a terrific job in putting a first-class group of people together. craig: roger stone. you can drop his name, too. frank: roger is a dear -- a friend of mine. craig: likewise. --nk: before roger kind of he was a really good political tactician. he organized new york and connecticut in a wafer republicans --
craig: the last time republican carried new york and connecticut was in 1980 and 1984. frank: moderates, conservatives, had them all working together. so this group got together, a serious group of republican operatives. you took issues seriously, took the job seriously, took the candidate seriously. a good political staff, i think, you should only hear from them occasionally. their work should do their talking for them. today, everyone wants to be on television, i get that, but if you are a good political operative, you are a nuts and bolts person. you are supposed to find those issues in your state that most resonates with the most number of voters.
you advise the candidate which parts of the state to go to, and you do your best to recruit volunteers. you put that altogether, it is not stuff you get by just talking about it. my point, this group was especially good because of the seriousness of purpose. every campaign has bad staff that embarrass the campaigner the candidate, they are fired or kicked upstairs. none of this group ever got in any trouble, never got in the newspapers, never were off-base, no scandal, no nothing. just did a very superb job for reagan in 1980. frank: reagan was his best weapon, but i do like to think, in the states he had to go to, we were well prepared, good ground organization, making sure
that he hit the right issues. we gave him every chance, i think, to win every state. we did not win every state but we hopefully created those chances. you only won 44. frank: i was talking about the primaries. ofig: i think you won 32 out 38, something like that. how much interaction did you 1980?ith reagan in wask: the most important when he came into one of my states. i had ohio, pennsylvania, wisconsin. very important states in the primary. still important states today. very important states back then. a large section in each state of what we call reagan democrats. socially conservative, lots of
union members, not registered republicans, but that would react favorably to what reagan was talking about. in fact, it was on of our wisconsin,milwaukee, where the national press first coined the term reagan democrat. blue-collar area .f milwaukee i remember, when we pitched this step a lot of local republicans, the reaction was, are you crazy? there is not a republican within 10 miles of that place. craig: hubert humphrey spoke there, george mcgovern spoke there. only democrats spoke there. frank: we got there on a saturday night and the place was jammed.
frank: i think it was at that point that the national press started to take us seriously. it was at that point that the press began using the term reagan democrat, which is still around today. i think most of them are republicans by now. that was a tremendous shot of credibility, nationally, the belief that we were not limited to just the 30% or whatever it was of the electorate that called themselves republicans in those days. there was a whole new swath of independence and democrats who were looking for something else. craig: in part, a rejection of carter. reagan, the issues he is talking about in 1976 have really changed by 1980, except soviet communism and soviet advances
which, by 1980, the republican party has rejected detente. they have not embraced reagan's strong anti-soviet positions yet. but reagan is talking about a whole new set of issues. and socialultural issues which didn't really talk 1976.in frank: by 1980, the three-legged stool of reaganism and what up until recently has been moderate republicans and -- modern republicanism was born. economics, family fulfilling americans -- anti-communism. that is what i mean when i say, reagan democrats were open to that kind of message.
of course, one of those precipices again was the now famous nashua debate where reagan had the option of canceling it, ducking it. he is at the precipice and he goes ahead and debates george bush. this is a seminal moment. even today, people refer to the nashua debate even though they don't know what they are talking about. frank: again, reagan is on the precipice. he announces that he is the leader in the clubhouse, and he loses iowa, the first caucus he loses to george bush, by running an ultraconservative strategy. he doesn't really debate, doesn't campaign, he just does nothing. andng the manager's advice, it was the wrong advice.
now, the second shot is new hampshire, and it is do or die. if you lose two out-of-the-box, you might be done. craig: he had a strong primary challenger in george h w bush. he won iowa, he was a very disciplined guy, the former chairman of the rnc. he had deep relationships around the country. more foreign policy experience. frank: he was a formidable person. he wins iowa and we are in new hampshire now. in those days, there were like six weeks between the two. so the focus -- craig: now, there is only one week. if this current schedule of one week had been the environment
reagan was running in 1980, he would have lost new hampshire. and then he would have been out. frank: the more compressed the primary schedule, the more likely that the previous contest influences the latter contest. we had time with six weeks. ,veryone talked about nashua and that was important. reagan, he went every day for 7:00eeks from 7:00 a.m. to p.m., every little town that you can think of a new hampshire, he was everywhere. he was serious this time. craig: he had the press bus trailing him around to all these events. finally, at the end of one day, they hang a big sign on the side
of the bus that says, free the reagan 44. frank: i thought he was unbelievable, the energy that he displayed. actually, some of the polling had we had before nashua reagan taking a slight lead over bush. to -- so, you are two days out from the tuesday primary. this is supposed to be a saturday night debate. the race is still in doubt at this point. it is a convoluted series of developments. i almost don't want to go into all that. i will assign a reading for the class. frank: assign the reading but for now it doesn't make any sense. the point is that reagan showed emotion. he was angry when the moderator
suggested that his microphone be turned off. they mispronounced his name. it was a genuine sign of a flash of emotion. it electrified the entire audience. and, there was still a debate. i was not there, but people who were there tell me that reagan was magnificent. every single answer, he was on fire. the guyearned about that we saw in kansas city all those years ago, finally showing himself again two years later. craig: reagan was always at his best when he was angry. pt lee met with bush after the debate and bush says, what is
the good news? issays, well, the bad news you lost the argument. the good news is nobody is paying attention to the debate and you lost that, too. later wins three days which, by the way, was the same weekend that the u.s. beat the rush in hockey. greatestle on ice, the sporting event in my history. i am still celebrating that two days later and reagan just cleans up in new hampshire. we won byod thing such a big margin because we spent all of our money and had no money left. craig: bush had money. frank: he spent it and he won
michigan, pennsylvania. money still counts and we had nothing. the momentum was so large from that that i never had a doubt that we would be the nominee. knew: that is when you reagan would be the nominee. right after new hampshire. frank: all things being equal. we know, one of my states, won wisconsin, which was thought to be a more progressive state. craig: the heavy presence of conservative democrats. voters who identified themselves .s republicans, george bush won
independents. craig: and in texas. frank: independents saved us. again, this is bush's home state. craig: this is the beginning of the new reagan coalition. with winning the primaries democratic and independent voters. more people want to vote in our party's primary and we think that is a bad thing? craig: coming into our country club. the implicit thing they were saying, they are just coming into vote for reagan because they know he is a weak candidate. craig: nobody bought that. nobody bought it.
craig: he became a conservative, you read "conscience of a conservative," you spent all these years in republican and conservative politics. hampshire,ter new republicans peel -- or publicans feel pretty vindicated that they were right all along. frank: again, i think back to just four-years earlier. feeling like it was the best chance we had and it is gone. four years later, we are in position to be the nominee of the republican party and have a chance to win in the general election. on the one hand, it is very satisfying. on the other hand, we are ahead at halftime. we still have a lot more -- craig: you still have the
convention and then the fall campaign. detroit, 1980. the one that i want students to know is that you are the one who told the world that it was going to be george bush that was ronald reagan's running mate and not gerald ford, who everybody the co-presidency deal. frank: that is about three quarters true. craig: for washington, that is pretty good. frank: here's what happened. tuesday night, -- in those days, we actually had an order for the convention. today, it is just a four-day tv show. in those days, the first night was the platform, the second night was -- excuse me, the first night was the keynote speech.
the second night was the platform, the third night was devoting. the fourth night was the speech by the president and the presidential nominee and the vice presidential nominee. so, this was tuesday. there was total chaos on the floor because of all of the , that reagan was going to be ford's running mate. gerald ford goes on television co-presidency. a craig: the staffs were meeting. coming up with this convoluted -- frank: reagan gives a speech is really what ford had in mind. are just, my god, we
going to give this away. there is incredible chaos on the floor. they kept trying to gavel the convention to order. they had this band that just kept on playing. craig: the michigan fight song. frank: california, here i come, all those times. is g: because everybody abuzz about the co-presidency. frank: reagan says, we can do this. number one, get george on the phone. number two, i am going to the convention. the candidate never goes to the convention before he is actually nominated. in so many president ways. i am one of the floor people. in those days -- i don't know
what they have today, but we had walkie-talkies, you had to push this thing. the voice comes from the, it is called a trailer but it was thely kind of up above convention. it says, the governor is coming to speak to the convention. the voice is bush. it said, tell your delegates. and i havemessage got like five delegations that i am in charge of. pennsylvania,in, ohio. frank: it was a couple of those but that is not how they are seated. i feel like my number one job is to go tell everybody. who is literally like five rows in front of me but chris wallace, who you may see on fox today?
a young reporter for nbc. i had never met chris before but i had been at the convention, but this is a good story. before thethe week convention begins and i am covering one of the platform hearings. and heallace walks in introduces himself to me. he says, i will be a floor reporter. he says, if you pick up anything on the floor, i am around. he seemed like a nice guy. anyway, i see him and i go up to him and say, it is bush. he says, it is who? if he had a microphone, he would have swallowed it.
he said, would you go on national television and announced this? my life flashes before my eyes. i said, sorry. i am walking away and i see chris saying to the booth, what do i do with the story? apparently, he does break the story. craig: he had a clean beat on the other two networks. frank: they ran promos afterwards that nbc broke the biggest story of the convention. he always gives me credit. he did something very recently and they said, we understand you broke the story. how did that happen? staffer,there was this frank donatelli. all of this is playing out live , everyonel television
in detroit and in the media convinced that reagan and ford will go under the political gun and have this forced joining of a co-presidency. minute, it is not right. frank: i don't think it ever got as close as it appeared on tv? not the co-presidency. craig: he was watching on television that night and he saw ford on cbs being interviewed by walter cronkite and walter cronkite says, co-presidency. ford wanted't think to do it either but he and reagan never got along. he had a pretty good life at
that point. craig: go golfing whenever you wanted to. frank: some things don't change. [laughter] craig: he was enough of a party loyalist that i think he would have done it but i don't think he was terribly anxious to do it. partlyr question is correct, that is what happened. craig: what about the fall campaign? to your point about reagan and the leadership, he is right at the precipice in wisconsin, right at the precipice in , may be a fatal mistake in choosing gerald ford as his running mate. if you want to know how the 2020 campaign is going to unfold, look back on what happened in 1980.
you have a similar situation, a president with a strong but limited following and a country that seems to be open to somebody new. the only way the incumbent is toent is going to win -- craig: destroy the challenger. frank: poke holes in the challenger. that was carter's strategy. it was pretty tough. it was successful. reagan was ahead most of the fall but -- craig: it flip-flopped. frank: after september, he never approached 50. both of these guys are in the low 40's. 44, 41, 45, 42. reagan kind of felt like -- we were worried that we had stalled out because so much of politics is momentum. atig: ford had stalled out
247 electoral votes. campaign, same thing is going to happen to us. 247re going to stall electoral votes and carter will win reelection. frank: there were not red states and blue states in those days. both were opened to both parties. on the last day of the 1980 campaign, jimmy carter campaigned in austin, texas, ronald reagan campaigned in new york and los angeles. so, more states were open at that time. the low 40's.n in
reagan's whole strategy had in to try to buck up john anderson, a candidate that year, on the grounds that anderson is a registered republican -- craig: he had been a republican congressman, then he switched to independent. if wewe thought that could get him up, every vote would probably come from carter and not from us. carter refused a three way debate, so as we go into october, not only are we stalled but we had no debate because carter -- all of a sudden -- it shows you how reagan is willing to -- was willing to, you know, exert
leadership. he switched on a dime and said, ok, i will debate jimmy carter. there was one debate scheduled. one week prior. it was monday night, prior to the election. no debate has ever been so close to an election, a national election. all the chips were on the table. wins the debate is most likely to be president of the united states. >> carter does an ok job. his people were pretty happy. >> yes, i interviewed jody powell. clutched all the right themes. thek: reagan, i think, wins day just by his manner and by being cool and calm and convincing the american people that they could trust this guy. , the issues of
1980. carter had a bad couple years. which really helped pave the way for reagan, right? stagflation,ssion, which was high interest rates. which thenflation, textbook said was impossible. frank: talk about being hoisted on your own petard. he made the missouri index, which was adding together the inflation and unemployment rate. which was not good for ford. 1980, the missouri -- come index wasmisery almost double. that is the main reason he did not have high popularity.
craig: a bad economy combined with high interest -- inflation of 21% per year. high interest rates. unemployment was spreading in the world situation was really -- frank: we had hostages. craig: hostages in iran, of course. people saw that as another expression of carter's feckless leadership. frank: ted kennedy challenged president carter in the primaries. a primary challenge never helps the incumbent. it never helps the incumbent. he had to fight tooth and nail to fight off the kennedy challenge as late as the democratic convention. trying to get kennedy up to be part of the unity. he was literally chasing kennedy around the stage, trying to shake his hand and get a picture of the two of them. he gave a very defined speech.
so i mean, he had a lot of problems. rabbit,, the killer fainting at the jogging, soviets invaded afghanistan. nothing went right for this poor man. craig: his brother causing an embarrassment. taking a liberian loan. frank: and yet, despite all of that, two thirds of incumbents who run for reelection win, right? exactly. so you know, so -- craig: and there were a lot of doubts about reagan. frank: there were doubts about reagan. mark in many ways. themquired, you know, seeing him personal and up close . this is somebody they felt they
could feel comfortable with. that was his hallmark throughout his eight years as president. every time in his administration , when people had doubts about what he was proposing, he would go on television, he would talk to people, and they would be reassured. more often than not, he would get it. that is what is called leadership. getting people to buy into what you are selling. whether you are a football coach, union leader, or professor trying to inspire your students, they have to buy into what you are selling. the difference for a president is it affects the whole country. be good at to really crafting messages and ideas so that, you know, you keep the country moving forward. craig: one thing we should understand is to the point you made about ted kennedy carter,ing united conventions tend to win
in the fall. 64, the republicans are divided, they lose. 68, the democrats are divided, they lose p a 1972, the democrats are divided. they lose. 1980, the democrats are divided. they lose. frank: that is why conventions are now tv shows. craig: sen. wyden: they used to be important. -- craig: they used to be important. frank: no longer. craig: part of leadership is issuing statements or phrases that become part of and theculture dialogue. you know, turtle was -- church hill was famous. chill was famous. reagan, the commandment. 1980, the closing summation is now a phrase which is used every four years now in national politics. >> are you better off than you were four years ago?
y -- that misery index is a way of summing up the election. the trick is you want more people thinking about the things you want them to think about. that was the message that we wanted to leave with the public. you think things are going in the right direction now, i guess you will not vote for me but if you think we are off course and we need a new direction, please think about it. we thought that if people, you know, had that question framed in their minds when they went into the voting booth -- carter was a very good debater out of arguably two three with ford in 1976. frank: very disciplined. and third, he
clearly won. very disciplined. carter expected it. frank: he went after him a number of times. craig: they really did not respect reagan. they thought he is a great be b-actor who is lost without his three by five cards. frank: we did not want to make this trade negative times. we had ae felt like chance to get back up here, but if all we did was go back and on, well, you are this, but you are this, that would have been a wasted opportunity. craig: it also played against carter. they lowered expectations. in the days before, they were saying carter is going to the press, carter is going to pummel reagan, beat reagan out of town. reagan people were surprisingly
disciplined as far as what they were saying about carter as a debater. look, i mean, when you get to that level, you underestimate people at your peril. right? you want to deal with the person in front of you. as i said, if you watch the answer,on answer after i think he does about as well as he can do given the factors that we discussed earlier that are weighing against him. again,comes back to you, and again, and again, the idea that we are the united states. we can do better than this. craig: you are absolutely right. event,ften reduced to an a phrase, or a sentence, and carter would forever be known for the one phrase. frank: he clearly mangled that answer. craig: they said, mr. president, you cannot use that, and he used
it anyway, which was -- frank: the question was, what is the most important issue facing the american people? or something like that, and carter said, i was talking to my nine-year-old daughter amy, the other night, and she said nuclear weaponry. i had a nine-year-old daughter once, and i never once heard her say nuclear weaponry, let alone asking her what the most important issue is. it kind of came across as silly. craig: and he said the silly statement to 100 million people. frank: the very next question was -- i forget what the question was. i am sitting next to him -- craig: a longtime rate in aid -- longtime reagan aid. frank: he asked a question to carter. he leaned over to me and said i wonder what amy thinks about that. [laughter] i don't know that he lost
the campaign. i think reagan won. craig: the poles shifted dramatically and overnight. frank: yes, after the debate, i agree with you. i am saying i don't think he lost because of that line. that carter had to convince a country that reagan could not be trusted, and reagan had to convince the country that he was fully in charge and capable and up to the task. craig: he was not a middleman that was going to push the nuclear button and throw senior citizens out in the snow banks. frank: i think, in the end, that's reagan's number one priority. won out.out -- it it was magnified. now had these instant polls
that the networks say they will not use because they are unscientific. i think it was abc that signed lls by a huge margin p i don't know if it was consistent with what the american people thought. campaign,eek of the the crowds were enormous. i mean, we had them in ohio the saturday before. bob hope, woody haze. rickles was in cincinnati with reagan and ford. my word for it. he was. frank: was he insulting them or the other guys? craig: he was insulting the iranians as i recall. frank: but you could just feel the momentum.
everyone was on a high. i really think, after that night, when you read the coverage and talked to people, everybody was -- i felt like we were on the verge. week: in the intervening between the debates to the what are you doing, what is going on? where are you? frank: i am moving around to my states. and we wanted to make sure we were doing all of our voter contact programs again. .e actually called people we had names, addresses, and phone numbers. we had these big call centers. so we want to make sure that they are manned and we are contacting as many people as we possibly could, and then obviously, you know, the president was coming into our state. he came to ohio the weekend of
the election. wanted to make sure we had a great crowd. enthusiasm. all a bigint, it is moment. the proposals have been done. right now, we have got to -- you know, we have got to finish strong, get our people out there. i guess, you know, turnout, calling as many people as possible, and making sure that, you know, our events went very well. the very end, so we are calling election day and urging favorables to turn out and vote for us. not terribly glamorous. i talked about the campaign. it does not get enough credit. reagan's election. does ae days, reagan half-hour -- i don't know if it is on all three networks.
i think it was on one of the three networks, but it got a very good share. but it was a very powerful speech. could not, he was -- have been on all three because i don't think he could preempt monday night football. craig: i think it was on cbs. frank: the owner of the cleveland browns -- he was a reagan supporter and he offered halftime or on at something like that. i think abc would not do it. anywaythat speech to do so that could not have been worked out. craig: the speech itself was -- frank: it was a closing argument. solid closing speech. one thing we have not said is that, you know, reagan was a relentless optimist. for somebody that, you know,
spent a lot of his life in politics, he really tried to see the best and what the upside was all the time. craig: isn't that another ingredient in good leadership? frank: i think it is. i don't know that politicians -- craig: craig: roosevelt was chronically optimistic, too. frank: he learned that from roosevelt. he used to be a roosevelt democrat. that is one thing he took away from roosevelt. craig: kennedy was terminally optimistic. frank: today, the rhetoric is so angry, people warning of threats on both sides if policies are not -- i think everybody -- you know, politicians are missing an opportunity for somebody that wants to talk about the positives in america and how we can build on the best of america and on all the things that are wrong with it, so optimism, you know, the future being brighter than it is today, is something
he always talked about and something he actually believed in very much. he would end a lot of his speeches by saying, as far as america is concerned, you ain't seen nothing yet. craig: where were you election night? innk: i started the day ohio. went over to the headquarters and made sure everyone was making their calls and everything, and you know, i got back into washington at 5:00, the chagrin of democrats everywhere, jimmy carter had already conceded, so you know, i think he meant it in a good sense. he wanted to be a good sport or whatever. the poles were still open. that's right. the theory is that a lot of democrats became discouraged.
but anyway, by the time i got back to washington, there was this -- the election was over. was not a cliffhanger by any means, but that does not mean it was not a sweet night. so i had started on that , march 1, 19 79, and i survived three bosses and a lot of turnover in the campaign, so here it was, november 5, whatever it was, 1980, and you know, almost two years of my life, 1976, and everything, had been realized. it is all worth it when you win. when you lose, why did i spend all that time? [laughter] went to work in the white house for jim baker. you were the first political director. frank: i was the last political
director. the firstguest was political director. craig: where were you? i started off in intergovernmental and public liaison. i did that in the first term. i left the white house when baker laughed, but i came back the last two years as political director for intercontinental affairs. that was during iran contra. they wanted people who had been there. craig: some stability. frank: so i tried to do that. we finished up pretty strong. , hisn finishes his term second term, as one of the most popular presidents, so -- with: some polls had him an approval rating of 76%. under 30onically voters, higher than it was for the rest of the population. frank: that is true. believe it or not, a plurality of youngest voters, i think, was
under 25, considered themselves republicans. craig: as a result of the reagan presidency. frank: one of the few times that has ever happened. i went around the country with him in 1988, where he was not running himself, but you know, he was running to indicate his policies, and you know, he had a big interest in seeing his vice president succeed. it was kind of like one big curtain call. obviously, everywhere we went, the crowds were enormous, and you know, he was not a candidate, but i believed that that contributed reagan -- reagan's efforts contributed a lot to president bush's victory in 1988. craig: you worked on the campaign. was there ever any doubt that reagan was going to run for reelection because he had been
, tumultuous four years in office, soviet advances, omar gaddafi, and many, many problems. the secret service's monitoring other death threats. there is some rumors that misses reagan wanted to run for reelection. any doubt among the staff or on your part that reagan was mine to come through? there was some doubt among the family. 73 years old, assassination attempt. you can understand at some point, you have given enough to your country, but i think the problem of a car, mr. president, if you do not win reelection, you cannot be sure that your legacy will be secured. the things you've always stood for will stand the test of time. i think that is what gets everybody to run again.
so he decides to run again. craig: unopposed in the primaries to beloved by the republican party, which ironically enough, only a few years before, after the republican party really had news for ronald reagan. he has not changed. he changed them. frank: he changed them. i talked to many republicans from, you know, mostly from the northeast or the midwest. frank, i never knew about this guy. but he won me over, because he did this and he did this and he that is the way you should run if you are president. you should always be looking to expand through coalition. craig: which again is about leadership. frank: it's about leadership. you have got to deliver. reagan winds a majority -- wins and majority in 1980. craig: electoral college landslide. frank: a three-way race.
craig: he beats carter 51% to 41%. frank: i am not diminishing 1980. i am using it to say 1984 was even greater. he wins 59%. 49 out of 50 states. craig: but minnesota was interesting. , mr.: they asked president, were you there -- craig: were you there when they asked him about minnesota? frank: i think so. was there any disappointment you had in this election? he said minnesota would have been nice. but he had a chance to go to minnesota. the week before, he did not do it. craig: it felt like it was piling on. he knew at that point he was going to crush mondale. even so, as i recall, and rawlins, and maybe you were there, went to reagan. the mondale campaign and the
democrats voted in graveyards and they only won minnesota by 6000 votes. .ou want to do a recount he rejected it out of hand. do i have the story accurate? frank: i was unaware of that. he is on. i knew that there was some talk of him going to minnesota the last week of the campaign. was there any concern about, in 1984, any concern about walter mondale? frank: he was a capable guy. he had been in politics a long time. he was a good man. think, you know, the handicap that he could never overcome was that it was the carter-mondale administration.
without was that there was this one guy. his first name was carter and his last name was mondale. that -- it was inconceivable to us that after four years, you know, a pretty good economic record, that they would basically turn back the clock, and so, you know, i think that was pretty much -- i think the only way it could have happened is if the public saw a reagan as just being too old and out of it and that kind of stuff. which is why the first debate was so concerning. craig: it was disastrous. frank: disastrous, yes. it was a terrible performance. and you know, sometimes, people just have an off night. what can i tell you? craig: it was one of the very few debates that reagan lost. frank: he did not do very well. well, again, yes. there was a lot of concerns.
the rehearsals for the second debate, you know, there was some tension around, you know, it was clear that we had to do a better job in the second debate. frankly, it was not as good as was1980 performance, but it workmanlike enough, and of course, the famous line, i am not going to use my opponents inexperience and youth against him. even mondale last at that. craig: politics -- laughed at that. craig: politics reduced to one dimension. what was the line? frank: i am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponents youth and inexperience. craig: everybody in the hall laughed uproariously. frank: this was not the first time he had said this. craig: he delivered it perfectly. frank: something similar.
he would always make -- you know. self-deprecation is another trait that no politician dares utilize today. and i think that is a mistake because it does humanize you a little bit. so -- craig: is it an act of self-confidence, which is an extension of leadership? frank: i think so. reagan used to make fun of his age all the time. , tomember, he came to uva the -- craig: law school. frank: no, to jefferson's monticello. he was giving a speech and he said thomas jefferson once said that government which governs best governs least. he paused. he said ever since jefferson told me that -- [laughter] crown -d. don't you think better of
somebody if they are willing to poke fun of himself? craig: you remember, he said i am going to go back to the ranch. i am going to put up my heels. i'm going to sit down in a rocking chair and take a nap. come to think of it, things want to change all that much anyway. [laughter] frank: he also used to say -- he said, you know, they say hard work never hurts anybody. but i say, why take the chance? [laughter] frank: what i mean, i mean, don't you think a little better of somebody if he has enough confidence to make fun of himself? craig: it is very evocative of president kennedy, who could also turn humor on himself. saidnow, like in 1960, he about his wealthy father, he said i will be -- if i will play ay for a landslide. frank: it is my plea to politicians today, do not be
afraid to poke fun at yourself every once in a while. craig: election night rolls around, reagan wins one of the three greatest landslides in american history alongside fdr nixon6, lbj in 1964, and in 1972 at i don't know if it is third or fourth but it is right up there. i was in washington, and you know, i do not think that it was a big surprise that we were going to win, but -- let me finish. but still, you know, you cannot have too many wins like that in your life. craig: it is the super bowl. frank: it is terrific. we felt it was vindication, it was a strong endorsement of the new policies he had put in place, trying to make government smaller and trying to make the private sector revitalized and
make america stronger in the world. craig: and the soviet threat. term, ihe second reagan know because of, because of iran contra, that gets the publicity that,agan come outside of there were lots of successes in the second term. second terms tend to be difficult in american politics ,nd with that notable exception there were a lot of successes. craig: tax reform. frank: reagan uses the 1984 election as a pedestal to talk about tax reform. it doesn't just appear in a bill someday. he brings the american people and the conversation and talks at length about why tax reform is a good thing. craig: it was really the last time significant tax policy was made in america.
the top marginal rate for 70% down to 28%. frank: the first reagan tax cut went from 70% to 50%. that was the 1981 act. 28%986 act took it down to so the top rate was 28%. today, even after the tax cuts, it is still, is it 35% now, it is 37%. the top rate. when i say reagan and leadership, we have some questions over here. what do you think when i say reagan and leadership? i know what historians say. diggins and james macgregor burns, how they rank reagan in the monopoly of
american presidents. they rate him very high. diggins rates reagan is one of our four greatest presidents alongside washington, lincoln, and franklin roosevelt. frank: i would certainly put him there. leadership is the ability to make people see things your way. with strong-arm tactics, i mean sit down and have a conversation. he talked to the whole country, and he would say, here is the problem. here is what we have to do. .hese are my reasons for it i'm asking for your support. if you support me, let your representative know. that is leadership, and more often than not, he was successful, not always but most of the time he was successful. i just don't think i see that that much anymore. the last president preferred to govern with executive orders, of i don't see that kind
taking the american people into your confidence, telling them honestly what needs to be done, why you believe this. advice toing a lot of politicians today, if you may promise to do that, that would be very well received by the american people. craig: sometimes leadership emerges in the darkest hours and reagan taking ownership and responsibility for iran contra was maybe one of his greatest examples of leadership. he didn't run away from it, he didn't blame staff, do didn't -- nixon tried to hide behind staff. reagan waives executive privilege. frank: he said, it is on me. he said that. craig: even though it wasn't his doing. it happened -- frank: he always denied he knew about it before he gave
approval. buttressed his national security advisor, who said the president was not aware. he did deny that, but he did own iran the fact, to the part. it was a contra part that the democrats were, he owned up to armsact that he had traded for hostages. what he denied was that he used the money to fund the contras in nicaragua in violation of the bowman amendment. the democrats always thought that was the more important part , nobody isfirst part perfect. he made a huge mistake. before we go to students for questions, any final thoughts on reagan and leadership? we talked about it a
couple times, i guess the only other thing i would say is that in addition to speaking candidly to the american people, he always had clear goals. i don't think he ever tried to over-intellectualize things. when he went to the people it was with a specific request. he was very clear in what he asked for. the other thing was, he wouldn't take no for an answer. he would stick to his guns, and i don't mean a foolish, everybody can set this -- at some point. some point. every time you went to the american people, he was criticized, had a lot of blowback and stuck to his guns. that is the other important thing about leadership. doing some things are hard, but if they weren't hard, they would have been done already.
so the fact that something is hard to do means, it may be worth doing. it will take somebody with the strength of character to go out and try to get it done. he always felt he needed the american people. it is interesting, his use of pronouns. he very seldom used the first-person singular. i can't ever recall him using the word, saying "i." craig: he didn't say my administration, my white house, my generals. ,rank: he would use the plural then he would use "you." he was always trying to get the american people to be part of what he was talking about and he always felt that the best way things would happen would not be because he did something, but rather, he empowered the people to do things themselves. craig: i know we have some questions from students. why don't we go ahead.
let's go down the line. ime student. thanks for coming in. my question is, do you believe the factions growing out of the larger party, like conservatives now, require a president to solidify and unite the party? frank: that is a good question. i am not an expert on factions except in the federalist papers, but i do believe that a president has a much greater ability to unite his party when his party is out of power. the president has the bully pulpit and the ability, if he works at it, to keep all the factions of his party in line. everybody gets something. if you are out of power, it is kind of a darwinian thing. everybody is sort of struggling
to get on top. that is one reason why presidents win reelection, they are able to keep their party together. they are already halfway home. whereas the opposition party is fighting furiously among various candidates. then they have to turn around and unite the party for the general election. i don't know if that answers your question. to speak tor coming us. thinkstion is, how do you reagan would fit in today with the gop and with the public and politics? >> that is a great question he doesn't want to answer. you are going to get on the one hand, on the other hand kind of answer. there are still large parts of the republican consensus that reagan popularized.
so a lot of the discussion about values, i think tax cuts are most widely agreed-upon by republicans. craig: they are agreed-upon but not understood. reagan -- frank: i will settle for agreement. craig: reagan was more philosophical. cpac81, i think it was at and he was pitching tax cuts and he said, it is about the economy, it is about jobs in this and that but he said it is really about, quote, reordering man's relationship to the state. reagan understood that it was that power was finite. it could be here or there but not every place. if the government have the power to tax, that meant the citizenry had less power and the
government had more power and what he wanted to do was reduce the power of the national government and restore the balance by granting more power away from the national government and giving it to the citizenry in the form of tax cuts. frank: that is fair. i would say to follow up on that , reagan may have been our most libertarian president ever. who else would give in his first speech, his first, excuse me, his first inaugural speech, make the statement, "government is not the solution to our problems , government is the problem"? that was in his first inaugural speech. i can't imagine any politician saying that -- craig: republican or democrat, for the previous 50 years. itnk: i think that part of is similar. i think the big difference today
is town. -- is tone. everybody is so pick aand wants to rhetorical fight with the other side. i don't think, i think reagan would have seen this as a huge waste of time. i think he would have tried, i think he might have said "we are fighting amongst ourselves, let's go back to principles and talk about what the american people really need." he might go into an optimistic, upbeat agenda. if that answers your question. >> thanks for taking the time to speak with us. interesting tos the first 20-30 minutes, we talked about 1976 and how that campaign springboarded him to the 1980 campaign. i was curious in his autobiography, he only mentions
it two or three pages regarding this 1976 campaign. why do you think that is the case? frank: that is kind of a flippant answer, but -- craig: it is accurate. is noti think he somebody, he was never somebody who was moody over lack of success. he was always somebody who [indiscernible] moved onto the next thing. he took a shot, he took -- he didn't make it and i think from his perspective, that didn't work out. let's talk about 1980 and what he was able to do. that is the best answer. craig: the political columnist bob novak was a friend of mine.
after the 1980 campaign, he wrote the column where he said, congratulations, governor, third time's the charm. reagan said, the 30th of what are we talking about? novak says, 1976, 1980, 1968. reagan says, you know, i didn't really run in 1968. some people put my name out -- that wasat was nonsense, he was hardcharging for that nomination. he got 300 votes, he did. like most politicians, reagan chose to focus on his victories instead of his losses. >> thanks for being here. [indiscernible] a few days ago, i watched the goldwater speech and [indiscernible]
you ind to hear from retrospect, how important was that speech to his political career? frank: it was very important. goldwater, reagan gives the speech for goldwater at a time when goldwater has no chance to win the election. he was going to lose the election. anyway,an gives it primarily because he is in debt to goldwater. but i think he also was looking for something else. his movie career had ended a while ago. his tv career had ended. i think he felt he wanted to do more. it was a combination of being true to goldwater, but also, to take a shot in being on the national stage for the first time.
his big backers i think really were pushing this because they felt that if he could be exposed to the national audience, who knows what might happen? low-end the hold, he gives -- lo and behold, he gives this electric speech and raises goldwater money and people are saying, why isn't reagan the candidate? pad for himaunching to run for governor. asked,hat speech, people could he have won the primary you go although it was unlikely. >> and george christopher. frank: there was a republican --der the mayors of new york city, baltimore, los angeles and san francisco were all republican. imagine that. frank: that was a way to kind of
, that was his first national exposure, i guess. organizing 16 years later in 1980, people would still come up to me and say, boy, i saw that speech and it really hit a home run. craig: the goldwater campaign and reagan's speech work galvanizing -- were galvanizing moments for a generation of conservatives. frank: i don't think, goldwater put -- paved the way for reagan. -- anybody who says they are going to lobby one into the men's room of the kremlin -- craig: talking about a nuclear bomb. frank: if senator goldwater [indiscernible] he talked about a lot of issues reagan ran on all those years
later. >> thank you again for being here. we are fortunate. i had a question about, from an talked perspective, we about how jackie kennedy changed the history of the first lady. we see the value that self plays in campaign. and in a president's term in the white house. so from your insider perspective, how did [indiscernible] what role did she play? natalie is a veteran of the reagan institute in washington. frank: wonderful. maybe you know this already. she was very important.
reagan probably would not have been as successful of a president if it wasn't for nancy reagan. it wasn't primarily policy, she was never really, she never, she wasn't hillary clinton. her number one focus was on her husband, to make him president someday. at the very beginning, she is the one that pushed him to run a cogentnor and made case from that. she came from a republican family. reagan's background was much more democrat. craig: father worked for the new deal. frank: until 1960 he was a democrat. she pushed him in that regard. her device onht things. but again, non-policy, she had a good sense of people. she would always keep an eye out for people that she thought were serving her husband. there were two kinds of people
for nancy reagan, people who served her husband and people in it for- who were themselves. she had an uncanny sense of separating the two. reagan was in many ways too nice a guy. he wouldn't read the riot act to staffers. he wouldn't do that and he would try to see the good in people. nancy was much more discerning. guywould understand, this is bad news and doesn't have your best interest at heart. craig: reagan was more focused ,n policy and issues than on whereas nixon was obsessed with his staff and fired people on a whim. frank: that is fair. but she was very important from that perspective. it was once said that if reagan wanted to be a shoe salesman, nancy reagan would make sure he is the best shoe
salesman in the world. but he happened to want to be presidents have she would do anything she could to help him become president. craig: behind every -- frank: behind every successful man is a successful woman. hello. i am in the undergraduate program. we talk a lot about how reagan transformed the republican party. if you think the republican party would have been transformed without reagan and if not, white -- what might it look like today? frank: it would be different. parties are constantly changing. so you go back, the republican party during franklin roosevelt's time in the 1940's had been out of power for 20
consecutive years, and it was thought to be isolationist, inward looking and fearful. the result was that 20 years went by and most of that was true, by the way. craig: high tariffs. frank: high terrace. the republican party loses five consecutive elections. finally, dwight eisenhower comes along and drags the republican party kicking and's -- and screaming into the cold war and says we can't be isolationist anymore. he made the republican party accept its world responsibilities. that was just half the equation, ,ecause after eisenhower republicans remained a minority in a very, they weren't in broad based party. it took reagan to complete that
transformation. he talked about supply-side economics, he talked about growth, he talked about optimism, talked about everybody having a job, being able to go as far as they could go. optimistic approach as opposed to, we have to balance the too far incan't go this direction. he talked about things he thought were possible. he expanded the party yet again. it was that construct of the party that existed for 30 years until 2016 and the party is changing again. where were the party be without reagan? had he lost the north carolina primary in 1976, i don't know. guess would be the standard republican party of nixon. maybe somebody else, maybe jack
kemp, would have come along. craig: i would think the republican party would have on to thethe mo democrats' sun. frank: it takes a special person to change the trajectory of the party and the country, is what i am saying. they don't come along all the time. if reagan was unsuccessful, who would have come along next? i don't know. republicans would bounce forward based on where they had been in maybe somebody else would have come along. that is a big if. relevant,now this is but it underscores what you are saying, is that in the oxford english dictionary, the term "reaganism" is defined as not rooseveltism,t
out of 45 presidents he is the only president so defined in the oxford dictionary. frank: he used to say you know our program is working because they don't call it reaganomics anymore. craig: michael? >> all i was going to say was, i was fascinated by your comment about a mother-in-law. i was working for joe lieberman's presidential campaign and his favorite comment was that behind every successful man is a stunned mother-in-law. [laughter] craig: anymore questions? go ahead. you see a difference between the way reagan spoke about being on the right side of history as compared to the way people see it today? maybe to this extent.
history says that there are personal forces at work and we might be able to hold back but we can't change. that is whatsm, marxism says. then there is the american view of history which says, great men and great women turn history. if you have clear goals and you stick to your guns and you talk to the people, do all the things we talked about, great men and women can change history. when reagan says being on the right side of history, he meant it is up to us to make, to force history. well,ome people say is, this is going to happen, there is nothing we can do about it. anybody that says that is different from reagan.
in his first inaugural, he says, i do not believe in a fate that will befall us no matter what we do. i do believe in a fate that will the fall us if we do nothing. frank: you nailed it -- craig: you nailed it. frank: two different views of history. craig: he also said, we will consign soviet communism to the ash pit of history, but he meant that is an active statement, not as a passive statement. soviets tosign the the ash bin of history, and we are on the right side of history because history [indiscernible] frank: it is great men and women making history, not just sitting back and worrying about what is going to take place. , yes. forcing it
>> i wondered if you could talk about your proudest moment working, or the most difficult moment you had. frank: ok. i will tell you one story that kind of made me, it kind of reinforced all the time that i , very working for him , like, this guy nails it all the time. one, which, wene were flying to andrews air force base from the white house. you pick up marine one, which is a helicopter, it is like a 10
minute flight. you go to maryland and you go to andrews and you get on air force one. flight onemaking a downnd reagan is looking very intently to some houses below. 1988, ithe end of think. he was talking about gorbachev. he is looking down intently and i said to him, sir, mr. president, what are you looking at? he says, look at those houses. those belong to working men and women. look how many of them have a pool. that is what freedom can do for you. he says, i'm going to show that to gorbachev when he comes here. craig: and he did. frank: he did. i remember thinking, that is so profound. that is so profound because we are in a battle with another system, which works?
is it central planning our freedom? ?- or freedom i remember saying, that is why i love this guy. think, iran, i contra was difficult because he had clearly, he made an unforced error, he made a mistake. so you have to take your medicine. 1987, first six months of those were among the toughest years. craig: and the media was pummeling him daily. frank: i'm not going to say fake media, that is what happens. he made a mistake and we understood that. but we got through it and gradually worked our way up
again and in 1988, it was a curtain call. craig: any more questions? >> can i >> i work in the white house. i was one of the people who was absolutely opposed to the speech. in what jimmy is that reagang understood that the american people are basically an optimistic people. tomorrow is going to be tossed, but we are going to be better. there is the american dream, people who came here like my illiterate grandfather, who had no idea that his son would do what craig has done and what frank has done.
carter never understood that. a very dour, that youbaptist view , admitadmit to your sins to your shortcomings, and that carter tried to transfer that negativism to the american public. we could see it in the polling, that after that, his numbers started to drop because reagan was totally into with the american public. said.l any last thoughts? [laughter]
>> i have nothing more to say. >> listen. i cannot thank you enough. this has been wonderful. thank you very much. [applause] from george washington to george w. bush, every sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, we feature the presidency, a series exploring the president, their policies and legacies. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. participatingout in the 2020 competition but you never made a documentary film before? no problem. we have resources on our website to help you get started. teachers will also find
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monday night on the communicators. how did you come up with $5 billion? where does that money go? the money goes to the u.s. treasury. fine, it ismonetary only one aspect of the relief that we receive from facebook. it is also conjunctive relief that constrains the way they can handle consumer data, going forward. >> watch our interview monday onht at 8:00 p.m. eastern the communicators on c-span2. >> american history tv is looking back to november 19 79, when iranian students seized the
u.s. embassy and took 66 americans hostage. officer talks about his time as a hostage in iran, including a memorable visit from a clergyman. this is from the association for diplomatic studies oral history collection. i am john. i was in the foreign service for about 35 years, served mostly in the middle east or islamic africa. during that time, i did not see what you would call a lot of big successes. there was not a lot of saving coup,rld, stopping a averting a humanitarian disaster , stopping a war and so forth