Monday, January 4, 2016

A Moment In New Hampshire Primary History!

Ronald Reagan almost never raised his voice.
That was one of the great secrets of his success as a communicator. His words and his manner of communication were so powerful in and of themselves that he didn't have to raise his voice.
And Reagan rarely showed anger.
His public image was amiable and genial.
So, when he did raise his voice and he did show anger, it really meant something.
Since the 2016 New Hampshire GOP presidential primary is just about five weeks away, we're reminded of one of the greatest Reagan moments ever.
This happened in 1980 in New Hampshire at a "debate" among Republican candidates. And it proved to be a turning point in that campaign.

The following excerpted from "Packaging The Presidency: A History and Criticism of Presidential Campaign" by Kathleen Hall Jamieson:
In the New Hampshire primary, a single symbolic act dramatized the debut of Reagan's new image as a candidate and the demise of Bush's presidential hopes. It occurred during what was scheduled to be a two-person debate between Bush and Reagan in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Feburary 23, the Saturday before balloting. As it turned out, Bush crumpled under pressure orchestrated by Reagan's camp.
Initially, both Reagan and Bush had seen advantages in a two-person debate sponsored by a local newspaper. When the FEC ruled that newspaper sponsorship of the debate amounted to an illegal campaign contribution and when Bush refused to pay half of the debate's cost, Reagan agreed to underwrite it himself. 
Reagan then moved to include the other five contenders - a move that identified him both as a candidate and a unifier. When the other candidates showed up on stage, Bush froze.
As Reagan made his case for inclusion of the other candidates, the moderator ordered Reagan's mike turned off. Reagan responded, "I'm paying for this microphone, Mr. Green." The fact that the moderator's name was Breen seemed to matter little. The crowd cheered. When neither newspaper hosting the debate nor Bush would accede to the inclusion of the others, the other candidates left the stage. Reagan's prospects had been boosted, Bush's buried. Reagan carried New Hampshire 50% to Bush's 23%. 

Of course, Reagan eventually won the GOP nomination that year and then asked Bush to join him as his running mate. The rest -- as they say -- is history!

No comments: