[00:00:00] When I hear your new ideas I’m reminded of that ad.
[00:00:03] Where’s the beef.
[00:00:30] One candidate and one large axe. Large blade huge handle.
[00:00:40] Using both hands he holds it. He smiles and he hurls the blade forward towards the bull’s eye.
[00:00:50] It’s awkward as all heck.
[00:00:53] You can’t toss it. It’s too big. It’s lumberjack style so he holds the end of the handle with one hand and the top almost near the blade with the other hand and flings his two arms forward.
[00:01:07] And you can just imagine in some place somewhere or maybe right next to him his campaign staff is cringing.
[00:01:15] This is not an ax tossing kind of guy and it could all go pretty wrong.
[00:01:23] After its release. He smiles and snaps his suspenders.
[00:01:31] The lumberjack behind him smiles too because he has hit the target not the center of the bullseye but the blade hits the second circle. The lumberjack puts a red flannel on to the candidate a sign of approval. It’s clear that never in his life has he ever worn anything like that but it doesn’t matter today. Whew. The candidate’s staff is thinking. Wiping their four heads with their hands. Another candidate is the former vice president of the United States. Now in the running to become president. He’s the presumed frontrunner and everyone thinks so in a large field of Democratic candidates has gotten into the primary former governor. Many senators a hero a failed presidential candidate. But now this V.P. is having a real race. And he’s in New Hampshire mixing it up including one photo op with a robot.
[00:02:30] A small robot about half his size so he has to duck down and shake its metallic hand.
[00:02:36] A sign on the robot says robot for president.
[00:02:43] A third candidate mixes it up in Manchester New Hampshire. The obligatory New Hampshire aw shucks campaign thing making small talk with men in coats and hats talking about local issues. The race for president in 1984 went this way an ax hurling Gary Hart a robot friending former V.P. Walter Mondale would make. other cuts. but I would also add. something.
[00:03:11] In terms of education and science. I have worked this out. I know. that. I’ve worked this out very carefully. I’ve worked this out carefully and I’m glad.
[00:03:21] I can achieve it. You reduce the Reagan deficits. by more than half. Former astronaut John Glenn a single figure. That’s sad except we’re going to reduce it by half. I’ve put out a very specific program. Other people here. have here too.
[00:03:35] This gentleman just made that statement here. I like Fritz. He’s a fine man.
[00:03:39] But when you go before labor and you promise you’re going to match foreign government subsidy for subsidy the first feature of 1984 was the pure number of candidates.
[00:03:49] It hadn’t been seen.
[00:03:51] Mondale Hart Glenn but also Alan Cranston senator from California Ernest Hollings Senator from South Carolina Ruben Askew governor of Florida and a reverend Jesse Jackson of Illinois. That’s eight people. But earlier on there was Jimmy Carter the former president and Edward Kennedy who by 1982 had taken themselves out of the presidential speculation but we’re in it before. That’s 10 people. And if you count votes at the convention Thomas Eagleton the failed 1972 vice presidential candidate could also be added as he got 18 votes there at the convention. John Rockefeller the senator of West Virginia was also talked about. He spent extra money because the TV ads would bleed into the Washington D.C. market so he could be talked about. James B Hunt of North Carolina was in the talk John Brown the governor of Kentucky. But formerly the chairman of Kentucky Fried Chicken built kentucky fried chicken into a national franchise. Bill Bradley of New Jersey. Even that young 42 year old Joe Biden of Delaware got a few mentions and Dale Bumpers of Arkansas and Morris Udall of Arizona were also candidates that media said were eyeing the race to see if they could step in if their trial balloons could get anywhere. The balloons didn’t so they didn’t. So that’s eight in the race and 18 in the periphery of the 1984 race. It’s not 20 20 by any means but considering this is 1984 it’s a worthwhile point to make.
[00:05:24] There’s often a lot of candidates in the scrum. I’ve made that point before and in these days it cost money to run. You know these candidates could face dire debts didn’t really have the kind of fundraising why in 1984 then would all of these people start running well.
[00:05:40] We think of Reagan now as a powerful president and even if we disagree with the politics and that he won his race huge. But at this time the current president made an attractive target is only popular in his first year.
[00:05:54] That’s when he got shot and it slid in opinion polls since then. He starts 1983 with a 35 percent approval rating.
[00:06:04] Right wing candidates are deciding whether they want to jump in and a little earlier in 1984 is one of these years that starts that early.
[00:06:12] Race Trent.
[00:06:15] Gallup has him at average forty five percent in 1982 and forty six in 1983. There had been a recession in 1980 to the worst in recent memory and it came at a time when new programs were introduced so they were tagged with Reagan. Top profile GOP members like Howard Baker the leader in the Senate were recommending public work programs.
[00:06:39] Gallup said this throughout the year in 1980 to a solid majority of Gallup’s residents have taken the position that Reaganomics the medium term for Reagan’s economic plans that will be familiar to anyone who lived during that time but may not be as familiar now will worsen rather than improve their own financial situation. We were organizing a referendum here in western Massachusetts. in which we put on the ballot the question of whether or not the United States and the Soviet Union should mutually halt.
[00:07:08] The nuclear arms race. There was a energy behind a new movement that didn’t seem to come directly from the political campaigns of one party or another though it might have been more on one side. Huge crowds million people marching in 1982. came a long way. There must. be a big semicircle here these folks came all the way from Iowa.
[00:07:31] You take your folks. What did. the general populace. feel about nuclear disarmament. Are you a special bunch or is it a lot more than you.
[00:07:48] A lot more than us. Five bus loads are coming here today from Iowa. They’re independent of the DNC who they predictably thought could be at times just as bad as the RNC. The movement was feeling the big numbers not seen since the late 1960s. Huge protests of peace oriented voters some 80 percent thought that war was likely. If Reagan was re-elected to the presidency you got to understand this is pre Gorbachev. This is pre even having any conversations between the Reagan administration and the Soviets. We’re still dealing with the policies that Jimmy Carter initiated after the invasion of Afghanistan. No talk but the votes of the peace movement were split Harpers in 1984 asked Can the peace groups make a president. Spending money on voter registration drives to try to answer that question yes to prepare materials.
[00:08:37] The Council for a Livable World and sane with seventy five thousand members. These groups were targeting senators regardless of party who had been hawks. They were going after for instance Henry Scoop Jackson a Democrat from Washington and then Henry Scoop Jackson seat was open after he passed away.
[00:08:55] They tried to influence and got the primary won by a more liberal member. Groups were successful in forcing candidates to debate real issues a freeze not only if they were for freeze even conservative Ernest Hollings of South Carolina was for a freeze before he started running for president in on the taste of the movement before he’d run for president. He was also sponsor of an alternative plan to Reagan’s economic plan which was liked by deficit deficit hawks. But it’s Alan Cranston the California senator who takes a strong freeze position that the movement liked and its constituents in California liked and he was betting on his freeze position in those primaries.
[00:09:38] My first day as president I’ll do two things first I’ll announce that we will not test or deploy nuclear weapons as long as the Soviets don’t. That can be verified. and it will immediately slow down the arms race. Second. I will propose a face to face meeting with the Soviet leader in this dangerous time. It’s critical we have a president who makes every effort to ease the tensions between our two countries. I will for president how entrenched.
[00:10:08] But 50 percent of peace leaders polled by Harper’s were clear about who they wanted. The question is.
[00:10:16] Where for years. What is the American future. What kind of. America do we want to be.
[00:10:31] They wanted George McGovern. Yes George McGovern the Democratic candidate from 1972 had entered the primaries in 1984. He did so after he lost his Senate seat in South Dakota in 1980 and he had held for 20 years. And after his loss for the presidency everyone thought if it is debacles he’d just retire. But he did an unexpected thing. He hurled himself into the race to push the debate left and to restore some of his own reputation. Vote your conscience. He told voters he was cheered even by the supporters of the other candidates. Every time he entered debates in Iowa and New Hampshire his own supporters still had their 72 McGovern buttons on and wore them off as one journalists said as if they were purple Harts and they had veteran status. I have decided to seek the presidency of the United States McGovern said. I shall make that effort on a platform of realism and common sense. Fantasy may be good entertainment on the movie screen. It is not good policy for a great nation. The new realism calls for a revival of the old common sense that has guided our greatest leaders since George Washington who gave this university use at George Washington University.
[00:11:47] Its proud name Proposition 1. There is no longer any alternative to what President Eisenhower described as a peaceful coexistence except no existence. Proposition to the age of intervention in the internal affairs of small countries is over. Proposition 3 American prosperity and power rest on faithfulness to our founding ideals including equal rights and equal opportunities. But the peace movement though they preferred McGovern thought Mondale would probably win the nomination. And that Mondale had the better chance of beating Reagan of any of the Democratic candidates including McGovern. And not only that most of the peace movement leaders surveyed by harbors felt that Reagan would probably win the race anyway.
[00:12:34] Still there was a feeling that left leaning pessimists could be wrong. The 1982 election saw a decrease in his popularity the midterms Democrats gained 24 seats strategizing pundits sizing began.
[00:12:47] Could the Democrats get out their base. And defeat this new force in American politics. Ronald Reagan could they drive turnout. Could they do something new. Could they reach out and change the things that voters found wrong in 1980.
[00:13:05] And on that note. Around this time there came a new turn. The Atari Democrats.
[00:13:13] It was a 1983 San Jose Mercury News article define this term for smart young congressman who is thought to make the restoration of American business there issue a 1984 Philadelphia Inquirer article define the term as a young liberal trying to push the party towards more involvement with high tech solutions times discussed a generation gap which developed in the 1980s between older liberals who maintained an interest in traditional visions of social liberalism and Atari Democrats who attempted to find a middle ground.
[00:13:43] There is a strong anti-government feeling out there and I fundamentally disagree with Ronald Reagan when he says he loves his country. He. thinks. I don’t hate our government. I think. we ought. we ought to have leaders that ask people what they can do for their country using the best instruments of our government.
[00:14:02] Who is the Atari Democrat in this race. And you’d have to say Gary Hart though he was a little unique in a lot of respect.
[00:14:09] Denver lawyer who took on a popular GOP incumbent in Colorado a state that Reagan would win handily state that voted for Gerald Ford in 76.
[00:14:20] And he is a Democrat beat him. Then he won his re-election in a state where Reagan carried. He was quirky. He was from the West he had been George McGovern’s campaign manager in 72 and there got some press hung out with Hunter Thompson hung out with Warren Beatty. Other movie stars. He was also quiet. And friends said he was full of ideas.
[00:14:44] He just didn’t seem to like reporters very much.
[00:14:58] Here’s what Richard Ben Cramer said in his excellent what it takes from 1988. Great book about the presidential race. Kurtz served two terms in the Senate yet only one senator that well-known Flaco. Chris Dodd backed him in the 84 campaign. Hart never expected reporters to admire him just do their job. Was that too much to ask. Chris he didn’t understand their job he didn’t understand why they wrote the same things over and over again. It wasn’t anything he said to them. Who were they talking to. E.J. Dionne in The New York Times began his dispatch from Ottawa to Oklahoma. Gary Hart came home and for a moment.
[00:15:38] He nearly cried. Time magazine crap the first two visits and American notes and dispensed with any facts about the trip to the later paragraph in his quest for the presidency Gary Hart is plagued by two troublesome perceptions that he’s cold and aloof and that he’s tried to reinvent or run away from his roots. Paul Taylor in The Washington Post led about the family. Gary Hart’s family’s 16 houses. It was one of many morsels of biographical detail to emerge from a campaign visit that seemed programmed on Earth. Three reporters three big publications but one common element his reputation or troubling perceptions. And if you talk to the reporters on the bus they would just say. everybody knew Hart was weird.
[00:16:24] One day with his press aide Sweeney said I’m not going to pose. I know I know Sweeney said quickly but it’s only gonna be 20 minutes. I don’t care. I’m not going to pose. Sweeney was not panicky. He tried to keep it his joke. Keep it light. I know I know it’s like every 15 minutes. Hart was staring at him now. I don’t think you’re listening. He said it with precision. I’m not going to pose I’m not going to pose. Then a quick pause to see if that had sunk in. I have got to run for president on my own terms if I don’t I won’t be a good president.
[00:17:07] I probably won’t even be president.
[00:17:12] Look I’m not going to hide from the press. Those people want to come in here right now and take pictures of you and me talking. That’s fine. But I am not going to look at the camera and smile for more than 30 seconds because. I feel. cheap.
[00:17:33] Hart wanted to run on his policies he had written a book he had new ideas he wanted to separate himself from old ideologies as early as the 1970s Hart recalled a few of us were forecasting about the globalization and the shift of the economic base from Detroit to Silicon Valley that was going to have a huge impact on our country. Although he ran his opponent George McGovern’s campaign back in 1972. Here 12 years later he saw that 1972 loss as a teaching moment teaching him not to be so liberal on the issues to consider free market solutions to consider high tech as changing a whole discussion. Yet for all these statements Hart wasn’t in the initial conversation he only had one percent of the polls in the early going and little recognition. He decided to concentrate his time. He campaigned early in New Hampshire unprecedented for 1980 for Senator Gary Hart.
[00:18:29] I’m a Democrat and I’m proud of it. But I’m also a Westerner and fiercely independent. The Washington insiders and special interests have hand-picked. their candidate for president for our party and our country of choice with a September swing through the state.
[00:18:43] In 1980 three months before the voting was possible despite his little secret campaigning and his ideas it was possible he could be eclipsed. And so could the former vice president. Because of our big presence in the race and one who had something new that no one else had behind them. A movie. This is the story.
[00:19:08] Of a special film at the very top. The. Brotherhood whose achievements inspire the nation.
[00:19:15] Have captured the imagination of the world. These are the men who had.
[00:19:20] The right stuff. They all want to see Buck Rogers. and that’s.
[00:19:31] John Glenn story was about to be told on the big screen. The Right Stuff. A movie adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best selling 1979 book of the same name about the Navy Marine and Air Force test pilots who were involved in Aeronautical Research at Edwards Air Force Base California as well as the Mercury Seven the seven military pilots who were selected to be astronauts for Project Mercury the first manned spaceflight by the United States.
[00:20:01] Glenn was one of those pilots.
[00:20:03] In a big hit at the box office could Glenn who is popular as a senator from Ohio. And who kept a moderate record on defense. Who won the state of Ohio even if Reagan won it. Who drove the peaceniks crazy. Fifty five percent of the people who voted for Reagan also voted for Glenn. But it’s not to say that Glenn had it made. He gave a bad speech at the 1976 convention when Jimmy Carter was nominated and delegates and TV viewers and pundits noticed he was good in small groups and he had great name recognition and high positive rankings. He’s was really an American hero. Well he was dull columnist Dave Barry said he couldn’t electrify a fish tank if he threw a toaster into it.
[00:20:50] But forget all that there are high hopes and when the right stuff had its world premiere on October 16th 1983 at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to benefit the American Film Institute. What a big event. It was given in a limited release October 21st 1983 in two hundred twenty nine theaters and grossed one point six million on its opening weekend. It was pretty big. This is one year before voting is going to begin for the next president. And you’ve got a movie about your life.
[00:21:21] But there was an issue. The right stuff.
[00:21:25] Was not a very good movie. Here’s what John Glenn said about it. Years later in his memoir Tom Wolfe’s best selling book was good. But what Hollywood did to it could only been titled Laurel and Hardy go to space.
[00:21:41] Glenn like the movie bombed.
[00:21:45] He came in not second to Mondale and I were not even third but fifth Alan Cranston Gary Hart and George McGovern beat the famous astronaut in the Iowa caucuses. Iowa was never about celebrity Glenn it spent one point two million there. That was in those days a lot of money did a huge barrage of TV commercials both in New Hampshire and Iowa. But Glenn didn’t get it. Iowa and New Hampshire were not about celebrity not about TV ads. Gunn wasn’t around and when he was he wasn’t captivating Iowans. Dozens of people wanted an event with Glenn and they could never get a return call from his office. V.P. Mondale captured the most delegates in Iowa had the best organization 48 percent and that in a lot of years would have been a score if it had been any other year. But the surprise of the Iowa caucus was that Hart came in second. It was only 17 percent of the vote and less than half the delegates got 4 percent more than what George McGovern would get. But it was still second place.
[00:22:48] And media coverage followed this new candidate from nowhere. Gary Hart.
[00:22:56] Gary Hart went to New Hampshire and played down his performance and I actually said there was no chance he was going to win the state and he guessed he’d come in third and then go south and see what would happen. The reality is he had spent a lot of time there not always posing as a lumberjack but doing a lot of other local events.
[00:23:15] Four days before the New Hampshire voters would vote. Students at Manchester High School aggressively questioned the former vice president about his ties to unions and why he promised everything to everyone all of those special interest.
[00:23:29] Mondale said his hands weren’t tied to anyone. But only half of Democrats in a poll believed him. Reporters also spoke of a passion gap.
[00:23:41] Democrats voted for him but didn’t want him to win really.
[00:23:46] He had a vast organization in New Hampshire 1000 volunteers 31 paid staff. He reached two thirds of the electorate by phone in pre primary phoning.
[00:23:56] Happy with this. Walter Mondale leaves the state of New Hampshire two days before the primary.
[00:24:03] It was a fatal mistake. I love New Hampshire. As.
[00:24:21] Gary Hart not only did better than he had in Iowa but he won the New Hampshire primary just in case you missed those we showed you a moment ago with Gary Hart taking a commanding lead now with almost all of the precincts reporting in from New Hampshire. That was 91 percent of the precincts reporting in. That gives of course the overwhelming victory tonight to Gary Hart which as we noted was a stunning and overwhelming landslide for Mr. Hart the senator from Colorado who as you know was a former campaign adviser to George McGovern and his last campaign for president the United States while Mondale staff reminded voters to vote Hart’s people were saying we believe Mondale’s people turn out so mama B.
[00:25:02] They took the reminder and voted for Hart. It was a disaster for the former vice president here’s how The New York Times reads it. Gary Hart won the New Hampshire primary today in a startling upset that damaged the aura of invincibility with which Walter F. Mondale began the campaign year. Senator Hart a self-described longshot from Colorado made rapid gains in the last few days to finish substantially ahead of the former vice president in the Democratic contest. John Glenn was in third place well behind Mr. Mondale in a primary that maintain the reputation of New Hampshire voters for using the first primary of the season to reorder the rankings in presidential contests. Mr. Mondale saying sometimes a cold shower is good for you conceded defeat. Shortly after 8 p.m. as early returns and survey showed Mr. Hart leading him among Independent voters who were allowed to vote in either party’s primary and who turned out in heavy numbers and about even among the regular Democrats who were supposed to make up Mr. Mondale’s base of support. So just to take a little perspective from that. Reagan’s not running opposed at all in the 1984 primaries popular among Republicans. That’s just not going to happen. New Hampshire allows Republicans to vote in the Democratic Party primary if they so choose to the ones that are going to tend to do that. We’re going to be the more moderate Republicans that care. Hart was winning handily among those people and he was about even among people who were just Democrats in New Hampshire referring to his Iowa win.
[00:26:24] Mondale tried to put the best spin on it. I’ve now won one and lost one Mr. Mondale told reporters at a Logan Airport in Boston referring to his victory in the Iowa caucuses. My campaign begins tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. trailing the top three candidates were Reverend Jesse Jackson the civil rights leader George McGovern Ernest Hollings Alan Cranston Ruben Askew. Hart wins with 41 percent of the vote. Twenty nine thousand eight hundred and forty three people vs. twenty eight thousand but 28 percent for Mondale and 12 percent for Glenn Ruben Askew and Ernest Hollings and Alan Cranston immediately get out of the race. Senator Glenn does not. He sounded this note in saying that the Mondale defeat opens up things tremendously because it overturned the conventional wisdom that Mr. Mondale was unstoppable because of his powerful organization and his support from organized labor and party leaders as far as Mondale Glenn said I think that pricks that balloon of inevitability that they were trying to build up. Good spin. Mondale was on the ropes. He had his problem. Tip O’Neill the speaker of the House in some ways the leader says he’s in trouble. Mario Cuomo significant but new. New York governor at this time. That Hart was on a streak. Gary Hart was smart city and he knew he wasn’t really the frontrunner after this even though he ran well in the first primary.
[00:27:47] But he did try to set up the race in historic terms. This is a future past race not a left right race. That’s what 32 was. That’s what 60 was. Gary Hart says the voters thought they got that in 76 a future past rate race and they thought they got that in 1980. And I think there’s a desire for somebody who expresses that latent idealism in American. Ouch. Gary Hart was swiping not only at Reagan but also his party’s former President Jimmy Carter.
[00:28:20] The other candidates in the race tried to stay in any way they could. McGovern stays in the race. He jokes that he probably trained Gary Hart too well. Jesse Jackson now attacks the two front runners saying that Hart and Mondale are exactly the same. Does they’re going to cut government just like Reagan is just slower. McGovern tries to hold to one state the Massachusetts primary. It was the one state along with D.C. that he won in 1972 and he thinks maybe he can win that primary vote your conscience he says to Massachusetts voters. They probably did vote their conscience but they didn’t vote for McGovern.
[00:29:00] Political experts said my campaign of new ideas couldn’t win in New Hampshire but we did and the debate about America’s future continues. Gary Hart now they say Southerners aren’t ready for new ideas.
[00:29:12] I don’t agree. On March 13th Hart wins Massachusetts along with Rhode Island. Mondale says a little face by winning Alabama and Georgia. But Hart who was written off in Florida some months ago now took most of Governor Reuben ask his vote and won the state by six points.
[00:29:34] Add to this previous caucuses in Wyoming and Vermont that Hart wins easily.
[00:29:40] Once the underdog and the upstart now he’s in it for real. There’s talk. Now wait a second Hart could actually win this. There’s talk now wait a second Hart is actually the frontrunner and Mondale is the underdog and it got to the point where Mondale’s aides wanted to argue with the press look our wins are ahead of us. Stop talking about momentum. We’ve got the institutional support Gary Hart. Campaign is 300000 dead. He’s not even registered in all of these states in a proper way. The most. powerful responsibility in the world.
[00:30:17] Lies in the hand picks up this fall. The idea of an unsure unsteady untested hand is something to really think about. This is the issue of our times. On March 20th. wrote as if the future of the world is at stake. Mondale this president will know what he’s doing. That’s the difference between Gary Hart and Walter Mondale.
[00:30:42] Meanwhile Hart’s campaign is arguing Hey well you’re saying you’re Mr. institutional support with my fund raising I just went into a. Went to a meeting with the fat cats and was pledged a million dollars. Mondale kind of likes this. His campaign calls him fighting for its and what he’ll say during several times during this campaign that he’s starting fresh in starting a new.
[00:31:05] Iron thunder dragon in Redwood. These are the secret service names for the candidates of 1984. John Glenn is ion. Jesse Jackson Thunder Walter Mondale dragon.
[00:31:20] And Gary Hart redwood.
[00:31:24] But there’s one Southern win. You know you’re now getting to the point where Harts criticizing Mondale as an old fashioned Great Society Democrat who symbolized the failed policies of the past and positions himself as a younger fresher more moderate. He could appeal to younger voters he can appeal to Republicans. Reagan’s afraid of him early March poll shows. Hart beating Reagan 50 to 41. Still there was a challenge Mondale had financial and organizational advantages. And indeed in primaries Mondale is going to win Michigan his home state of Minnesota and Illinois. But every time Mondale does something good. There’s also good news for Hart. Hart wins Connecticut.
[00:32:09] Journalists are starting to look into Hart a little bit more now that he’s a front runner you know as Richard Brennan Cramer talked about in his book. There’s just a lot of people in the press pool who thought this guy strange. Gail Sheehy at Vanity Fair starts looking into his roots and he comes from Ottawa Oklahoma. He was born into a family of.
[00:32:36] He was very sheltered and eventually he does get away from his family and some friends think that part did everything he could do. Kind of various parts he changes his name from Hart Pence. His original name to Hart. Later in July she’s going to find that hard has a spiritual adviser Native American spiritual adviser and in order to boost his positive thinking to boost his morale he has a ceremony where he’s rubbed with feathers. You’re just starting to see journalists get on the target for him.
[00:33:16] Here’s a Ben Cramer says when you talk about the pack you have to mention the leader of the pack. David Broder had already attained the status by 31 years years work as a Washington reporter and lately as columnist for The Post.
[00:33:28] He was the biggest of the big feet balding bespectacled soft spoken front kindly a thoroughgoing gentleman well-informed hardworking fair minded and in general exemplary which is exactly the point. Broder wrote the book called Behind the front page and the very first story in that book was about campaigns how mistakes and coverage are made specifically the story about 1972 when Ed Muskie cried or didn’t cry one day in Manchester New Hampshire and his campaign slid after that. Part of this story was missed. Broder said because no one knew until the next year that the whole scenario was launched by a Nixon campaign dirty trick. But at the same time Broder defended the coverage which concentrated on the crying. By the way Muskie came apart at the seams. Why was it right. Why was vertical shore. Because everybody knew that Muskie was wound too tight The guy was weird. All of us suspected that under the calm placid reflective face that Muskie like to show to the world there was a volcano waiting to erupt. And so he treated Manchester like a political Mount St. Helens explosion. And in our perception an event that would permanently alter the shape of Mount Muskie.
[00:34:40] One of the reporters that Broder commended in that instance was Jack Germond who then worked for Gannett and who wrote a syndicated column with his partner Jules Whitcomb. And the two were the only other snow shoe size big Vito actually worked on the trail. Their column ran in hundreds of papers and it was read religiously by the wiseguy community and where Broder would stray at times into the thin air of government. Germond and would cover wrote pure politics a column you could count on. And with their book every four years settling the record and the scores on the last race they too were exemplary.
[00:35:13] The ranking diarist of presidential politics the way they cranked out books you didn’t have to wait 15 years to find out it was all in their 1984 book The candidly titled wake us up when it’s over.
[00:35:25] The name thing the age thing the signature thing part changed his penmanship. Jesus. And you didn’t even have to wait for the new book because jewels would tell you they had this dinner with Hart C in Boston and it was going great until they asked him about the name thing or the age thing or some god damn thing and Hart just stood up and walked out.
[00:35:48] The guy has a weird duck.
[00:35:52] Yet hard had something going for him in 1984 and that was electability. We talked about the polls. He was making that argument to potential delegates to those who had. Of his fellow senators who had not supported him to those House members who would vote as superdelegates in the primary. A new thing. During this time that argument held sway in a lot of the parts of the country where the Democrats there particularly didn’t like Reagan in 1980 foresees a fast paced primary sees very quick and a lot of debates.
[00:36:22] Where’s the beef.
[00:36:23] And it’s during one of the baits where Mondale comes up with an idea to try to come back this idea that he is an old deal Democrat and Hart’s got new ideas.
[00:36:33] And I think there is a fundamental difference for example between Vice President Mondale and myself. That is I think we can we can meet the basic human needs and commitments of the people of this country by restoring entrepreneurship. 90 percent of the new jobs in this society have come from small businesses. And I think that the dedication of the Democratic Party to minority people in the South and elsewhere shouldn’t just be jobs. It should be the opportunity to own and operate businesses that create jobs.
[00:37:04] When I respond to that. Well. we’ll get. back to some of the election coming out for entrepreneurs. You know what I when I hear when I was like this I know when I hear your new ideas I’m reminded of that ad.
[00:37:18] Where’s the beef. Let’s get.
[00:37:26] Going. Got. to. tell you.
[00:37:32] It wasn’t just a minute I know Wendy’s had aired this commercial in 1984 that featured an older woman looking at a hamburger bond that was oversized with a very very small Patty and saying you know where’s the beef. He’s. very. very. happy.
[00:37:57] And would have even been better if Mondale had ever seen that commercial.
[00:38:04] He had never seen it. So his emphasis wasn’t the same as the voice in the commercial. But as consultant Pat Caddell did The remark drew laughter and applause from the audience. It catches Hart off guard. He never fully recovered he’s tried to say well my ideas are all good. They’re in a book and indeed he had written a book. But the perception now is that some of Hart’s ideas are shallow lacking in specifics. However the way that you’ll ever have you see anyone talk about 1984 at all the way that you’re going to talk about it is that Hart was defeated here.
[00:38:30] And that’s really not true. He was hurt but not out. Jesse Jackson then wins D.C. he wins the Louisiana and Mississippi primaries this is big because two things one. It’s the first black presidential candidate to win states in a primary. And Jesse Jackson is opening the door for others.
[00:38:50] Secondly he’s taken states away from Mondale. Otherwise it’s not likely that those two states would have went to Hart Mondale wins New York big state and Pennsylvania. And those are important victories. But once again there’s still good news for Hart. He wins Indiana and Ohio and wasn’t expected to do so.
[00:39:12] And things are getting testy as you get into what’s called Super Tuesday three Super Tuesday one where Massachusetts was won by Gary Hart in Florida. Big deal. And then there’s super Tuesday too with New York. Super Tuesday three the big states are New Jersey and California the smaller states New Mexico others. But the big states are New Jersey and California. Both candidates want it.
[00:39:39] Things are now getting a little nasty.
[00:39:43] When President Reagan sent our troops to Central America he called them advisors. Remember Vietnam.
[00:39:49] Our troops now serve as bodyguards to dictators and are a slow burning fuse to war. Vice President Mondale agrees with President Reagan and said he too would leave some of the troops there as bargaining chips with Nicaragua. And he attacks Gary Hart for forcefully saying get them up our sons as bargaining chips. Well we never learn.
[00:40:09] Gary Hart.
[00:40:11] During the debate in Los Angeles Mondale glares at Hart he’s attacked Hart now for having no ideas. Hart keeps attacking him for having ties to labor unions and political action committees. Mondale glares at Harden repeatedly objected to the senator’s suggestion that the Justice Department may investigate the Labor supported PAC funds that helped elect many Mondale delegates.
[00:40:34] Nbc moderator Tom Brokaw asks Hart do you want to look him in the eye and say that you didn’t just accuse him of criminal activity.
[00:40:42] Hart says he knows I did.
[00:40:46] Mondale says Did you not suggest a possible judicial investigation.
[00:40:52] Hart says I said that the Reagan Justice Department would be very likely to do that. Mondale said.
[00:40:59] Now what do you think that suggests over parking. I never said anything about criminal. Moments later Hart accused Mondale of running a campaign of distortion and distraction.
[00:41:10] Why do you run those ads that suggest that I’m out trying to kill kids when you know better. I am a person who believes in peace. To run ads. you run. suggest there’s something about my policies that will lead to the death of American boys. I think we ought to pull those ads down in a crucial election.
[00:41:29] Because I would answer by asking you a question. Why have you questioned my commitment to arms control and civil rights when you know that I have just as much commitment to both of those as you do. The ads illustrate a point.
[00:41:43] Like two bloody fighters it looked like one of these Hart with the momentum winning the Western states that everyone knew would be needed by Democrats if they were to defeat Reagan.
[00:41:57] The new population booming states where Republicans were winning Mondale with the organization strength.
[00:42:04] One of them would prevail just by doing a little bit better. Maybe one extra punch and you throw into this mix then the superdelegates. The Democrats in their 1982 Convention had decided to change the rules and this would give a vote to party leaders this would give a vote to members of the house. This would give a vote to those on Capitol Hill. So you actually have Mondale and to some degree Hart campaigning in Capitol Hill sort of two or calling people to try to get votes there because there are delegates there just as there are in any primary. However though Mondale has an advantage here Gary Hart keeps maintaining that all of these super delegates that had previously announced their support for Mondale were not you know those aren’t votes for Mondale. That’s just the announcement of support. And if he swept Super Tuesday three they would all switch to him.
[00:42:59] This is an argument that we heard in 2016 right. I think with a little Bernie Sanders when Hillary was trying to claim I have the support of the superdelegates. Well those votes can change at the convention.
[00:43:09] Mondale knew that the superdelegates would bail them out but he still had to win something here. You know among these five states South Dakota New Mexico West Virginia California and New Jersey it couldn’t lose all of them that’s for sure. At the time says Mr. Mondale can cannot afford to go into the convention limping. He can not afford to get wiped out on June 5th where five states hold primaries. That’s because Hart and Jackson could challenge the superdelegates the convention or appeal to superdelegates that they had the popular support that they had the momentum that Hart for instance could take it to Reagan in the end it’s the California and New Jersey primaries that do it. Hart sends his wife lead California. We thought that he probably win and he went to New Jersey to campaign.
[00:43:54] No I come from teachers and I can attest to the fact that it has to be a real dog eat dog primary for New Jersey to matter because it’s a. It did matter in certain years did a couple of recent ones it has 2008 and 2016 it’s been important but in 1980 forced primaries that turned out to be decisive Harts had an issue he complained and joked to the press that he had to go to New Jersey while his wife got to go to California. That didn’t go over very well and then he made a joke about toxic sludge. Not a good topic. Still in the voting results Mondale is disappointed again. And it’s only through clever political mechanisms and a kind of sleepless campaign that is able to even eke out anything from Super Tuesday three. Let me read you what time says.
[00:44:48] For weeks Walter Mondale predicted with facetious precision that he would acquire the magic number of one thousand nine hundred sixty seven delegates needed to pin down the Democratic presidential nomination at eleven fifty nine A.M. on the day after Super Tuesday 3 the final day of one of the most grueling frenetic and unpredictable primary seasons ever.
[00:45:11] Now when election eve Mondale’s campaign was over California.
[00:45:15] Nearing the end of a twenty five hour five thousand six hundred twenty mile coast to coast blitz. The candidate had been in fine fiddle rousing partisan audiences in New Jersey West Virginia and New Mexico. He seemed to somehow be thriving on the hectic pace finally confident that the elusive goal was in hand. The Minnesotan staff broke out bottles and let spirit soar. The former vice president gleefully awarded T-shirts and printed with I survived air Mondale to members of the press and campaign staff who had made the trip waiting out elections in his home state. Mondale heard nothing shake his buoyant mood. His foe Gary Hart was carrying South Dakota and New Mexico as expected but delegates were at stake. Mondale was sweeping West Virginia. The news in New Jersey was dazzling a hefty one hundred and seven delegates with a prize. And Mondale capitalizing on the state’s district election system seemed to be taking an amazing amount of them to Harts. None. And Jesse Jackson’s for the voting booths closed in California with its enticing 306 delegates. But early exit polls indicated a tight race. It wasn’t clear.
[00:46:25] So hard here gets two little states loses West Virginia loses New Jersey Mondale’s team goes into action. Arriving in a party in St. Paul’s or artisan Plaza Mondale reached out to his rivals and their backers. I want your support he said. I intend to earn it. Then delivers a satchel Paige warning to Ronald Reagan. Don’t Look Back. Somebody is gaining on you. He ordered a batch of cheeseburgers celebrated with friends in the 17th floor suite and drifted off into a long awaited deep sleep.
[00:47:01] But for Mondale’s aides the euphoria gave way almost immediately to a bout of Hart induced nightmares. Back in February the Colorado Center’s stunning upset in the New Hampshire primary shattered the notion that the invincible Mondale machine would crush opposition early after a string of hard wins in New England. Mondale doggedly fought his way back.
[00:47:21] Early on Wednesday morning Mondale strategists found that the reports from California turning sour at 3 a.m. Mondale campaign coordinator Tom Donilon was awakened by one of the staffs delegate counters. The news from California was dismayed. Hart was headed for a remarkable victory in the state. In the end Hart won 32 of California’s 45 congressional districts. Mondale only nine Jackson Four. That translated into a nearly three to one Hart victory over Mondale in delegates 205 to 72 with Jackson getting twenty nine.
[00:47:56] The ACU problem was to avoid the debacle of Mondale having to confess that his eleven fifty nine press conference that despite his boastful prediction he did not have the nineteen sixty seven delegates he needed after all.
[00:48:08] At seven thirty a.m. aides began contacting uncommitted delegates most of them elected Democratic officials and regional party leaders to ask them to stand by for a call for Mondale.
[00:48:20] This was dubbed the phone primary.
[00:48:25] The candidate refreshed and unshaken by the report from California turned on his powers of persuasion. He made some 50 telephone calls reaching party luminaries such as Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg and Alabama Governor George Wallace. The unstated threat Mondale was certain to win and later rivals on the bandwagon were less likely to be remembered favorably by the candidate.
[00:48:51] About 40 of the 50 recipients of the Mondale message took it seriously enough to join him right then in their. That by the reckoning of the Mondale aides despite the disaster in California put their boss over the top.
[00:49:06] It gone until the final day of primaries. Two hundred and twenty five delegates short of a convention majority and picked up two hundred and one in those primaries.
[00:49:19] The time difference on the Pacific Coast had blunted the impact of California. Most TV viewers have gone to bed like Mondale with the expectation that the nomination fight had ended in the most of the U.S. the next day’s morning newspapers conveyed the same impression and Mondale had no intention of having them think anything different.
[00:49:40] Hart hoped to use his California victory to block the Mondale bandwagon being slow to capitalize on it mainly because he had been caught off guard by the magnitude of his win. Plastic campaigning a gun dismally his weariness. He was so tired in New Jersey that he praised a supporter for coming here to the New Hampshire primary when it was a New Jersey.
[00:50:02] Early exit polls indicate he was going to lose the state after he took off from Philadelphia. An engine caught fire in the cabin filled with smoke. Hart’s wife Lee ran from a rear seat through the plane because I thought we were going down. I wanted to be with my family.
[00:50:21] The aircraft landed safely and Hart shaken entourage took Ozark Airlines to St. Lewis in California. He canceled election night interviews in Los Angeles not knowing that he was on the way to a dramatic and offsetting win.
[00:50:34] Nbc had promoted its scheduled interview with Hart on the nightly news could have been a big audience. Correspondent Roger Mudd put questions to an empty chair.
[00:50:44] A bit of low blow journalism that enraged the candidate when he heard about it later.
[00:50:51] At eleven fifty nine as cameramen and aides counted off the seconds nine eight seven. Mondale strode out to the microphones in the reticent Plaza and declared today I am pleased to claim victory I am the nominee.
[00:51:04] I’ve got the votes. He cited a precise number of delegates behind him. 2008. Mondale pledged to work for a unified convention saying that he would make personal appeals to both Hart and Jackson to join him in that effort. He conceded under questioning that the friction among candidates had been great.
[00:51:22] He tried to downplay it. Oliver Henkel Hart’s campaign manager insisted that Mondale’s claims of delegates bravado he still in the eighteen hundreds. By your best counts. The news media agrees with Mondelez counts UPI considered a reliable count placed him at nineteen sixty nine two more than needed. More delegates certainly than Hart and Jackson. Hart will need superdelegates to win and Jackson would need a miracle someone getting out of the race and giving him support.
[00:51:55] Finally the next day Hart was able to say welcome to overtime and declare that his campaign must go forward and will if Hart could keep Mondale from a first ballot win the delegates might desert Mondale in droves.
[00:52:10] Bruised Hart and Jesse Jackson as well go to San Francisco hoping for a say on the platform a pick for vice president. We’ve come together. bound by faith. in a mighty God. with genuine respect and love for our country.
[00:52:36] And in everything the legacy of a great party. The Democratic Party. which is the best hope for redirecting our nation. on a more humane just. and peaceful course.
[00:52:51] This is not a perfect party. A. perfect.
[00:52:58] Traffic Mr. Vice President had already stated that he was going to pick either a woman or an African-American.
[00:53:06] Tom Bradley the mayor of Los Angeles was getting a lot of attention as was the mayor of San Francisco Dianne Feinstein and Geraldine Ferraro of New York who Hart also had met with and who Ferraro also liked though she was backing Mondale. There was a little platform trouble. One of the issues that’s gonna come up is there’s a platform piece about a Democratic proposal to require a certain amount of American parts be made in cars. And Gary Hart objects because it’s injurious to free trade.
[00:53:42] And so they just encourage foreign manufacturers to make as many parts as possible in the United States and that’s all that gets in the platform. Part as any hopes the convention is a staged by a meeting with Ted Kennedy who helps broker a smooth convention so the party could take on Reagan. He gets out of this some favorable delegate rules that would leave him in a good position for 1988 when he will indeed enter that race as the front runner.
[00:54:11] As for 1984 and the Democratic Party it was all for naught. Here’s what Gallup says.
[00:54:16] By 1984 Reagan’s job approvals were consistently above the 50 percent line. That’s a symbolic standard for an incumbent president seeking re-election. In Gallup’s last October poll before the November 1984 election Reagan received a 58 percent job approval rating. Mondale would suffer an election loss even worse than George McGovern’s but was it so bad 1980 foresaw history the first significant black presidential candidate in a major party to win states in primaries.
[00:54:44] First woman vice presidential candidate of a major party a party dealing with its nominating issues and factions creating and using super delegate rules that exist in some form today and are still debated about today.
[00:55:00] Electability becomes an issue it’s tried but it can’t beat core voters and special interest. Electability gets its first real challenge in primaries in 1984 and it’s shown to be a difficult argument. Why. Couple of reasons. One is primaries or course you’re fighting over people who have core beliefs in the party. They’re the people that actually vote in those primaries are going to be less than the general electorate. It’s just hard to get everybody out to vote on primary day except for the faithful.
[00:55:34] Likeability is hard to prove. You’re proving a hypothetical. Everyone can say they’re electable. And there were great differences between the Gallup polls that would put Hart First Reagan and Mondale vs. Reagan in March it’s really clear by the time you’re getting to May some of the polls are showing Reagan’s actually beating hard by one point maybe beating Mondale by a little more but nothing significant.
[00:55:57] And for electability considerations if they’re even going to work in a primary at all it seems like would have to be overwhelming.
[00:56:04] There’s another reason too. And that is that groups like labor unions once committed to a candidate have to show the support for the candidate in order to prove that they have value for future contests where they want to trade and negotiate with candidates for perhaps favorable legislation they want so Labor in 1984 has to support Mondale as much as it can. It can’t change because they really want to defeat Reagan. It’s not in their immediate organizational interest to do so.
[00:56:37] And that could be true of many types of special interests. Mondale wins only his home state in the election of 1984.
[00:56:47] There’s not even much of a significant campaign the picking of Geraldine Ferraro and the San Francisco convention is probably the big moment Mario Cuomo speech a big moment. Walter Mondale does well in the first debate where Reagan Reagan brushes it off in the next debate and there’s not much of an election after that. Mondale makes the point that his election may have changed despite losing that the peace issue was brought up that perhaps he’s pushing Reagan slightly to the left and by bringing up the peace issue. We know from the Reagan podcasts I did that Reagan had on his mind a desire to talk to the Soviets for one and to perhaps get rid of nuclear weapons as much as possible without needing any political push. Gary Hart remains the front runner he has something like 50 percent in the polls of any buddy running for the 1988. But a few things happen. One is that reporters are continuing to track him down and continuing to come up with stories about this enigmatic person. And Hart just becomes more reclusive and more reclusive and resists some of the profile stories that magazines and people want to do. When one of his press aide Sweeney is able to get Hart an interview with E.J. Dionne who I think is gonna be a little more reasonable than some of the other reporters. DIONNE keeps pressing him and it’s frustrating for Hart and Hart’s like what are you really getting at here. What are you really asking me. And you know Hart was so frustrated by questions that he would say name age and mama you know that. Here he is running for the presidency of the United States and all people want to ask about is his name change his age because his age changed on his birth certificate and and his mother and his relationship with his mother. E.J. Dionne. After asking him several questions mostly about these type of topics Gary Hart is like what are you getting out here.
[00:58:43] And E.J. Dionne’s like why do you think we think you’re weird.
[00:58:49] As Sweeney recounted in Richard Ben Cramer’s book that was the end of the profile interviews for Gary Hart. He has an announcement. Way up we’re overlooking with the with the Rockies in the background with very few reporters present. He’ll have his troubles. Here’s how Gail Sheehy describes what happened next with Gary Hart. He accomplished the stunning feat of political self-destruction and only 26 days. Why would any man in his right mind to find a New York Times reporter who had asked about his alleged womanizing to put a tail on me and then canceled his weekend campaign appearances and arrange a tryst at his Washington townhouse with a Miami party girl. What demon was losing the 50 year old frontrunner of the Democratic Party who lurched across the chartered yacht Monkey Business drink in hand and boasted to a model friend of Donna Rice is that this was her big chance to party with the next president of the United States.
[00:59:44] He was caught off guard and ran. I thought that put an end to my story. Then a debate broke out adamant that he had in no way transgressed. Hardly lashed out at the wrong headedness. and the periods. of the press.
[00:59:56] And stalked off the public stage in anger and defiance. Hart’s own divided mind found its analogue in defenders within the press who still believe a Chinese wall can exist between public and private selves. So there’s a number of reasons I think 1984 is interesting to talk about. And I think it’s buried in the fact that there was a blowout election. But you know there is a what could have been. And the Reagan people were they were particularly afraid of John Glenn running against their man Reagan but there also were unsure about Hart more afraid of Glenn because they thought they could paint Hart as liberal.
[01:00:31] They really liked running against Mondale as Frank Mencken once one of Hart’s advisers said Mondale was easy prey for Reagan.
[01:00:42] He was Labor guy liberal voting record comes from Minnesota just not able to get purchase on anything in Reagan but you wonder what would have happened with a different campaign with a new candidate and all the other person that wonders about that is Gary Hart himself speaking both about his eighty four and eighty eight campaigns that were failures.
[01:01:04] He he really I bear a very heavy burden of responsibility. Hart says if all of that stuff had not happened and if I had been elected.
[01:01:15] There would have been no Gulf War George H.W. Bush wouldn’t have been president. Which means George W. Bush wouldn’t have been president. Everything would have changed.
[01:01:26] I don’t say that to aggrandize myself it’s just history changed and that has haunted me for 30 years I had one talent and it wasn’t traditional politics. I could see further ahead than anybody that things were changing.
[01:01:42] Well we never know that the economy had improved so much inflation had had been cut into a third in the early part of Reagan’s administration 1983 1984 such good economic years. It is difficult to imagine another candidate winning. So one never knows. I also think 1984 isn’t an interesting election to study because there are a great number of candidates campaigning started early. Authenticity became an issue in the race. You also had a president who was a larger than life figure who was very different than people that had been elected before that who had been a TV star and a movie star. People forget that about Reagan they always say movie star. But the reality is most people knew him as a TV that he would host the G late night movie show. So regardless he was a different type of person even though he had served the two terms as governor he was a very different type of person than your average politician. He engaged in rhetoric that was unfavorable to a lot of Americans so there are all these things that you see and similarities today it created a great number of people who wanted to take him on. I think 1984 is interesting because it also shows you how the dynamics of a lot of people running can play out. It’s probably a lot of different ways it’s hard to predict it’s multivariate right. What do you do for one thing that you notice where there was present two candidates that were attacking each other and that’s Mondale and Glenn who thought they would be the frontrunners attacking each other. A third candidate rises up free of attacks.
[01:03:13] Two things you watch out for that and if you’re the frontrunner you might want to spread your attacks a little bit and make sure that there’s enough in the public mind with doubts about all of the candidates and not just the one that you’re targeting because by targeting one you might be favoring an upstart candidate as completely happened with Gary Hart in Iowa in New Hampshire. So if you’re going to do the political algebra to think like who’s going to win these contests you have to start thinking about canceling Alec like what candidate is going to be stronger than the other one and cancel them out so that they’ll probably be out of the primary soon so that you get from twenty five or thirty two or Reno six candidates or something like that. That’s not algebra that I would engage in but it’s it’s kind of complicated but it just shows you. 1984 gives you a sense of how you have to start to think this does not mean by any means that I that I think 2020 goes the way of 1984 but it gives you a sense that even that blow out election wasn’t seen that way all the time doesn’t mean that it’s going to go this way. Reagan’s very different from from President Trump. Political skills that Trump doesn’t have a look. Trump has his own social media presence and other things. Part surprising win also brings a kind you know some say of listen like Matt Bai or the movie the front runner or with Hugh Jackman you’re going to say that you know.
[01:04:37] 1984 that surprise win of Hart which leads to his surprise frontrunner status in the next election. Is the beginnings of tabloid journalism where it’s like we’ve got to investigate this guy. And I think that’s quite all quite interesting.
[01:04:54] You can’t try to run for the whole country in a primary you run for each state. And I do believe you’ve run a little bit to the left. If you’re a Democrat and you run a little bit to the right. This was Nixon’s famous statement you know run right.
[01:05:09] In his case in the GOP run right in the primary run center in the election I raised one point six million to Mondale’s one point two polls in July showed me ahead of Reagan. John Glenn says in his memoir on the advice of my campaign staff I moved ahead with plans to open offices in most of the country that in retrospect created a false sense of security and pushed me towards organizational mistakes. Rather than concentrate on traditional battlegrounds we focused on building a nationwide sensible center and because I had positions that would appeal to Republicans and Democrats alike. I failed to excite the core constituencies. That’s the message from Glenn.
[01:05:49] So in John Glenn statement in his memoir about what went wrong in his own presidential campaign. I think you see something else. When I look at the current primary race and I see something like Biden I think there’s an incredible potential there. If he’s able to execute that run to the left and then the center movement when he gets the nomination and he’s going nowhere. If he can’t appeal to those core constituencies just like Glenn couldn’t look out for an upstart I figure this you know in Iowa you’re going to see a one two three maybe one two three four. So it’s going to be probably Biden and Sanders and then you’re going to see who’s going to be three and four and they’re going to get an enlarged amount of momentum and attention as it even once the title is politics you know stop talking about momentum. What Mondale’s people were telling the press. You can’t do that.
[01:06:49] Hope you enjoy the look at the 1984 election Web site as w w w dot my history can beat up your politics. Dot com a brief word about the extra podcast look it’s going I’ll talk a little bit more about the podcasts how they’re made they provide some extra material that didn’t make it into cast and things like that. W w w dot my history can beat up your politics dot com or you can donate appendix from Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes The Way To The White House.
[01:07:35] The first thing you’ve got to know about Joe is the house. Probably the first thing he’d show you any way you talk with Biden about anything.
[01:07:42] Somehow it gets back to the home and the house is gorgeous an old DuPont mansion in the Dupont neighborhood called Greenville outside Wilmington. It’s the kind of place a thousand guys died building hand car doorways a curving hand carved grand staircase the Clark Gable could have carried a girl down a library fit for a Carnegie.
[01:08:08] Or Bernard Baruch or someone like that on ballroom can’t forget the ballroom in a living room about half an acre and a bathroom upstairs the size of a gym and all dusty rose outside with beautiful brick work over the windows black shutters white porches a fountain a pool. The place was drop dead stately Joe found it one night a couple of years after he became a senator he was driving around like he did back then he was snooping around Greenville streets of his dreams when he saw it all overgrown boarded up some developer was going to knock it down because the four and a half acres were worth more than the house. The DuPont’s couldn’t take care of the place but Joe had to have a look and so he pulled in and shining up a pole in the darkness onto a second floor porch and broken through the plywood and when he came out a few minutes later he had to have it.
[01:09:10] Joe did two hundred thousand dollar deal for the house. It was more than he had of course but Biden never let money stand in the way of a deal. He got in the developers face and started talking fast. Joe can literally talk fast.
[01:09:23] It’s like the stutter left it all pent up and when he starts talking a deal he goes a gallop. But the beautiful thing in the way he talks deals is the way he talks.
[01:09:36] By the time Joe’s finished talking it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t have a thousand dollars cash in fact that no one would have any cash for years. When Joe Biden gets going on a deal he’ll talk that deal until it’s shimmering before your rise in God’s only link like the Taj Mahal. Where do I sign. anyway. When he moved in he started finding out about the place first winter first three months.
[01:09:59] He used three thousand gallons of fuel oil the top of the house was wide open.
[01:10:06] Squirrels were living on the third floor so the second year he had to get the storm windows for the whole place.
[01:10:13] Christie didn’t have the money to sell off a couple of blocks.
[01:10:17] He lived in fear that the place would need a new three 30000 slate roofs. Meanwhile the place was chock full of asbestos. Had to hire got to clean that out. But the guy wanted too much money for Labor so there were weeks when Joe was down in the basement in a moon suit ripping out asbestos.
[01:10:37] When he moved in the old winding driveway led from much down I have but Joe couldn’t buy all the land that held him right away and when he angered the owner on the front lawn put boulders in his driveway. Joe had to build a new one around the front which was great because everybody who drove in would have to see the whole place. But he didn’t have the money to get that paid so it turned into soup.
[01:11:01] When the weather went bad in any way he sold the corner lot that held the start of the driveway so he had to build a third driveway. A little one in the back and he could actually use. But he never liked that. Don’t be little third one so eight years later he made a deal with the new owner of the front lawn custom another fortune in landscaping. But he got the original driveway back. He killed one riding mower a year. Biden would let the grass get three feet high until he was going to have someone over or function at the house something. Then he’d attack it with his riding motor mower which had been out in the rain for six months. These damn things aren’t built right. He’d complain. I got to find one that works. Upstairs the third floor was driving him crazy at one point. He was going to lop off the whole thing brought an architect’s for the plans and everything. Why not the house. The world were malleable to his will. Then he decided he’d keep the third floor but close it off with its own heating plant and a separate entrance. He could rent it maybe offices. He’d make a mint. He brought the architects back and a contractor. Then he thought of the strangers around his home. He couldn’t stand that no strangers were going to tromp around his dream world.
[01:12:19] Next he envisioned a scheme where he’d take the ballroom the library the entry hall and the card staircase the dining room the living room and he’d have them disassembled.
[01:12:28] Then HE’D HAD THOSE ROOMS reassembled just like the way they were in a house to a smaller and knew and wouldn’t be so hard to run see. Then he’d stick in wallboard where great rooms had been and he’d sell the big place.
[01:12:43] So he brought back all the architects of the contractor but it was too hard. So he stayed. Meanwhile he planted. He liked Camelot trees. He found some old check he found symbol Czech guy who ran up a store a nursery in Pennsylvania. Joe didn’t want any three foot saplings. No this guy had big handles bushes great ones used big old use. See Joe had to have privacy when he started having to sell off lots. He had to plant more because you wanted privacy in his existing land. When you found this old nursery man Joe went bananas. Joe kept asking What’s the biggest you’ve got 20 foot blocks bushes huge bushes a ton of dirt around the bottom of each his pal Marty was with him one day. Marty Lonergan dentist Joe’s buddy from high school Joe Marty said how are we gonna get all this back. Get a truck. Joe said. Like everybody’s brother had a 40 foot flat put in the garage. 40 foot flatbed in the garage. Yeah. Marty said who’s gonna drive it. I’ll drive. Joe said used to drive them all the time.
[01:13:51] Sure enough Marty found somebodies brother who’d lend a truck and Joe drove the thing overloaded. Rocking and pitching with trees hanging off the tail.
[01:13:59] Down the back roads an hour and a half back to Wilmington. Then he started digging a forty five foot trench three foot deep and three feet wide through blacktop and paving stones. He was out there gym shorts and hiking boots sweating like a pig with the headlights of four cars shining upon his ditch with Jill leaning out the window to yell Come to bed on.
[01:14:22] Well an old friend or to prop the trees and the bushes up in the ditch. So Joe could wall away his room no tighter Joad say. I don’t know Joe. Tighter Joe said he had to have privacy. The Bushes he planted them two feet apart. Next weekend he’s back for use. He built a wall of use around a swimming pool. Never mind there was no room for them to spread their roots. What do you think. He asked the nursery man grinning. Two years of course they’d all be dead. And every time he sold a lot he needed more trees.
[01:14:59] And that’s as much a license I can feel I can take with the great late Richard Ben Cramer.
[01:15:06] Thanks for listening. If you liked the podcast please tell someone about it.