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Book: The Encyclopedia of President Ronald Reagan by N.R. Mitgang & Malcolm Kushner

Book: The Encyclopedia of President Ronald Reagan by N.R. Mitgang & Malcolm Kushner

categories: Book, Nancy Reagan, Encyclopedia, President, Humor, Speeches, Photographs, Ronald Reagan


N.R. Mitgang

about this book: A Time for Choosing
50th Anniversary -October 27, 2014
Ronald Reagan's Televised Campaign Address for Goldwater Presidential Campaign

On October 27, 1964 Ronald Regan made almost didn't make history and almost didn't give the speech that launched him into presidential history.

As President Regan recalled:

You should know that I had been a lifelong Democrat until the 1960s. My first vote was cast for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He campaigned on a platform of reducing federal spending, eliminating useless federal boards and commissions, and returning authority to the states, the communities, and the people, which, he said, had been unjustly seized by the federal government.

One night a few weeks before the election I addressed a fund-raiser at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. When the evening was over, a delegation of high-powered Republicans waited for me. They asked whether I would deliver that same speech on nationwide TV if they raised the money to buy the time. I said yes and suggested that, instead of just having me in a studio alone, they bring in an audience to get a little better feel. They readily agreed.

A few days before the speech, Senator Goldwater himself called me and mentioned canceling the address. His people told him that I talked about social security, and he'd been getting kicked all over the place on the issue. I explained to him that I'd been making the speech all over the state and nobody had ever said anything.

His people apparently wanted to repeat some show of former president Eisenhower and him strolling around fields at Ike's farm outside Gettysburg. I said, "Barry, I can't just turn the time over to you, because it's not mine to give. A private group bought this time."

Well, he said, "I haven't seen the speech or heard it, let me call you back." So he got a copy of the sound track and listened to it. I'm told that when he heard it, he said, "Well, what the hell's wrong with that?"
I was getting a little scared, though, thinking that this was pretty big-league stuff for me to be going nationwide for a candidate for president. I started having second thoughts and thinking, "Holy Toledo, here's a man running for president and his people think something else could be better. Maybe they're right."

The night that the tape of the speech was to air on NBC, Nancy and I went over to another couple's home to watch it. Everyone thought I'd done well, but still you don't always know about these things. The phone rang about midnight. It was a call from Washington, D.C., where it was three A.M. One of Barry's staff called to tell me that the switchboard was still lit up from the calls pledging money to his campaign. I then slept peacefully. The speech raised $8 million and soon changed my entire life.

N.R. Mitgang and Malcolm Kushner, authors of “The Encyclopedia of President Ronald Reagan,” say, “One phone call and one speech most certainly can make a difference in American history. What would have happened if…”

All four volumes of the print edition are included in this Kindle version. This Kindle version saves you over $100 versus the cost of the print edition.
Equivalent to over 1,100 pages.

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N.R. Mitgang

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