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Anecdotal Evidence, August 12: Talking nuclear proliferation with your 8-year-old daughter

Lars Gesing, CU News Corps Assistant Director

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Logo final_highIn our Anecdotal Evidence column, movers and shakers share personal stories of how intriguing (and often odd) presidential campaigning in their respective swing state can be.

 

Jimmy Carter and his 8-year-old talk nukes at the breakfast table

Jerry Austin. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Jerry Austin. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

Jerry Austin – Veteran Ohio Democratic Consultant

“I ran the Carter campaign in Ohio in 1980, and we lost to Reagan. The only debate that happened in that campaign was in Cleveland, Ohio.

“It was the Thursday before the election. I had nothing to do with debate prep or anything. But I was invited into the holding room where all the Carter advisers were. They prepared him. A guy walked into that room. He carried a big book. I said, ‘Who is that?’ ‘His name is Stu Eisenstein, he is the issues guy.’

“So I was sitting there, and the debate began. The first question came, and the guy does this, (starts clapping for about five seconds.) Carter finished his response. Obviously it was an anticipated question and a rehearsed response. It went on like that. These guys were high-fiving each other. All of a sudden, Carter said, ‘This morning, I was having breakfast with my daughter Amy.’ Amy, who is eight. ‘And we discussed nuclear proliferation.’ All of a sudden, Eisenstein took the book and threw it against the wall. Everybody was beside themselves. I said, ‘What’s going on?’

“During debate prep, Carter wanted to talk about how he has a young daughter and thinks about the future. But his advisers told him, ‘Nobody is going to believe you are talking to your 8-year-old daughter about nuclear proliferation.’ They thought they had talked him out of it.

“But they didn’t.”

***

You better trust the locals

John Green. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

John Green. Photo: Lars Gesing/CU News Corps

John Green – Political Scientist, University of Akron

“If you want to win Ohio, you have to spend time in the state, build an organization and craft a good message. What makes Ohio complicated is not those three things. It is how to actually do those three things effectively.

“There is a really famous story of when George H.W. Bush was running for president. His handler said, ‘You know what, we should go to Akron, and we should walk down Main Street.’ The Republican county chairman said, ‘Are you out of your mind? Do you know what Main Street looks like?’ In those days, it was a mess.

“The county chairman managed to talk the presidential campaign out of it. But when they were going back to the airport, they just happened to go down Main Street. President Bush turned to the county chairman and said, ‘Wow, you were really right.’

“Well, why wouldn’t the local guy be right?!”

***

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Explanatory multimedia reporting from CU Boulder journalism students
Anecdotal Evidence, August 12: Talking nuclear proliferation with your 8-year-old daughter