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    Anecdotal Observations On History & Politics

    Entries in Bob Dole (4)


    Bob Dole Wasn't The Only Former Candidate To Be In A Pepsi Commercial

    Former VP Candidate Ferraro. See my previous post on Dole here


    Ford Dumps Rocky, Picks up Dole for '76

    President Gerald Ford dropped Vice President Nelson Rockefeller for Senator Bob Dole a full year before the 1976 general election after much deliberation. Disguised as a "decision of his [Rockefeller's] own," Ford was concerned that Rockefeller might cause him to lose support amongst the conservative wing of the party, thus threatening his nomination at the '76 RNC. It was a decsion that he later came to regret, as Thomas DeFrank reported in his 2007 book Write It When I'm Gone (which, to the consternation of his publisher, was originally titled Write It When I'm Dead). Saying he was, "embarrassed that I didn't tell the hard right-wingers that Rockefeller had done a good job and would be a good vice president for a four-year period," Ford bowed to the pressure from his cabinet.  

    What's more interesting is that it was his chief of staff at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, who pushed President Ford the hardest to replace the veep -- which DeFrank contends was namely because Rumsfeld hoped to replace Rocky himself. While Dole was an acceptable candidate, it was in his VP debate against Walter Mondale in which he crudely remarked that World War I, WWII, Korea and Vietnam were all "Democrat Wars":

    While Ford survived a convention challenge against Ronald Reagan (who had previously run a low-key battle for the GOP nom against Nixon and Rockefeller in 1968 -- a little discussed fact), he would eventually lose the 1976 general election to Gov. Jimmy Carter. Confessing to his own "cowardice" in his memoirs, Ford's politically expedient move begs the question: is it ever prudent to drop a sitting vice president? 


    "I Am Paying For This Microphone!"

    Ronald Reagan's oft-quoted 1980 debate zinger, "I am paying for this microphone," became almost as instantly quotable as Charlie Sheen's "winning" rant last week. However, few remember what that declaration actually meant in the context of that Republican Primary Debate. 
    After Reagan's then-rival George Herbert Walker Bush edged him out by 2% in the Iowa caucuses, many pols saw the nomination battle as a two man race. A month later, the Nashua Telegraph newspaper set up a debate between Reagan and Bush exclusively, the only one that would exclude four of the six candidates, and it would be held only three days before the New Hampshire Primary. The Telegraph's plans almost fell through when the FEC cited that the format was unfair and declined to pay for the event, but the Reagan campaign volunteered to pick up the cost. 
    Reagan and Bush had the most to gain from a two-man debate, since a strong performance could propel either of them to a New Hampshire Victory. Reagan especially needed the edge, as he was down 4%, at 33% to Bush's 37%. However the morning of the debate, Reagan unexpectedly began to lobby the Nashua Telegraph and George Bush on behalf of the excluded candidates, insisting that they be allowed to participate. When his 11th hour effort was rebuffed, Reagan pulled a stunt that would go down in history. 
    Appearing on set with the excluded candidates in tow (Bob Dole, Howard Baker, John Anderson and Philip Crane), Reagan angrily insisted that the other candidates be included and proceeded to create a spectacle of his indignation. When the moderator refused to give in to his request and tried to proceed as originally planned, Reagan only acted out more. The moderator, having had enough, then asked to have Reagan's microphone cut off, at which point the candidate famously responded, "I am paying for this microphone Mr. Green!" 
    Another little known fact: the line Reagan used was actually borrowed from the movie The State of the Union with Spencer Tracy -- despite being criticized for his age, the former actor had the ability to quickly recall famous movie quotes, always in asset in any field or occupation. 
    Whether Reagan was feigning indignation or not, the tactic clearly paid off as the debate was largely overshadowed by the confrontation. Reagan showed leadership ability and a willingness to help the underdog and Bush was one-upped, appearing petty for supporting two-man-only contest. Bush later claimed to have been "set up" by Reagan's campaign. Probably so, but that's politics...

    Bob Dole, Viagra & the Joy of Pepsi

    Descibing Viagra as a "great drug," Bob Dole became the TV and print spokesman for Pfizer in 1998, just 2 years after losing the 1996 presidential election to Bill Clinton. 

    NDole's original TV spots are rare  on the internet, however the above illustrates the gist of the campaign, as well as the below:

    Notice that the World War II veteran encourages his fellow American men to have "courage," presumably because Viagra is "worthwhile," but for many, Dole's bold declaration may have been too much information.

    Dole jumped the shark when he signed on with Pepsi and his reputation as Viagra pitchman preceded him. The ad below was purposefully misleading, referring to his "little blue friend" that makes him "feel like a kid again":

    Perhaps even more amusingly inappropriate was Pepsi's ad with Britney Spears in which Dole makes an appearance:

    Is he referring to the dog?