Reagan lost the nomination to Gerald Ford in 1976. After Ford gave his acceptance speech the delegates called for Reagan.
He spoke briefly. No notes, no prepared remarks, no teleprompter. He sealed the 1980 nomination then and there:
There is a shorter version of this clip, but I liked some of the back story that the few extra minutes fleshed out.
How would Barry have done if the nomination had gone to Clinton? If the Democratic race had gone the other way I'm sure Clinton would not have put Obama on the spot - The Clinton Machine would not have allowed Obama to suck the air out of the room.
Full disclosure - in 1976 I was in Carter's camp. Except for a brief flirtation with Paul Tsongas, it was the last time I supported a Democrat. Thank God I was too young to vote for the peanut - I'm not sure if I could have survived the remorse. By 1979 I was ready for a Reagan, but not Republicans. As a teenager I watched the Carter administration stumble along; for a while it was enough that he "wasn't Nixon". Towards the end I think the only thing that kept Carter in office was the thought of having Wally Mondale as president... By 1980 I had become a card carrying Cold Warrior type - and I carried said card in a wallet emblazoned with the slogan "I'd rather be killing Communists".
It's been awhile
6 years ago