John Dickerson, host of CBS’ Face The Nation, is the author of a timely August read, “Whistlestops: My Favorite Stories From Presidential Campaign History.”
HH: Joined now by John Dickerson. John, a little bit late, but I’m glad to get a chance to talk about the new book, because you’re wearing my tie, my favorite tie, on the cover of Whistlestop. So you’ve got that going for you. How are you?
JD: I’m fine, Hugh. I’m glad we’re in sync on that.
HH: Well, let me go, the table of contents, Whistlestop is linked over at Hughhewitt.com, and it’s got lots of wonderful stories about various campaigns past. I want to go to page 147, Gambits and Gambles Stopped Goldwater. First of all, do you believe Donald Trump can still win this election?
JD: Yeah, of course. I mean, just, yes, because I mean, this has been so unpredictable. And one of the things history teaches you is just at the moment when you think you know something, it changes. And even though it looks like a very rough patch for Donald Trump, he’s running against a weak candidate, and the country is volatile. So I think he’s in a tough patch for sure, though, of course.
HH: But in 1964, Republicans were afraid that Goldwater couldn’t win, and he couldn’t win in the end. And they tried to stop him in a meeting in Cleveland. Is this about the Cleveland get-together? I’ve got Whistlestop for my beach reading. I haven’t read it, yet. Is this about the governors getting together with Nixon to try and stop him?
JD: You got it, at the Sheraton. And one of my favorite scenes from that, look, first of all, you have 19 Republican governors trying to stop Goldwater. And just imagine now, just given the relationship between governors and the national party, much closer than it used to be, it would be hard to imagine 19 Republican governors working actively against a party nominee and losing in the way that they did with, to stop Goldwater. But at that meeting in Cleveland, my favorite is that Nixon comes to try to convince them to stop Goldwater, and he buttonholes Governor George Romney in a bathroom, and tries to get him to run. And Romney doesn’t do it in the end. He’s promised the people of Michigan he won’t run. But I just love that sort of urgent meeting in the men’s room to try to find a solution to this. Of course, in the end, Nixon was, supported Goldwater. So he changed his tune.
HH: Talk about history repeating itself, a former Romney trying to stop a candidate who was doomed, and failing to do so. Whether or not he’s doomed, we will see. John, we’ll reschedule. We’ll get another interview going. I will have read Whistlestop by that time. Whistlestop is linked at Hughhewitt.com, America, My Favorite Stories From Presidential Campaign History, must-read at the beach this summer.
End of interview.