In an interview with Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Stephan K. Bannon, bestselling Reagan historian Craig Shirley compared the recent announcement of the Cruz/Carly team as similar to a move Ronald Reagan made in 1976 in his ultimately failed effort to beat Gerald Ford for that year’s Republican nomination.
“Cruz had to do something,” he said. “He had to do something because the straight line projection showed Trump headed toward a first ballot nomination. And he very well may be headed toward a first ballot nomination. But at least this gives people pause and it did change the storyline, at least for 24 hours.”
At one point in 1976, the Reagan campaign was concerned that CBS might run with a story that Gerald Ford appeared to have enough delegates to secure the Republican nomination in the first round of balloting at the coming convention. The Reagan campaign “had to kill this story,” said Shirley, adding, “They had to change the narrative, to change the story line and kill the CBS story and the way to do it was for Reagan to announce his running mate before the convention.”
According to Shirley, they also wanted someone “from a state with a lot of uncommitted delegates that might be swayed to go for Reagan.” Reagan then announced moderate Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania as his pick for Vice President prior to the convention.
“In a sense it was a brilliant failure. It didn’t get Reagan the nomination but it did keep his camapign alive for three weeks going into Kansas City, which was vital. It also gave Reagan kind of an aura that he was a gambler,” said Shirley. Reagan took a lot of heat from conservatives for picking Schweiker, who was seen as a moderate, “but not enough so that people were going to leave Ronald Reagan for Gerald Ford,” he concluded.
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