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Victor Gold, photo by Robin Holland
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June 29, 2007
The impact of the sound bite mentality which you find in both there's been a debasing of the system. Because if you listen to these — I call them the Stepford candidates — on both sides in these debates the only two candidates that speak clearly are the ones they call the kooks.

Victor Gold is National Correspondent for WASHINGTONIAN magazine and the author of five books, including co-authorship of President George H.W. Bush's autobiography LOOKING FORWARD, and THE BODY POLITIC, a political fiction co-authored with Lynne Cheney.

Other books include I DON'T NEED YOU WHEN I'M RIGHT, covering his experience in Washington public relations, and P-R AS IN PRESIDENT, a study of the influence of the press and public relations in presidential campaigns. His most recent book is INVASION OF THE PARTY SNATCHERS: HOW THE NEO-CONS AND HOLY ROLLERS DESTROYED THE GOP.

Gold grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he attended the public schools, and Tulane University. After working as a reporter-correspondent for the BIRMINGHAM (Alabama) NEWS, he earned his law degree (J.D.) from the University of Alabama. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, 1950-52.

In 1958 he moved to Washington, D.C., and joined the public relations firm of Selvage & Lee. Six years later he became Deputy Press Secretary to Senator Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign.

In 1965 Gold opened his own political public relations firm in Washington, listing among his clients then-Republican House leader Gerald Ford and Senator Bob Dole. At the Republican conventions of 1968 and 1976 he worked with press secretary Lyn Nofziger on behalf of the presidential candidacy of then-California Governor Ronald Reagan. During the Nixon administration he served as press secretary to Vice President Spiro T. Agnew until January, 1973.

In 1980 Gold joined the staff of Republican presidential candidate George H. W. Bush as a speechwriter and senior advisor, a position he held during the Reagan-Bush campaigns of '80 and '84. He served on the Bush vice-presidential staff in 1981, and as a Bush advisor in the campaigns of 1988 and 1992. In 1992 he received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Political Communication from his alma mater, the University of Alabama.

In 1989 Gold served as a member of President Bush's election-oversight delegation to the first free Romanian elections.

A frequent speaker on the national political and campus circuits, Gold has also appeared on numerous network television shows. His articles, covering politics and sports, have appeared in NEWSWEEK, HARPER'S, ATLANTIC MONTHLY, PLAYBOY, CONNOISSEUR, READERS' DIGEST, NATIONAL REVIEW, THE WEEKLY STANDARD, NEW REPUBLIC, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, and THE WASHINGTON POST.

References and Reading:
More from Victor Gold

"Rightist Indignation: GOP Insider Vic Gold Launches a Broadside at the State of the Party"
Michael Abramowitz, THE WASHINGTON POST, April 2, 2007.

Invasion of the Party Snatchers: How the Holy-Rollers and the Neo-Cons Destroyed the GOP
Listen or watch a discussion of Victor Gold's book from the Cato Institute.

Interview with Vic Gold (Friend of 41 Says 43 Lost His Way)

More on Barry Goldwater and his legacy

Victor Gold remains a staunch Goldwater Republican — but what is that? Syndicated columnist E.J. Dionne in reflecting on the current "identity crisis" in the GOP says: "The last great redefinition of Republicanism, kicked off in 1964 with Barry Goldwater's nomination." THE WASHINGTON POST eulogized Goldwater as a "GOP Champion," and not-yet-candidate Fred Thompson cites him as an inspiration.

Barry Goldwater stated in his famous 1964 GOP nomination acceptance:

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." -- read the speech

And in 1997, Goldwater was still influential, raising some hackles with his Op-Ed on Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
"The conservative movement, to which I subscribe, has as one of its basic tenets the belief that government should stay out of people's private lives. Government governs best when it governs least - and stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone's version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays." -- "Ban on Gays is Senseless Attempt to Stall the Inevitable," read the Op-Ed
Find out more about Goldwater and his legacy below.

"Goldwater Remembered"
A large collection of materials published by THE WASHINGTON POST after Goldwater's death in 1998. Web site highlights include many tributes by 20th century political luminaries, Goldwater quotes and excerpts from three Goldwater biographies.

The Goldwater Institute
Located at the University of Arizona,the Goldwater Institute was founded in 1988 "with the blessing of Senator Goldwater." The Institute focuses on research and policy issues under the guiding principle that "while the legitimate functions of government are conducive to freedom, unrestrained government has proved to be a chief instrument in history for thwarting individual liberty."

Barry Goldwater's granddaughter has made a 90-minute documentary to air on HBO on her grandfather's 1964 run for the Presidency and his legacy.

The Daisy Ad

Victor Gold and Bill Moyers were both major players in the 1964 presidential campaign. A Johnson campaign ad, now known as "The Daisy Ad," which suggested that Goldwater might be quick to turn to nuclear arms, remains one of the most controversial ads in TV history — even though the ad only aired once.

Watch the ad (and others) and weigh in on your views on what's acceptable in campaign ads on the blog.

  • The Daisy Ad (Quicktime and Real)
  • The Daisy Ad (Windows and Real)

    This PBS Web site for the Emmy-winning program includes an extensive timeline of television advertising and commentators on the art and science of campaign ad strategy.

    The Living Room Candidate
    This collection of TV ads from the American Museum of the Moving Image covers the years 1952-2004. Ads are grouped not only by year, but by issue and type of commercial. The Daisy Ad is the first entry under "fear."

    Photo by Robin Holland

    Published June 29, 2007

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