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Shakespeare, a soft-spoken, mild-mannered man, transformed himself into a raging bully. Finally a Secret Service man recognised him and figured he would do him a favor by letting him in. By that action, Shakespeare made it to the rostrum just in time, and we were not treated to the first acceptance speech in history ad-libbed by a seething candidate.
At one-thirty Dwight Chapin called; 'Did I wake you up?' I said no, the phone was ringing, and he said 'Can you come up here? The Boss wants to talk to somebody and nobody's around... He's too "up" to sleep- can you sit around with him until he runs out of gas?'
You know why we needed Agnew. I gave a lot of thought to Lindsay- surprised?- but what the hell, he'd cut you up. Big gains up North, but Lindsay would lose us Florida, Texas, Kentucky, the Carolinas, Tennessee. Hatfield?- light. Percy?- Boy Scout. Baker?- too new. Agnew's a tough shrewd Greek. We've got to figure out a way to sell him. He can't give a speech worth a damn, but he's not going to fall apart.
"Agnew wears well?"
That's it. He wears well. He wears well. Get him on press conferences, panel shows, talking about the cities, answering questions, but no set speeches. He's no speechmaker.
Nixon thought it would be a good idea to send a small delegation to the Democratic Convention, to take up a public "listening post" in the Conrad Hilton Hotel and put out statements shooting down the most outrageous Democratic claims or allegations. We had a difficult time getting big-name "surrogates", as they later came to be called, to be our spokesmen in the lonely Republican outpost in the midst of the maelstrom of the Democrats' '68 Convention, but finally the Governor of Colorado John Love- who always seemed to be the chairman of some Governors' Conference- agreed to come. He was teamed up with Don Rumsfeld, a dynamic young Congressman, and given "support" by Buchanan, Bill Timmons, and me.
Pat and I wandered into the Conrad Hilton lobby and were smitten by the stink bombs deposited there by demonstrators who wanted to inflict a degree of discomfort on delegates. I went out to the airport that afternoon to meet our star surrogate and brought him back through a chanting, laughing, snarling mob scene in the lobby; there were signs there that said "Make Love Not War". Governor Love waved gaily at the sign holders and thanked me for being such a good advance man...
...the noise of the guests trooping though our suite. The local Republicans had provided a pair of long-legged twins as secretary-hostesses who were more of an attraction than Governor Love or Cngressman Rumsfeld...
After Humphrey was nominated, we of the GOP's Poker Flat put out a statement. "The spectacle of Mayor Daley shouting "go on home" at Senator Ribicoff is a sure illustration of the fact that a party which cannot unite itself cannot unite the nation." (That wasn't really what Daley had profanely shouted, but it would do) Pat and I went into Grant Park at twilight and had a good whiff of tear gas, our first such experience, and came back to the suite to find pandemonium- the idea of a band of Nixonites with a good view of the park being at the Democratic headquarters hotel intrigued a lot of reporters. Prizefighter Jose Torres and novelist Norman Mailer were hanging out the window looking at the skull-cracking below. Pat Buchanan looked out as well, saw a police charge and the beatings of young demonstrators and murmured "Jesus, we better watch what we say about law and order." As the horror of that convention was displayed on television, the word came to us from Key Biscayne to sit tight and do nothing- anything we could say would detract from the way the Democrat party was tearing itself apart.
"Did you write that?" Nixon asked me about Humphrey's speech. "No, thanks, nothing I ever wrote ran fifty minutes." "He could have gone through that in forty minutes, you know," Nixon said. "He let it drag. Hubert doesn't know how to talk to that tube."