Boogie Man played at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions of 2008. After its 40-city US theatrical run, it aired on television around the world. A Critic’s Pick in the New York Times and Washington Post, this film has been hailed as one of the top political documentaries ever made. Here’s the cast, in order of appearance, with selected quotes:

Tucker Eskew – former Atwater aide, Senior Advisor, McCain Campaign 2008

“Can you understand American politics if you don’t understand Lee Atwater? I believe not.”

“Lee had a kind of ‘We’ll show them’ strength to him that was about as wide as his backbone. Resentment became the destiny of the Republican Party.”

“Did he give his opponents ammunition to criticize him for negative tactics? Yes. Does that obscure the fact that he outfoxed them at nearly every turn?”

“Race is a powder keg…Lee got close to that powder keg and was setting off sparks nearby.”

Howard  Fineman – Senior Political Writer, Newsweek:

“Lee was an attractive figure to cover, because he could wink and nod with the reporters, saying ‘We all know what a phony deal this is, right?’ By saying it’s all wrestling, he used his own cynicism to anesthetize people to what was really going on.”

Joe Conason – Journalist, Salon.com, The Nation:

“Atwater perceived, long before anyone else in American politics did, that the biggest threat to Bush was a guy from Arkansas named Bill Clinton. The idea was to dirty up Clinton, to do enough damage to him that he would simply be too damaged to run for President. Distract and divert. Atwater started transforming politics into a series of tabloid moments in a way that was incredibly powerful for the Republicans.”

Joe Sligh – Lifelong friend & bandmate

Jim McCabe – Lifelong friend

Eric Alterman – Journalist, Professor:

“Race is poison, but it’s poison that works for their side.  People vote their fears and not their hopes, and Lee understood that.”

Christopher Stark – Chairman, NJ College Republicans

Henry Eichel – Columnist, NC Observer

Chuck Jackson – R&B recording artist, Atwater friend

Tom Turnipseed – SC State Senator 1974 -1978, Atwater opponent

Lee Bandy – Political Journalist, The State, SC

Jack Bass, PhD – Political Science Professor, College of Charleston

Sam Donaldson – White House Correspondent 1977-1988:

“An operative never comes and says ‘here is a story I’d like you to run for me, but just in private conversation, did you know this about so and so, we’re still checking it mind you, but, but it’s probably going to turn out to be true.’ Well, you don’t want to be beaten by your competition and wait until they announce it. They put it on the conveyer belt and you just run it out.”

Ed Rollins – CNN Commentator, Campaign Manager, Reagan 1984:

“Bush could eat the pork rinds but he was a Yalie and an elite and he may have lived in Texas, but people still thought of him from Connecticut. Lee was the one who understood the country.”

Roger Stone – Republican Political Operative/Atwater colleague

Robert Novak – TV Host, Columnist:

“He tried to get me to write about Governor Dukakis having psychiatric problems but it really was a slander. He thought my weakness was that if I could get an exclusive story, I would jump at it, bite at it and not be as careful as I should be. That may be true, but I was careful enough not to get involved in that one.”

Terry McAuliffe – DNC Chairman 2001-2005:

“When Bill Clinton got elected President, and you had wackos out there funding all these crazy projects, it all started with Lee Atwater. The first independent council said there was nothing there – to think they paid Ken Starr and his perverted investigations $70 million of taxpayers’ money? These folks believe you win at all cost.”

Mary Matalin – Atwater Aide 1988:

“They had to kill the messenger because they couldn’t kill the message. They had to turn him into the Boogie Man. Satan incarnate.”

Rich Peterson – Lifelong Atwater friend, RNC Staff, 1989-1990

Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis – Democratic Presidential Nominee 1988:

“If I had beaten the old man, maybe you would’ve never heard of the kid. So maybe it’s all my fault.”

Ishmael Reed – Novelist/Media critic/journalist, The Nation

Kitty Dukakis – Wife of Govornor Michael Dukakis

Tom DeLay – House Majority leader, 2003 – 2006:

“They did what they normally do with somebody who stands up and fights for what he believes in, and that is try and destroy him personally, but it didn’t bother [Atwater] a bit. He just kept on going.”

Lee Atwater – legendary political operative, GOP Chairman

Ronald Reagan – President:

“I’m not going to pick on an invalid.” (referring to Mike Dukakis)

Bryant Gumbel – Host, Today Show:

“Lee, one network called you the architect of the evil campaign. You are proud this morning of the achievement. Are you as proud of the tactics?”

George H.W. Bush – President:

“He couldn’t teach me rhythm, but he taught the Democrats to sing the blues, and I believe they’re just starting.”

George W. Bush – operative, Bush ’88 campaign:

“Let’s kick some of Mike Dukakis, and kick it hard!”

Strom Thurmond – U.S. Senator, NC

Dan Rather – Anchorman, CBS News

Karl Rove – 1973 Candidate for Chairman, College Republicans:

“Lee Atwater was part myth, part showman, and part political mastermind. He was one of the  most unique people I’ve ever met in my life.”

Dick Cheney – U.S. Congressman, WY

Ann Richards – Governor, TX

Ted Kennedy – U.S. Senator, Massachusetts

Bob Dole – ’88 Presidential Candidate:

“I don’t comment on Atwater.”

Mario Cuomo – Governor, NY:

“Dukakis wins big everywhere. Not only will he win, he is going to win in a landslide. I think he will win in every part of this country.”

Marvin Bush – operative, Bush ’88 campaign

Jim Baker – Secretary of State:

“He referred to himself as Machiavellian, and he was. In the very best sense of that term.”