I was pretty curious about meeting former Dem nominee Mike Dukakis. After having suffered Lee Atwater’s relentless attacks in ’88 (and utterly failing to respond in time), he was hit with one of the worst mixtures of ridicule and obscurity the Dem party ever gave a losing candidate.

How had The Duke weathered the storm? Would he be defensive about Lee Atwater, Willie Horton, the Tank Ride, and other painful memories?

Dukakis watches Atwater calling him a hypocrite

We’d found incredible historical footage, much of it never before seen. I had a clip of Lee holding forth to an admiring gaggle of reporters, calling Dukakis “a hypocrite” and ridiculing him as “out-of-touch…one of those double-dipped frostbelt Kennedy liberals.” I planned to show it to the Governor on-camera, for the first time. How would he respond?

Dukakis had never met Lee face-to-face. Now, in a way, he would.

I’ve got to admit, I was a little tense. Would he be upset with me for confronting him with this footage? Would he have a strong comeback for Lee? Would we capture an incredible moment, creating a dialogue with history?

I pressed ‘play’. Out came the ghost of Lee Atwater that had haunted the Democrats for so long…

Posted: May 20, 2008 Comments Off