Listen to Episode 21 of Whistlestop:
Slate Plus members: Get your ad-free podcast feed.
Halfway through 1988, public opinion polls showed George H. W. Bush 16 points behind Michael Dukakis in their race for the presidency. Five months later, Bush was the president-elect, having won the election in 40 states.
The Bush team’s relentless use of opposition research was at the center of its successful campaign, but his opponent didn’t do himself any favors along the way. In this episode of Whistlestop, John Dickerson remembers the campaign that brought us Willie Horton, Dukakis in a tank turret, and the birth of the modern “spin doctor.”
Whistlestop is sponsored by The Great Courses, now offering the lecture series The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas. Order from eight of their best-selling courses at up to 80 percent off the original price by visiting thegreatcourses.com/whistlestop.
Love Slate podcasts? Listen longer with Slate Plus! Members get bonus segments, ad-free versions, exclusive podcasts, and more. Start your two-week free trial at slate.com/podcastplus.
Please let us know what you think of Whistlestop. Our email is: email@example.com.
Podcast production by Tony Field.