Goldwater’s ‘Eastern Seaboard’ Comment

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Brian Beutler traced the origin of the 47 percent meme in a piece he did for us today all the way back to the Nixon-McGovern race in 1972, but Bob Mann, a former Senate aide and author who now teaches at LSU, points to what may be the closest historical parallel to Romney’s 47 percent comment.

In 1963, Barry Goldwater told the Saturday Evening Post, “Sometimes I think this country would be better off if we could just saw off the eastern seaboard and let it float out to sea.” In the 1964 race, LBJ turned that into a memorable TV ad that is remarkably similar to this week’s reaction to Romney’s 47 percent remarks.“Can a man who makes statements like this be expected to serve all the people justly and fairly?” the narrator solemnly intoned.

Mann, who has written a book about LBJ’s famous “Daisy” ad, posits, “In fact, were it not for the ‘Daisy Girl’ spot, ‘Eastern Seaboard’ might today be considered the most effective presidential attack ad.”

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David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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