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When an ex-president helped an ‘extreme’ Republican candidate

Barry Goldwater in 1967. The Arizona senator was

Barry Goldwater in 1967. The Arizona senator was the Republican nominee for president in 1964, when former President Dwight Eisenhower filmed a commercial with him. Photo Credit: AP

The apparently irreparable rift between Donald Trump and the two former Presidents Bush stands in contrast to an election of yesteryear when a Republican candidate for the White House was branded by some in his party as an extremist.

In 1964, New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, a failed contender for the GOP nomination, hung that tag on Barry Goldwater. But former President Dwight Eisenhower came to Goldwater’s aid.

Eisenhower had reasons for misgivings. Goldwater had tarred his administration as “a dime-store New Deal,” saying it was continuing the liberal policies of Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt.

More broadly alarming was Goldwater’s seeming enthusiasm for nuclear weapons, evidenced by such comments as “let’s lob one into the men’s room at the Kremlin.”

Yet Eisenhower filmed a TV ad (video here) with Goldwater, rejecting characterizations of the candidate as a “warmonger.”

“In my mind, this is actual tommyrot,” Eisenhower said. Referring to their mutual military service, the World War II commander said, “No man who knows anything about war is going to be reckless about this.”

Privately, Eisenhower had once told the Arizona senator, “Barry, you speak too quick and too loud.” Goldwater, who lost the election, agreed. “There are words of mine floating around in the air that I would like to reach up and eat,” he said.

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