Seeing Spots: A Functional Analysis of Presidential Television Advertisements, 1952-1996

By William L. Benoit | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Republicans in Control:
1984, 1988

Reagan and Bush were nominated by the Republican Party to run again in 1984. Walter Mondale, who had served as vice president with Jimmy Carter (and who lost the bid for re-election in 1980), was nominated as the Democratic candidate for president in 1984. The Democrats selected Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as the first woman nominee for vice president.

President Reagan ran on his first-term record in the 1984 campaign. One theme played out in several spots was that it was Morning in America--Reagan's accomplishments were revitalizing and renewing the economy and restoring hope to the United States:

It's morning again in America. Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history. With interest rates and inflation down, more people are buying new homes, and our new families can have confidence in the future. America today is prouder, and stronger, and better. Why would we want to return to where we were less than four short years ago? [ President Reagan: Leadership That's Working]. (Reagan, 1984, Morning in America)

He also repeatedly associated Mondale with his former running mate, Jimmy Carter, and reminded voters of the woes of 1976. Besides comparing the Reagan record to the Carter record of four years earlier, Reagan also contrasted his approach with that of Mondale:

Reagan: The American people have a very clear choice this year about their economic future. And it's a very simple choice between our opponents' old policies and our new policies. When you hear their prescription for the economy--higher

-85-

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