Upon the death of former President George H.W. Bush, you might be interested to know he took part in a Republican presidential candidate event in Wellesley back in 1980 at Dana Hall School’s Bardwell Auditorium just days before the Massachusetts Republican Presidential Primary.
Bush, then known more as the ex-CIA chief, was among those participating in what the Wellesley Townsman at the time referred to as “an open house extravaganza as big as the G.O.P. elephant itself.” Other candidates at the event included Ronald Reagan, John Anderson, Harold Stassen, and Phillip Crane. A couple days later, in the March 4 primary, Wellesley voters showed Bush some love — he garnered 41% of the vote, with eventual Republican nominee and President Reagan getting just 19%.
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The Townsman wrote that 1,200 people jammed into the auditorium for the Wellesley Republican Town Committee-sponsored event, and that 600 or so were turned away. During his talk at the event, Bush said he wasn’t in favor a gasoline tax, was in favor of safe nuclear energy, and touched on foreign policy.
Wellesley’s Beth Hinchliffe, a former speechwriter for President Bush, said of his death: “It’s a sad day, I have many fond memories. He was such a good man, and reminded me so much of my dad [Robert Hinchliffe]. The two of them were so similar — kind gentlemen with truly good hearts and their own unshakable moral north stars. Both WWII heroes, born a year apart, and they both died this year, less than five months apart.
First Lady Barbara Bush also visited Wellesley. Mrs. Bush made a celebrated speech at Wellesley College in 1990 that has been turned into a book.
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