Bob Dole officially accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the GOP convention held in San Diego on August 15, 1996, 25 years ago today. Jack Kemp, San Diego’s quarterback in the early 1960s, was Dole’s running mate. Dole ultimately lost to President Clinton.
The 1996 Republican National Convention was touted by civic cheerleaders as the type of mega-event that would raise the city’s profile and send millions of dollars into the local economy.
The convention succeeded in triggering a tourism boom that year and raising the city’s image on the world stage. At the same time, the convention put further strain on the city’s finances. It was then seen as a contributing factor in the 1996 decision to underfund the city’s pension system.
Tragic news was shared on the front page of the Union-Tribune during the 1996 Congress which ended. At San Diego State University, a graduate student pulled out a handgun during an exam committee for his master’s thesis and shot and killed three engineering professors: Chen Liang, Preston Lowrey and Constantinos Lyrintzis. The student then pleaded guilty in exchange for a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Extract from the San Diego Union-Tribune, Friday August 16, 1996:
It’s a success, but will they remember it?
By John Marelius, Editor-in-Chief
When Bob Dole announced his resignation from the Senate three months ago, he stepped down from the pinnacle of power to become, in his words, “just a man.”
Last night “just a man” became “America’s most optimistic man” as Dole accepted the Republican nomination for president.
Optimism is in order.
For Dole, Republican National Convention week in San Diego was one of those rare weeks where just about everything went well.
A threatened battle over abortion has been hushed up. Pat Buchanan’s rebel brigades nodded. Jack Kemp’s surprise appointment as Dole’s vice-presidential running mate won rave reviews. The convention itself showed viewers across the country a diverse and inclusive Republican Party made up of touching speakers, women, minorities, people with disabilities, and Democrats who have switched parties.
It has been a stunning success in every way except the statistics.
The Republican convention in Houston four years ago was widely criticized, but George Bush has benefited from a steady daily increase in national public opinion polls.
This time, the polls are inconclusive. Some show that Dole cut President Clinton’s lead slightly by about 12%. Others show him losing ground. As Dole might put it in less scripted moments: up in the polls, down in the polls, whatever.
Last night Dole gave a well-crafted speech that laid out the rationale for his candidacy that was so often lacking during the election campaign – creating a bond of trust between the government and a skeptical public.
“The fundamental question is not politics, but trust – not just whether the people trust the president, but whether the president and his party trust the people, trust their kindness and their genius for recovery. . Because the government cannot lead the people, the people must lead the government.