The Republican National Convention


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1980Detroit put on a grand old party when it hosted the Republican National Convention 30 years ago this month. From July 14 until July 17, 1980, Joe Louis Arena was packed with party loyalists, including such celebrities as Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Delegates nominated Ronald Reagan for president and George Herbert Walker Bush as vice president. Here, Reagan and future First Lady Nancy bask in the crowd’s adulation. The convention had its dramatic moments because of the mystery surrounding the vice-presidential selection, which Reagan didn’t announce until the convention’s final day. Former President Gerald Ford was entertaining the possibility of accepting the number-two position, but he had certain stipulations about whom he wanted in cabinet posts. Disappointed, Reagan settled on Bush, who learned of his selection late in the evening of July 16. Bush was in his suite at the Hotel Pontchartrain when Reagan called him with the good news. (Reagan was staying at what was then the Westin Hotel in the Renaissance Center.) In his acceptance speech, Reagan thanked Detroit for its “warm hospitality.” The Reagan-Bush ticket went on to trounce incumbent President Jimmy Carter in November, with independent John Anderson placing a distant third. Reagan and Bush were re-elected in 1984, and Bush himself became president in 1988.

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