If any of the balloonjuice readers came here to find out just what the hell I was talking about, I was making a play on this:

Then, as now, there was a multi-candidate race among Republicans in the New Hampshire primary. Then, as now, two of them appeared to be in a tight race for the top spot, with the rest of the pack far behind in the polls. A few days before the primary, Reagan, the hero of the party’s conservative ranks, and George Bush, winner of the Iowa caucus, were scheduled to meet in a one-on-one debate sponsored by the Nashua Telegraph. When the Federal Elections Commission ruled the newspaper couldn’t sponsor the debate without including the other candidates, the Reagan campaign offered to pay for the event.

John Connolly was campaigning in South Carolina, but candidates Bob Dole, Phil Crane, Howard Baker and John Anderson showed up on stage at Nashua High School, claiming the right to participate in the event. Reagan went to the mike and began to argue for their inclusion when the moderator ruled him out of order. When Reagan continued speaking, Breen instructed Molloy to turn off the microphone.

It was total chaos,” said Molloy, with Reagan continuing to talk and people in the audience shouting their opinions of Breen’s effort to silence the former California governor. Eventually, order was restored, the other candidates left, and the two-way debate took place. But the confrontation over the microphone became the big news story.

Nobody remembered anything that was said in the debate,” said Molloy, himself included.

That’s when Reagan said “Mr. Green [sic], I am paying for this microphone.”

Oooooh, tough guy!  It reminds me of just how frightened and frustrated the tighty whities must have been for a guy like Reagan seem like the Big Daddy who was gonna beat up the bad guys for you.

Sad, really.

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