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July 17, 1980: Former President Ford, former California Gov. Ronald Reagan and Ambassador George H.W. Bush on the last evening of the 1980 Republican National Convention.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, right, arrives at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for the Republican National Convention. Other members of the California delegration included Fred Nagel, playing the clarinet, of Susanville, and Margie Handley, left, of Willits. This photo was published in the July 13, 1980, Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Members of the California delegration wear cowboy hats during opening session of the convention. This image was published in The Times on July 15, 1980,

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

Eleanor Smeal, president of the National Organization for Women, addresses a rally for the Equal Rights Amendment rally in Detroit's Kennedy Square. The GOP's 1980 platform, for the first time in 40 years, did not support the amendment. This photo was published in The Times on July 15, 1980.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times

Iowa alternate delegate Donna Hammitt sports a pachyderm hat at the convention. This photo was published in The Times on July 16, 1980,

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Alabama delegate J.D. Juffskie, wears an 18-inch pachydermt. This photo was published in The Times on July 16, 1980.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

A view of Joe Lewis Arena during the second evening of the convention.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

An unidentified photographer covering the convention has some fun holding photo of Ronald Reagan over his face. This photo was published in The Times on July 16, 1980.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Delegates Dr. Tirso del Junco, left, of Los Angeles, and Rudy Tacoronte of Las Vegas embrace at Joe Louis Arena. Del Junco was California's GOP vice chairman. This photo was published in the Times on July 16, 1980.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Associated Press

Reagan supporters demonstrate at the convention. This photo was taken with a Widelux 35-millimeter panorama camera.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times

An overall view of a morning press conference with Bush and Reagan after the announcement of Bush as Reagan's running mate.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times

July 17, 1980: From left: Barbara Bush, George Bush, Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan at morning press conference after announcement of Bush as Reagan's running mate.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Tony Barnard / Los Angeles Times

Bush and Reagan meet to discuss campaign strategy on the last day of the convention..

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

Reagan, Bush and their wives, Nancy and Barbara, are cheered by delegates during closing session. This photo was published on Page 1 of The Times on July 18, 1980.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

Reagan and Bush celebrate..

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Joe Kennedy / Los Angeles Times

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1980 Republican National Convention

On July 14, 1980, the Republican National Convention convened at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena. Former Gov. Ronald Reagen of California was nominated for president and former congressman George H.W. Bush of Texas for vice president.

During the convention, the possibility of former President Ford being nominated for vice president was discussed by Ford and Reagan. Times Political Writer Richard Bergholz’s story explained:

DETROIT––It was a unique, historic idea––a former President serving as vice president.

“A helluva lot of people, including me, thought Reagan-Ford would have been a dream ticket,” rhapsodized Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada, himself a vice presidential contender.

Former President Gerald R. Ford would have become a “deputy president,” a “super-director” of the office of the President.

Ronald Reagan would set policy and Ford would help to see that it was carried out. The set-up would be like the chairman of the board of a giant corporation (Reagan) with a chief executive officer (Ford).

Reagan thought the concept was worth exploring. Ford reluctantly agreed to talk about it.

In the talks, according to a source, Ford sent word that he wanted former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former White House economic adviser Alan Greenspan installed in a Reagan administration. Others said the request was never made.

Whatever happened, Reagan was not thrilled with the idea of giving up some long-coveted presidential powers just to get a running mate. And Ford, who had been No. 2 to former President Nixon, had no desire to be just another “ceremonial figurehead” vice president. He wanted some clout.

In the end, the Reagan-Ford ticket failed to fly.

After discussions ended, Reagan selected Bush for his running mate.

In a landslide, the Reagan-Bush ticket won the 1980 presidential election, beating President Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale.

Two Los Angeles Times photographers, Joe Kennedy and Tony Barnard, covered the convention. Film was exposed, developed and prints made. The prints were transmitted back to the Times using portable analog transmitters – the same as used by the wire services. Each transmission took about eight minutes. Many of the images in this photo gallery were scanned from the original prints transmitted from Detroit.

3 Comments

  1. August 28, 2012, 6:10 pm

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    By: qssdd
  2. August 28, 2012, 6:15 pm

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    By: rzqr@ho.fr
  3. August 28, 2012, 7:24 pm

    Three great ones look like they're already celebrating the upcoming GOP landslide. Ford brought healing to the nation after Nixon's departure, Reagan brought back confidence and hope. Bush ended the Cold War with the U.S. victorious.

    By: rafaelc@racen.com

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