Reporter’s Foray Into National Politics
February 18, 2016
that Brian Raymond, an Atwater city councilman, and Andy
Krotik, a local Realtor, went back to Ohio and met with
another friend, Atwater-native Paul Caton, to get involved
in the presidential race reminds us of the time we went
to the National Convention.
Ronald Reagan was running for office and the convention
was being held in Kansas City. We had no money and we had
a family to feed, so we did not believe we could afford
to attend, however, someone offered their van for the trip
if we could cover all the other expenses.
Without a solid plan on how we could attend the big convention,
we applied for reporting and photographing credentials.
When the day arrived, we found ourself heading east, sleeping
in the van at night, and driving to Kansas City during the
day. We never tired of eating bologna sandwiches in those
days, and we didn’t even drink beer to cut down on
the food bill.
We forget what the price of gas was in those days, maybe
$1 a gallon. We brought our guitar for entertainment, and
our tennis racket for exercise, and we were good to go.
When we arrived in Kansas City we needed a place to stay
and we parked the van on the top floor of the convention
center. Now try that today and see how long the security
police will allow you to stay in your van.
We spent the entire convention sleeping in our van, no one
seemed to take second notice.
Now in the convention itself, our credentials passed muster.
The Times was a small weekly newspaper so they could not
discriminate. Why shouldn’t our readers have a first
We were fortunate to be issued a photographer pass, because
as a writer the security police would not allow us on the
main floor. However as a photographer, we had full run of
the entire convention.
The television boys took up most of the prime space, right
in front of the stage. That meant if one wanted to get a
close-up picture of the candidates, he or she had to find
After the first day at the convention we were exhausted
and went straight to bed early, however, the second day
we were looking for some conversation and went to a local
bar where most of the press members hung out.
Everybody seemed to be having trouble getting up close shots
of the candidates. The next day the field of candidates
was being narrowed down, and I still didn’t have a
picture of Barry Goldwater.
He was scheduled to be on the speaker stand at 11 a.m. the
next morning. It might be my last chance, I thought at the
All the candidates used a tunnel to get to the speaker stand
and there were a lot of press waiting for Goldwater just
before 11 a.m.
We were outnumbered once again by the T.V. guys, and as
Goldwater came down the tunnel, the secret service was making
way for him pushing all the press aside.
There was a ladder leaning against the wall of the tunnel
that must have been used by a worker. We grabbed the ladder
and stuck it right under a light fixture in the center of
the tunnel. Then we climbed the ladder and looked like we
were changing the light bulb.
The secret service passed right by, followed by Goldwater,
but not before we pulled out our camera, and got our one
When the flash went off the secret service grabbed the ladder,
and sent us flying, but we had our picture, and that was
We flashed our press pass and one agent pushed us out of
Goldwater and all the other candidates were featured in
the Times the following week.