Ellis honored...I did an interesting story on Tom Ellis today. He was Jesse Helms' chief strategist and is widely regarded as the savior of Ronald Reagon's political career.
In 76', Reagon lost five straight primaries to President Gerald Ford. As he was about to pack up and head home for California and go back to acting perhaps, Ellis believed Reagan could win in North Carolina.
He asked the campaign to air a 30 minute speech of Reagan's on tv in North Carolina to lure in voters.
"Reagan's campaign that was run out of Washington did not want us to use it and Jesse Helms, I told him we couldn't get the film and he said I'll get you a film and he called Nancy Reagan and Nancy Reagan sent us that film and we ran it the last three weeks of that campaign," Ellis said.
Reagan won the North Carolina primary. He lost the overall primary election to Ford but it revived him and his supporters to help win the 1980 election.
As for today's conservative movement?
"I'm a little disappointed. I feel like we've lost the wind in our sail. We've tried to go over and get some of the Democratic issues. That never works," Ellis said.
Hillsdale College in Michigan is awarding Ellis tonight with the Freedom Leadership Award. He's getting the award right here in Raleigh.
Past recipients include Margaret Thatcher, Charlton Heston, and Clarence Thomas.