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Ford was talking about the turmoil surrounding his being sworn into office in the wake of the President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974—Wenske was making reference to this year's bruising election season, rife with political skulduggery
Most of the speakers at the Oct. 28 conference said they have never witnessed anything quite like the Clinton-Trump debacle, but the audience was reminded America's political history has been full of nastiness. The first speaker of the day, Dr. Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, shared some particularly vitriolic examples:
- "John Adams has a hideous hermaphroditical character," wrote the Richmond Examiner in 1800.
- "Thomas Jefferson is a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow and the son of a half-breed Indian squaw," wrote the Connecticut Current in 1800.
- "Andrew Jackson is an ignorant dumb ass," wrote the Daily National Journal in 1828.
- "Abraham Lincoln is fungus from the corrupt womb of bigotry," wrote a Wisconsin newspaper editor in 1864.
- Courtesy Riverwood Strategies
- Todd Cranney, a managing partner of Riverwood Strategies, was the deputy political director of Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.
Later, a moderator asked Todd Cranney, who served as deputy political director of Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, what kind of political advice he would offer the Donald Trump campaign. Cranney didn't hesitate.
"I would run. Next question," said Cranney.
"I would run. Next question."