My name is Andrew. I’m a political junky and undercover media operative for three Republican presidents.
It all started with Ronald Reagan in 1975.
A radio salesman offered my ad agency exclusive sponsorship of “Ronald Reagan’s American Viewpoint,” a syndicated commentary feature.
I knew that the recently retired California governor could sell some mobile homes and recommended it to a client who promptly wallpapered the region with billboards.
Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., later hosted a Reagan dinner at Harrah’s. My client bought a table and ordered billboards circling the hotel.
After Reagan spoke, everyone had the opportunity to meet the future president. Reagan’s speech was well-presented Pablum that gave me indigestion. I just went home. My billboards made Newsweek.
In 1987, one of my clients had tickets to see Vice-President George HW Bush at Reno High. As I stood in line, two wire service reporters walked by. I asked if they had seen that morning’s Wall Street Journal. I informed them that the pre-Murdoch bible of conservatism had trashed Bush the Elder on the front page for his cliché-filled campaign speeches.
The next day, the Reno Gazette-Journal and newspapers nationwide all led with stories about presidential hopeful Bush’s stale canned remarks.
Once again, I had engineered a major media coup for a Republican president. One would think my reputation would precede me when it came time for Obama and Hillary to campaign in these parts. Perhaps it did. I was never invited to any event for Obama. Hillary Clinton went one better and disinvited me from a face-to-face in 2016.
Maybe she had seen my “Democrats for Trump” lampoon in this and other papers. Alas, the lady apparently has no sense of humor, not even after I cheekily predicted the identity of Trump’s running mate: Jennifer Lopez, based on her most prominent qualification.
I missed Jimmy Carter at Park Lane Mall in early 1976 but got a second chance when he came to Carson to campaign for his son, Jack, a 2006 candidate for U.S. Senate. Jimmy and Rosalyn showed up on the capitol grounds in Carson City but the ex-prez said nary a word to the expectant crowd. I treated him as I had treated Reagan three decades before and left.
I’ve scored major media for three Republican presidents and never got a word of thanks. Despite my impressive track record, Democrats proved worse.
Save one. Sen. Bernie Sanders was afraid of neither the Barbwire nor the mighty Tribune. I interviewed the great man thrice. He even autographed his Rolling Stone cover for me.
So now you know the checkered past of Nevada’s Undercover Republican Presidential PR Man. (Links documenting this sordid story may be accessed via Barbwire.US/)
Mr. President, call me when you hit town today. I have a long past due invoice to present.
AWAKE FOR JAKE. Appreciation and adios for late UNR journalism legend and Tribune columnist Jake Highton will appropriately happen on Labor Day weekend; 3 p.m. Saturday, September 2 in the UNR library rotunda. (Bureaucrats call it a “knowledge center.”)
Better there than that firetrap theater atop of the student union. (Barbwire 12 Dec. 2013)
Be well. Raise hell. / Esté bien. Haga Infierno. (Pardon my Spanglish.)
Andrew Barbano is a 48-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.