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Interview with Ralph Reed, July 15, 2011

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:19 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: I'm Bob Short and this is Reflections on Georgia Politics, sponsored by the Richard B. Russell Library at the University of Georgia and the Duckworth Library at Young Harris College.

Segment Synopsis: Interview Bob Short introduces interviewee Ralph Reed.

00:00:47 - Early life / Early interest in politics

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Partial Transcript: We'd like to talk to you, Ralph, about your career and your role in building a powerful coalition of evangelical voters in the country, but first, we'd like to find out all we can about Ralph Reed.

Segment Synopsis: Reed describes his family's frequent relocation due to his father's Naval career and comments on the formative experience of witnessing the Republican and Democratic National Conventions in Miami.

Keywords: Abraham Lincoln; Aircraft carrier; Anti-war movement; Democratic National Convention; Gulf of Tonkin Incident; Hippies; Local television; McGovern campaign; Miami Beach, Florida; Navy surgeon; Pensacola, Florida; Public library; Reading; Republican National Convention; San Diego, California; Theodore Roosevelt; U.S. Navy; USS Maddox Incident; Vietnam War

00:04:30 - Move from Miami to Georgia

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Partial Transcript: And then you moved to Georgia.

Segment Synopsis: Reed talks about the cultural differences between Miami, an international city which included large numbers of Hispanics and Jews, to North Georgia, dominated by evangelical Christians.

Keywords: Bible belt; Brown v. Board of Education; Christians; Cubans; Evangelicals; Haitians; Integration; Jamaicans; Jewish; Latin America; Multi-cultural; Nicaraguans; North Georgia mountains; Public school; Segregation; Stephens County, Georgia; Textile industry; Toccoa, Georgia

00:07:05 - Political activism on campus / Internship on Capitol Hill

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Partial Transcript: Then you came to the University.

Segment Synopsis: Reed discusses his education at the University of Georgia, where he was chapter chairman of the College Republicans, and working as an intern for Senator Mack Mattingly

Keywords: Alexandria, Virginia; Capitol Hill; College Republicans; Congressional Record; Education; Elizabeth Taylor; Gerald Ford; Graham-Latta bill; Internship; Jimmy Carter; John Warner; Mack Mattingly; Pre-law; Reagan tax cuts; Ronald Reagan; U.S. Senate; UGA; University of Georgia

00:12:44 - Work with the College Republican National Committee / Return to University

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Partial Transcript: What were your duties with the College, uh, Republican National Committee?

Segment Synopsis: Reed describes his responsibilities while working for the College Republican National Committee, where he where National Projects Director, mentioning specifically a petition to Poland to end communism, and discusses completing college at UGA.

Keywords: "Crisis of Confidence"; "Malaise speech"; "Reagan Youth"; Assassination; Catholic church; Dictatorship; Education; Field training; Graduate school; Hermann Talmadge; Jimmy Carter; Martin Luther King Jr.; Poland; Political science; Pope John Paul II; Robert F. Kennedy; Soviet Union; Stagflation; Teaching; Voter registration; Watergate; Wojciech Jaruzelski; Youth vote; Zell Miller

00:17:05 - Relationship with Zell Miller

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Partial Transcript: Well I guess it was prior to that, actually, I guess it would've been my freshman year, I interned in Zell Miller's office at the State Capitol.

Segment Synopsis: Reed speaks about interning for Miller, a democratic, and supporting--but not voting--for him in various elections.

Keywords: "Yellow dog Republican"; Georgia Republican Party; Paul Coverdell; Roy Barnes; Senate office

00:21:04 - Recruitment to Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition

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Partial Transcript: Before we leave your academic career, uh, I think that you went ahead and got your PhD...

Segment Synopsis: Reed describes how his intended career path in academia unexpectedly changed after being recruited by Robertson to join the Christian Coalition, of which Reed served as founding executive director.

Keywords: Academia; African-Americans; Atlanta, Georgia; Bancroft Prize; Dan T. Carter; DeKalb County, Georgia; Dissertation; Electorate; Emory University; George H.W. Bush; George Wallace; Jack Kemp; Jerry Falwell; Labor unions; Literature; Ministry; Moral Majority; Pat Robertson; Ph.D.; Political engagement; Ritz Carlton; Scottsboro Boys; Virginia Beach, Virginia

00:28:04 - The growth of the Christian Coalition

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Partial Transcript: So how did you go about setting up this organization?

Segment Synopsis: Reed describes the recruitment and fundraising work of the Christian Coalition, which grew from approximately 250,000 members to more than a million following Clinton's inauguration, and indicates that the Coalition did not wish to be seen as a third political party.

Keywords: Activism; Anti-Saloon Party; Anti-slave parties; Bill Clinton; Bull Moose Party; Clarion call; Constituency; Direct mail; Donors; Fundraising; Israel; James Robison; Parliamentary system; Pastor; Political agenda; Populist; Preacher; Progressive; Robert M. La Follette Sr.; Robertson For President; Scopes trial; Theodore Roosevelt; William Jennings Bryan; Woodrow Wilson

00:34:14 - The Christian Coalition and the Tea Party

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Partial Transcript: So the Christian Coalition was based on social conservatism; the Tea Party, the present Tea Party, uh, seems to me to be primarily based on revolt.

Segment Synopsis: Reed defines the Christian Coalition as a social conservative movement and the Tea Party as primarily concerned with government overreach, but indicates that there is much overlap in the beliefs of the members of both.

Keywords: Actuarial; Alan Greenspan; American dream; Debt; Faith adn Freedom Coalition; Federal deficit; Fiscal responsibility; Freedom; Government overreach; Greece; Independent; Libertarian; Liberty; Life expectancy; Medicare; Portugal; Pro-family movement; Retirees; Retirement; Revolt; Ross Perot; Social Security; Social conservative; Social welfare state; Spain

00:40:41 - Work with the Faith and Freedom Coalition

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Partial Transcript: Tell us about your new endeavor.

Segment Synopsis: Reed discusses his role as founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which he describes as encompassing a broader platform that fuses beliefs of the Christian Coalition and the Tea Party.

Keywords: Allies; Bible; Citizens; Fiscal responsibility; GE; General Electric; Homeland security; IBM; Job creation; Judeo-Christian; Limited government; Main Street; Money management; National defense; Poverty; Scripture; Small business; Terrorism; The poor; Wall Street

00:44:24 - Activities with various presidential campaigns / Florida Recount

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Partial Transcript: You've been a strategists for several presidents; tell us about some of that.

Segment Synopsis: Reed speaks about his work for several Republican presidential campaigns, beginning with Reagan, whom he supported via the College Republicans, and for both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and recollects the chaos surrounding the Florida recount in the 2004 election.

Keywords: Advisory Commission; Al Gore; Arlington, Texas; Austin, Texas; Benjamin L. Ginsberg; CNN; Charles R. Black Jr.; Deputy counsel; Gubernatorial campaign; Jim Baker; Karl Rove; Lee Atwater; Mary Matalin; Michael Gerson; Phone-in poll; Polling; Robert Teeter; Stephen F. Austin Hotel; Texas Rangers

00:51:34 - Career as an author of non-fiction and fiction books

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Partial Transcript: That's great; I know you're in a hurry, but have you got time to tell us about your books?

Segment Synopsis: Reed describes his nonfiction texts POLITICALLY INCORRECT and ACTIVE FAITH and his political thriller DARK HORSE.

Keywords: Church; Constitutional amendment; Crime; Democratic society; Drugs; Free society; Home; Mainstream view; Nicodemus; Prohibition; Ratification; Safety; School; Social consensus; Social reform movement; Underclass

00:58:35 - Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: It's been a great pleasure having you, Ralph.

Segment Synopsis: Reed concludes the interview.