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Presidential Politics from Hoover to Bush

Posted on September 27, 2004

An incumbent Republican... a struggling economy... a campaign filled with personal attacks: 2004 or 1932? There are similarities to the two races for the White House, but backers of President Bush are hoping history does not repeat itself.

In 1932, Herbert Hoover, the Republican incumbent lost in a landslide to Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the Great Depression, Hoover's reputation took a nose dive. He had achieved herculean status after World War I but now had become, in the minds of many voters, the cause of the country's continuing economic misery.

George Nash, author of the definitive biography on Hoover, will offer insights on Hoover's failed reelection bid. The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum are hosting Nash, whose three-volume Life of Herbert Hoover was commissioned by the Hoover Presidential Library Association.

"No one knows better than George Nash what Hoover faced during the 1932 election campaign," said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley. His stories and insights show uncanny parallels to the current presidential contest between Bush and Kerry."

Nash's lecture, Lessons from a Defeated Candidate, will be Tuesday, September 28, 2004 8 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.

Dr. Nash has lectured and written extensively on 20th-century American political and intellectual history. His books include The Conservative Intellectural Movement in American since 1945. His articles and reviews have appeared in National Review, Policy Review and the New York Times Book Review.

Seating for the lecture is limited. Call Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at (616) 331-2770 to reserve a seat. For more information on this or other Hauenstein Center events, please visit

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