Home > Public Service and Politics > Richard Nixon's 1968 Campaign Visit
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, May 28, 1968
OLYMPIA -- If Hollywood's Western movie producers had taken a hand in yesterday's meeting between Richard M. Nixon and Daniel J. Evans, the script might have turned out this way:
The well-tanned Stranger came to the Land of the Big Zero — that's local Injun talk for Olympia — and was met by Straight Arrow, the Friendly Sheriff of the Washington Territory.
The Stranger is the Big Stakes Player from New York by way of the Blue Sky Country of California and he's interested in taking over the Big Game downtown at the "24-Delegates Saloon."
THE SHERIFF played it real cool and gave the Stranger the ground rules and then sat back to watch the game. (The Sheriff wants to play a hand at the Great Miami Roundup on his own and besides, other "strangers" may be coming up to the North Forty so it isn't wise to go partners just yet.)
They substituted an airplane for the stage coach at the arrival scene, and despite the rains and. a late arrival, the business went off as expected. The Stranger made a speech about how he was here to save the other players from a fate worse than a weekend at the Big White House Ranch under present management. A three-piece band from Tumwater played hard and loud and 400 of the local folks clapped and yelled all the while.
EVERYONE WAS on his best behavior—the thoughtful adults, the happy teenagers, and even the soggy deputies. The mist didn't curl any of the welcome signs, but the sound system was obviously coming down with a cold or a short circuit.
The Stranger brought his bride along and turned her over to the Sheriff's little woman for safe-keeping. This being a Big Stakes action, nobody had too much of a mind for the ladies, anyway.
This jamboree attracted "road agents" from some of the other spreads. Lurking in the crowd were the Big Bounty Hunters from the Bar-RFK along with the Rockefeller Boys from the Lazy-R; Gene's Mavericks from the Running-M: the ridge-riders from the Triple H and The Rifleman from Death Valley.
BUT NOBODY showed up from the Broken Heart-LBJ.
The Stranger carried off his role well (they say he missed an Oscar in 1960 by a Cook County Whisker) and after eight years of circuit-riding, he has acquired a new confidence which explains why so many old hands have already tied a rope to his saddle-horn.
Later the Stranger rode up to the Capitol, where the Sheriff has his stable, and led a town hall meeting of sorts, although most of the questions were asked by that Eastern Crowd from the Circle-Press, who have a reputation for rustling and worse.
THE "STRAW BOSS" for the Stranger's interests is a cowpoke by the handle of Gordy "Eagle Hold" Clinton, and he sat in on tha game like he could read the backsides of all the cards.
The Stranger seemed more mellow than when he visited these parts before. He has acquired a sense of humor which almost belies the importance of the stakes he's playing for.
But he doesn't mince words with the fence-riders:
"I didn't come here to rope sage brush," and everyone admits he has a pretty mean lasso.
Privately he warned the cowpokes who weren't sitting in that they could wind up riding for the absentee Double R Gang (that's the slow-draw Rocky and Ronnie outfit) and that could be just like heading for the Last Roundup.
THE BIG ACTION yesterday was played behind closed doors at the Tyee Spread, and no one's really positive about how the Stranger made out. But judging from the smile on his face as he left the hall, it figures he's still riding fast on the trail to the Top of the Ridge.
But, like the Stranger, himself, says, "It is a long, long road."
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