CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Dukakis and his 1988 campaign as the Democratic nominee for president may not be remembered well by the public. But among fellow Democrats, the former governor of Massachusetts (1974-78, 1982-90) remains a popular and even beloved figure.
Making his way to his seat on the convention floor — where he is a delegate from the Bay State — the “Duke” was repeatedly mobbed by autograph seekers and old political friends. He did take a moment to chat with Human Events on the coming campaign. Asked what he wanted Obama to say in his acceptance speech, the 78-year-old Dukakis said without hesitation: “What I want him to do is go after Romney. He needs to remind the voters that under Romney, Massachusetts is fourth from the bottom among the states in job creation. I know Romney, all right.”
“He can make the case for his re-election by letting people know who Romney is and he’s the worst person to have in charge of the economy.”
After emerging from the ’88 Democratic National Convention with a lead of 17 percentage points over Republican George H.W. Bush, Dukakis saw his margin dwindle and eventually lost in a landslide to then-Vice President Bush. Two years after losing the presidency, Dukakis chose not to run for governor again amid a major business slump and bad economic times in his homestate.
When this reporter reminded him that the first Democratic convention he covered was that which nominated Dukakis in Atlanta 24 years ago, the former nominee smiled and said: “Yeah, I peaked in Atlanta.”