Peter Hannaford, RIP

Peter Hannaford, a longtime friend of Human Events, passed away on September 5.

Peter Hannaford was the quintessential gentleman, courteous, personable and self-effacing – but he was also a tough, principled conservative.

He was a key member of Ronald Reagan’s inner circle from 1974 to 1981, the years when Reagan made his first and second runs for President, coordinating Reagan’s speech writing, newspaper columns and radio broadcasts.

Pete was also at Reagan’s side for many key moments during this period including the climactic debate with George Bush in the New Hampshire primary campaign and Reagan’s decision to replace his campaign manager on the day of the 1980 New Hampshire primary (Pete made the announcement and handled questions during the frenzied press conference.)

He was the main drafter of Reagan’s acceptance speech at the GOP conversation in Detroit in 1980 and the first advisor to urge Reagan to end negotiations with Gerald Ford about being his running mate (a gambit that would have lost the election for Reagan if consummated) and to call George H.W. Bush.

Like a host of others, I was a recipient of Peter’s Kindness, and a beneficiary of his help. I was executive director of the American Conservative Union in 1976 when ACU spend more than $250,000 on an independent effort supporting Ragan’s presidential campaign in key states such as North Carolina, Texas and Indian. The effort seriously depleted ACU’s coffers. Following the primaries we sent a request to Reagan asking him to sign a fundrasing letter for ACU. Some of the Reagan high command objected. Pete interceded for ACU and got the much needed letter approved.

In 1980 I wrote a book title The Conservative Decade: Emerging Leaders of the 1980s. Again Peter interceded a got the former governor – soon to be elected president- to provide a foreword for the book.

I’m just one of hundreds of people with similar stories of Pete’s friendship and kindness. RIP Peter Hannaford, an unsung hero of the Conservative moment.