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1988 Republican National Convention

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1988 Republican National Convention
1988 presidential election
Bush and Quayle
Date(s)August 15–18, 1988
CityNew Orleans, Louisiana
VenueLouisiana Superdome
Keynote speakerThomas Kean
Presidential nomineeGeorge H. W. Bush of Texas
Vice presidential nomineeDan Quayle of Indiana
‹ 1984 · 1992 ›

The 1988 Republican National Convention was held in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana, from August 15 to August 18, 1988. It was the second time that a major party held its convention in one of the five states known as the Deep South, coming on the heels of the 1988 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bush and Quayle are joined their families on stage
President and Mrs. Reagan address the 1988 Republican National Convention in the Superdome

The convention nominated Vice President George Bush for president, as expected. The second spot on the ticket was not publicly known before the convention; James Danforth "Dan" Quayle, U.S. Senator from Indiana, was selected as Bush's vice presidential running mate. The revelation of Quayle's selection as running mate did not come until the second day of the convention, when NBC News broke the story. As of 2020, it was the last time a major party's presidential candidate announced his vice presidential choice during his party's convention.

The convention featured speeches by Joe Paterno, Helen Hayes, Pat Robertson, a keynote address by New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, and the music of the Jimmy Maxwell Orchestra.

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Site selection

Republicans were seeking a host city that could provide a convention venue accommodating 17,000 and 20,000 hotel rooms.[1][2]

On January 20, 1987, the site selection committee voted 6–3 in recommending New Orleans to serve as the site of the party's 1988 presidential nominating convention. The runner-up was Kansas City.[2] Kansas City put forth Kemper Arena and the new Bartle Hall as prospective venues, with Bartle Hall seeming the more likely of the two facilities. The city's bid, however, was challenged by its lack of the 20,000 hotel rooms sought by the Republican Party, with the city only being able to offer around 15,000 hotel rooms.[3] A third city, Atlanta, had been ruled out of consideration because the maximum capacity configuration that the Omni Coliseum could offer would accommodate only 15,000 seats, while the Republicans were seeking a minimum of 17,000 seats.[2]

This was the first major party presidential nominating convention to be held in New Orleans. The size of the venue, the Louisiana Superdome, excited party officials, with Party Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf declaring that its size would allow a more extravagant convention to be staged. A factor that made New Orleans appealing to the Republican Party as a location included a significant supply of big hotels near the Super Dome. The location choice was also intentionally reflective of the desire of the party to make further political inroads in the Southern United States.[2]

In their contract with the city, the Republican Party included the clause forbidding the city from hosting another party's convention. This would prevent the Democratic Party from being able to choose New Orleans as their site too. New Orleans had been bidding for the Democratic Convention as well, and Republicans feared that if the Democratic Convention was held in the same city that the host committee would treat them with second-preference. Therefore, they required the city to withdraw from bidding for the Democratic convention. New Orleans attempted to negotiate on this, but the Republicans would not cede.[2][4]

The convention was the first to be held in a domed sports stadium. A 900-by-90 feet curtain, installed by Superdome management in 1986 to enable the venue to hold events like political conventions, was utilized to partition half of the venue off.[5]


Bid cities
City Venue Previous major party conventions hosted by city
Atlanta, Georgia Omni Coliseum
Kansas City, Missouri Bartle Hall or Kemper Arena Democratic: 1900
Republican: 1928 and 1976
New Orleans, Louisiana Louisiana Superdome


The Louisiana Superdome was the site of the 1988 Republican National Convention

The convention is perhaps best known for Bush's "thousand points of light" speech[6] accepting the nomination. Written by Peggy Noonan and Craig R. Smith, it included the "read my lips: no new taxes" pledge that was the most popular sound bite coming out of the convention. The successful speech gave him a "bounce" that he was able to capitalize on to win the 1988 presidential election.

President Ronald and Nancy Reagan were honored on August 15. Reagan made a major speech[7] on the opening night of the convention, as he would for the last time in 1992.

During the presidential roll call vote, several seconding speeches were delivered, showcasing a number of speakers from varying ethnic backgrounds. Seconding speeches were delivered by American football Coach Joe Paterno, Actress Helen Hayes, Congressman Bob Dornan, restaurateur Ninfa Laurenzo, Kansas City (Missouri) City Council Member Joanne Collins, and Federal Maritime Commissioner Elaine Chao.[8]

Other speakers included Bob Dole, Elizabeth Dole, Arizona junior senator John McCain, Jeane Kirkpatrick and former President Gerald Ford.


The Balloting:
The presidential roll call began with Bush's name being placed into nomination by Senator Phil Gramm of Texas.[8]

Name George H. W. Bush
Certified Votes 2,044 (100%)
total: 2,044

With rumblings of opposition to the Quayle nomination, it was decided to have it ratified by voice vote, something that the Republicans had never done before, but would become standard practice in the decades to come.

Preceded by
Dallas, Texas
New Orleans, Louisiana
Succeeded by
Houston, Texas

See also


  1. ^ Rothberg, Donald M. (January 20, 1987). "The Star Press 20 Jan 1987, page Page 2". The Muncie Star. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via
  2. ^ a b c d e "GOP taps New Orleans as '88  convention site". The Berkshire Eagle. UPI. January 21, 1987. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via
  3. ^ "Two halls are bait for 1988 conventions". Kanas City Times. September 1, 1987. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via
  4. ^ McConnaughey, Janey (February 5, 1987). "GOP chairman: New Orleans cannot host both conventions". The Greenwood Commonwealth 03 Feb 1987, page 5. The Associated Press. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via
  5. ^ "Curtain is a major political cover-up". The Times (Streator, Illinois). UPI. August 13, 1988. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via
  6. ^ Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans Archived 2015-07-22 at the Wayback Machine; August 18, 1988; by George H. W. Bush
  7. ^ Reagan's speech Archived 2005-10-26 at the Wayback Machine at the 1988 Convention
  8. ^ a b Saker, Anne (August 18, 1988). "Taking the time for a foregone conclusion - UPI Archives". United Press International. Retrieved 28 April 2023.

External links

This page was last edited on 4 November 2023, at 17:09
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