The Selling of the President


What makes you cast your ballot?
A Presidential candidate or a good campaign?
How he stands on the issues or how he stands up to the camera?

The Selling of the President is the enduring story of the 1968 campaign that wrote the script for modern Presidential politicking—and how that script came to be. It ...

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The Selling of the President

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What makes you cast your ballot?
A Presidential candidate or a good campaign?
How he stands on the issues or how he stands up to the camera?

The Selling of the President is the enduring story of the 1968 campaign that wrote the script for modern Presidential politicking—and how that script came to be. It introduces:

  • Harry Treleaven, the first adman to suggest that issues bore voters, that image is what counts
  • Roger Ailes, a PR man who coordinated the TV presentations that delivered the product
  • Frank Shakespeare, the man behind the whole campaign, who, after eighteen years at CBS, cast the image that sold America a President
  • And the candidate, Richard Nixon himself—a politician running on television for the highest office in the land

In his introduction, Joe McGinniss discusses why—unfortunately—his classic book is as pertinent today to understanding our political culture as it was the year it was published.

McGinniss examines the repackaging of Richard Nixon by the men--Roger Ailes, now working on the George Bush campaign, and Frank Shakespeare--who first suggested that issues bore voters and that image is what counts.

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Editorial Reviews

Brills Content
This 1969 classic showed telvision's power in packaging a politician into a product like a bar of soap. In the 30-plus years since its publication, the book still resonates with what remains the most formidable challenge for a candidate: image control.
Geoffrey Wolff
Shows how a clutch of salesmen, cameramen, and speechwriters adjusted Richard Nixon's image by manipulating television—or us—on his behalf.
Washington Post Book World - Robert Sherrill
“McGinniss blessed this land with his book 'The Selling of the President, 1968'.”
Washington Post - David S. Broder
“Devastatingly funny and angry…McGinniss has given us a damning but terribly amusing picture of the flackery in one campaign…The problem will be around longer than Nixon will…You can read this book and laugh—-or maybe weep a little at how you were sold a president.”
Life Magazine - Murray Kempton
“An appalled, savage and charming chronicle of Mr. Nixon’s 1968 electoral campaign.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140112405
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1988
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 696,891
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe McGinniss was a young Philadelphia journalist when he began to follow the team of public relations men and television specialists who created Richard Nixon's image for the American public during the presidential campaign of 1968. In 1969, with the publication of The Selling of the President, Joe McGinnis immediately became a nonfiction star of the first rank. His other books include Heroes, Going to Extremes, Fatal Vision, Cruel Doubt, and a novel, The Dream Team. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2004

    Great Book

    This is quite simply a fascinating book.For starters, it is a must read for anyone hoping to be a political strategist.For history buffs, a detailed account of the election of 1968.This was the year that Dick rose from the ashes, and resurrected his political career, which up to that point was in shambles.A year which was a major turning point in American history.If Nixon had lost that election, what of Watergate and its effect on politics? What of the Vietnam war? In any event, take a behind-the-scenes look at how a brilliant group of admen and strategists led by Roger Ailes, packaged a man and sold him to the American electorate like a shiny new Dodge.This presidential campaign affected all others thereafter, and you'll understand why after reading this book.This is a classic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

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