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Watch the 53-second viral moment that helped George H. W. Bush win in 1988

Six words received a thunderous applause at the Republican National Convention 30 years ago.

Watch the 53-second viral moment that helped George H. W. Bush win in 1988
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“Read my lips: No new taxes!”

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Those six words received a thunderous applause at the 1988 Republican National Convention when they were spoken by George H. W. Bush, who passed away on Friday at the age of 94. Bush was accepting the nomination as the Republican candidate for president, and the promise of no new taxes became an easy-to-digest rallying cry for his campaign, drawing a stark contrast between Bush and his Democratic rival Michael Dukakis. (Side note: He didn’t keep the promise.)

Thirty years later–in our current age of nonstop sound bites, tweets, and three-hour news cycles–it’s hard to imagine a presidential candidate being propelled to victory by a single viral moment, but Bush’s famous speech gave him the momentum and message to do just that, or so goes the story as told by the political talking heads of the era.

In hindsight, the origin of the phrase can be seen as a harbinger of a potent and persuasive conservative media environment that would soon be unleashed upon the world. According to Time magazine, one of the key architects of Bush’s messaging was none other than Roger Ailes, who worked on the candidate’s campaign and would go on to lead Fox News only a few years later.

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Amazingly, the major points of Bush’s convention speech all happen within a span of 53 seconds. You can watch the speech above, courtesy of HLN’s YouTube page.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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