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Exclusive: Lee Atwater's Infamous 1981 Interview on the Southern Strategy


In 1981, the legendarily brutal campaign consultant Lee Atwater, after a decade as South Carolina’s most effective Republican operative, was working in Ronald Reagan’s White House when he was interviewed by Alexander Lamis, a political scientist at Case Western Reserve University.

In this audio, made public for the first time ever, Atwater lays out how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves. Listen to the full audio and read Rick Perlstein’s analysis here:

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