It’s been fifty years since Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater launched his general election campaign for president.
John McCain, Arizona’s senior senator, marked the occasion with a statement Wednesday:
“It was 50 years ago today that Barry Goldwater stood on the steps of the Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott to officially launch his campaign for President of the United States. No one loved Arizona more than Barry, and his tradition of kicking off every campaign in our state’s Territorial Capital will forever be engraved in state history. As his successor in the Senate and in tribute to his legacy, I have ended all of my campaigns on those same courthouse steps, including my campaign for president in 2008.
“Barry recognized that he was a long shot to win the Presidency in 1964. But he felt the Republican Party and the country needed some straight talk about old values, and he figured he was the man to give it to them the loudest. So he did, knowing the slings and arrows he would suffer, but confident that his course was honorable. And he ended that campaign, as he ended his political career 22 years later, his personal integrity unblemished, his honor unassailable.
“Barry Goldwater put his country and our founding ideals before himself, and we never had a better champion. He believed we all have a duty to the country, and he performed his duty magnificently – tirelessly, forcefully, effectively, and with a style as honest and wide-open as the state he loved so dearly.”
Goldwater, while a champion of conservatism, handily lost the 1964 election to Democrat Lyndon Johnson.