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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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Yes. On the other side were Buckley, a well-known economist, and the managing editor, or publisher, of Barron's Weekly, who was also a conservative type, as you can imagine. The chairman of this debate -- which was going to be limited to, say, six or seven minutes per person, something like that, very strictly -- was Elliot [Lee] Richardson, who was the famous attorney general who was involved in what was called the Saturday Night Massacre during the Nixon regime, and who was considered one the political greats at that time. Elliot Richardson was a very strict chairman of the meeting, holding us all strictly to our time limits.

Well, I worked up a pretty good attack on the Reagan administration from every possible point of view -- economic as well as in regard to his so-called foreign policy, defense policy, and, of course, his terrible environmental record, etc., etc., and I think I gave him, in an alphabetical grading system, something like a D for his record so far. As a Buckley “Firing Line” program, the debate was held under auspices of the Harvard Conservative Club, all Harvard students. When we got to the auditorium, before the debate was due to begin, we found that the place was absolutely packed to the ceiling with undergraduates and, I suppose, some outsiders too. In fact, people I knew who arrived a bit late told me that they had been literally unable to get in. They got there a little late and found that there was simply no room at all. It was obvious that the hall was packed. The ground floor, the whole auditorium including the balcony, was absolutely packed almost entirely with members of the Harvard community. And, knowing that this was done under the auspices of the Harvard Conservative Club, I thought to myself before we took our seats up on the dais, “This is really going to be some packed house that is probably going to boo me as well as Ken Galbraith and our third colleague off the stage.” But Galbraith's points in this debate

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