Texas Governor and Nixon Administration Treasury Secretary John Connally has emerged in recent days as a possible player in activity that has long been alleged to have gone on between the campaign of Ronald Reagan and the Iranian Government. The rumor of an October surprise has been out there for years but no one could quite ever tie the entire thing together.
However, just this year, after President Carter was admitted into Hospice Care, a former Texas Speaker of the House, and well known political player named Bill Barnes, a protege to John Connally, stepped forward with a tale that captivated the nation. That his mentor, John Connally, had traveled around the Middle East and tried to broker a deal between the Islamic militants that were holding our hostages in Tehran and the Reagan Campaign manager who was himself a former spy and would later become the CIA chief Bill Casey. Could it be true?
While no evidence exists that ties Ronald Reagan to any of this activity personally, no one seems to be willing to defend Bill Casey. John Connally's name never surfaced in two separate investigations of these allegations. But it is hard not to take Bill Barnes seriously because he is a credible political figure in a way the late Anna Chennault was not when accusations arose about the 1968 election.
In this episode, we will look at the life of John Connally, his influence over two United States Presidents, his place in history as a passenger in the car with John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas, and finally the embarrassing political situation he found himself in after a disastrous run for the White House in his own right earlier in the 1980 election cycle. Which could explain how a man of such stature could have gotten himself involved in skullduggery like this accusation belies. Did John Connally really attempt to cut a deal with Iranians on behalf of the Reagan campaign? While it sounds improbable, it is a story that has a credible witness and certainly it happened at a moment when a man who had been one of the most influential figures in America had suddenly found himself on his way to political irrelevancy.