A Time For Choosing


Listen to the full speech:

Watch The Entire Video
Download the Speech transcript (pdf)
Send to friend

October 27, 1964


Text Size

In 1964 I became cochairman of Californians for Barry Goldwater. I went up and down the state with a campaign speech I’d written that wasn’t too different in tone and message from my GE presentations. The speech seemed to go over very well.

One night a few weeks before the election I addressed a fundraiser at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. When the evening was over, a delegation of high-powered Republicans waited for me. They asked whether I would deliver that same speech on nationwide TV if they raised the money to buy the time. I said yes and suggested that, instead of just having me in a studio alone, they bring in an audience to get a little better feel. They readily agreed.

The night that the tape of the speech was to air on NBC, Nancy and I went over to another couple’s home to watch it. Everyone thought I’d done well, but still you don’t always know about these things. The phone rang about midnight. It was a call from Washington, D.C., where it was three a.m. One of Barry’s staff called to tell me that the switchboard was still lit up from the calls pledging money to his campaign. I then slept peacefully. The speech raised $8million and soon changed my entire life.

Although I didn’t put a title on it, it later became known as "A Time for Choosing."



- Ronald Reagan, "Speaking My Mind"