Hoosier History Live! with Nelson Price, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on 88.7 FM, WICR in Indianapolis.

Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast or you can join our listening group at Bookmama's in Irvington to listen to, and discuss, the Saturday show. We invite you to visit our website!


Aug. 7 show

2008 presidential election shift in Indiana


Whether you applaud the outcomes or bemoan them, there's no question the 2008 election cycle made Hoosier history. Our atypical recent turn as a "swing state" included a fierce intra-party battle among Democrats during their first truly significant presidential primary in Indiana in 40 years. Next came a historic break from a tradition that stretched back even further, with a majority of Hoosiers voting for a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1964.


Kip Tew.At the epicenter of all this was political commando Kip Tew, who headed Barack Obama's campaigns in Indiana. A partner with  the Indianapolis law firm of Krieg DeVault LLP, Kip will join Nelson in studio to share behind-the-scenes details from the razor-close primary against Hillary Clinton - which involved a split among Democrats here that Kip describes as "difficult and joyless" in his new book Journey to Blue (Hawthorne Publishing) - to a presidential campaign that involved TV journalist Jane Pauley, rallies in traditionally Republican strongholds such as Plainfield, and a whirlwind that changed lives, Kip's among them.


A Fort Wayne native who graduated from North Central High School in Indianapolis and Indiana University, Kip is a former state chairman and Marion County chairman for the Democratic Party. He will be the latest in a parade of well-known Hoosier politicos of both parties who have joined Nelson to explore the dynamics - including shifts, curves, upsets and historic firsts - of Indiana's political landscape.


2008 presidential election results by state, in red and blue.Except for the top of the ticket (Lyndon B. Johnson had been the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry Indiana), Hoosiers have a long history of ballot-splitting. And it may seem like ancient history now - with Evan Bayh's announcement earlier this year that he will not run for re-election - but speculation he could have been Obama's running mate hung over much of the '08 campaign here, according to Kip's book. Before that, Bayh and several of his closest colleagues aligned themselves with Hillary Clinton in the primary battle, meaning Kip and his crew became their opposition.


In Journey to Blue, Kip writes, the switch in allegiance from Clinton to Obama of another native Hoosier insider in the Democratic Party, former national chairman Joe Andrew, "angered the Bayh hierarchy more than anything else in the campaign."


Some other tidbits from Kip's book:

  • Journey to Blue: How Barack Obama Won Indiana in 2008 book cover, author Kip Tew.When Obama was preparing for his TV debate with John McCain, Kip worked furiously to arrange for the French Lick Springs Hotel to be the site of his debate prep, with an event that would feature Larry Bird playing hoops with the candidate. Kip writes that the failure of this to happen - in part because Bird decided he didn't want to get involved in the presidential race - "was one of the biggest disappointments of the campaign personally for me because . . . (it) would have been a  nice little piece of Indiana history."
  • After Kip picked up Obama's book Dreams From My Father as a beach read in 2007, the politician's journey resonated with him in part for deeply personal reasons. When he was 4 or 5 years old, Kip learned his biological father had left shortly after his birth; he was raised by his mother and adoptive father.
  • Kip's wife, Robin, served as the chauffeur for Jane Pauley when the former co-host of The Today Show offered to return to her home state to campaign for Obama.

Indiana had the lowest turnout of registered voters of any state in the 2004 presidential election. Nelson will explore how this affected the strategy of Kip and his team four years later. He also will ask about the role of social media in the campaign here - and whether Kip thinks Obama could win Indiana if he had to run for re-election this year.


We also urge all of you to call in with questions and insights about the campaign that resulted in a (temporary?) shift in presidential politics in the Hoosier state.


History Mystery question


Ford’s Theatre, pictured here in 1870, was the site of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.A popular Republican congressman from Indiana - who later would become vice president of the United States - is thought to have been the last public figure to shake Abraham Lincoln's hand before the president's assassination in 1865. The Hoosier congressman had been invited to accompany President and Mrs. Lincoln to Ford's Theatre that fateful evening in April, but he declined.


The Hoosier congressman was elected speaker of the House twice, then became vice president. Hint: He was the first of (so far) five Hoosiers to become vice president.


Question: Name the Indiana politician.


The call-in number for the correct answer is (317) 788-3314, and the prize is a one night stay at the Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis City Centre, courtesy of the ICVA.




Igor Lovchinsky.Travel to the Rathskeller in downtown Indy this Sunday for a performance by the American Pianists Association's Classical Fellowship Awards Finalist, Igor Lovchinsky. This destination is the travel pick of our Roadtripper, Chris Gahl of the ICVA.


Image of the Athenaeum Biergarten in the summertime. Image courtesy Athenaeum Foundation.The performance - this Sunday, Aug. 8, at 6 p.m. - will take place in the Athenaeum's Biergarten and is the final concert in their popular Summer Concert Series.


Lovchinsky, an alumnus of Juilliard, won both the Eastman International Piano Competition and the National Chopin Piano Competition. His talent has won him solo spots in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana Chamber Orchestra and others.



Your friends in Hoosierdom,


Nelson Price, host and creative director

Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101

Chris Gahl, Roadtripper

Richard Sullivan, tech and web director    

Garry Chilluffo, consultant



Lucas OilIndiana Historical Society logo.

Barrington Jewels logo.The Fadely Trust. A fund of the Indianapolis Foundation.

Henry's Coffee Bistro logo.Story Inn

Broad Ripple Brewpub logo.

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Barrington Jewels, Broad Ripple Brewpub, Henry's Coffee Bistro on East, The Fadely Trust, Indiana Historical Society, Lucas Oil and Story Inn.


Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Chelsea Niccum and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorships, grants and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially.


Aug. 14 show

Parks, boulevards systems history in Indy


Earlier this summer, Hoosier History Live! explored the history of Indiana state parks. Next up is the system of parks and boulevards in Indianapolis, which involves the life of a renowned landscape architect, George Kessler, who put together the first citywide parks plan.


Bridge over Fall Creek at Illinois Street in Indianapolis. Image courtesy Ind. Div. of Historic Preservation.A German immigrant who eventually was based out of St. Louis, Kessler (1862-1923) never really became a resident of Indy, but he left a lasting impact on the city.


Nelson will be joined in studio by two Indianapolis-based landscape architects who know this turf well. His guests will be Meg Storrow of Storrow Kinsella Associates, who put together the National Register of Historic Places nomination for Indy's park and boulevard system, and David Roth of Synthesis Inc.


With Meg and David as our guides, we will dig in and explore the creation of parks here, including Kessler's redesign of pre-existing Garfield Park (he created its well-known sunken gardens) and his vision for a chain of parks linked by wide, sweeping boulevards. (Kessler Boulevard, built after his death, was named in his honor.) His system of parkways followed the four major waterways in Marion County, including Fall Creek and Pleasant Run. Kessler influenced the creation or evolution of Riverside Park, University Park, Brookside Park and many others.


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