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A 'Boogie Man' With A Legacy Of Complicated Moves

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A 'Boogie Man' With A Legacy Of Complicated Moves

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A 'Boogie Man' With A Legacy Of Complicated Moves

A 'Boogie Man' With A Legacy Of Complicated Moves

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Lee Atwater, the political operative who ran George H.W. Bush's 1988 campaign — and introduced the nation to Willie Horton — was a man with a knack for bare-knuckle campaigning and a voracious appetite for life.

A "guitar-picking rascal from South Carolina," in the words of documentary filmmaker Stefan Forbes, Atwater could seem like a conundrum: He could share a nightclub stage with legendary bluesman B.B. King on the one hand while masterminding "vile and racist" political dirty tricks on the other.

But these are the well-known things about Atwater: For his film Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Forbes went looking for the stories people don't know. John Powers has a review.

'Boogie Man': The Paradox Of Lee Atwater

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President George H. W. Bush and Lee Atwater

Atwater managed George H. W. Bush's successful 1988 election campaign when he was only 37 years old. Roco Films hide caption

toggle caption Roco Films

Lee Atwater, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is remembered for being a ruthless political operative. But in a new documentary about Atwater's controversial life and legacy, filmmaker Stefan Forbes shows that despite his reputation as "Darth Vader," Atwater won the respect of many, including political enemies.

In Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Forbes details Atwater's indelible impact on the American political landscape. As Forbes notes, he is accused of running the most racist presidential campaign in 150 years, yet, at the same time, hung around with blues legends James Brown and B.B. King.

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