Liberals like Martin Bashir cite this interview for the proposition that Republicans skillfully conceal appeals to racism in seemingly innocuous policy discussions. Obviously, Atwater said nothing of the sort. And he declined to agree with Professor Lamis’s suggestion that Reagan’s talk about cutting programs like legal services and food stamps “gets to” the racist side of the George Wallace voter, albeit unconsciously. “I’m not saying it.” What Atwater did say, repeatedly and unambiguously, is that racial prejudice no longer plays a significant role in Southern elections, and that Reagan won the South in 1980 on the same issues with which he swept the rest of the country: the economy and national defense. It requires a great deal of dishonesty to twist Atwater’s words into the exact opposite of what he actually said.