The Man Who Got Trump's Top Aide Paul Manafort Into GOP Politics Recalls the Budding Talent

The man who hired Paul Manafort to work for President Ford opens up.

ByABC News
April 26, 2016, 3:50 PM

— -- Paul Manafort has had a long career in Republican politics but he was introduced to a new campaign and a new audience this year.

Manafort was added to Donald Trump's team as the campaign's convention manager, and if the real estate mogul isn't the Republican party's nominee before the convention, Manafort will know what to do.

He started his career in national politics during the 1976 presidential campaign, when he was hired by Peter McPherson, then-special assistant to then-President Gerald Ford.

"In '76 he was out of Georgetown Law not very long at all," McPherson told ABC News.

A university spokesperson confirmed to ABC News that Manafort graduated from Georgetown as an undergraduate in the business school in 1971 and then graduated from Georgetown Law School in 1974.

"I had known him when he was a young Republican. He's capable," McPherson said.

During the lead up to the 1976 convention, McPherson worked with James Baker and they were tasked with wrangling up enough delegates to secure Ford the Republican nomination. McPherson said that they actively pursued delegates and kept track of their standing by building relationships with them in the weeks ahead of the convention.

"In the decades since, he’s worked hard at all of this, and he’s played a role in a lot of conventions since," McPherson said.

McPherson, who has since left politics and is the president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, said that he hasn't worked with Manafort since 1980 at the end of Ford's presidency but recalled him being "a competent man."

Manafort went on to work for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and now Trump among others.