Kirk initiated the busing standoff because he was sincerely opposed to the court order and, most historians and Kirk’s contemporaries agree, because he thought it would help him in a difficult re-election campaign later in the year. Kirk’s lieutenant governor, Ray Osborne, recalled that Kirk 'wanted to stand in the schoolhouse door and have a confrontation. No one could turn him around on that…He was trying to hit the home run which would bring him back.' Reubin Askew, who defeated Kirk in the 1970 gubernatorial election and was one of the few politicians to urge compliance with busing orders, remarked: 'I don’t think Governor Kirk was a racist, I think he just exploited the issue as many politicians did. In fact, it was almost the normal thing to exploit the issue…He was exploiting it because he thought it would really put him in a good position.' In interviews decades after the controversy, Kirk remained convinced that his stand was sound. 'I was right and I was proven right', Kirk told his biographer Edmund Kallina Jr., 'The thesis of the Manatee school affair was that forced busing was not conducive to education. What was not fair or honest was to put a child in a bus and take him one hour from one inadequate education to another inadequate education.' If anything, Kirk argued in the late 1990s, he was ahead of his time on the busing issue: '[Floridians] didn’t understand forced busing at the time. It hadn’t hit enough families. It is still a cancer today.' While his protest might have been mistimed in Florida, the broad televisual reach of Kirk’s protests brought his campaign against busing to millions of families in cities and suburbs in every region. Kirk appeared at rallies across the country as a spokesman for Parents Against Forced Busing, a Florida-based group that worked to create a national coalition of anti-busing organizations. While Kirk’s school standoff did not bring him the political success he sought, he became a hero to anti-busing parents. Among those who were inspired by Kirk and invited him to speak was Pontiac’s Irene McCabe.