From his first days as governor, Kirk sought and received national attention. He averaged ten out-of-state appearances each month in 1967 and continued to travel extensively during his term. Kirk’s national ambitions were supported by William Safire, a New York-based public relations executive, who served as Kirk’s special political consultant (Safire also worked as a speech writer for Nixon and Agnew). Journalist David Halberstam, in one of several Kirk profiles in national magazines and newspapers, described Safire’s role: 'For $90,000 a year, he promotes Florida as well as Kirk, producing a salable substance on the national market and in the action-hungry televised politics of the 1960s.' Much of this national travel and promotion was in the service of Kirk’s ill-fated campaign for the vice presidential nomination in the 1968 election. Kirk billed himself as a Southern governor who could successfully prevent George Wallace’s third-party campaign from hurting the Republicans in the presidential election. While this vice presidential gambit backfired – Kirk’s endorsement of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller put him at odds with the Nixon administration and much of the Republican Party for the rest of his career – Kirk established himself as one of the most media savvy politicians to emerge from a transitional moment in Southern politics. While Kirk’s challenge to the integration order recalled earlier protests by Southern governors like Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett or George Wallace, Kirk insisted that he was a new breed of Southern politician. He declined to attend a 1967 Southern governors meeting in Montgomery, Alabama, calling it 'divisive and unwise'. 'I’m not one of these red-necked governors like Lester Maddox. I’m the only good guy in the South', Kirk told the Saturday Evening Post. Kirk also wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times, in which he disagreed with an editorial that described him (alongside Strom Thurmond and others) as 'hardshell conservatives' who were 'notably unsympathetic to the Negro drive for increased political participation'. 'There really is a new South', Kirk argued, 'we have not solved all our problems, but at least we are willing to try. One-party government with its old racist appeal is finished, whether it knows it or not.' Halberstam described Kirk’s 'New South' approach as a 'politics of confrontation – seeming action and seeming motion, issues seeming to be resolved…the Governor seems to be standing up to them; or it. That there is often little substance in the issue, that the problems will be the same tomorrow does not matter, for something dramatic has happened, and the Governor is credited with an unusual action.' Kirk’s 'politics of confrontation' was particularly well suited to television news, which favoured flamboyant individuals and fresh developments as newsworthy over staid politicians and complex continuing stories. For his part, Kirk grasped the power of television and worked to make himself comfortable in front of television cameras, repeating his press statements separately for each of the four local television teams that covered the state capitol in Tallahassee. Kirk’s busing protest put his politics of confrontation on national display.