Harold Edward Stassen (April 13, 1907 – March 4, 2001) was the 25th Governor of Minnesota from 1939 to 1943 and a later perennial candidate for other offices, most notably and frequently President of the United States in the Republican primaries. He attempted to run for president in the 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1964, 1968, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992 elections.
Stassen was not privy to Warren's decision to attackthe Race's Colonization Fleet in 1962. In the aftermath Warren's death, Stassen set about removing those members of the administration who had known about Warren's actions. Stassen was already certain that he wouldn't be elected in 1968, a fact that he privately shared with his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov.
Stassen soon learned of the new American use of rocket propelled asteroids as weapons. During a meeting with Sam Yeager, the man who blew the proverbial whistle on Warren, Yeager attempted to broach the subject with Stassen. Stassen pointedly shared nothing with Yeager.
Harry Turtledove's use of the then-living Stassen in an unaltered form as a character in a work of fiction is unusual. Typically, Turtledove makes broad references, leaves living people unnamed (e.g., G. Gordon Liddy aka "Gordon" in this series), or somehow changes the name (e.g., Kurt Waldheim/Kurt Haldweim in In the Presence of Mine Enemies, or John Glenn/Glen Johnson in this series). Stassen died only a month after Aftershocks was first published.
Stassen did somewhat better than expected. He carried Maine, Vermont, Delaware and Maryland (in private, Steele's aid Lazar Kagan was horrified by the loss of Maryland, suggesting Steele's machine had broken down there). Stassen was also able to pick up some of the states that contained resettled wreckers.
However, Steele carried the rest of the electoral vote, and won his fifth term.