tv George Wallace Campaign Film CSPAN May 7, 2016 1:16am-1:47am EDT
>> do we have a nixon poster? >> jim wilson, working for nixon in laconia, was looking forward to the republican national convention. the choices at the miami beach convention were richard nixon, governor nelson rockefeller of new york, who was now working hard for the nomination, and california's governor, ronald reagan. as the republican delegates gathered in this resort city, it soon became clear that nixon was also their choice by an overwhelming mandate. >> the next president of the united states, richard nixon.
and i again proudly accept that nomination for president of the united states. tonight i see the face of a child. he lives in a great city. he's black. or he's white. he's mexican, italian, polish. none of that matters. what matters, he's an american child. he sleeps the sleep of childhood and he dreams the dreams of a chi child. that child in that great city is more important than any politician's promise. he is america. i see another child tonight. he hears the train go by. at night he dreams of faraway places where he'd like to go. seems like an impossible dream. but he is helped on his journey through life. a father who had to go to work
before he finished the sixth grade, sacrificed everything he had so his sons could go to college. and tonight he stands before you, nominated for president of the united states of america. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> nixon selected maryland's governor spiro agnew as his running mate for the office of vice president. it was now time for the democratic convention. and mccarthy and vice president
humphrey were the leaders in the democratic race. ron and dottie went to chicago as part of the new hampshire delegation. there they continued their protests along with many other delegates who also wanted to see a more detailed plan for peace as the party's campaign theme. ♪ we shall overcome ♪ we shall overcome ♪ we shall overcome one day >> other demonstrators protested against war in the city's streets. and these protests erupted tone a confrontation with police that drew the concerned attention of many americans. the delegates shared that concern. but first they had to fulfill
their obligation to nominate a democrat for the presidency. as the balloting went on, it became clear that vice president humphrey had the support of the convention. ron and most of the new hampshire delegates were pledged to vote for mccarthy, and they honored that pledge. >> i cast 20 votes for senator eugene j. mccarthy and 6 votes for vice president humphrey. >> and vice president humphrey won the nomination. ron and dottie went back to laconia and talked about the convention with their friends. >> it is the differences of individual groups and everything else that saved this whole damn thing for us. we all thought the same, we wouldn't be able to -- if you
believe in democracy you believe in two things, ration and reason. the other thing su realize all people don't look at what is right for human society the same way. it's a matter of degree. so somehow you have to -- politics are never 100%. you'll probably end up with 60% of what you really want. >> it is never easy to accept defeat, but ron endorsed the decision in chicago and supported the democratic nominee, realizing that humphrey had been nominated by the will of the majority. and before long a large humphrey poster appeared on the side of ron's house. as the campaign moved into its final weeks, the nation considered its choices. vice president humphrey. george wallace, the former governor of alabama, representing the third party movement. and richard nixon.
people, giving them a chance to evaluate his thoughts as a potential president and to look closely at him as a man. lacon laconia's people in the fall are part of one of nature's most impressive pageants. as the leaves turn and the ducks drop in briefly on their way to the south there's atillness and grandeur interrupted only by the sounds of children returning to school. the people of the united states went to the polls to elect their president. confrontped ed by a decision th could hold the key to the nation's place in the world. but they knew that whoever the knew president would be he would receive the support of the entire nation as he was given the awesome responsibility of leading the country.
and in this election year the nation chose richard nixon, bringing to its final conclusion a democratic process that had started months before in new hampshire. >> i received a very gracious message from the vice president. i know exactly how he felt. having lost a close one eight years ago and having won a close one this year, i can say this. winning's a lot more fun. >> did nixon win? >> yes, he did. >> he made a great speech. >> it was very, very close. >> i'm sure you'll be able to watch it. >> nixon won and everybody said -- >> were they happy? >> yes. >> they were? well, i'm really glad that i voted for nixon because i believe he can really get things started again. the country wanted a clean
sweep, and this is what nixon is going to do. he's going to get in a whole new bunch of people who will have a new outlook on things. this is what they needed. >> it's just overwhelming. i couldn't -- i've never been so pleased at a political outcome. >> naturally as a democrat i'm unhappy he won but in a sense i think there's a certain amount of justice there. i think that what the american people have done is told nixon, johnson, humphrey, anyone who might be president now in the future that they're accountable for their actions, they're accountable for their policy. ♪
>> each week until the 2016 election road to the white house rewind brings you archival coverage of the election races. coming up a 1968 presidential campaign film by george wallace, a democrat in favor of staunch segregation. he chose to run for president in the banner of the newly formed american independent party. this kroing lds his push to get on the california ballot. eventually governor wallace succeeded in getting on the ballot in all 50 states. he came in third in the general election receiving 13 1/2% of the rote and winning five states. republican richard nixon won the presidency that year in a tight race over democrat hubert humphrey. this half hour film is courtesy of the alabama department of archives and history. >> i am pleased to announce this morning that more than 100,000
californians have registered as members of the american independent party in order to give us assistance in gaining a place on the california ballot in next year's general election. i want to thank the thousands of californians who have done so much to safety us. i point out these people are representative of millions of americans who are genuinely concerned about the current direction being followed by our national leadership. ♪ walking in the sunshine ♪ sing a little sunshine song ♪ put a smile upon your face ♪ as if there's nothing wrong ♪ think about a good time ♪ had a long time ago ♪ think about forgetting about your worries ♪ >> the wallace victory in california did not come easy.
when george wallace brought his southern style campaign to california, he baffled many by what seemed to be too much that did not relate directly to california. southern traditions and national issues have in the past appeared too much at opposite poles. apparently wallace wasn't bothered that his down home campaign complete with gospel singing bewildered some people. it worked. national news magazines uniformly agreed that by obtaining enough signatures to get on the california primary wallace had proven more surely that he headed a significant national political movement, which must be reckoned with. so while political observers tried to predict his next moves, wallace kept on moving, talking with people in all parts of california, gaining new strength and support every day. here was a strong new leadership
that excited and pulled at you. here was a national voice that californians and millions of americans could rally behind. here was george c. wallace, a new political force in america. everything said about 48-year-old george corley wallace would fill volumes. one constant comment heard, however, whether it be pro or con, is that i admire his courage. courage is certainly one basis of his appeal. but there's another part, too. wallace is a southerner who has universal support and appeal that is not clearly obvious at first glance. he communicates. he talks in a language that
people can understand. and few politicians can match his uncanny ability to grasp the real issues and concerns of the american people in any area. he is truly a man of the people. it is because of these talents that he caught political observers off balance in 1964 when he captured more than a quarter million votes in the wisconsin primary. then 30% of the democratic preferential primary vote in indiana indiana. and 43% of the primary vote in maryland. but if he is underestimated by some, it's not because he sidesteps any issues. he gets right down to cases. >> last year you voted on the matter of home ownership and property ownership, didn't you? but you voted wrong, according to the pseudo -- on the court. they struck it down. and both national parties are
recommending a law today on the congressional level that would put you in jail without a trial by jury if you didn't want to sell or lease your property to someone. that's been thought up by this intellectual crowd, pseudointellectual crowd who doesn't think you've got sense enough to know who you want to sell or lease your own property to. another thing they're going to have to be strong about and which people are concerned over this nation is the threat to the internal security of our country by the breakdown of law and order. and it's a sad commentary when you cannot walk on the streets or in the parks in the large cities of our country. and if you go out of this building tonight and somebody knocks you in the head, the person who knocks you in the head is out of jail before you get to the hospital, and on monday morning they will try the policeman. they won't try the person that knocked you in the head. we're going to have to start trying criminals on monday instead of the policeman in los angeles or the policeman anywhere in the country.
[ applause ] and the supreme court of our country has handcuffed the police. they have rendered decisions today that are absolutely ludicrous and asinine. turn people loose every day who are self-proven and confessed murderers of five or more people. you read about it. you've seen it. and when they turn somebody loose who's a self-proven murderer, five or more people, some pseudointellectual tells us that really he's not to blame. society's to blame. because his papa didn't take him to see the los angeles rams play when he was a little boy. and he's mad. >> and recently we had a case that arose in our state that just culminated in a decision in the supreme court that's going to destroy every neighborhood school in california next year. they already started destroying them this last year in detroit, chicago, and in new york and in washington they ruled that you've got to transport little children across state lines.
now this decision arising from a case in alabama is going to take your children and transport them across torrance to the other side of the city and across the los angeles county and the other counties. now, if you folks in california want to do that, if you want to put your children on a bus every day and send them all the way to northern california to school and back that night, it is all right with the folks of alabama. you do just that. you do whatever you want to do. but you decide to do it yourself. don't let somebody 3,000 miles away sit down and write every guideline for the education of your child. that's all we're talking about. and we had a case last year in alabama and we have freedom of choice in our state in which you can choose to go to any school you wanted to regardless of your race. but last year the justice department filed a suit and said not enough people on this side of torrance chose to go to school on this side and not enough people on this side chose to go to this side of town. not enough people in northern alabama chose to go across town
to school and vice versa. and we said to the justice department, but they could have chosen if they wanted to. what are we going to do about it? make them go? and their answer was that's your problem, you work it out. that's your problem. and if you don't work it out we're going to take the money away from you, which is your money, federal funds they call it. not any such thing as federal funds. they're taxpayers' funds. i'm tired of saying the state of alabama gives you some money. you gave the state of alabama money. you gave the state of california money. you give the government in washington money. and then when they send it back to you they say we're going to tell you how you can spend, it we're going to control every domestic institution that you've got and we're going to send foreign aid without any strings attached. we're going to attach a lot of strings to the money you paid into the treasury when you get it back. well, in that decision they wrote that we could keep freedom of choice if it worked. and they said if it works these people have got to choose to go over here and vice versa. and if they don't choose we'll
choose for them, you have to assign them yourselves and make them go. the point we're trying to raise is you ought to run schools and run them any way you want to. now there's another matter that faces our people that everybody's talked about and there are no simple solutions to. and that's our involvement in southeast asia. and we could talk all night here in this auditorium about the 3459er of the 17th parallel and old french indo-china and the geneva accord. but suffice it to say we are in vietnam, whether you think we ought to be there or not. and 500,000 american servicemen are totally committed at this moment between life and death. and some of them are being killed at this very moment. in fact, i just left a motel where the daughter of the motel owner came by to shake my hand and eight months ago her husband was killed in vietnam and she had two children and they'd been killed on this night. and one of the first things that
we ought to do is reappraise our attitude toward western europe and our attitude toward some of our non-communist asian nations. and by the way, they are doing so much better than are some of those in western europe. but western europe was rehabilitated after world war ii by the money of the people of california and alabama, including those nations that we fought. and i'm glad that we do have a stable rehabilitated europe insofar as our economy is concerned. because that has been a barrier to further communist encroachment in that part of the world. even though we sold out the eastern european nations at yalta we still have a strong viable western europe. and they need us and we need them. and i'm not talking about kicking our allies out. i'm just talking about having some eyeball to eyeball talk with them above the table and make them respect us more and tell them that it's as much your interest to be in southeast asia as it is for us and if you don't
go and help us and you don't stop trading those of you who do with the north vietnamese, our enemies, we're going to cut foreign aid off and ask you to pay back that which you've gotten in the past because the average man -- [ applause ] the average man in our country doesn't understand the paying of his money continuously to nations who not only won't help us but even trade with the north vietnamese. and we have defended europe twice. and mr. du gaul in europe wants to devalue our dollar by taking gold out which would devalue the system of money in the free world. and it's been devalued enough because of inflationary processes in our cone urnt and we know what happened to the pound over in england. because of socialistic overspending. money that brought no return to the english people. and we've got to get our house in order or we're going to face that same problem here in these united states. and we ought to tell mr.
dugaulle you're not going to impair the dollar concerted by a concerted effort you're making by taking gold out of our country and if you continue to impair the dollar when you don't have to we're going to put back on the books some of those billions of dollars that you owe us after world war 1 and world war ii and we're going to ask you to pay it back because they owe us billions of dollars. and i think that's a common sense approach. [ applause ] ♪ >> thank you very much. >> wallace's victorious california campaign was unique. nothing like it had ever been accomplished before. even though countless groups and interests had tried to gain ballot position and found it impossible. and because it had never been
accomplished, unorthodox methods had to be used. for example, small groups of alabama volunteers commuting to and from california direct and encouraged volunteers. the wallace campaign started small and grew. more than enough signatures were obtain obtained. this was brought about by the unusual nature of california politics. infighting, while common to all political parties in all states, is rampant in sunny california. two california politicians, one a republican and one a democrat, simultaneously described each other's party members as 2 million chiefs in search of indians. there were two primary objectives to the campaign. to let californians know what governor wallace stood for. this by radio, television, and
newspapers. and secondly, getting voters to sign registration blanks to change their party affiliation. this unique part of the law, making third parties get a certain number of votes to reregister, is a political fact of life because california has closed primaries. this means that in order to vote in a party primary you can do so only in that party in which you register as a member. changing your mind means changing your party. and in the wallace campaign it all had to be done in less than a two-month period. this objective has been the target of special legislation throughout the history of california politics. here dr. david g.fayrali, a ph.d. teaching political science at the university of california at los angeles, comments on the extreme difficulties of getting on the california ballot in the first place and the special road
blocks encountered by the wallace campaign because of time and circumstance. >> 6 million people voted for governor. getting 66,000 people to sign up for a new party is a difficult task. it's up to the legislature of the state to determine the minimum size of the party. and i guess it could be argued that california's laws make it very difficult to have a third party going. november and december are not the most politically active months. people are thinking of christmas, thanksgiving and so on. this is one obstacle. secondly is the strong tradition of a two-party system that we have in the united states. and this is true also in california. third certainly you're trying to get people to change their registration from republican and democratic to a third party. so there are many obstacles that
are faced by third-party candidates in california. >> facing these problems, the wallace campaigners decided the only way to get voters to sign registration blanks was to have the whole problem of doing so explained to them quekly and honestly by the only means. individually. >> say hello to governor george c. wallace. if you'd like to shake hands and chat with him you can do so. we have registrars that will register you in one minute. put him on a ballot here in california. >> california law in effect in 1968 states that 66,059 voters must reregister to qualify a candidate on a primary ballot. when the campaign kicked off, many political experts said wallace didn't have the appeal. but as weeks passed and the crowds grew and enthusiasm was obvious, these same experts
began reversing their earlier predictions. the campaign kept moving. it was propelled along by the indomitable wallace spirit. and because of the very unique solutions found to the many complex problems by the small but effective wallace campaign staff. money is important to any campaign. but to get money you first must get people willing to give and believe in what they're giving too. the wallace california campaign started in a political off-season. the 1968 presidential race is far off in the minds of voters. timing is impossible to manipulate. then, approaching the january deadline, one of the coldest winter blasts in history hits sunny california. as if unseasonal weather weren't enough there were the physical problems of working in california itself. home base.
from somewhere to anywhere takes a half hour to an hour and a half, depending on the freeways. then the wallace campaign staff faced the problems of political tradition. swaying voters away from a long-time party affiliation and doing it with a skeleton staff. it was a maze of problems where one problem triggers four. bad weather, no people. no people, no registrations. then no new followers and no donations. the net total of one valuable day lost. but these are the risks inherent to the very nature of politics. politics itself is a serious strategic contest. the born politician relishes both the risks and the strategy. wallace and his staff have weathered both success and failure. every politician has.
but what makes it appealing are the convictions and the high stakes. people rarely get to see the other side of george wallace. george wallace the man. >> when i met my wife right after she'd finished high school when she was only 16 years of age, well, she was very pretty for one thing. and of course i didn't realize how young she was, then as i do now, after i've acquired the age that i am. but she was very pretty and just some little twist, a spark about her that you know, it's hard to explain. it's just like any man who meets his wife for the first time. there's something about her. she helped me to get my start in political life, politic for me when i was running for the legislature and she was too young to vote for me. she didn't even get to vote for me when i was elected to the legislature in 1946.
well, of course in public service that is holding legislative office and the executive office of the state of alabama that i held for four years, you are in a position to do things that you thought ought to have been done or should be done for the people of your state. but i also like to see go down to the county seat in clayton and also to the little town that i was born, raised in and finished high school, cloud, alabama. and see friends and to reminisce. and i do occasionally go to the county courthouse, clayton, alabama, and sit around as is the custom in the rural south. i enjoy this immensely, and it's very stimulating and a rich, warm experience to go back to the country with your hometown friends. and i l