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tv   The Contenders  CSPAN  August 11, 2016 11:17am-1:22pm EDT

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while congress is on break, we're showing american history tv programs that are normally seen only on weekends here on c-span3. coming up, a look at the life and legacy of 1968 presidential candidate hubert humphrey. two hours from now, his 1968 democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech, and that will be followed by road to the white house rewind, featuring archival video footage of the 1968 presidential campaign. >> american history tv airs on c-span3 every weekend, telling the american story through events, interviews, and visits to historic locations. this month, american history tv is in primetime to introduce you
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to programs you could see every weekend on c-span3. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country to hear lectures by top history professors, american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at historic slights and archives. reel america, revealing the 20th century, the civil war, where you hear about the people who shaped the civil war and reconstruction. and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies to learn about their politics, policies, and legyiacies. all this month on american history tv on c-span3. and now, "the contenders," our series on key political figures who ran for president and lost but who nevertheless changed political history. over the next two hours, we feature former vice president and minnesota senator hubert humphrey, who was the democratic candidate for president in 1968.
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this program was recorded at the minnesota history center in st. paul. this is american history tv on c-span3. >> stay right there. stay right there. >> stay there. stay right there.
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>> mr. chairman, my fellow americans. my fellow democrats, i proudly accept the nomination of our party. this moment -- this moment is one of personal pride and gratification, yet one cannot help but reflect the deep
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sadness that we feel over the troubles and the violence which have erupted regrettably and tragically in the streets of this great city. and for the personal injuries which have occurred. >> that's hubert humphrey accepting the 1968 democratic nomination for president at chicago's conrad hilton hotel where the democrats had gathered for their convention in the midst of the vietnam war while thousands of angry protesters demonstrated outside. hubert humphrey long time minnesota senator and unsuccessful candidate for president in 1968 is the focus of this week's contenders program. and we're live from minnesota's history center. mick caouette just finished a documentary last year. we're standing in the middle of an exhibit about the tumultuous year of 1968.
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to start our discussion about hubert humphrey, set the stage for people. as '68 dawned, this country was in an uproar about the vietnam war. set the stage. >> well, the vietnam war had been running for a long time at that point, probably 15 years. and the tet offensive at the end of january really set the stage for the year because it was obvious to everyone then that the war was not being won. and the north vietnamese reached all the way to the american embassy in saigon. president johnson's approval ratings just plummeted. and mccarthy had been in the race in the fall, bobby kennedy was joining the race, and it was just utter chaos at that point. and of course, right after president johnson resigned in the 29th of march, three days later, martin luther king was assassinated. the beginning of the first part of the year was terrible chaos. >> it was a year when people who were alive were turning on their radios every morning to wake up and there seemed to be another huge story every day.
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we're going to try to tell some of that story in the context of hubert humphrey's campaign for president. we'll be here for two hours. as we're here, we'll learn more about the history of the times and the biography of senator humphrey. and we'll begin taking your telephone calls so you can be part of our discussion here. what's important for young people to understand is that what's different about the wars we fight today and the vietnam war is the draft. so this was real in a sense for american families in a very different way than the professional army we have today. will you talk about that? >> sure, the draft was really the point at which the protest really started when the draft was instituted. and really, now people have a choice if people want to enter the millty. if they're against the war, they can stay away. in those days, there was no choice. you either went to canada or did something to get out of being drafted. and that's what caused the protests. and the other part of that, people weren't able to vote until they were 21, but they were being drafted at 18.
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so they couldn't even vote the people out of office that were running the war. so that was -- that was -- that's probably the biggest difference. >> so is it fair to say that every american family had a personal connection to this war in one way or the other? >> i would say pretty much. and some had two. they had someone who went to the war and someone against it in the same family. in fact, lyndon johnson. robert mcnamara, his own kids were against the war, and he had anti-war protesters stay at his house. families were broken over it. much like the civil war, i guess. >> the other thing that people should understand that made this real in the way it hadn't in wars fought earlier was television. television was bringing it into people's living room every night. will you talk about the effect of that? >> well, it was wide open because nobody had really done any kind of -- television wasn't restricted. it was all brand new. and so, you know, nobody in the administration or nobody else
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had any control over it. the journalists were going out there and getting whatever they found. and we don't have that now. it's much more controlled in the battlefield. so we were seeing things in the living room you wouldn't see now. actual battle scenes and people being wounded and that kind of thing. it had a profound effect on the country. it was another reason why people came out against the war, i started seeing it all the time on tv and 300 body bags were coming back every week at one point and they were showing the body bags coming back and the caskets, and it had a profound effect. it changed the average person's mind. >> we have to remind people that the war started before lyndon johnson's term. he had been raging for 15 years, earlier, with advisers and later as troops were deployed. so lyndon johnson's attitude about the war was what? >> i think he was confused about it for a long time, but he did not want to lose it. it was really important for him to win the war. and he -- it colored everything
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he did. people tried to talk about any kind of settlement and he wouldn't do it. he was interested in winning the war. that was his -- and once he got into it, he didn't have a lot of options. and that was the one -- the only one he wanted. no other option. and that affected when he left office too. he wanted someone to come into the office that would continue his war policy and wouldn't end the war and make him a loser, basically. >> so lyndon johnson and hubert humphrey became teammates in 1964, following the assassination of kennedy. when lyndon johnson ran in his own right. what was the relationship like? and how was this period for senator humphrey? >> well, the intensity of vietnam started at the exact same time he became vice president. the tonkin gulf resolution, the incident in the summer of '64 was -- there was a resolution in congress that lbj asked for, and it was passed, and humphrey signed on to that. he wasn't yet vice president.
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as did gene mccarthy and others. then the convention came later in the summer, and humphrey became vice president. and, you know, he -- so he walked into the beginning of johnson's involvement with the war. campaign all during the fall and really never talked about vietnam in the campaign. the campaign was about barry goldwater being trigger happy and humphrey and johnson were the peace candidates and goldwater was the war candidate basically. and so, vietnam really wasn't talked about. they were talking more about nuclear -- >> in '64. >> yeah. they were talking more about, you know, nuclear annihilation than nuclear war. and so they won by a landslide. 44 of 50 states. so in the spring, when -- in the early part of the year when they were in office, there was another incident in vietnam. and johnson called a cabinet -- sort of an ad hoc cabinet and adviser meeting and already decided to bomb north vietnam in retaliation.
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and he asked people around the table what they thought of this. and everyone pretty much agreed. but humphrey said it's not a good idea and backed off. and he had written johnson a memo earlier saying we should not get involved, shouldn't send ground troops in, should not bomb. this is not a good idea both politically, for the country, people won't understand it. he spoke up again at the meeting. johnson got angry. humphrey went back and wrote another memo, detailed one and sent it to him. at that point, he was completely frozen out of any discussion of vietnam. >> we have our first video clips to show you. first was 1964. and remember, lyndon johnson had been operating without a vice president. when he came into office after the kennedy assassination. so there was a great deal of speculation going into the convention about who he was going to choose to run in 1964. here is the film as lyndon johnson announces his choice for vice president. >> as the next vice president of
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the united states, my close, my long time -- my trusted colleague. senator hubert humphrey of minnesota! [ cheers and applause ] >> democrats and most republicans in the senate voted for education legislation, but not senator goldwater. most democrats and most republicans in the senate voted to help the united nations in its peace keeping functions when it was in financial difficulty.
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but not senator goldwater. >> i couldn't help but think at that particular moment how far we'd come. all of the hard work and effort that we'd put in through those many years and this was a great moment in my life. >> mr. johnson said in his judgment, mr. humphrey was the best man to be president in case anything happened to him. no longer is the vice presidency just another job. >> well, that video, we should tell you, in much of the video you're going to see from mick caouette's documentary on hubert humphrey. i want to thank you for letting you show it to our audience tonight. lots to follow up. first of all, the scenes of the energetic hubert humphrey addressing the crowd and having the crowd eating out of his hands and the cut away to lyndon
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johnson who didn't seem to share the moment. what was happening there? >> well, he didn't like the spotlight being taken from him. and humphrey generally believed to be a better public speaker. he was just a little bit upset about humphrey taking the show away a little bit. but he was that way. that was lyndon johnson. by the way, the goldwater -- not senator goldwater part of that speech was written by a number of people that speech. it was written by bill moyers. he wrote that back and forth. and there was a call and response kind of thing that really kind of caught on. that was an early one, that kind of speech and worked really well. >> the call and response. >> yeah, not senator goldwater and they would respond. >> it was also senator goldwater -- excuse me, senator humphrey had ambitions for the presidency for quite a while. he toyed with it in '52, made a bid in '60. here he was finally at that convention accepting the vice
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presidential nomination. you could see how excited he was. earning the nickname the happy warrior. he loved politics. >> right. absolutely. he loved politics. he got in trouble later for calling it the politics of joy. that's what he was about. he thought it was a way to better the country, to change the country. and he believed in it in a very innocent and we may think naive way, but he believed in the country believed in all the american people at once. he believed in our system. so he, you know, that was a way for him to change the country if he could. >> well, another clip. and this is later on in 1974 when hubert humphrey was gathering material for his memoir and made audiotapes. and we're going to use some of those throughout the program. but he talks a bit. and this is one example of the relationship you referenced and how it really became very testy between lyndon johnson and hubert humphrey as the administration wore on over vietnam. and he reflects on some of the ways that lyndon johnson used
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the powers of the office, the perks of the office to keep his vice president under control. let's listen. >> well, there wasn't a time that i ever got a plane that i didn't have to ask for it. and believe me, if anybody would ever tell you that johnson was extravagant, it surely wasn't with his vice president. many times he would say to me that it was better to take a smaller plane. he said if you have a plane that's too big, too many people want to ride with you. you'll be encumbered by too many people who see there's an extra seat that hasn't been used. so from time to time on short trips, particularly up and down the atlantic seaboard, i would take a king air or a queen air, one of the smaller planes that was available. or a two-engine convarthat was a military plane. for our longer trips, we used the jet star. never within the limits of the
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continental united states did we ever use air force one or two, those are the four's engine jets. those were reserved only -- to be reserved for me only for overseas trips. and at no time was i ever permitted to bring a newspaper man or the person of the media, radio, television, or press with me on any trip within the united states. president forbid it and i respected his command and his wish. i gather he felt that the vice president should be heard and seen but not -- but not reported upon too much. >> of course, lyndon johnson had been the majority leader in the senate when hubert humphrey had been serving there. these two men had a long relationship and served in leadership together. could you talk more about how johnson used the levers of power to control hubert humphrey. >> as i was saying earlier when he had his argument with johnson
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about vietnam, johnson shut him out, froze him out for at least a year at that point. about any talk about vietnam or foreign policy. he cut off his privileges, he shortened his staff. at one point he tapped his phones. and he did a number of things to basically control humphrey and he didn't want him speaking out against vietnam, didn't want him speaking out against anything johnson didn't want him to speak about, basically. wanted to keep him quiet. he had a way of calling them my planes, my boats, and johnson did this sort of possessive, you know, kind of attitude about these as if they were his and not the american people's. so he was very much in control of that. and humphrey dealt with it a lot. there were times he gave three or four speeches in one week and had to call to get permission for each plane for each speech that week. it was worse during that period and the freeze lasted a year and johnson sent him to vietnam. >> did hubert humphrey talk about how he reacted to this?
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he had to have been unhappy. >> he was miserable for a long time. during this freeze in particular because johnson was basically shutting him out of the inner circle. so he was kind of on the outside. and he wasn't happy. he wanted to be involved in what was going on. it was a bad time for him. but he went back -- he was sent to vietnam a year later and things changed in 1966. >> we are going to walk around this exhibit tonight and give you some sense of the exhibit that's been put together here showing the year 1968 with the focus on politics and our stops. and i wanted to remind you about your participation and about 10, 12 minutes, we'll start taking telephone calls. if you live in the eastern or central time zone, 202-737-002. if you live in the mountain or pacific time zone, 202-737-0002. and we look forward to your comments here on 1978, and the year in which hubert humphrey was a contender for president of the united states.
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why don't you walk along with me and we'll go to our next stop here. so how did you first get interested in hubert humphrey? >> well, i grew up here. he was always in the air when i was a kid. and i spent some time working here. and the archive was just fabulous. and for a documentary film maker, that's of course, gold mine. >> the humphreys had four children. are the children still here? are they active in politics? >> his daughter is no longer alive. she died a couple years ago. his grandson buck is more probably more involved in politics than the others. the sons are in sales and skip, hubert iii, his son, works in an advertising agency. none of them are really in politics at this point. >> well, we are at the exhibit about the politics, the political life of hubert humphrey, which was his life, but he wasn't born in minnesota. where was he born? >> in dylan, south dakota, and about 90 miles from the border
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into south dakota in one of those little railroad towns that dotted the south dakota prairie that went along the prairie, and he was born in 1911, and it was a remarkable little town. sort of an intellectual ferment. his father was the druggist. his mother was a methodist sort of a social gospel person. he got the politics in his father's drugstore and her social methodist social gospel kind of feel. he got it from both sides. and sort of it's been called a great combination of a preacher and a politician. he got both sides. >> he went to pharmacy school himself. how did he end up in politics? >> he went to pharmacy school largely for a job he always wanted to be in politics. and he did it in the year, a short time to help his father with the drugstore. but i don't think he ever really wanted to be a pharmacist for life. >> he ended up getting a doctorate, as i understand. >> no, he got a masters degree. >> masters degree. what was his intention?
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why was he studying politics? >> well, initially he was going to get a doctorate and teach. that was his first idea. and he was so good at public speaking and so good at communicating that a lot of people around him convinced him to run. i guess deep down he probably did want to run. he ended up coming back to minnesota and becoming mayor of minneapolis, that's the way he started. >> when did he serve as mayor and what was the city like then, do you know? >> oh, yeah. he came back from grad school, and minnesota had been a republican state and never elected a democrat to the senate. the reason why was the non-republicans were divided between the democrats and the farm and labor party. he helped to unite the two parties, the democrat and labor party and built himself his own political base. that's how he -- and the city was rupt and bigoted and all kinds of problems with segregation and things. when he first came, nation magazine called it the capital of anti-semitism in the united
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states. when he left, he got an award from the national council of christian and jews for the things he did. >> talk about the dfl. is it still active in minnesota politics today? and hubert humphrey was really its founder? >> he was one of two or three people. he was probably the greatest negotiator of the group. >> what does it stand for? >> democrat farm and labor party. >> from an ideology standpoint? >> i don't know whether it does any more, but at the time, it was a group of farmers and laborers, obviously, who had probably differences, a complicated start. they probably had differences with the more professional sort of democrats that were fdr democrats. it was a split there. they just didn't like each other. and humphrey was one of the people that finally convinced them that they're never going to win an election unless they get together. and the democrat labor party had 1/3 of our legislature. >> he ran for senate when? >> he ran for senate in 1948
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after the speech. >> successfully. and we're going to talk more about that speech. but i have a clip not from them, but from 1960 when he first seriously thought about running for president. and this is just one of those joy of being a politician of hubert humphrey. let's watch. >> how do you think your race is going? >> well, like this roller coaster, it's been an uphill fight, but i think we've been doing quite well. >> would you mind telling me what has been the most exciting part of the campaign. >> right now. i just had it. >> thank you, senator. >> well, i tell you, this is good fun. >> thank you, sir. >> and politics ought to be fun. >> yes, sir. ♪ vote for hubert hubert humphrey ♪ the president for you and me ♪ >> and there we see hubert humphrey just enjoying life. did he bring this to her politics all the time? >> all the time, yep. that was pretty much the way he ran. and he would light up a room. people that met him would say it
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would be 11:00 at night and he'd get off the plane and work until 3:00 in the morning and everybody was asleep and he would still be like that. he would run like that constantly, and he loved what he was doing. >> what were some of his other characteristics. i read he was known for talking a lot. >> absolutely. but he was also a good listener and people missed that part. he did talk a lot. in his speeches, he would come with a prepared speech and put it down and just talk for an hour. he knew a lot about a lot of different subjects. really intelligent. an astounding memory. they figured at the time he maybe knew 5,000 to 10,000 people by the first name. >> what a politician's gift. to be able to remember names like that. >> he could go to a town, go back five years later, remember their name, their family's name, what they did for a living. remarkable memory. >> we're going to start taking calls and then learn more about his political philosophy. first up is kurt in ohio. kurt, welcome to our conversation about hubert humphrey. >> caller: well, thank you and
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good evening. it's a wonderful program to be participating in. >> thank you. >> caller: you're welcome. and you mentioned 1948 and i remember hearing and i've watched some of the clips on youtube and on the internet of an actor named ronald reagan who endorsed hubert humphrey in 1948 for the u.s. senate which -- were they -- when you think about it, were they kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum even though they were both democrats at that time? but also, i wanted to find out what hubert humphrey's relationship was with barry goldwater in the u.s. senate versus what their private life was like. and also, did hubert humphrey and jack kennedy get along very well when they were running against each other for president in 1960? and in 1956 when they actually vied for the vice presidential nomination to run with governor
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adlai stevenson, who ultimately they lost to the senator of tennessee? >> right, thank you so much, kurt. well, we're going to take those in order. first, his relationship with ronald reagan. >> he was a lifelong friend of ronald reagan, and ronald reagan was pretty much the same politics back in those days. he was the head of the actor's union, actors' guild. he was a democrat and pretty much had the same philosophy as humphrey. ronald reagan changed, humphrey remained the same. but they did remain friends all those years and great respect for each other. >> barry goldwater. >> they were even better friends they were absolutely -- the best story i heard about their friendship was they gave a -- they were giving speeches in iowa on the back of a hay wagon on the farm. they ripped each other apart in the back-to-back speeches and someone drove through town and saw them having dinner together. they were good, good friends. >> if you could talk in general, kennedy is next, but before we talk about kennedy specifically about the united states senate, these were the times of very big
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names of the senators. people recognize the names from history books today, and was there bipartisanship? because people worked across the aisle. talk about what the senate was like. >> absolutely. it was disagreeing without being disagreeable. that was really what was going on. there was a lot of comradery. humphrey was friends with a lot of republicans, even some of dixiecrats who he differed with. he was friends with some of those people. it was a different and more cordial and i believe there was more camaraderie than there is now. i'm not in the senate now, but i can tell you they were pretty close, those people. >> jfk and their relationship. >> jfk's relationship early in the senate, humphrey -- they voted together on many of the same bills. humphrey helped him with farm legislation because he knew nothing about it. their relationship changed dramatically in 1960 during the election and during the primaries and then the election. >> in what ways? >> well, they fought -- they had these debates in the election in
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the primaries in wisconsin and west virginia. and they got to know each other that way. and then when kennedy became president, humphrey gave him many, many of his ideas to use in his administration. and the "washington post" called humphrey the idea factory for the kennedy administration because he had so many ideas, the peace corps, for instance, was one of them. >> hubert humphrey's idea? >> oh, yeah. >> let's take a call next from indianapolis. this caller's name is jerry and you're on the air, jerry. welcome. >> caller: i love y'all's show. but i got a question for the man. back in 1968, in 1948, was humphrey spending more time with -- on the civil rights movement with dr. luther king and kennedy and humphrey and lyndon b. johnson? >> yes, and we're going to spend quite a bit of time talking about his civil rights. in fact, why don't we get into that part on his world view by showing a clip.
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this is from your film, the art of possible. this is early in his career which hubert humphrey talks about his view of the world and his brand of liberalism. let's listen. all right. we don't have that clip. as we're getting it ready. why don't you help us understand what informed his politics? >> well, to answer the question too. he -- the civil rights was -- it was in him from the time he was born. so it wasn't new to hubert humphrey. lyndon johnson was in the southern state and had to deal more with the whole idea of the issue of race and getting elected. so it was quite different for him. but humphrey felt and believed deeply what he was up against. and what he actually did in that speech, lyndon johnson called the most courageous political act in the 20th century because he could've destroyed the
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democratic party, could have destroyed truman and his own career. so he really believed in the civil human rights. >> and he was asking about humphrey's commitment compared to the other two. so, to lyndon johnson and to john kennedy. can you make a valued judgment about how much they cared about the issue compared to hubert humphrey? >> i -- kennedy was -- johnson probably was more in line with humphrey. kennedy was a reluctant civil rights person. he came to it later and bobby came it to even more. but it was an issue for humphrey from the beginning. and it was an issue for johnson, actually, for many years too. humphrey was much more passionate about it, i believe. and much more involved with the african-american community. spoke at naacp meetings and knew a lot of people. he didn't know martin luther king, of course, '48, that early, but he did know a lot of labor leaders. and other people who were at that time. and, yeah, so -- >> let's listen to cynthia in sioux city, iowa.
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>> caller: good evening. i was a member of the television news team in sioux city, iowa, but i happened to be in washington, d.c. reporting the day we withdrew from vietnam. and i had the privilege of interviewing hubert humphrey on that very day. and he spoke about, i asked him how he felt about losing the vietnam war and he said he too was a casualty of the vietnam war. he was quite emotional and had a tear in his eye. i wondered if you could talk more about his vietnam policy. >> well, the two trips he made to vietnam while he was vice president. the first trip we scheduled for him, and he went to a prescribed trip with all of the stops planned for him. he was watched pretty closely, and he saw only the good side of the war, spoke to the good generals, heard all the good news about the war. the second time, he decided to
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go on his own a year later. and at that point, he quit cheerleading the war because he found out the corruption in the south vietnamese government and all the other things going on with the war and realized it was lost. but he was boxed in. he had been speaking out for the war for the last year. lyndon johnson was not going to let him speak against the war. so he had himself in a bad situation. that conflict lasted with him all the way through 1968. >> as the caller before alluded, the two great issues of hubert humphrey's political career were civil rights and the vietnam war. that 1948 speech that the caller talked about really launched hubert humphrey on to the national stage. we're going to listen to a clip from that speech from the convention in philadelphia in 1948. when we come back, we'll be joined by another guest, juan williams, fox commentator, but also the author of a number of books that deal with the civil rights era in american history. to the 1948 clip now.
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>> mr. chairman, fellow democrats, fellow americans, i realize that in speaking of behalf the minority report on civil rights that i am dealing with a charged issue. issue which has been confused by i feel i must rise to support a report that the people of the country can and will understand, and a report that they will enthusiastically acclaim on the great issue of civil rights. for those who you say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, i say to them we are 172 years late! >> after all i had been the destroyer of the democratic party, the enemy of the south.
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hubert humphrey, the quote end quote nigger lover. but i never felt so lonesome and as i did those first few weeks and months as united states senator. >> and that second clip was hubert humphrey reflecting on what it was like coming to washington in 1949 after his big speech in the '48 convention. juan williams, welcome to our conversation. >> it's good to be with you. >> how important in the history of civil rights in this country was hubert humphrey? >> that '48 speech was a landmark. that's the moment at which you see organized politics get behind what we think of as the modern 20th century civil rights movement. those the moment at which the democratic party sheds so much of the paralysis being reliant
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on the dixicrats. remember, in that period, democrats dominated the south politically. it's at that point you see someone rise up in the democratic party in the form of this very public convention. remember, hubert humphrey's voice is heard nationwide as speaker, the mayor of minneapolis, at the convention. here he is saying to people across the land on radio that this is an abomination, this is not what the democratic party, not what the american people should be standing for. he's speaking on the radio in terms of national morality and a call to justice and he does it at a cost. because you have the segregationists, dixiecrats, many of whom walk out the convention. it leads to third parties and all the rest. it has a tremendous consequence that will fall like dominoes throughout american history. >> name some of the names of dixiecrats that walked out. >> senator eastlynn. strom thurmond would be a big one. you had eastland and some of the
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other governors and members of the senate right there. >> now, a question. how risky was it for hubert humphrey, senate candidate, to put his neck out on the line for civil rights? was it controversial here at home? >> talking about now after he's become senator? >> no, in '48 when he was running. he was a candidate, wasn't he, that year? >> he was, but he was still mayor, but he was a candidate. >> he was a candidate. here among the voters in minnesota to speak out for civil rights, was that considered -- >> he came back as hero here. i don't think -- it resonated here fine. other parts of the country it was a problem. >> did he offer any risk for harry truman in making this? >> absolutely. >> how did truman feel about this? >> when he first started the speech, truman called him a pip-squeak and was really upset about it. and thought he had ruined the election for him. truman and was watching and he condemned him for it. he was watching it ton tv in the white house. he learned later on it it helped
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him and he turned it around and used the speech to get the african-american vote in the north and that helped him win. >> what inflamed his commitment to civil rights? where did this come from in him? >> that's a good question. nobody knows. his father -- he got it from his father, but the question is where did his father get it in the middle of south dakota. his father just raised him to believe that people were people and they had no colorblindness. he raised him that people were people and it was quite remarkable. there were no african-americans in the small town he was in. there was one catholic family jewish family that had crosses burned on their lawns. it was inside him. it was innate. no one can really come up with a reason, but it certainly was there. >> let's go to another call from andrea watching us in newburg, new york. you're on. welcome. >> caller: hi, good evening. how you doing? >> great, thanks. your question? >> caller: i was hoping that you could comment a little bit bit on the relationship between
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senator robert kennedy and hubert humphrey, and how it developed from being political enemies in 1960 to 1968 when they were vying for the presidential nomination. the democrat presidential nomination. >> okay. rfk relationship. >> the rfk relationship started really in 1960. he didn't have much of a relationship with him before that. it didn't start off well because of the way humphrey was treated in the primaries by the kennedys. he learned to like robert kennedy. they learned to be friends. he campaigned for kennedy in '66 when he ran for the senate, and he -- in 1968 they had a meeting in may in early 1968, the kennedy and humphrey people, and they agreed that if humphrey got the nomination, kennedy would support him and if kennedy got the nomination, humphrey would support him. he was pretty much an in-line democrat.
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he was a party person, bobby kennedy, and so was humphrey. >> next up is ron in everett, washington. welcome to the humphrey discussion, ron. >> caller: thank you. i'd like to jump -- or forward to the 1968 campaign again. could you elaborate -- it's my recollection that president johnson actually in some ways tried to scuttle humphrey's effort, and, of course, that was one of the closest popular elections in history. for example, it's my recollection if the bombing cause had been started a bit earlier, say a month earlier, it could have made the crucial difference. can you elaborate on that? thanks? >> did lyndon johnson try to scuttle his bid for the white house? >> well, he never helped him. he didn't help him very much until the very end. he did these kind of things where he had nixon at the ranch. then the day hubert humphrey at the ranch. he'd bring all the press out for nixon and he'd tell humphrey no press could be there. he did some really -- and part of the belief is among
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historians that johnson believed that humphrey might end the war and make him look bad, his legacy. and nixon he thought might continue the war, and he very well may have been for nixon. until later in the campaign nixon pulled a few dirty tricks. so he came out for humphrey. he thought he might lose texas at the end, which he didn't want to do. he was really late in the campaign when he started to work for humphrey. pretty much during the whole campaign he was out of the picture and wouldn't help at all and held vietnam all over here. >> juan, back to civil rights. from the 1948 entry of hubert humphrey, came in really '63 and yr '64 when civil rights legislation was being hut forward. tell that story, if you would briefly. >> humphrey's involvement is as the democratic whip in the senate. you have lbj basically the inheritor of president kennedy's efforts to get civil rights legislation passed.
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but kennedy, there was some doubt about his commitment to this. what he was willing -- the price -- was he willing to pay the price in terms of the southerners who would oppose it. after the kennedy assassination, johnson expresses sort of a recommitment to get this done in honor to president kennedy. >> does he make humphrey the point man on this. >> humphrey becomes the point man in the senate. mike mansfield is the senate majority leader, a democrat, but it's hubert humphrey, the man who gave the '48 speech, the man who has been persistent in terms of calling for civil rights and justice as part of the democratic agenda who really takes up the cause in the senate. he's up against it, because the rules were different then. you know, you could filibuster to no end, and basically i believe the numbers are 67 votes were required in order to end the filibuster. you know, if you look through history, there are very few points at which you get enough votes to end a filibuster and
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certainly it is exceptional you would get a votes to end a filibuster on any piece of civil rights legislation. that's almost unheard of. it takes a great deal of effort by hubert humphrey to hold off a republican effort to prolong this filibuster. and finally is able to do it -- i think he gets something like four votes in excess of the 67 that are needed in order to call an end to it. then, of course, what's interesting is, you know, the legislation couldn't be put through the normal channels because if it was put through the judiciary committee you would have run into, none other than, senator eastland. it's sort of extra judicial place being put in by mansfield, then engineered by hubert humphrey. then the bill gets its overwhelming passage. >> what were the opponents to civil rights constitutional arguments? >> well, you know, the constitutional argument largely states we have a right to run our businesses, for instance, in a public place. we have a right to allow whoever we want in. that the constitution allows us to do that.
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well, of course, that was one of the main arguments. there were a number of them, but i want to say, too, that the dixiecrats were probably the biggest obstacle for him. he had a number of republicans that were on his side. in fact, it was a coalition of republicans and democrats that made it happen, because they had the dixiecrats in the democratic party. those people were just -- there was no way to change their minds. it was an interesting group. thomas kiko was on the republican side and everett dirkson eventually. so the opposition was very conservative republicans. barry goldwater was against the civil rights bill for instance and the dixiecrats. that was his obstacle. get it passed. >> the drama of this filibuster coming down to the wire, we're going to -- just to give you a sense of what the arguments were like, we have another clip. this is hubert humphrey and strom thurman debating the '64 civil rights bill.
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it's a back-to-back clip with hubert humphrey talking in a speech about his strategy. so two clips back to back. let's watch that debate from '64 and then we come back to the two guests. >> and we know that fellow americans who happen to be negro have been denied equal access to places of public accommodation, denied in their travels the chance for a place to rest and to eat. >> it's not public accommodations, it's invasion of private property. this will lead to integration of private life. >> in the city of birmingham, alabama up to 1963 there was an ordinance that said if you have a restaurant and you permit a negro to come in, you had to have a seven-foot wall down the middle of the restaurant dividing the white from the colored. now, how foolish this is and isn't that an invasion of private property? >> senator, we live in a country of freedom, and under our constitution a man has a right to use his own private property
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as he sees fit. we must remember that this bill creates no jobs, so therefore whose jobs are these negros and minorities going to take? other negros' jobs or white people's jobs. >> everyone has this weighing heavily on our conscience, and we must as individual citizens speak out against prejudice and bigotry and discrimination. we must be willing to accept the fact that every american is entitled to equal rights under the constitution and under the law. no less than that. >> well, the most difficult task that i have as a floor leader on the civil rights bill is just being there having to watch every move and make sure that at all times we have present or readily available 51 senators, because one of the tactics of the opposition is to call for repeated quorums, which means we have to produce 51 senators to answer the roll.
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>> that story of meetings with the senate rules different to have 51 supporters of the legislation on the floor. how did he organize the people to be there? >> he had teams, and they would rotate. at times when he -- if they didn't get a quorum, the senate would be shut down and would work in the favor of the anti-civil rights people. they were able to bring only two or three people in and leave them there and go home and two or three people more come in. they have this rotating basis and wear out the 51 people that had to be there. they did things like drive to baseball games and pull a senator out of the baseball game and bring him back for the senate when they needed a quorum and they did all kinds of things. they had a list and they had a schedule for senators that had to be in -- it was really well done. they had some moments when it didn't work. they had to get people from outside the senate and bring them back, fly them back and things to get a quorum. it was tough. >> was the opposition largely regional? was it the southern coalition that opposed civil rights or broader than that? >> you had goldwater, for
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example, he's a westerner from arizona. his opposition was sort of libertarian, which picks up on what mick was just saying. which is that this is a matter of -- this is a free country, it is a matter of private property. you shouldn't be telling a man what to do. you see much of this then get reflected in strom thurman's language. we just saw some of that. thurman is not speaking just in terms of rank racism, but he's saying this is a violation of my rights as an american to make personal choices and a violation of personal freedom. and humphrey's having to come back and say this is ridiculous, this is not a genuine argument. in fact, what you're doing is perpetrating the worst kind of racism, and you're oproposing people. that becomes the argument. it's interesting to go back and listen to that clip. we have such arguments today about jobs in our country and what's necessary to be done. you can hear strom thurmond
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saying, well, this legislation doesn't produce jobs and therefore blacks, or as he says, negroes -- are going to take the white man's job. you just think -- oh, my god! but clearly, he was comfortable saying this, and it had some effect in that era. it is not as if he was speaking into a void. to the contrary. it was generating a political response and strong opposition to the civil rights legislation. >> let's take a call from jimmy in williamson, west virginia. you're on, jimmy. >> caller: i'm so glad you called me, ma'am. this is wonderful. i haven't spoken but to one of the sons of senator humphrey in the last -- well, since he died over the years. i think i spoke with skip. i am jimmy wofford. i'm the fellow who sang the hubert humphrey songs. i have such a wonderful love for him. over the years, i am -- he took me everywhere. i sang everything. he taught me politics.
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he had great respect for me, because i came from a family who -- my father worked the railroad and my grandpa, the mccoys, worked coal mines and hubert humphrey came back in here. he heard me sing on a radio station in williamson, west virginia in 1960. he gave me $25 a day to travel with him. teddy white wrote a book called "the making of the president." teddy became one of my best friends, and teddy taught me a lot. and everyone in minnesota that i've met and throughout america and the great people that i met, henry fonda and the presidents and the vice presidents and the people all over this country, i'm 77 years old now. i still record -- i did record for capital records for years, and i'm doing material now for the stories of the hatfields and mccoys family.
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my mama's family. hubert humphrey was, to me, like my father. >> jimmy, thank you so much for that personal story. you know jimmy's songs? >> yeah, yeah. i'm not going to sing them, but i know them. i know them. he was -- he's travelled with him all the time and he's with him very closely. it's good to hear his voice. he's one person i lost in this whole search for interviews. i didn't know where he was. i'm glad he is alive and well. >> 77 years old. thanks for calling in and adding that personal touch. we have to get one more relationship established here. over the course of the civil right career, well, around the passage of the bill, did he develop a personal friendship with martin luther king? >> he certainly knew king very well, and he had a relationship with king around this legislation. it's interesting that if you look inside the reaction in the black community, i mean, remember, there are lots of people who are militants who don't see the value of this legislation. king, on the other hand, is
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saying, no, this is a necessary step. if you go back to the great march on washington in 1963, in large measure it says it's for jobs, freedom, et cetera. in large measure it's to say to the united states congress, pass the civil rights act, pass the law. put it in place. humphrey is one of the great supporters of this at the time. he is at the march on washington. he is someone who is emphatic in his support even as you get people in the dixiecrats saying we shouldn't have a march on washington. they're just trying to pressure us politically and all the fears that surround it. humphrey was a total supporter and thought that it was a good and necessary step. >> one other thing about he and martin luther king. at the early stages at the filibuster, he met with martin luther king. he said to him, i want you to know we're on the same page, and if i say some things to these dixie. >> caller:
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crats, because humphrey's policy was to try to treat them with respect. use the humphrey way rather than the johnson way, which was to negotiate. if i say things in public you don't like, remember i say it because i want the bill to get passed and we're on the same page and don't get upset about it. he had a great meeting with him before. >> we can hardly do justice for hubert humphrey's career before he ran for president himself in 1968, but at least you get some sense for his work on the national stage in civil rights. that he took into the vice presidency. and then in 1968 when he decided to run for president himself. we didn't establish this, but very important that lyndon johnson made the decision earlfully 1968 that he would not seek the office, thus setting the stage. at that point how many democratic contenders were thinking about challenging lyndon johnson? >> it was basically bobby kennedy and gene mccarthy. >> they were anti-war candidates? >> yes, they were. it was a month later humphrey joined. >> when did johnson announce? >> 29th of march. >> was that a surprise to the nation?
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>> it was a shock to humphrey. he had shown up to humphrey's apartment earlier that day. humphrey was in mexico before he left town, before he left washington. he showed up at humphrey's apartment. said i'm going to give this speech. i have two endings. you should listen to the speech, because you'll be surprised at one of the endings if i use it. he hadn't decided yet. humphrey was in mexico, and he was called out to watch the broadcast. he announced he was leaving the office. because the chaos going on there, they thought they heard he was immediately leaving office which would have made humphrey president. there was all this commotion, and then they realized he was leaving at the end of his term. it was complete shock to him and the country. >> what's interesting about this to me is as you ask about who is running again him, it really was gene mccarthy. gene mccarthy is the one who's in new hampshire and taking on johnson. johnson is not actively campaigning, but clearly he has surrogates and people who are
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all around who stand for johnson and for the kind of democratic party establishment at the time. gene mccarthy is the anti-establishment, anti-johnson candidate, and he has support from people who are sturp saupe of the era. today we still know barbra streisand and burt lancaster. but they're people who are all anti-vietnam war. all the college students are emphatic about gene mccarthy, and gene mccarthy does surprisingly well in new hampshire and legitimatized the idea that johnson is vulnerable. it's only after mccarthy's success that then you start to see robert kennedy willing to jump in. and then people are questioning why is he jumping in and trying to block gene mccarthy. because they think mccarthy has the momentum. of course, that sets the table. even as hubert humphrey is thinking that he, too, is trying to pull back on it or he is pressured by the fact he's loyal to the man who gave him the vice presidency, lyndon johnson.
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it's one of these, to me, wonderful political stories where you see someone saying, you know what? you can tell, hubert humphrey's really a good guy, and he is not going to put lyndon johnson in a position where lyndon johnson feels that he's being undercut by his number two, the guy that he empowered. but at the same time, and as you've discussed earlier, johnson is just totally dismissive of humphrey, and especially humphrey's contribution or desire to make a contribution, saying, you know what? this war is not the right war. >> let's get to another call. this is larry in sherman oaks, california. hi, larry. >> caller: hi. i'm a rather big fan of humphrey's, and for many years it took me quite a while to accept the fact that he was never going to be president, even after his passing. so i was able to finally channel that energy into putting up my own humphrey website which i've had since 2002. in 1998 i visited mhs along with with the humphrey institute when
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steve sandel was there. we looked in the catalog and didn't see any item surrounding the middle east war in june. i would have thought humphrey would have made some speeches or interviews or something. didn't see anything. that surprised me. >> was he involved in middle east policy, and did he speak out on it? >> he was. they're talking about june of '68, i guess. i don't think that it was at the forefront really at that point. he had too much else on his plate, i think is what it probably was. i don't remember seeing anything either. i've been through all the archives. >> with the early primaries and lyndon johnson's announcement, things start going into warped speed in 1968. it was the year of assassinations, the first being martin luther king's. what happened in the country with the king assassination? >> well, it's hard to summarize it, but let me say you immediately have riots. you have riots that still mark cities like washington, d.c.,
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chicago, kansas city. it becomes a national moment of crisis. you have people fearful that there's going to be large-scale racial war in the country after this assassination. you know, the unrest that surrounded the vietnam war is still present. but now it becomes a background. because remember, king was an opponent of the vietnam war. and he had said that this was an unjust war and a wrong war, and why are black and white boys dying in this war. there were people who were trying to join the civil rights movement with the anti-war movement. king, who has not been political, king, who had condemned -- said there were flaws within the democratic party and flaws within the republican party, is becoming more political. there are people inside the civil rights movement who
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recognize that johnson has been so supportive in terms of civil rights and humphrey supported him. why are you, dr. king, now, challenging this administration that's been so supportive of us? king, nonetheless, says that he feels a moral imperative. remember, he's a nobel peace prize winner and he feels a moral imperative to say that this is part of an injustice that's being perpetrated by america. that america is on the wrong side of world history in pursuing this war effort. you got half a million americans at war, record numbers of deaths, and he is out there speaking against it, you know, a year before he's assassinated he's at the riverside church in new york making a speech that gets lots of attention. shortly before he is assassinated, he's at the national cathedral in washington, d.c. speaking against the war. so it becomes part of the energy that surrounds him and it puts him in the position of being an opponent of the johnson administration.
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>> syracuse, new york. this is ralph. you're on the air. >> caller: thank you very much. thank you for the contenders. i'm a proud uaw worker from upstate new york, and i have a quick comment and question and i'll hang up. i have a video at home from the afl-cio and the title of it is, "words of a true friend," of workers and their unions. it is about hubert humphrey speaking at an afl-cio gathering. and it was towards the end of his life. he was still smiling. he knew it was almost at the end. and he had a great quote at the end of his speech. he says, i'd rather live 50 years like a tiger than 100 years like a chicken. i wanted to move up to 1968 and i met a guy 20 years ago who said he worked on the humphrey campaign in 1968. he said that he came home after working on the campaign, and he was at this hotel. he was looking out at this park, and the news came on and said that there's a humphrey
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protestors having violence in the park. he called humphrey the next day when they had a meeting, and humphrey said, i know. nixon's been doing it for a while and there's nothing we can do about it. i think from this guy's story nixon was doing it to link humphrey to anti-war protestors, and i was wondering if your guests have ever heard a story like this. thank you very much. >> thanks very much. >> i have heard stories of being paid protestors and i heard it in the civil rights movement, i believe, when people were paid to cause trouble. it's never been -- it's hard to document. there were stories about it. i'm sure it probably happened at times, but that's, you know -- there's no way to know for sure. >> he was a union caller. how important were they to the anti-war movement? >> on the civil rights front they were important. they were slow it to come along. you think of a. philip randolph going all the way back to the '20s and '30s trying to get the
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labor movement in this country to understand the importance of racial equity. but by the time of the '60s, you know, they are an essential part of the democratic coalition, democratic coalition part of that fdr legacy, if you will. here they are now linking hands with not only a. philip randolph and ruston buttle also dr. king to support the march on washington. the famous picture of dr. king speaking at the march on washington, he's got several people, meat cutters and others, right behind him in that video and you can see the union involvement. you can see the head of the afl-cio and others right there with him. it becomes not just a matter of a support mechanism but a controlling mechanism for people in the kennedy administration who wanted to be able to have some levers of control over the march and over the civil rights effort. >> well, we're going to take a call here, and then we've got to fast forward it for history. shortly after the king
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assassination, robert kennedy assassinated in los angeles. let's listen to a call from dean in cleveland and come back and talk about that. >> caller: hi, i'm a fellow brother of the cleveland building construction trade. i don't want to turn this into a union rally, but my first ever political involvement in politics was with hubert humphrey. i was 18 years old, and i live in a city -- a suburb of the city of brooklyn, ohio. interracial suburb. he had came to brooklyn as the vice president of the united states, and you can imagine what was happening in '68 and '69 and all of the '60s for that matter. he sat down and stayed in town for a couple of hours with our mayor, who turned out to be a mayor for 51 years. his name was john coyne. they were both mayors.
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they talked things over. i was only 18. i also got drafted the following year. but it was just a pleasure this series you're running and i'm a happy warrior of hubert humphrey. thanks for having this. >> hubert humphrey, the happy warrior given throughout his political career. we're live from the minnesota history museum, the history center in st. paul right by the capitol. beautiful building if you're here. please visit. they have a special exhibit on 1968, and we're using that as our backdrop to talk about the presidential campaign of 1968, hubert humphrey, one of his many bids for president. the one at which he actually got the democratic nod. unsuccessful in his bid. as we talk tonight, he made a major contribution to american history, and we're learning more about that. in june the california primary and the next national figure to be gunned down, rfk. what happens to the campaigns at this point? >> well, i know what happened to
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humphrey's campaign for a good month. it just stopped. he didn't feel comfortable campaigning at all under those circumstances. it set him way back. that's the beginning of his numbers sliding. early in the primary season, he wasn't in the primaries but he was ahead by as much as ten points over every other candidate. after kennedy was shot, it looked like the democratic party was falling apart really. really it stopped his campaign. when he got back on his feet in july, he was already behind nixon. then came the republican convention which sort of cemented nixon's lead. >> you know what i would say, too, is what stands out in my mind is we were talking a moment ago about the king assassination. robert kennedy gives an amazing speech that so many people still remember in indianapolis on the night of the king assassination. as i described to you, there's rioting breaking out all over the country. there's a tremendous sense of racial anger and racial unease. he talks about the king assassination in terms of his own brother's assassination, and
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the kind of drops of rain and all that we can do to try to ease that pain, but the patience that's required. and then, you know, just a few moments later here he is laying dead in los angeles, and i think that, again, the sense is that america's leaders are being killed, people who are the idealists, people who were to carry on the grand traditions of liberalism, people who were challenging the establishment are being eliminated. there's this great sense of sadness and despair in the american body of politic at that moment, and it's hard to capture the extent of it. sometimes we have arguments today about what's going on in washington and paralysis and polarization, and people say to me, if you were here in '68 you would understand how bad things could have been been. it felt like the country is coming apart. it feels like we don't know the forces of evil that are at work and why so many great american leaders are being killed at this moment. don't forget, president johnson's approval numbers are in the low 30s.
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he can't even come out -- he can't attend major events. he won't be able to go to the democratic convention, and there's rioting at the democratic convention. it's really an incredible moment in '68, and hubert humphrey is there. we were talking about the happy warrior. hubert humphrey is there. he wants to be anti-war and he wants to stand up with people and say there's reason to hope, america can do it. he's seen as an establishment figure because of his association with the incumbent, lyndon johnson. >> so our cities are burning and kids are rioting on college campuses, our leaders are being gunned down. in all this, people are trying to vie for the office and bring america to the next stage. we're going to the next stage. we're going to walk down the aisle here and listen to a call as we do and our next stop is about the opposition as it's gathering both with george wallace and also the republicans. let's listen to jim who is watching us in new york. hi, jim. >> caller: hi, how are you? >> we're great. thanks. what's your question about hubert humphrey?
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>> caller: let me first say how much i am enjoying this program. i really appreciate it. my question really, though, deals with the first draft lottery, which i believe was in either '67 or '68. i do have great recollection of being eligible for that, having a very low number, which, of course, upset everyone in my family. what was humphrey's position relative to that, the whole concept of the lottery? what did he do, pro or con, in that issue? >> you know, i don't know that i've heard humphrey say anything about the lottery, but i do know that later on he -- at that time he worked to raise the voting age as i said earlier because he thought it unfair that people were drafted at 18 and couldn't vote until they were 21. i think later in his life he had
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different ideas about it, and he probably felt that the draft itself probably wasn't such a good idea. at the time i don't know that he really said anything about it that i remember. >> so summer of 1968 and the country's in disarray. the democratic party with the assassination of both dr. king and then bobby kennedy are in disarray. there was a report that gene mccarthy lost his heart to campaign after the assassination. on the republican side, richard nixon, who had also been senate and also a former vice president, wanted to be president as well. what was his campaign's reaction to all of it this turmoil? how were they positioning their man? >> you know, the principal response from nixon was law and order. he wanted to restore law and order in the streets. he wanted to get the counterculture, all the young people who were so vociferous in their anti-war efforts and protesting on campus and shutting down campuses, wanted to get that under control.
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and he appealed to then a group that is now a famous name, but the silent majority in american politics who felt as if they were being put upon by this counterculture and all these young people, some of whom had supported gene mccarthy. what's interesting is nixon in this period is a guy who, you know, himself has concerns about the war, has questions about it. but he is -- he's positioned himself as a staunch supporter of the military and the war. as a counter, i think, to some of the democratic efforts and separate himself out from the johnson forces. >> hubert humphrey is still struggling and boxed in by being loyal to his president. johnson demanding loyalty as we get into the campaign. so the two candidates were able to distinguish themselves? >> let me say before that it's interesting if you look on the republican side it's not only nixon that's running, but you've got romney -- >> the father of the current candidate for president.
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>> yeah. romney was trying to position himself at anti-war, and it leads to what i guess we all will remember as the most famous moment in george romney's presidential run when he says he's been brainwashed by the generals and political leaders about what's going on in vietnam. of course, saying he was brainwashed then alienated some of the that silent majority base because they wanted the war to continued and to win the war. romney thought he could outflank nixon by being the anti-war republican. turns out he hurt himself with his base and he really was never able to challenge nixon after that. you also had, you know, people like harold stasson. >> nelson rockefeller also. >> rockefeller and romney in the mix. guess who? ronald reagan is in that mix. reagan is the strong, strong conservative as opposed to nixon at the miami convention. ultimately it comes down to rockefeller and reagan kind of knocking each other out and
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allowing nixon to have a clear path to the nomination in miami. >> fred is watching us from ypsilanti, michigan. hi, fred. >> caller: i wanted to mention one of my favorite stories about humphrey when he was the mayor of the minneapolis. the bell telephone company was going out on strike. the mayor's office story goes overlooked the bell telephone company across the street. and he saw them taking in mattresses and food to be brought into the building to prepare for a long strike. so he ordered the inspectors to go over there and have the hotel to have permits so he emptied the building of all that staff and the strike was over. hubert horatio humphrey was always a great friend of the working people, and that's my
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comment. >> thanks for telling that story. let's move right on to another call from nancy in norton, virginia. hey, nancy. >> caller: hi. i was 14 years old in 1968. i'm from if appalachia but i was visiting in washington. and my older cousin was a humphrey supporter. i was always very proud of that. i wanted to ask since i heard on msnbc earlier that the "occupy" movement is coming to d.c. in december 5th through the 9th. what your guests could offer in regard to recognizing paid provocateurs? i know dr. king studied for none violence at the highlander center in knoxville, tennessee, and all the 99%ers i approve of are non-violent and if they have any advice about that. washington is not a city, it's a crime scene. thank you very much. >> thanks very much.
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>> well, yeah, he started at the hylander school as rosa parks and other involved with the civil rights movement. initially the highlander school is there to help people involved with union activities who were fighting against coal miners and the like and teach them how to organize. but then of course, those tactics extend to civil rights protests and the like. obviously in the case of bus boycott that rosa parks and dr. king become so well known for in 1955 in montgomery. but in terms of the lessons now you would take to something like om pie, remember, that when king is assassinated, king was intending to come to washington to lead a poor people's campaign in '68. the poor people's campaign was going to be right there on the national mall right in front of the u.s. congress and the capitol. the idea as dr. king expressed it is he wanted to show the leaders of the free world, of the greatest country and richest country in the world that there
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was still need in poverty including in appalachia, but also in the big cities. he was going to build these shanty huts right there on the mall. talk about an "occupy" movement and there's a direct analogy to that. there was fear this would attract all sorts of bad elements, and, of course, that's what we see in terms of "occupy." >> we've been talking about richard nixon, and we have a clip from a little later but during the general election. it talks about the fact there were no debates during the general election. there was a lot of discussion whether there would be. here's richard nixon talking about not debating hubert humphrey. >> i'm of the opinion we need a debate in this country. i think that you and mr. humphrey should get at vietnam and some other questions. >> i think mr. humphrey is having a great time debating himself. >> you're prejudiced, mr. nixon. if you don't want to debate with the third party candidate, whose
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name shall not be mentioned, why don't you get your friends in the house of representatives to pass a special law permitting you and mr. humphrey to debate? >> have you ever looked at the membership on that committee? you know, it's always amusing to me. people say well now, why don't i get the republicans to do something on a debate? let's remember that the senate is 2-1 democratic. let us also remember that the house is 3-2 democratic. and any time that hubert humphrey, with his great influence on his side wants a debate, i would think that he would be able to get the democrats to pass it. i'm -- i think that -- i think that my power in terms of what i could get the republican members of the house to do is greatly overestimated. if you want to understand, democrats as well as republicans apparently aren en insisting one three-man debate. that's the problem as you know it. they're not opposing the debate but with wallace getting 21% in the poll -- i shouldn't have
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mentioned his name. with wallace getting 21% of the poll, they insist that they can't in effect go back to their constituents unless they provide him an equal chance. >> if you got your friends and mr. humphrey got his friends, surely you'd have enough friends to bring this thing off, wouldn't you? >> i don't think he's got that many friends. [ l.a. >> wow. >> a glimpse of richard nixon >> wow. >> a glimpse of richard nixon talking about the 1968 campaign being the focus of our discussion here on the contenders program featuring hubert h. humphrey, democratic candidate for president unsuccessfully in 1968. we'll take a call from jim, and richard nixon talked about george wallace. we're going to listen to jim and talk about george wallace. jim, you're on the air from east brunswick, new jersey. >> caller: hello. great series and great show. hello. >> we can hear you. go ahead please. >> caller: yes. i have a purely speculative question i wanted to ask primarily to mick in dealing
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with the power of celebrities in 1968 that supported in the primaries mainly kennedy and mccarthy and as to the announcements of a bombing halt possibility that many of them came flocking back to humphrey, and many participated in an election eve telethon called humphrey/muskie. many stars were there. frank sinatra, steve allen, paul newman and sonny and cher. there was a harris poll taken the next day on election day saying that humphrey would win. my question is, do you think that if these stars and that sort of vehicle, in marathon telethon taking questions live on the air, that humphrey may have pulled it off if these people had come to him earlier in the fall of '68? >> well, gene mccarthy called in that program, and it certainly would have helped if he came earlier in the year if he called
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in -- joined the humphrey campaign. but, there was a lot else going on at the same time besides the telethon. they thought they had peace in vietnam the weekend before, that week before. humphrey's poll ratings jumped -- just kept going up almost past nixon in most polls because peace in vietnam would have won him the presidency. nixon sent madam shanult to south vietnam and convinced the south vietnam leader to not come to the peace talks because nixon would give him a better deal if he were president. this happened. it's documented all over the place. he backed out of the peace talks. our ally backed out of the peace talks. many people believe that's what lost him the election at the end. >> we mentioned george wallace. right behind you is a campaign poster for george wallace. when did he come into the race, and what bloc did he represent? >> he represents the southerners
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who were alienated not only by humphrey but by the student protestors, by -- he's representing working class people even in the northern cities who really, i think, are frustrated with the entire climate. they think that there's a lack of law and order. they think that the minority, the blacks, are out of control, and they think that, you know, nobody is listening to them. this is kind of the archie bunker, element, if you will, and that's who wallace comes to represent. it's a substantial feeling because a lot of these people remember would have been democrats. they're union people or southerners, but they are not in line with what's become of the democratic party in terms of the gene mccarthys, the ed muskies. they're just not there. wallace gives form to their feelings. >> so in the interest of time we've got to fast forward this story. the republicans meet in miami for their convention in the
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summer of '68. the democrats convene as we said at the outset in chicago with their party, with serious fractions about the war, and chicago was what kind of scene? >> where do you begin with chicago? humphrey tried to get the -- it's little known, but humphrey tried to get the whole convention moved to miami because he knew what was coming, there were strikes, all kinds of strikes. communication strikes. think there was a phone strike. there were barricades up. they expected 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 protesters. it was chaos. he was worried about threats to his family. there had been threats to kidnap his wife and he arrived at the convention without a peace plank. he had a peace plank that he would bring to the convention that would talk about ending the war and johnson skwishd quished
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right at the end. >> did he have the nomination in hand when he went there? >> i think he did. yeah. people were nominated in different ways in those days. it wasn't by primaries. it was by the bosses, the delegates. and he had most of the delegates by way of lyndon johnson. that was another thing johnson held over him. he had some sway with the belgz who would nominate him for presidency. >> in fact that's a critical moment in terms of all american political history because humphrey is the last nominee who gets the nomination through the bosses and not through the primary process. so you get people like daley and the other big city mayors and union leaders who get behind humphrey. again, almost out of anger at the counterculture movement and the anti-war movement. daley's not only beating up, i might say, on protesters in the street, he's beating up on media inside the convention famously and it's a horrible scene. in terms of the american public that's watching this, a huge
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turn-off. >> richard daley was determined to have law and order. what kind of forces did he marshal? >> oh. police force there and the national guard are all on the streets and they are whipping heads. it's a really horrible scene. humphrey's put in the position of saying he stands with the bosses against people who are break down law and order s civilization, anarchists in the streets and drugs that are being featured and free sex and all the rest. he's trying to i think appeal to that silent majority saying he stands for law and order. democrats are not an out-of-control party. it is ironic, because it is -- you know, hubert humphrey was a guy who was not a great supporter of war, he was not a machine guy. he was an idealist. but in this moment he becomes a representative of that big city, mayor, union boss, lbj bullying,
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hardball politics. >> let's go back to calls, all the way to honolulu. mike is watching us there. welcome to the program. >> caller: hi. i really enjoy your program and especially the history involved. i'm 69 years old now. in 1961 i was in high school. i worked for kennedy. of course he was running against hubert humphrey. also hubert humphrey had a little campaign slogan, or little campaign jingle that was to the tune of "give me that old time religion." and of course, kennedy was a catholic. so i remember that. of course, we go back to '68. i was married then. of course i voted for humphrey. my question for the author is this -- was there any animosity
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between the kennedy camp in '68 and hubert humphrey because of hubert humphrey's anti-catholic campaign in 1960? thank you. >> i assume he means was it still there in 1968. i don't think so. i think it was gone by that point. but however, the things that john kennedy did to hubert humphrey -- >> absolutely. >> -- in that '60 campaign, this paled in comparison. he basically bought that election in west virginia, the primary election. >> we have a clip that we didn't show from 1960. we're going to take a call. we have jfk talking about hubert humphrey from 1960 that will help illustrate some of the relationship. but let's listen to john in knoxville, tennessee. hey, john. >> caller: hey. hubert humphrey and gene mccarthy were close friends for many, many years.
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as fellow dflo dfl'ers. at the end of the terrible convention in chicago mack carthy came out and told humphrey he would support him soon. i think the assumption was in september. but mccarthy never did. that was a terrible burden for humphrey and probably mccarthy could have swung enough votes to get humphrey elected. and i'm just wondering whether our experts share that view or whether they have some other view. >> thank you. >> i share it, for sure. we interviewed walter mondale and he said that if mccarthy would have come out on the stage at the convention and said, "humphrey's not our best candidate and we don't have -- we're against the war but we need to vote for him rather than richard nixon," that he would have won the election. they had a meeting a couple weeks before the convention where mccarthy told humphrey to
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come out for him by mid-september. never did. what people didn't know is humphrey and miles lord, a friend of both of those two people, were talking constantly all through the campaign trying to get mccarthy to come on board with humphrey and he wouldn't do it. left the country for a while. no one knows why. >> if you joined us along the way, mick's done a documentary on hubert humphrey. we've got a copy we'll show you later on, the cover, so if tu want to follow up on it. many of the clips we are showing are from his research and some of his documentary. one of those is this 1960, jfk talking about his relationship with hubert humphrey and his influence on his presidential campaign. >> this week i opportunity to debate with mr. nixon. i feel that i should reveal that i had a great advantage in that debate and i'm not referring to anyone's makeup man.
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the advantage that i had had was that mr. nixon had just debated with khruschchev and i had debated with hubert humphrey. >> greg, go ahead, please. >> caller: yeah. was humphrey and lbj -- this kind of relates to what you guys were talking about earlier, but humphrey and lbj's relationship, what exactly happened? why would he have to tap his phone overing so with vietnam? >> i didn't --
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>> as i understood it, why would he attack his own over vietnam, lbj/hubert humphrey relationship. >> why would lbj attack hubert humphrey over vietnam? >> yes. >> because lbj wanted to win that war and he didn't want anybody telling him -- getting off the farm about it. he wanted people to do what he told them to do, and humphrey had reservations about the war and he knew it. humphrey was -- had been a free spirit his whole career and all of a sudden he was in this situation where he had to be controlled. and johnson knew he could cause him damage. >> i think basically he was protecting his own legacy. >> yes, he was. that's right. >> we're going to close out our discussion of the 1968 convention with the clip. remember, 68 national guardsmen who were students themselves, who were in the streets, holding being ba student protesters on the convention floor, melees with reporters. this is hubert humphrey in a clip from the convention as he accepts the nomination. >> listen to this immortal
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saint -- where there is hatred, let me so love. where there is injury, pardon. where there is doubt, faith. where there is despair, hope. where there is darkness, light. those are the words of a saint. and may those of us of less purity listen to them well. and may america tonight resolve that never, never again shall we see what we have seen. [ cheers and applause ]
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>> i was heartbroken. it was the moment of my life, the convention and all at once there was this total disarray. i again was constantly posed with the problem, what do i do under these circumstances? >> that last was a clip directly from the clip's documentary about hubert humphrey reflecting on that terrible turmoil at the 1968 convention. we just have about 35 minutes left. we'll move along to the next part of the exhibit here. take some seats and round out our discussion of hubert humphrey's life and career, continue taking your telephone calls, and as we do, we're going to show you some of the humphrey commercials from the 1968 presidential campaign. we'll see you in just a couple minutes. >> what have the democrats ever done for you? well, let's think about it. your kids are getting a better education today because democrats have given schools
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needed federal aid. and when school is out, your kids won't have to wander the street. democrats have paved the way for them to get good summer jobs. you've got more money today for those little luxuries, because democrats worked hard to push through a higher minimum wage. you don't have to worry about supporting your mother today, and she needn't worry about being a burden on you, thanks to social security and medicare. quite an accomplishment? you know it. and you only heard a minute's worth. what have the democrats ever done for you and yours? think about it. >> paid for by citizens for humphrey/muskie. >> the vice president of the united states. >> we have seen the terrible results of violence in this country. it would be intolerable if a handful of violent people, and that is what it is -- just a handful -- could harden us
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against needed change. i've seen an uglier violence, too, and it perverts the very spirit of america. i saw it at the republican convention in 1964 when governor governor wallace, a man with whom i disagree, was heckled into silence. and it happened to me in philadelphia. we must give notice to this violent few. there are millions of decent americans who are willing to sacrifice for change, but they want to do it without being threatened, and they want to do it peacefully. they are the nonviolent majority, black and white, who are for change without violence. these are the people whose voice i want to be. >> the preceding was a prerecorded political announcement paid for by citizens for humphrey. >> mr. nixon, where do you stand on federal aid education? mr. nixon, where do you stand on expanded medicare? mr. nixon, where do you stand on aid to higher education? mr. nixon, where do you stand on the wheat program?
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where do you stand? where do you stand? i must say he's a -- >> you know something? richard nixon hasn't won an election on his own in 18 years. let's keep a good thing going. >> those were campaign commercials from the 1968 humphrey campaign. as we talk about hubert h. humphrey, our featured contender in our series of 14 men who sought the presidency and lost but changed american history. we are live from the minnesota history center in st. paul, minnesota. and this is a special exhibit they're doing on 1968. which you tell me is going to travel to other cities, is that right? >> chicago for sure. i believe it's atlanta or charlotte. i might be wrong. >> chicago is certainly appropriate after what we've been talking about. so it's time to talk about the fall campaign. ron williams here on my left and
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nick on my right. both of them have worked extensively in this period, one's written a number of books about the civil rights era. the fall campaign, we've now got wallace, nixon and hubert humphrey all vying for the white house. we had riots in the cities in the spring. what was the fall like? did they continue? >> well, there was some rioting that persisted. but it wasn't at the major kind of, you know, smoke in the skies variety that we saw earlier in the year. but the racial tension was palpable throughout the country. it's interesting, the way that nixon presented himself was as someone who was going to restore order in the big cities. so this was also, had a strong appeal to people who felt that, you know, this civil rights movement now has sowed chaos. it's way beyond just a matter of equality, but it's now creating instability in the country and combined with the anti-vietnam
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war sentiment, you get nixon who is the man of stability, law and order, the man who's saying, you know what, we can win in vietnam even though later we'll know after the election, he goes on to be someone who starts the pull-out from vietnam. but in this moment, he clearly understands that he's appealing to this so-called silent majority, and that's what his campaign is about. >> and hubert humphrey comes out of the chicago convention on vietnam still tied to lyndon johnson's policy? >> probably worse because lyndon johnson does have a fund he's holding on that he doesn't release. the democratic national committee has no money. he has no money. he has to borrow money to start his campaign. no tv ads. no promotion whatsoever. and he's 20 points down in the polls. that's how he starts his campaign. >> that's pretty big. >> it's really bad. >> so how does it play out? >> well, he runs into -- he continues like that until the end of september.
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he is booed off stages in seattle and other places from the protesters. and it continues and nothing changes. and then he gives a speech in late september. september 30th. in salt lake city where he sort of -- he had a little left to lose at that point. he sort of makes a break with johnson in a real subtle way where he calls for a bombing halt under certain circumstances and bringing the troops home. and things change instantly. he got something like a million dollars in cash come into him, and people saw it as a change. the next place he went, it's humphrey, we're for you. right away. >> to give you a sense of what it was like campaigning, here is a scene from those months and the popular refrain that he met from protesters, dump the hump. let's listen. >> i proceeded to go out the door, the main door, walking across that campus with students with the protestors on each side
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of the sidewalk pushing and shoving and cursing them and doing everything they could to harass me. and one of the things that they were doing was throwing urine, cans of urine, at me and my party and other human excrement. it was a terrible ordeal. but i walked every step. i didn't run one. i did no running. i got to my car. i stood alongside of it, waved back at the students and we started to drive away. [ crowd chanting ] >> i believe that the republican candidate -- i believe the republican candidate owes it to the people to come out of the shadows. [ crowd chanting ]
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[ crowd chanting ] >> what you heard and saw there was hubert humphrey in 1974 reminiscing about a visit to stanford university and then scenes of visits to events in boston and seattle. we're going to go back to telephone calls on hubert humphrey. next is dallas. this is shirley. hi, shirley. >> caller: hi. i just -- i first heard hubert humphrey when i was in my 20s. he was the mayor of minneapolis. he was on a program called "town meeting of the air." and he made a speech in favor of civil rights similar to what he did in 1948. and since then he was always my political hero. and i'd like to ask a question.
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wasn't he active in the anti-nuclear weapons issue towards the end of his political career? i'd like to hear more about that. >> he was actually earlier in his career, he actually was the force behind the disarmament agency and the test ban treaty. he couldn't get in the middle of the 1950s, late 1950s, he couldn't get the senate and congress because of the cold war to actually talk about disarmament and talk about negotiating with the russians. and so he started a subcommittee that set up this whole thing by himself. and it ended up in the test ban treaty. and when the test ban treaty was signed by president kennedy, he turned to humphrey and said, hubert, this is yours. i hope it works. >> you know what i always remember on this front as we're talking about the general election in '68, george wallace is there, but george wallace's vice presidential candidate is general curtis lemay. and lemay at one point suggests
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that the united states might use nuclear weapons in vietnam. i mean, and, of course, you know, people are alarmed by this. people have not forgotten what happened in terms of the a-bomb and all the rest. it just, again, is an example of how extreme and harsh this year was and how the campaign, the '68 campaign, is about war and immense social change taking place in the country. we talked about the civil rights movement and especially the idea of assassinations, but there's also a feminist movement. the campuses are on fire in flame and young people are just angry. the draft is going on, and there's great discontent about that. it's just, again, this period that is, you know, it shaped so much of all politics that's become subsequently we're going to see the change that we've been talking about out of the democratic primary process because after that, no longer is
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it the case that the big boss or the union bosses and the mayors are dictating everything. and you're going to see the need for the democratic party to come back together, and it doesn't do so for a very long time. and of course, subsequently we see the trajectory in which the south becomes increasingly republican. >> we mentioned vice presidential candidates, nominees, richard nixon, of course, choosing spiro agnew. hubert humphrey chose edmond muskie. how did that alliance come together? >> well, he had known him for quite a while, and everybody, of course, wanted him to have a southern candidate. to pull some of the south. and he said i want someone who i think would be a good president if something happens to me. and you know, the assassinations were very fresh. and they knew that a vice president is a heartbeat away, as they said. he wanted someone that he liked and someone that was stable. it didn't really help him much politically. he wasn't thinking along those lines. but i should say, too, that he also was little known as he also spoke to nelson rockefeller about being his vice president. crossing party lines. which would have been pretty remarkable.
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nelson rockefeller gave 24 hours and said he just couldn't do it. just couldn't do it. they were friends. rockefeller didn't have any special liking for nixon. >> next telephone call is from annandale, virginia. you're on the air. >> caller: hi, susan and gentlemen. i'm thoroughly enjoying the series. i was intrigued about the comment earlier that humphrey was the originator of the idea for the peace corps and a lot of other ideas for kennedy. i wonder if kennedy ever gave him credit for those ideas and what some of the other ideas of his were. >> well, as i said, he gave him credit for the test ban treaty, i think pretty much publicly. he gave him credit for food for peace program. i have a speech where he said that. i don't think he ever said so about the peace corps. and there are a lot of things that i don't think he said specifically, but i think he might have said, you know, that humphrey helped -- these were humphrey ideas, some of these ideas, because he took him in
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the 1960 campaign. humphrey, when he lost the primary to jfk, he said i want to get my ideas into his administration. so he worked on them. >> hubert humphrey, by the way, was 57 years old. he was born in 1911. so in 1968, 57 years old. and how did he present himself as a candidate, gentlemen? was he -- i mean, we have all of this change going on in society. was he conventional? >> extremely conventional. we talked a little bit about the difficulty he had portraying himself as an opponent of the war. but, you know what? as you've just pointed out, born in 1911, he's not a counterculture guy. there's no way he's going to be standing around with long hair and, you know, be credible. and in fact, what he's trying to do is say that he understands the need for stability and law and order even though he's not the law and order candidate. and so he's in a suit and tie. and he has difficulty even with
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the kind of poetics that robert kennedy had employed, you know, when kennedy -- when king was assassinated. that's not hubert humphrey. hubert humphrey is a great speaker. but how do you speak when, as we just saw in that clip, you had people screaming at you, "dump the hump" who see you as basically an operator for lyndon johnson who's extremely unpopular. so he's in a vice, a political vice, to this moment seems like a squeeze to me. >> and it was impossible for him to present himself as anything. i mean, it was done for him. you know, he didn't have much chance to really be himself. but interestingly enough, he was a revolutionary in 1948. so he was in the other role in 1948, and he became part of the very establishment, like it or not, that he attacked in 1948. >> a big change from the country from '48 to '68. next call, belfast, maine, pat. >> caller: hello.
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>> hi. >> caller: i worked for hubert humphrey. my husband in the '60s was his press secretary. i was muriel humphrey's press secretary. >> oh, my goodness. >> caller: and we were involved in his 1960 campaign. we were with him through all of 1968. we were at the democratic convention in the horror and tragedy of what was unfolding. and i had the experience of escorting muriel humphrey and their children through the basement of the convention center with tear gas seeping all around us. as we were going into the convention hall on the evening that he would get the democratic nomination. and that night from the hotel room at the conrad hilton, we
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were with him as he stood there looking out the window at the violence and the terrible tragedy unfolding in grant park. and the atmosphere in the room was almost of a funeral. and humphrey was the saddest man you can imagine on the night that he had achieved his greatest political victory to be the democratic presidential candidate. >> a great irony of humphrey's life. >> caller: he was a man whose ideals and integrity, carried through his whole life, and in his personal life, when you knew him at home, when you were with him privately, he was the same person with the same passion, the same conviction for civil
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rights, for working americans, for the concerns of world peace that you heard in his public statements. and i don't think we have had somebody with his gifts in the years since. >> pat, our time is short here, but are we doing your boss justice tonight? is there one aspect of his political career that you think it's important for our viewers to hear about? >> caller: i think you're doing a beautiful job on him. you've touched on so many things. i was happy that he was being given some credit for the tremendous array of ideas and programs that he actually generated and then championed during the kennedy administration.
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>> thank you for your -- thank you for your call. what's your family name? >> caller: my last name is griffith. my husband wrote a biography of hubert humphrey in 1963. called "humphrey: a candid biography." so it's one of the -- >> thank you for being part of our conversation. great to have your personal stories really added to our understanding of the '68 convention. we have just 15 minutes left. and we've got still a long life of hubert humphrey to cover here. let's talk about election night. where did he watch the returns? >> i believe he was -- boy, now you've got me -- i think he was in the lemington hotel in minneapolis, here in minneapolis. >> what was the election day and results like? >> well, the day, they really thought they had a chance at the end. and illinois and ohio and a couple of other states came in at the very end because they were very close, and they were ahead for a while. and he basically went to bed believing he probably wasn't
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going to win and then in the morning when he woke up found out he didn't. >> it was a very close race. >> it was close, very close. >> ohio, illinois, and then california, which all go to nixon. they don't go to nixon by a lot. it was very, very close. and you know, i think it's just above a percentage point difference in terms of absolute percentage of vote in that national election. >> a close popular vote, but the electoral college vote, as we're showing on the screen, 301 for richard nixon, 191, and george wallace got 46 electoral college votes. who did he take them away from? >> well, that's a good argument, but, you know, if you think about the fact that the south then was still mostly democratic and they're reacting to a lot of the civil rights efforts, i think that those votes would have been available for a democrat who was operating at the behest of the democratic machine, the union bosses, the mayors, the wealthy in the country, but that was gone. that was gone. that had fallen apart.
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they were trying to hold together for humphrey as part of lbj's mission. remember, mick said this earlier, lbj was not absolutely supported. didn't let the money go. didn't make the effort to try to give those people a reason to vote for humphrey. so i think if i look back on it, my take is that those were democratic votes. and we haven't talked about african-americans, you know, who are coming into the process. you know, what happens if king lives? does king get more involved at this point? does king say that he is for humphrey? i think he might have. would king have been someone who might have himself launched a third-party effort? i don't know. but i think that would have changed the dynamic markedly. >> what was the african-american voter turnout like in 1968? do you know? >> it was pretty good. i don't know the exact numbers, but this is right in the aftermath. and you get the voting rights act in '65, the civil rights act in '64. so this is kind of a call, a rallying cry for turnout.
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much more in the north and west than in the south. there's still a lot of intimidation going on. but no, blacks are turning out in numbers. >> those -- the bloc of states that wallace got, southern states, alabama, mississippi, georgia, it's been a question among historians since the end of that election who those votes were taken from. and if you look at it in a different way, that if they had a choice of only nixon or humphrey, they might have gone to nixon. you know, so it's hard to know who those votes really came from. >> wallace also took arkansas, louisiana, mississippi, alabama and georgia. let's take a call. virginia is next. this is jim. hi, jim. >> caller: hi there. first of all, i would like to mention that in 1968, in march of 1968 when johnson made his speech and stepped down, that two days before on friday, march the 29th, which i have to
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correct your guests there on that date, march the 29th, mr. humphrey agreed to speak at my school. and the speech was scheduled for three weeks later. on sunday, march 31st, is when johnson made his speech. and i've always wondered since that event whether he had a clue on that friday because he scheduled some other speeches for later in april on the same date, that johnson was going to step down, or he was just simply anticipating that the possibility may exist. because of that speech, i was able to sit in the front row of his announcement speech on april 27th at the hotel, along with the other students that helped invite him. and i was also at the capitol the day the civil rights act was passed in 1964.
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june the 19th of 1964. so i feel like i've always had somewhat of a privilege front-row seat in parts of his life. finally, i'd just like to make a comment which is that most of the progressive legislation and programs that evolved during the '50s, '60s and '70s were a result of humphrey's -- you might say forward agenda. but it seemed at that point when he ran for president in '68, those key supporters of that legislation turned on him. and he suddenly became outdated or a little bit too conservative, you might say, in their eyes. and what the country was looking for at that time. so the progressives for civil rights didn't view him as a
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strong advocate. the anti-war party did not consider him a strong advocate. and others -- >> okay, jim, we're going to jump in because i think our guest, mick, had made that exact point earlier, which is he was a great influence, but when it came time for his own campaign -- >> well, he had a signature in some way or another his hands on over 1,000 bills in ten years, one every three days. the problem in 1968 was there was only one issue. and all the rest was forgotten. it was only vietnam. that was it. and all that was lost, unfortunately. >> of course, the fight was -- who had a plan to end the war? richard nixon won. the war raged on for another couple of years. what about hubert humphrey's life after this? >> well, you know, just to say, nixon didn't say he was going to end the war. what he said was he was going to win the war. >> that was the secret plan he had. >> the secret plan. >> yeah, he had secret plans.
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that was the effort that appealed to that silent majority. so the problem for humphrey, again, we talked about how he's trapped in terms of being lbj's vice president and lbj's feeling that he wants to win this war, but he's also trapped in terms of this larger argument with nixon where he wants to say, you know, i'm for stability. i'm not for things going out of control. at the same time, that nixon really says that he's the law and order candidate. humphrey can never be that because that's -- nixon has got that space occupied. and even as humphrey is trying, he's alienating the people who logically would be his supporters. >> i want to take a call. and this is gavin in port jervis, new york. hello, gavin. >> caller: hello. you sort of touched upon this earlier. i guess the question i had was if george wallace had been out of the 1968 presidential race, would you have seen the outcome being even closer than it was
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and in all of your opinions, you know, who would it have been closer for? would it have been humphrey on the top or would it have put nixon ahead? thank you very much. >> okay. do you have any more to say on that? >> as i said, you know, mick said he thinks that it's kind of up in the air. i don't know why, but from my perspective, i just think that wallace hurt humphrey. and i think that a lot of working-class union folks who had some allegiance to the democratic party. going all the way back to fdr. i think they peeled off. you know, went with wallace. i don't know that they would have gone to the republican party and to nixon. >> i see that in the north. the south is where i think that if wallace wasn't in the race in the south, nixon might have got those votes. >> so did hubert humphrey give up his presidential aspirations after his defeat in 1968? >> well, he tried. he came close to trying in '72. he started, and then he just backed down to mcgovern. he decided not to do it.
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he began to be ill at that point, too. so i think that had some influence. >> but he did go back to the senate? >> 1970, he took gene mccarthy's seat in the senate. mccarthy's popularity in the state had dropped. and he left politics, and humphrey took it, one of the largest landslides of his senatorial career and then served there until 1978 when he died. >> what was his second stint in the senate like legislatively? >> second stint? >> yeah, when he returned to the senate. was he active legislatively? >> oh, he was at the bottom. he was a freshman. he was treated that way. he had no committees. walter mondale was the senior senator, and he was treated like someone who was just starting. he was given no respect and he found his own way and within a short time, he was working on bills again. and he passed a couple different major legislation bills during that time. he got back into it. >> let's take a call from livonia, michigan. hi, amy. what's your question? >> caller: my question is, since
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senator humphrey served during the mccarthy era, what was his relationship with joe mccarthy? did mccarthy go after him because he was so liberal? >> that's a really complicated question because humphrey tried to pass something called the communist control act where he tried to make it illegal to be communist. that was done in some part because he was trying to make joe mccarthy -- to bring the truth out and force joe mccarthy's hand so he would have to prove somebody was a communist and it would be illegal and couldn't be quite so passe about it or blase about how he attacked people. he would have to actually incriminate them. that was a bad plan, it didn't work, but he didn't like joe mccarthy, or any of his tactics. even though he was anti-communist, he didn't like anything about what he did. thought he was a demagogue.
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>> we have just two minutes left. hubert humphrey was very ill with cancer. what kind of cancer did he have? >> bladder cancer. >> in the last years of his life in the united states senate. and he ended up dying in january of 1978. in the time before he died, he was brought back to the capitol for what seemed to be an unusual tribute. >> never happened before. it was the first time. >> tell us about that. >> well, it was the first time that both houses of congress, the congress and the senate, met for one senator to honor one senator. it had never happened before. and they all met. it was basically just to honor his work. he died two months later. and his spirit was still there. and there were republicans and democrats on both sides, paul simon spoke, senator paul simon. >> and he invited richard nixon to come back for his funeral in the capitol building. >> right. he called nixon at christmas and said you need to come back. he hadn't been back since watergate. he said, i don't think any president should be not allowed in the city. and i want you to come back. nixon said i don't think i can do it. he said you're going to come to my funeral. it's a dying wish.
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and he showed up. so it brought nixon back into washington. >> as we close here, i'm going to ask both of you to bring us full arc. the premise of this series is people that were not successful in their presidential bid, but they changed american history. how did hubert humphrey change american history? >> that speech at the '48 convention changed america. you think about major social movement of the 20th century, it's the civil rights movement. and hubert humphrey seems to me to stand at the top of that order in terms of people who held elected office who put themselves out as advocates, you know, some might say on the right side of history, and he was well ahead of the curve in terms of pushing the democratic party, pushing politics in the direction of passage of a civil rights act, the voting rights act and so much of the change that we've seen in this country when it comes to race relations. you know, similarly, if you think about it, just in pure political terms, you think about barack obama as president of the
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united states today, that doesn't happen without some of the changes that come as a result of democratic party, primary process, again, here's hubert humphrey who comes in. he's the last selection by the party bosses and the machines and in the aftermath of hubert humphrey's defeat in '68, suddenly you have allocation of delegates based on primaries and process. again, that's part of hubert humphrey's legacy. and then there are all kind of social programs. we think about the end of the sort of new deal period, but then you have a whole new range of some of them which mick has been mentioning here. efforts on the social justice scene. but social programs that were the work of hubert humphrey's very fertile mind. >> mick, i'm going to apologize to you, but we've run out of time. so what i'm going to do is encourage people to find your documentary because you make the case about how hubert humphrey changed history. this is what it looks like.
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hubert h. humphrey, the art of the possible, and it's widely available wherever you buy your videotapes. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you. >> hubert humphrey died, as we said, was buried back here in minneapolis at lakewood cemetery. his tombstone has this inscription on it. "i have enjoyed my life. its disappointments outweighed by its pleasures. i have loved my country in a way that some people consider sentimental and out of style. i still do and i remain an optimist with joy, without apology about this country and about the american experiment in democracy." that's hubert humphrey's grave stone. as we close here on this contender series, we're going to show you just a bit of video from that very unusual session in the house of representatives chambers. some real familiar faces to you old congress watchers will be here on this clip. when hubert humphrey just months before his death was invited back for a tribute and a celebration of his long political and legislative career.
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thanks for being with us. [ applause ] >> hubert, old friend, we ask you here so we can tell you, we love you. [ applause ] >> mr. speaker, knowing full well the dangers of what i'm about to do, i yield as much time as he wishes to consume to the senior senator from minnesota. [ applause ] >> and i know where i'm standing. i'm standing where the president of the united states gives his state of the union address. my goodness. how i long for that opportunity. [ applause ]


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