tv The Contenders CSPAN August 11, 2016 11:09pm-1:13am EDT
through life. a father who had to go to work before he finished the sixth grade, sacrificed everything he had so his sons could go to college. and tonight he stands before you, nominated for president of the united states of america. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ ♪ nixon selected maryland's governor spiro agnew as his running mate for the office of vice president. it was now time for the
democratic convention. and mccarthy and vice president humphrey were the leaders in the democratic race. ron and dottie went to chicago as part of the new hampshire delegation. there they continued their protests along with many other delegates who also wanted to see a more detailed plan for peace as the party's campaign theme. ♪ we shall overcome ♪ we shall overcome ♪ we shall overcome some day >> other demonstrators protested against war in the city's streets. and these protests erupted tone -- into a confrontation with police that drew the concerned attention of many americans. the delegates shared that concern. but first they had to fulfill
their obligation to nominate a democrat for the presidency. as the balloting went on, it became clear that vice president humphrey had the support of the convention. ron and most of the new hampshire delegates were pledged to vote for mccarthy, and they honored that pledge. >> i cast 20 votes for senator eugene j. mccarthy and 6 votes for vice president humphrey. >> and vice president humphrey won the nomination. ron and dottie went back to laconia and talked about the convention with their friends. >> it is the very differences of individuals, individual groups and everything else, that saved this whole damn thing for us. we all thought the same, we
wouldn't really be correct. if you believe in democracy, you believe that two things, ration and reason. the other thing is you realize that all people don't look at what is right for human society the same way. it's a matter of degree. so, somehow, you have to talk about -- with politics, you never get the hundred percent. if you get any percent, you'll probably end up with 60%, which is what you want for the guy you worked the hardest for. >> it is never easy to accept defeat, but ron endorsed the decision in chicago and supported the democratic nominee, realizing that humphrey had been nominated by the will of the majority. and before long a large humphrey poster appeared on the side of ron's house. as the campaign moved into its final weeks, the nation considered its choices. vice president humphrey. george wallace, the former governor of alabama, representing the third party
movement. and richard nixon. ♪ ♪ >> campaigns are always flamboyant, and as the candidates moved across the country, they were surrounded by all the traditional vote-getting glitter. >> good to see you. >> is this your daughter here? >> yes. >> but there was a series purpose behind the banners and balloons. each candidate was meeting the people, giving them a chance to
evaluate his thoughts as a potential president and to look closely at him as a man. >> nixon! >> laconia's people in the fall are part of one of nature's post impressive pageants. the leaves turn and the ducks drop in briefly on their way to the south, the countryside signals the end of a season with a stillness and grandeur, interrupted only by the sounds of children returning to school. the people of the united states went to the polls to elect their president. confronted by a decision that could hold the key to the nation's place in the world. but they knew that whoever the new president would be, he would receive the support of the entire nation as he was given the awesome responsibility of
leading the country. >> how different from that morning eight years ago? >> and in this election year, the nation chose richard nixon, bringing to its final conclusion a democratic process that had started months before in new hampshire. >> a very gracious message from the vice president. i know exactly how he felt, having lost a close one eight years ago and having won a close one this year, i can say this. winning's a lot more fun. >> did nixon win? >> yes, he did. >> really very exciting. he made a great speech. >> it was very, very close. >> i'm sure you'll be able to watch it. >> a kid yelled out when we came in from recess, nixon won, and everybody said they looked around and everything. >> were they happy? >> yeah. >> they were? well, i'm really glad that i voted for nixon, because i believe that he can really get things started again. it all boils down to the fact
that the country wanted a clean sweep, and this is what nixon is going to do. he's going to -- he's going to get in a whole new bunch of people who will have a different outlook on things, and this is what we needed. >> it's just overwhelming. i couldn't -- i've never been so pleased at a political outcome. >> naturally, as a democrat, i'm unhappy as anyone, but in a sense, i think there's a certain amount of justice there. i think that what the american people have done is told nixon, have told johnson, humphrey, anybody who might be president now and in the future, that they're accountable for their actions. they're accountable for their policy. ♪
while congress is on break this week, we are showing american history tv programs normally shown only on weekend here on c-span 3. coming up a look at the life and legacy of 1968 candidate hubert hem fri. two hours from now his acceptance speech. and that will be followed by road to the white house rewind, footage of the 1968 presidential campaign. continuing friday night with the look of former alabama governor george wallace beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's contenders series. pushed again on the california
ballot. also, a tour of the george wallace department at the alabama department of archives and history and a discussion of seg question gags and kol picks in 1960s in alabama. here on c-span 3. >> and now our series on key people who ran for president and lost. over the next two hours, we feature former vice president and minnesota hubert humphrey.
this moment -- this moment is one of personal pride and gratification, yet one cannot help but reflect the deep 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 "the contenders" program. and we're live from minnesota's history center. mick caouette is the documentarian of hubert humphrey's life. just finished a documentary last year. we're standing in the middle of an exhibit the history center has put on about the tumultuous year of 1968. 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. 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 part way into it, 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 military. 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. 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 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. you said it had been raging for 15 years. >> right. >> earlier where 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 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 tonkin gulf incident in vietnam in the summer of '64, 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. 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. campaigned all during the fall, and they never really 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. >> 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 pleiku 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. 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 before he was vice president 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, a long 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 in the program 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 his choice was going to be to run in 1964. here is the film as lyndon johnson announces his choice for vice president. >> as the next vice president of 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. 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. "the art of the possible." i want to thank you for letting you show it to our audience tonight. lots to follow up there. 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 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 real bid in '60. here he was finally at that convention accepting the vice presidential nomination. you could see how excited he was about the moment. he earned the nickname the happy warrior. he loved politics, right? >> right. absolutely. he loved politics. he got in trouble later for calling it the politics of joy. he was joyful about politics. 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 it was really an innocent way he believed in the country, believed in the american people.
believed at all the american people at once. he really 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 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 convair that was a military plane. for our longer trips, we used the jet star. never within the continental limits of the united states did we ever use air force 1 or 2 that is the four-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
of course 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 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.
he 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? 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. of his inner circle. so he was kind of on the outside. and he wasn't happy during that time because 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. here is how you can do it. if you live in the eastern or central time zone, our number is 202-737-0001. 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. 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 i saw his archive. 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 basically all in sales, all of them. and skip hubert iii, his son works in 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. >> no. >> where was he born? >> born in dylan, south dakota, it was about 90 miles from the border 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 1911. and it was a remarkable little town. sort of an intellectual ferment going on there. 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 the 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. >> nope, he got a masters degree at lsu. >> masters degree. what was his intention? why was he studying politics? >> well, initially he was going doctorate, he was going to come back to the university of minnesota, get a doctorate and teach. he was so good at public speaking, at communicating, that a lot of people around him convinced him to run. i guess deep down he probably did really want to run. so 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 lsu in the
south from grad school in 1940 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 farmer labor party. he helped to unite the two parties, the democrat and farmer labor party and built himself his own political base. that's how he -- and the city was corrupt 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 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? >> oh, yes. yep. >> 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? how does it distinguish itself from the democratic party as a
whole? >> 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 democratic farmer labor party i believe at one point had 1/3 of our legislature. >> he ran for senate when? >> he ran for senate in 1948 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 his 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 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 meet somebody, go back five years later, remember their name, remember their family's name, what they did for a living. a remarkable memory. >> we're going to start taking calls and then learn more about his political philosophy and how he developed it. first up is kurt in ohio. kurt, welcome to our conversation about hubert humphrey. >> caller: well, thank you and good evening, ms. swain. 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 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's. 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. >> barry goldwater and hubert humphrey were even better friends. absolutely. the best story i heard about their friendship, they were giving speeches in iowa on the back of a hay wagon on a farm. they just ripped each other apart in these back-to-back speech, and someone drove through town later in the day and saw them having dinner together. so 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 names of the senators. people recognize the names from history books even today. and was there bipartisanship? did people work across the aisle? talk 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 friends with some of the 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. they worked closely together. >> 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 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: how you doing, ma'am? 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. 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 democratic party, could have destroyed truman and his own career. so he really believed in the civil human rights. >> and as i understood that caller, he was asking about humphrey's commitment compared to the other two, 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 them, 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 other labor leaders. e. philip randolph and baird ruston and other people who were out at that time. and, yeah, so -- >> let's listen to cynthia in sioux city, iowa. hi, cynthia. >> 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 changed -- the first trip was scheduled for him, and he went to a prescribed trip with all 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 go on his own a year later. he went out on his own, went to hospitals, talked to people. 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. he came back from the second trip in late 1967 knowing the war needed to be over. but he was boxed in. he had been speaking out for the war for the last year, the year previous. and lyndon johnson was not going to let he speak against the war. 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 who will be with us for the program, 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. >> 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. with an issue which has been confused by emotionalism on all sides of the fence. i feel i must rise at this time to support the minority report,
a report that spells out our democracy. a report that the people of this country can and will understand, and a report that they will enthusiastically acclaim on the great issue of civil rights. to those who 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. hubert humphrey, the quote, end quote nigger lover. but i never felt so lonesome and so unwanted in all my life as i did in 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. that's the moment in which the democratic party sheds so much of its paralysis engendered by relying on the dixiecrats, the southern democrats. if you 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, via the medium of the day, radio, that this is an abomination. this is not what the democratic party, the american people should be standing for. he's speaking in terms of
national morality and a call to justice and he does it at a cost because you have the segregationists, the dixiecrats, many of whom are leaders in the senate and congress walk out of the convention. of course 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 who walked out of the convention. >> you have senator east land. >> strom thurmond. >> thurmond would be the big one. you had eastland and some of the 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 real 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. he was really upset with the fact truman was speaking. truman was watching on an early tv in the white house. and he condemned him for it. but he learned later on that it actually helped him. and he turned it around and used his 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 their own form of color-blindness. it was quite remarkable. there were no african-americans
in the small town he was in. there was a catholic family and jewish family who both had crosses burned on their lawns. so, you know, 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 newburgh, new york. andrea, 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 on the relationship between senator robert kennedy and hubert humphrey, and how it developed from being political enemies in 1960 to 1968 when they were vying for 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. but he learned to like robert kennedy. they learned to be friends. he campaigned for kennedy in '66 for 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. 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 back to the -- or forward to the 1968 campaign again. can you elaborate, because 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 elections, 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 might 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 next day, 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 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 when nixon played a few dirty tricks and then he came out for humphrey at that point. 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 over him the
whole time. >> juan, back to civil rights. from the 1948 entry of hubert humphrey, he built his campaign on this, it came in really 1963 and '64 when civil rights legislation was being put forward. tell that story, if you would briefly. >> humphrey's involvement is as the democratic whip in the senate. you have lbj as president, basically, the inheriter of kennedy's mantle, president kennedy's efforts to get civil rights legislation passed. 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 certainly it is exceptional you would get enough 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 only 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
integration of private life. and the city of birmingham, alabama, there was an ordinance that said if you're going to have a restaurant and you were going to permit a negro to comment, you have a seven-foot wall down the middle of the restaurant. how foolish this is. isn't that an invasion of private property? >> we live in a country of freedom. under our constitution, a man has a right to use his own public property. >> this bill creates new jobs. therefore, whose jobs are it these -- >> we must as individual citizens speak out against prejudice and discrimination. we must be willing to accept the fact that every american is entitled to equal rights under
happening in 1968 and 1969 -- and all of the 1960's for that matter. he sat down with our major who turned out to be a mayor for 51 years. they were both mayors. it talked things over. i got drafted the following year. it is a pleasure, the series you are running. thank you for having it. >> hubert humphrey, beautiful e here come and visit.
whether there would be. here is richard nixon talking about not debating pierre >> i happen to be of the opinion we need a debate in this country. i think you and hubert humphrey -- i think mr. hubert humphrey as having a great time debating himself. >> are prejudiced, mr. nixon. if you do not want to debate with the third-party candidate whose name shall not be mentioned, why don't you get your friends in the house of representatives to pass a special law permitting u.s. and mr. hubert humphrey to debate. >> if you ever looked at the membership on that committee? it is always amusing to be when people said, why don't i get the republicans to do something of a debate. let's remember that the senate is 2-1 democratic. the house is 3-2 democratic.
anytime that hubert humphrey with his influence on his side wants a debate, i would think he would be able to get the democrats to pass it. i think that my power in terms of what i can get the republican members in the house to do is greatly overestimated. that is the problem as you know it. they are not opposing the debate. they are sitting with wallace getting 21% of the poll -- i am sorry. i should not have mentioned his name. with wallace getting 21% of the poll, they are insisting that they cannot go back to their constituents and laws that provide him an equal chance. >> if you got your friends and mr. humphrey got his friends, you would have enough friends to
civilization. the anarchist in the streets and the drugs that are being featured in the free sex. he is trying to appeal to the silent majority in saying he stands for law and order. democrats are bought and out of control party. it is ironic. hubert humphrey is a guy who was not a great supporter of the war. was in highealist. school. i worked for kennedy. he was running against hubert
from his research. this is from 1960 talking about his relationship with hubert humphrey and his influence on his presidential campaign. >> this week i had the opportunity to debate with mr. richard nixon. i feel i should reveal that i have a great advantage in that debate. i am not referring to anyone's makeup and man. [applause] the advantage i had was mr. nixon had is hubert humphrey ina
the 1968 presidential campaign. man >> democrats have paved the way for them to get good summer jobs. you have more money today for little luxuries because democrats worked hard to push into a higher minimum wage. you do not have to worry about supporting your mother today and she not worry about being a burden on you thanks to social security and medicare. quite an accomplishment, you know it.
you only heard one minutes' worth. what have the democrats ever done for you and yours? think about it. >> paid for by it citizens for humphrey muskif. >> we have seen the terrible results of violence for this country. it would be intolerable if a handful of violent people -- and that is what it is, just a handful -- could harden us to needed change. i have seen across the perverts the spirit of the america. i saw it at the republican convention in 1964 when rockefeller was shot down. i cited in indianapolis when the boss was heckled and to silence. happen to me in philadelphia. we should give notice to this violent few. there are americans that are willing to sacrifice for change but they want to do it without
being threatened and what 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. >> mr. richard nixon, where you stand on federal aid education? were you stand on expanded medicare? were you stand on aid to higher education? were you stand on the program? where do you stand? i must say -- you know something, richard nixon has not won an election on his own in 18 years. let's keep a good thing going.
met from protesters -- dominique the hump. >> i proceeded to go out the main door walking with students and protesters on each side of the sidewalk pushing and shoving and cursing. there were throwing everything they could it to harass me. one of the things that were doing is throwing cans of urine at me and my party. it was a terrible ordeal grid i watched every step. i did no running. i got to my car. i waved back at the students and
>> extremely conventional we talk a little bit about the difficulty he had portraying himself as an opponent of the war. he was born in 1911. he is not a counterculture and die. there is no way he will be standing around and made dashiki or with long hair and be credible. he is trying to say that he understands the need for stability and law and order even though he is not a law-and-order candidate. he is in a suit and tie and he has difficulty even with the kind of poetics that robert kennedy had employed when the kennedy -- when king was enoughe
the democratic presidential candidate. this was a band whose ideals and integrity carried through his whole life and in his personal life when you knew him at home or with him privately he was the same person with the same passion. the same conviction for civil rights, for working americans, for the concerns of world peace that you heard in his public statements. i do not think we have had somebody with his gift in the years cent was right in the aft.