tv The Contenders CSPAN August 9, 2016 11:31pm-1:35am EDT
he was not going to allow himself to be manipulated. this is eisenhower's view, manipulated by harry truman in the race at all. so there was never any doubt in anybody's mind, although they tried to make a bit of a deal out of it. there was never any doubt in anybody's mind in 1952 that ike would run as a republican. to distance himself from harry truman as adlai stevenson did. yes, sir? >> yes. question. general marshall had been the yoda for eisenhower for a number of years having to appoint him as the commander in europe. >> uh-huh. >> i was just wondering, it seems like mccarthy could take shots at people, and eisenhower did nothing about that. i ask you of that question. >> uh-huh. >> the other one, it almost seems like reagan and eisenhower's elections overall could have been eerily similar. >> i'll take a pass on the last
one for a moment, not because it's not an interesting question but because i really have to think that through. eisenhower and reagan have gotten comparisons because of their age, because of their politics, and because of the size of their victories, but i'm -- the times were so different. i'd have to think about that one. but in terms of what happens with the moment in milwaukee, one way of looking at this is that eisenhower deluded what could have been a strong statement of support for his mentor. in so doing, he could have made and taken the opportunity to position his presidency against such irresponsible statements. even if they were true. >> yes. >> right? >> but he doesn't do that. he either -- he does one of two things for certain. he either amends the speech, himself, or he allows his speechwriters, john hughes, to cut this out at his bequest.
what does that say about eisenhower? that says that either eisenhower wants to try to keep peace in the valley with mccarthy, and he sees mccarthy as being too big to take on on the national stage right here, or he needs to win wisconsin. i mean, wisconsin's a lot of electoral votes now. you don't throw those away. >> must have take and page out of fdr's book then. >> that's an interesting point. that's a good point. i know you. >> so, dr. greene, bob, thank you very much for another excellent program. if the library can find a way to get you back for a fifth program in five years, i'll certainly be here. >> thank you, henry. thank you all very, very much.
while congress is on break, we're showing you american history tv normally seen weekends here on c-span3. coming up, the presidential campaign of adlai stevenson. in about two hours, we'll show you his acceptance speech at the 1952 democratic national convention and in about an hour and half, a discussion of the impact on the 1952 campaign between adlai stevenson and dwight eisenhower. american history tv primetime continues wednesday night with a look at the 16 1964 presidential campaign of barry goldwater. it begins at 8:00 eastern with "the contenders", two hour discussion of the life and
career of the republican nominee. 10:05 p.m. eastern, barry goldwater's nomination acceptance speech. 10:50, a look at his role in the conservation movement in the 1950s and 60s. the c-span radio app makes it easy to continue to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. it's free to download from the apple app store or google play. get audio coverage and up to the minute information for c-span radio and television plus podcast times for our popular public affairs, book and history programs. stay up to date on all the election coverage. c-span's radio app mean you always have c-span on the go. now "the contenders." our series on key political figures who ran for president and loft but nevertheless changed political history. tonight we feature adlai stevenson, former governor of illinois and two-time
presidential candidate. this program was recorded at adlai stevenson's family home in libertyville, illinois. it is about two hours. this is american history tv only on c-span3. ladies and gentlemen of the convention, my fellow citizens, i accept your nomination and your program. and now, my friends, that you have made your decision, i will fight to win that office with all my heart and my soul. and with your help, i have no doubt that we will win.
help me to do the job in this autumn of conflict and of campaign. help me to do the job in darkness and of crisis which is stretch beyond the horizon of tonight's happy vision, and we will justify our glorious path and the loyalty of silent millions who look to us for compassion, for understanding and for honest purpose. thus, we will serve our great tradition greatly. i ask of you all you have. i will give you all i have -- >> and that was our contender this week. adlai stevenson accepting the democratic nomination for president in 1952. we are joined by historian richard norton smith here in add l adlai stevenson's old study in libertyville, illinois. who was this one of term governor of illinois? >> well, to millions of americans, that's all he was, a one-term governor of illinois.
they knew nothing more about him. they'd never heard a voice like his. they did not know that in some ways a political revolution was being touched off that night and that for the next decade adlai stevenson would be certainly the voice of the democratic party. someone who would transform american politics even though he was never successful in his quest for the white house. >> how did he get the nomination in 1952 and in 1956? >> he's arguably the last candidate to be drafted and he's the last candidate to require more than one ballot at a convention. he didn't want the nomination, is the shofrt answer, especially in the republicans nominated, as they did, dwight eisenhower, who everyone thought was unbeatable and stevenson thought wouldn't be a bad president. there was a vacuum in the party. harry truman was retiring and there was no obvious successor and stevenson gave a remarkable
welcoming address at the chicago convention that had the effect almost of william jennings bryant's cross of gold. it touched off this draft and a couple of days later he was delivering the speech that you just heard. >> and welcome to libertyville, illinois, and "the contenders." this is the ninth in the 14-week series, looking at the men who ran for president and changed american politics. tonight our focus is adlai ewing stevenson 1900-1965 were his years of living. we are joined by well-known author and historian richard william smith. we're live from libertyville, illinois, 40 miles outside chicago at the stevenson family farm. we are in adlai stevenson's old study right now in the house and in just a moment we're going to be joined by newton minow who worked and knew adlai stevenson for years and we're also pleased to tell you that we will be
joined by senator adlai stevenson iii, the son of adlai stevenson, and ten-year senator from the state of illinois. richard norton smith, before we leave the office here, there are some things setting around that i want to hopefully get to learn a little bit more about governor stephenson. first of all, what is this hand? >> stevenson talked about himself that he suffered from a bad case of hereditary politics. there are multiple generations that are part of this story. his great-grandfather was a man named jesse feld who helped persuade abraham lincoln to run for president in 1860. the lincoln connection was a very powerful one with stephens stevenson. this, in fact, is a cast of lincoln's hand and part of the white mast that was created in 1860. >> now also on the desk here on adlai stevenson's desk is an address book. some of the names in this address book include eleanor
roosevelt, walter and gene cur, jackie kennedy, john steinbeck, archibald mcleash. it hints at the catholicity of stevenson's appeal. he was a very unusual -- he was a non-politician in many ways who was lionized by intellectuals and academics, by men and women of letters and eventually by millions of americans who proudly declared themselves stevenosonians. >> and standing between us is this old office chair. >> yeah, very historic piece. this, in fact, is governor stevenson's cabinet chair. during the kennedy administration, no doubt we'll talk about this later on, he had a historic stint as american ambassador to the united nations and as such he was made a member of the cabinet. this is the chair that commemorates that somewhat difficult relationship that he had with the kennedy administration. >> now, richard norton smith, you referred to the dynasty, the
stevenson political dynasty a little earlier. here on the wall are some artifacts, very quickly. >> yeah. governor stevenson's wife, ellen, said the stevensons suffered from a bad case of ancestor worship. they had pretty impressive ancestors. >> under grover cleveland. >> under grover cleveland. then he ran again under william jennings bryant, unsuccessfully. anyway, this is grandfather stev stevenson's hat. you can see the campaign items from the grover cleveland campaigns as well. >> again, welcome to you. thanks for joining us tonight for "the contenders" live from libertyville, illinois. richard norton smith and i are going to work our way over to the barn, the stevenson barn here on the family farm. we're currently in the house, in the study. but next to it is a barn. this is a working, semiworking farm at one point with animals, sheep, horses, et cetera, and we're going to work our way over
there where there's a new display about add lay stooemlai. you'll be able to see that as well. first, we want to show you campaign commercials so you can see some of the video of adlai stevens stevenson. these campaign commercials are from 1956 and 1952 and one of them we will show you was filmed right here in this study. >> it's wonderful how sitting right here in my own library thanks to television i can talk to millions of people that i couldn't reach any other way, but i'm not going to let this spoil me. i'm not going to stop traveling in this campaign. i can talk to you, yes, but i can't listen to you. i can't hear about your problems, about your hopes and your affairs. to do that i've got to go out and see you in person and that's what i've been doing. for the past several years i've traveled all over this country
hundreds of thousands of miles. i've been in every state. many of them more than once. and i have met thousands of you and millions of you have seen me. ♪ ♪ it's adlai to you, adlai to any ♪ ♪ i don't care how you care it ♪ adlai, adlai, don't pronounce it ♪ ♪ just go out and vote it ♪ stevenson ♪ i'd lather have a man with a hole in his shoe than a hole in everything he says ♪ ♪ i'd rather have a man who knows what to do when he gets to be the prez ♪ ♪ i love the gov, the governor of illinois ♪ ♪ i know the gov will bring the dove of peace and joy ♪ ♪ when illinois the gop double cross ♪ ♪ he was the boy who told all the crooks get lost ♪
♪ adlai, love you madly ♪ and what you did for your own great state, you're going to do for the rest of the 48 ♪ ♪ we're going to choose the gov that we love ♪ ♪ he is the gov nobody can shove ♪ ♪ we have the gov, the president of the you, me and the usa ♪ ♪ old mcdonald had a farm back in '31 ♪ ♪ conditions filled him with alarm back in '31 ♪ ♪ not a chick, chick here, not a moo, cow there, just broken down farmland everywhere ♪ snoit farmer man doesn't want to go back to the days where there wasn't a moo or quack to the days of 1931 when they didn't have bread when the day was done ♪ ♪ farmer mac knows what to do, election day of '52 ♪ ♪ going to go out with everyone in the usa ♪ ♪ to vote for adlai stevenson to
keep his farm this way ♪ ♪ with a vote, vote here and a vote, vote there and a vote for stevenson everywhere note ♪ for if it's good for mac, you see, it's good for you and it's good for moe ♪ ♪ all america loves that farm, vote stevenson today ♪ >> and if you should elect me your president next november, i shall be the better for having done it, i'm sure, because i know that the strength and the wisdom that i need must be drawn from you, the people. so finally, i hope that the next time we meet it will be person-to-person and face-to-face. i'm adlai stevenson. you and i have been hearing from our republican friends the things are so food, they couldn't be better. better for whom, i wonder? do you think things can't be better for the small businessman like this one?
small business profits are down 52%. that they can't be better for our farmers like these? farm income is down 25%. are your schools good enough for the richest nation in history? your schools like this one need a third of a million more classrooms. and what about you? are you now out of debt? do you have a comfortable backlog in the bank? are you paying less for the things that you buy or more? do you really think things can't be better? of course, they can. working together we can and will make them better. >> vote democratic. >> rising cost of farming? lower farm income? caught in a squeeze? then vote democratic, the party for you, not just the few. vote for adlai stevenson for
president and estes kefauver for vice president. >> and we are back live at the stevenson farm in libertyville, illinois. richard norton smith and i are now joined by newton minow. you may know him as the former chairman of the federal communications commission. if you've ever heard the phrase "tv is a vast wasteland," that was newton minow's phrase. but for our purposes tonight, he worked with and was an associate of adlai stevenson for many years. newton minow, if you could start by telling us, when did you first meet governor stevenson? >> i was a law clerk at the united states supreme court for chief justice vinson. and one of our law professors carl mcgowan came to visit one day. he later offered my co-clerk a job as his assistant in
springfield as assistant counsel to the governor. turned out that howard wasn't interested, but i was. and i ended up being interviewed by governor stevenson at 7:00 a.m. for a breakfast in the spring of 1952. and he said to me, if i hire you, young man, is there any reason why you wouldn't take the job? and i said, if my current boss boss, chief justice vinson, runs for president, and it was rumored in the press that he would be a candidate for president, and if he asked me to stay with him, i'd like to do that. and governor stevenson looked at me and said, i don't think that's very likely. i then drove him to his next appointment. i went to work at the supreme court. i picked up "the new york times." it said, "truman offers stevenson the presidential
nomination" semicolon, "vinson out." this was the morning after president truman had asked aldai to run. well, i was hired. i reported for work and he was then nominated for president. >> what was he known for as governor? >> even as a student, i have worked in his campaign for governor and was a college student in 1948. he was known as being, first of all, totally honest, which was not necessarily a prerequisite for election in illinois. but he was a different kind of candidate. he was honest. he was an intellectual. he was -- he cared deeply about good government. and he brought a whole different culture and tone to the office of governor. >> richard norton smith, the u.s. in 1952, set the stage for us. >> well politically, there's no doubt, i think one of the reasons, and you would know
much, much better than i, that entered into his hesitation, at least, about seeking the presidency, was a sense that the democrats had been in power for 20 years. and even the most partisan democrat who thought they'd been 20 glorious years nevertheless thought that perhaps the party as well as the country would be well served by a change. but the great issue was which republican party would replace harry truman, if harry truman were to leave? would it be the isolationist, conservative midwestern party of bob darst taft or would it be the internationalist, if you will, modern republicanism of dwight eisenhower? and stevenson had to among other things weigh and calculate the chances of which party he might be running against. he was very reluctant to run, wasn't he? >> he did not want to run.
of course, it was -- who could have beat dwight eisenhower? it was like running against jesus christ. it was an impossible thing to win. and as richard said, he's got it exactly right. if it had been robert taft as the opponent, i think adlai would have relished running because there would have been a clear difference in philosophy about america's place in the world. but you got to remember the democrats tried to draft general eisenhower. the democrats tried to get eisenhower to run as a democrat. eisenhower was a candidate of both parties. >> well, newton minow, when adlai stevenson gave the welcoming address at the democratic national convention in chicago, in 1952, was he a nationally known figure at the time? was he considered a candidate? >> he was not that well known. i remember the first time he
appeared on national television was that spring. he was on "meet the press." first time he was ever on national television. and adlai was never any good on television. >> why? >> if you're with him, he was a lot of fun, he had a great personality, and you always went away feeling better about yourself. but when you watched him on television, he was either nervous, but he was never himself. but the country didn't know him. >> so he gives the welcoming address and he essentially gets drafted, wins on the second or third ballot. is that correct? >> that's right. and it was really unfortunate for him because the timing was wrong. if he had run for president, against a dwight eisenhower, he probably could have won. >> and, remember, just how different the democratic party was in 1952. who does he pick for a running mate? john sparkman, senator from
alabama. it's still the solid south, and, in fact, he has to worry about keeping the solid south solid. >> exactly. and it taught me a lesson also about how we pick vice presidents. john sparkman was picked at the last minute. >> did he have a relationship with john sparkman? >> no, not really. and the way we do things in this country, it's amazing, we have staged this so successfully for a couple hundred years. >> did kefauver want to be on the '52 ticket? >> kefauver, i think, was always interested in running for president. adlai did not like kefauver at all -- >> senator estes kefauver of kentucky. >> of tennessee. >> of tennessee. excuse me. who ended up being the vice presidential candidate in '56. >> who harry truman liked to call cow fever.
he liked him even less i think than -- >> richard newton smith, than then newton minow. >> truman is regarded as a dear, great president, someone we all look up to for his decisiveness, for his ability to make big decisions. and commit the united states in the cold war. the fact is at the time he was a very unpopular president. the korean war was an unpopular war. he had fired douglas macarthur, which again, today, basically there's a consensus he did the right thing for the right reason but at great political cost. harry truman had been in power seven years, and he had decided seven years was enough. he had the power to prevent cow fever from becoming the nominee.
he probably had the power to make adlai stevenson the nominee, but with that power went in some ways the dead weight of the truman administration. and i think -- my sense is that truman and stevenson's relationship never quite recovered from that fact. >> i think it was worse than that. the -- there was another factor. there have been a lot of corruption in the democratic party. there have been a scandal with one of president truman's assistants and there had been -- it was not a happy thing to become the democratic candidate for president in 1952. >> especially if you had harry truman's ipmpromoter on you. >> as i left the supreme court to work for stevenson, i went to see the chief justice to say good-bye and he was very, very
close to president truman. chief justice vinson. and the chief said to me, your guy's not going to make it. and i said, what? he said, no, i was with the president last night and he told me that he's lost patience with adlai, doesn't say yeses, doesn't so no, it's going to be barkley. barkley was then the vice president of the united states. >> age 74. >> right. and they tried to -- actually tried to get it for barkley, but everybody said he's too old. so that opened it up again and then stevenson was drafted. >> and we are live from libertyville, illinois, the stevenson family farm about 40 miles outside of chicago. the phone numbers are on the screen because we want to hear from you as well. especially if you remember adlai stevenson as a candidate.
202-737-00 o1. for those of you in east and central time zones, 202-737-0002. if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones. the results, 1952, by the way, that election was held 59 years ago tonight, november 4th, 1952. adlai stevenson won 27 million votes. he got 89 electoral votes and he 9 states. dwight david eisenhower, 442 electoral votes. he won 34 million votes and he won the rest of the states which would have been 40 some at that point. 41 states. >> one thing to keep in mind about that election is to compare it with 1948. in losing, governor stevenson got 3 million more votes than harry truman had in winning three years earlier. dwight eisenhower got 12 million more votes than tom dewey. what you had was the largest increase in voter participation. >> why?
>> in 4 years since the 1820s. >> why? >> because you had two, in many ways, outstanding candidates. each in their own way who were able to excite the electorate in a way that i don't think we've seen in this country for some time. >> here's a little bit more of adlai stevenson at the 1952 convention. >> what does concern me of both parties is not just winning this election, but how it is won. how well we can take advantage of this great quadrennial opportunity to debate issues sensibly and soberly. i hope and pray that we democrats, win or lose, can campaign not as a crusade to exterminate the opposing party, as our opponents seem to prefer, but as a great opportunity to educate and elevate a people whose destiny is leadership.
stellar career. the think that the campaign was a low point of stevenson's political career? did he spend too much time attacking nixon? should she1956 campaign. >> 1956 campaign, in my opinion, was not as stellar as it was the 1952 campaign. the reason for the emphasis on nixon in 1956 was the fact that president eisenhower had suffered a bad heart attack and had some bad health problems. there was great concern in the country of what would happen if
i pledged to every resource of mind and strength that i possess to make a good win for our country and our party. four years ago, i stood in this same place and under those same words to you. four years ago, i did not seek the honor that you bestowed upon me. this time, as he may have noticed, it was not entirely unsolicited. [laughter] [applause] there is another big difference. that time, we lost.
thunder about the 1956 convention and jack kennedy. one of my favorite comments was something that harry truman said about adlai stevenson, that is spent more time thinking about what he was going to do rather than doing it. he spent a lot more time talking to college presidents that he did to cabdrivers. anyway, 1956, richard norton smith made a comment to adlai stevenson doing something unprecedented in, opening the conviction -- the convention to picking a vice presidential nominee. very f
in the america of the great ideals and noble vision. i knew america where poverty is abolished and our abundance is used to enrich the lives of every family. [applause] i mean a new america where freedom is made real for all, without regard to race or belief or economic conditions. [applause] i mean a new america with the ancient ideas -- these are the things i believe then.
eisenhower was popular. the war ended and -- that would come later in korea. what happened -- one of the things that happened, i would have never gotten reelected anyway. with the uprising in hungary and the invasion of suez by france, britain, and israel, these international crises that rallied the country as they always do behind the president
forever. i remember there was a disappointment at the convention because there was not a contest that there had been in 1952. i was wondering if you could elaborate on how the decision was made to throw it open to the convention whether it was for everybody to have a good time or whether it was at least in part to be able to dodge the animosity of all of the candidates who did not get it. >> if you could start and then
it will be the last survivor. [applause] >> the details of my participation have not been worked out, but i would drive the campaign were i -- or he wanted me to. i suspect that will be in the west and the east and everywhere in between. i hope so. >> what would you do about it? how would you go about it? >> i hope by the participation in the campaign i have not had much doubt that they would support the ticket. i hope they will supported vigorously in the same manner that i did. >> i hope it will fall you as vigorously as you did in los angeles.
almost stevenson's moment and he threw it away. he was in a position with the right to remarks to have taken the convention a way. is that unrealistic? was that convention jack kennedy's no matter what happened? can you see a scenario in which stevenson at the peak of his form might have said something -- i have said something on fire? >> i think he knew it was not going to happen. they told him the illinois delegates were going to vote for kennedy. i think he knew at that point. we will see what adlai says if he agrees with me. i have always thought jackie keg
about adlai stevenson and jfk. >> telling you he had to have the un. i could remember jack telling me about that. >> did that give him a lot of difficulty? >> it was unpleasant. he did not like it. he was not going to give him the state department. at the earliest times a we spoke of it, you new governor stevenson would get the un -- not state which he wanted. it is unpleasant to tell somebody that. stevens said he did not have anything to say or something funny. >> why do you think he decided not to have stevenson for state? >> it was not just bitterness.
paradox. i cannot think of a less sound bite political figure it then adlai stevenson. is immortalized by a glut of the great sound bites of the 20th century. >> we will listen to it right now. >> let me ask you one simple question. do you the night that the u.s.s.r. has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range sites and missiles in cuba? yes or no. don't wait for the translation, yes or no? >> mr. stephenson, will you continue your statement please. he will receive the answer in
democratic party. here he is in 1952 talking about the democratic party kurt >> i have been hardened by the conduct of this convention. you have argued and disagreed because as democrats to care and do care deeply. but you have disagreed and argued without calling each other liars and thieves, without spoiling our best traditions. [applause] you have not support our best traditions and any struggles for power. you have written as a platform that neither contradicts nor
even aids. you have restated our party's record. its principles and its purposes and languages that none can mistake. nor am i afraid that the democratic party is old and fat. after 150 years, it has been old for a long time. it will never be indolent as long as it looks forward and not back. as long as it commands the young and the hopeful during the dreams and xi the visions of a better america and a better world. you will see many people express concern about the continuation of one party in power for 20 years. i don't to be little this attitude. but change for the sake of change has no absolute merit in itself. the people are wise -- wiser than the republicans think. the democratic party is the people's party.
w frontier. he holds the banner of liberalism in the 1950's -- a difficult era. it is an interesting brand of liberalism. he believes in american exceptional was on every bit as many of the right to do today. it was an exceptional was some debt was about ideas and ideals. it was leading by example. it was not an exception allows some enforced by military force. he brought a whole generation of young people who were inspired by his words, his example, his
alone a franklin roosevelt. that is why we have created the stevenson center to try to address these systemic weaknesses that might make an adlai stevenson possible. we try as i do in my book to recall all of these lawyers and history that created this country and contrast them with our politics today.
agreed on much, i have been exposed to his speeches, his rhetoric, and a lot of things he said. i am of the opinion that he is one of the last really great political speechmakers in our age. we were speaking a moment ago about jingles and things like that. i saw him making the speech, he was taking some of it from his notes in the pre teleprompter days. it was not coming off of the