tv The Contenders CSPAN August 11, 2016 8:04am-10:09am EDT
my trusted colleague -- senator hubert humphrey of minnesota. [applause] >> democrats and most republicans and the senate vote for the education legislation, but not senator goldwater. most democrats and most republicans in the the senate voted to halt the united nations and its peacekeeping functions when it was in financial difficulty, but not goldwater. >> i cannot help but think that particular moment how far we had,, all the hard work and effort, this was a great moment
many times he would say to me, it was better to take a smaller plane. if you have a plan that is too big, there will be too many people who want to ride with you. you will be encumbered with people that see there is an extra seat that has not been used. from time to time, on short trips, up and down the atlantic seaboard, i would take one of the smaller planes that were available. for our lager trips, we used the jet star. never in the continental united states, did we use air force wind. those were to be only used for overseas trips. at no time was i ever permitted to bring a newspaperman or a person of the media with me on
he did it for a short time to help his father with the drug store. i do not think he ever really want to be a pharmacist. >> he ended up getting a doctorate as i understand. >> he went to get a master's degree. >> why was studying politics? >> i initially, he was going to get a doctorate and teach. he was so good at public speaking and so good at communicating, a lot of people convinced him to run. he ended up coming back to
scheduled for him. he was watch pretty closely. he saw only the good side of th. he went to hospitals, talked to people. at that point, he quit cheerleading the war. he found out about the corruption and the south vietnamese government. he realized it was lost. he came back from the second trip knowing that the war needed to be over. he was boxed in. he had been speaking out for the
war for the last year period lyndon johnson was not going to let him speak against the war. he was in a bad situation. that deal with civil rights and american history. >> mr. chairman, a fellow democrats, fellow americans, i realize that in speaking on behalf of the minority on civil- rights that i am dealing with a charged issue. an issue which has been confused
by emotionalism on all sides of the fence. i must rise at this time to support the minority report, the report that spells out our democracy. a report that the people of this country can and will understand and a report that they will claim the on the great issue of civil rights. to those who say that we are brushing this issue of civil rights, i say to them, we are 172 years late. i had been the destroyer of the democratic party, the enemy of the south. i never felt so lonesome and some on wanted in all my life as i did in those first
the night in their travels a chance for a place to rest and to eat. it is not -- this will lead to 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 the constitution and under the law. no less than that. >> the most difficult task that i have as the floor leader of the civil-rights bill is just being there. having to watch every move and make sure that we have 51 senators. one of the tactics of the opposition is to call for repeated quorums.
all the college students are emphatic about gene mccarthy, and he does surprisingly well in new hampshire and legitimatized the idea that johnson is vulnerable. it's after his success that 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. it's one of these wonderful
political stories. hubert humphreys is really a good guy, and he's not going to put lyndon johnson in a position where lyndon johnson feels that he's undercut by his number two, the guy he empowered. at the same time, johnson is just totally dismissive of humphrey and especially humphrey's contribution or desire to be -- 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 it took a while for me to accept he wouldn't be, president, even after his passing. he put up my own humphrey's website since 2002. in 1998 i visited mhs along with with the humphrey institute when steve sandell 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 don't remember seeing anything either. i've been through all the archives. >> with the early primaries and his announcement. things start going into warp speed in 1968. 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., 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. 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 and 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 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. he's a nobel peace prizewinner, and he feels a moral imperative to say it 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's assassinated he's at the national cathedral in washington, d.c. speaking against war. it's part of the energy that surrounding him, and it puts him in the position of being an
opponent of the johnson administration. >> 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 aflcio and the title of it "words of a true friend." it's about hubert humphrey speaking at a aflcio gathering, and it was towards the end of his life. he was still smiling 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 want 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 protestors having violence in the park. he called humphrey the next day when they had a meeting, and humphrey said, i know. nixon has 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 try to link humphrey to anti-war protestors, and i was wondering if your guests have 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 randolph going back to the '20s and '30s trying to get the labor movement in this country to understand the importance of racial equity. by the time of the '60s, you know, they're an essential part of the democratic coalition.
part of the fdr legacy, if you will. here they are now linking hands with not only a. philip randolph and ruston but also dr. king to support the march on washington. dr. king has several people, the meat cutters and others behind him in that video, and you can see the union involvement. you can see the head of the aflcio and others right there with him. it becomes not just a matter of a support mechanism but a controlling mechanism, i think, 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 assassination, robert kennedy assassinated in los angeles. let's listen to a call from dean in cleveland and then we'll 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. 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 was a mayor for 51 years. his name was john coin. they were both mayors and talked things over. i was only 18. i also got drafted the following year. but it was just a pleasure this series that you're running and i'm a happy warrior of hubert humphrey.
>> hubert humphrey, the happy warrior, the name given throughout his political career. we're live from the minnesota history museum, the history center in st. paul right by the capital. beautiful building if you're here. please come 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 which he 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 politic to be gunned down is rfk. what happens to the campaign at this point? >> humphrey's campaign stopped for a good month. 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 10 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 behind nixon and 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 across the country. there's a tremendous sense of racial anger and unease. he talks about the king assassination in terms of his own brother's assassination and drops of pain and all that we can do to try to otherwise 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 at work. why so many leaders are killed at this moment. johnson's approval numbers are in the low 30s.
he can't even come out and 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 say there's reason to hope america can do it. but 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 and our leaders are gunned down. in all this people are trying to vie for the office. 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? >> caller: let me first say how much i enjoy 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 to move on with 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 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. jules reported that gene mccarthy lost his heart to campaign after the assassination. on the republican side, richard nixon, who had also been in the senate and also a former vice president, wanted to be president as well. what was his campaign's reaction to all of this turmoil? how were they positioning their man? >> you know, the principle 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 so vociferous in their anti-war efforts and protesting on campus and shutting down campuses, wanted to get that under control, 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 to 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 just 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? >> yes. romney was trying to position himself at anti-war, and it leads to what i guess we remember is the most famous moment in george romney's presidential run when he says he's been brainwashed by the generals and the political leaders about what's going on in vietnam. of course, saying he was brainwashed then alienated some of that silent majority base because they wanted the war to continue and win the war. romney thought he could outflank nixon by being the anti-war republican. turns out he hurt himself with his base and was never able to challenge nixon after that. you also had, you know, people like harold stassen. >> nelson rockefeller also. >> rockefeller and romney is 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 allowing nixon then to have a clear path for the nomination in miami. >> fred from michigan. >> caller: i wanted to mention
one of my favorite stories about humphrey when he was the mayor of minneapolis. they were going to go out on strike, and the mayor office's story goes over looked 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 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 appalachia, but i was visiting in washington, and my older cousin was a humphrey's 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 provacateurs? i know dr. king studied at the highlander school for nonviolence in knoxville, tennessee, and all the 99 percenters i approve are nonviolent and if they have any advice on that. thank you. >> thanks very much. >> well, yeah, he started at the highlander school as rosa parks and other involved with the
rights movement. initially they help people involved with union activities to teach them how to organize, but then, of course, those tactics extend to civil rights protests and the like. obviously in the case of the bus boycott that rosa parks and dr. king were so well-known for in 195 in montgomery. extending that now in terms of less sons you would take to something like "occupy, "the "remember that when king is assassinated, king was intending to come to washington to lead pay 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 was that he wanted to show the leaders of the free world, of the greatest country and richest country in the world that there was still need in poverty including in appalachians and he built these
shanty huts 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 bit 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 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 when people say why don't i get the republicans to do something on the debate ort rest? let's remember the senate is 2-1 democratic. let's remember that the house is 3-2 democratic, and anytime that hubert humphrey with his great influence on his side wants a debate, i would think that he could get the democrats to pass. i think that my power in terms of what i can get the republican members in the house to do is greatly overestimated. democrats as well as republicans are insisting on the 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 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 off, wouldn't you? >> i don't think he's got that many friends. >> 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 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 possibilities that many of them came flocking back to humphrey, and many participated in an election eve telethon called humphrey musky. many stars were there. frank sinatra, steve allen, paul newman, sonny and cher. there was a harris poll taken the next day saying humphrey would win. do you think if these stars and those sort of vehicle, this 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 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 his the presidency. nixon sent madam chennault to south vietnam and convinced the south vietnam leader to not come the to the peace talks buzz nixon would give him a better deal if he was president. this happened. he backed out of the peace talks. our aly in the south backed out in the peace talks, and many people believe that lost 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 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 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 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 it was coming, and johnson wouldn't do it because he was so close with daly and he promised daly he would have the convention there. there were all kinds of strikes. cab strikes, communications strikes, i think there was a phone strike. there were barricades up. they expected 5, 10, 15,000 protestors. i mean, 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 to bring to the convention to talk about ending the war, and johnson squished it right at the end. he ended up coming to the convention. . but it was an issue for humphrey from the beginning and an issue for johnson for many
years, too. humphrey was much more passionate about if and i believe and much more involved with the the african-american community. he spoke at naacp meetings. he didn't know martty luther king in '48 that early. he knew a lot of other labor leaders. yeah, so. >> let's listen top cynthia in sioux city, iowa. hi, kint cynthia >> caller: i was a member of the 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 aa casualty of the vietnam war. he was quite emotional and had a tear in his eye. can you talk more about this vietnam policy? >> 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 wall the stops planned for him and 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 and went to hospitals and talked to people. at that point he quit cheerleading the war because he found out about the corruption in the south vietnamese
government and all the other things going on with the war and he released it was lost. he came back from the second frip in late 1867 knowing the war needed to be over. he was boxed in. he had been speaking out for the war, and lyndon johnson wouldn't let him speak against the war he was in a bad situation. that lasted with him through 1968. >> the two great issues of hubert humphrey's political career were civil rights and the vietnam war and the 1948 speech that the caller talked about launched him onto the national
>> we have a clip that we did not show from 1960. i will take a call. we have jfk talking about hubert humphrey of 1960 that will help illustrate some of the relationship. as we are getting that ready, let's listen to john in knoxville, tennessee. >> caller: hubert humphrey and mccarthy were close friends for many, many years, as fellow dfl-ers. i think the assumption was in september he would come out soon, and mccarthy never did. and that was a terrible burden for humphrey, and probably mccarthy could have swung enough
votes to get humphrey elected. i am just wondering whether our experts could share that view or whether they have some other view? >> thank you. >> i served for sure. we interviewed walter phaupb dale, and he said if mccarthy had come out on the stage and said humphrey is not our best candidate and we are against the war but we need to vote for him rather than nixon, he would have won the election. what people don't know, we're
talking constantly all through the campaign, they were trying to get mccarthy come onboard and he would not do it. >> if you joined us along the way, we have a copy that we will show you later on, the cover, so you can follow-up if you are interested in it. and one of the clips is a 1960 jfk talking about his relationship with hubert humphrey and his influence on his presidential campaign. >> this week i had the opportunity to debate with mr. nixon. i feel that i should refeel that i had a great advantage in that debate, and i am not referring to anybody's makeup man. i was debating with hubert humphrey, and that gave me an edge. >> greg, you are on, and welcome to the conversation.
hello, greg? >> caller: hello. >> almost lost your chance. go ahead, please. >> caller: yeah, i was just -- was humphrey and -- this relates to what you were talking about earlier, but humphrey and lbj's relationship, what happened? why would he have to tap his phone over vietnam? >> thanks very much. as i understand it, why would he attack his own over vietnam, the lbj and humphrey relationship? >> because lbj wanted to win that war, and he didn't want to tell anybody getting off the farm about it, and he wanted people to do what he told him to do, and humphrey had reservations about the war and he knew it.
national guardsmen, students themselves, in the streets holding back student protesters, and on the convention floor, melee with reporters, and this is a clip from the convention as he accepts the nomination. >> listen to this immortal 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. >> i was heartbroken. it was the moment of my life,
we have just about 35 minutes left. we're going to move along to the next part of the exhibit here. and 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. >> 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 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 rockefeller was shouted down. i saw it in minneapolis when 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 wasn't 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? 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 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 beyond just a matter of equality, but it's now creating instability in the country and combined with the anti-vietnam war sentiments, you get nixon as the guy who is the man of stability, law and order, the man who's saying that, 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 pullout
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 has 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 hike that until the end of september. 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 protesters pushing and shoving and cursing 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. i did no running.
>> 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. 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 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 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. 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. 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 gentleman. 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 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? was he -- >> 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 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 presume 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, he attacked in 1948. >> a big change from the country from '48 to '68. next call, belfast, maine, pat. >> caller: hello. >> 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 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 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 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. >> 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 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. 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. 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 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. 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 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. 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 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. 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 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. >> we have 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. 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 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. 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. 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 ]
we have more about the life of hubert humphrey coming up shortly. up next, his 1968 democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech. we have video footage of the 1968 presidential campaign. american history tv airs on cspan3 every weekend telling the american story through events, interviews and visits to historic locations. this month, american history tv is in prime time to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on cspan3. our features include lectures in history. to hear lectures by top history professors. american artifacts takes a look at the treasures. real america, revealing the 20th century. the civil war, whe y