tv 1968 Presidential Campaign CSPAN August 11, 2016 10:47am-11:18am EDT
american history tv in prime time continues tonight with a look at the life and legacy of 1968 presidential candidate h e hubert humphrey. that's followed by hubert humphrey's 1968 democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech. later, road to the white house rewind of the 1968 presidential campaign. road to the white house rewind brings you arrest kai value coverage of presidential races. up next, a u.s. information agency film on the 1968 campaign titled a private decision. it chronicles the race from the first primaries in new hampshire to the surprise withdrawal of president lyndon johnson from
the race, to richard nixon's victory over hubert humphrey in the general election. during the cold war, they made films to promote american society and democracy. they couldn't be shown in the u.s. until 12 years after they were produced. this half hour film is courtesy of the national archives. >> the political situation here in new hampshire, the rest of the country is still watching us. >> once every four years when the united states turns its attention to choosing leader, a small snowy state in the northeastern corner of the country becomes the political center of the nation. >> the final campaigning is under way in the new hampshire presidential primary coming up next tuesday. on the republican side, richard nixon is urging new hampshire republicans to give him a big
seco sendoff in his quest. >> it signals the start by holding the first primary election of the year. so the man who then wanted to be president, richard nixon, george romney and senator eugene mccarthy, dry national attention to new hampshire as they started the campaign with ritual treks through the snow. where one man from each party would win the state's support at the political conventions in the summer. ♪ it's a small town in new hampshire. the most popular past time in winter is dog sled racing. the problems that concern other parts of the country may seem far away. but behind its blessed landscape
and its comfortable homes, the people were aware of the challenges their country faced in this election year, and many became actively involved in the primary jim wilson lives in laconia. like many of his neighbors he is a member of the republican party. this year he is chairman of the laconia chamber of commerce. and he owns the town's camera store. >> if you're familiar with super 8 cameras, ed, this is the one that loads with the drop-in cartridge. >> he cares deeply about the future of his country and he's concerned about the way the government spends money, including his tax money. he thinks the republican administration can do a better job. and jim thinks there is one man who can do it best. jim is a nixon man. >> there's absolutely no advantage for nixon to come and debate because as long as nixon stays in the background, says nothing, romney just digs a deeper hole and buries himself.
>> with romney right now is -- >> but his wife, ann, is still considering other candidates. >> i think he's middle of the road. >> that's beside the point. we know he's not going to make it. >> there were others in laconia who did not show ann's pessimistic appraisal of senator mccarthy. one is ronald callahan. like jim, ron is a businessman. he runs a family-owned electronics firm. he is a member of the democratic party. in 1964 ron had voted for president johnson. but this year deeply disturbed by the war in vietnam he had decided to work for the election of senator eugene mccarthy. >> clearly, though -- >> mccarthy was opposed to the course of the war and had challenged the president for the democratic nomination.
>> but the war has taken so much money out of the economy. the war on poverty. what johnson called the great society. so much punch has been taken out of what he tried to do because of the war that it's become a marker. >> put somebody else in if you think he's wrong. >> we'll do that. >> the laconia chamber of commerce sponsored a series of breakfasts for all the candidates and ron and jim and their wives ann and dotty attended them all. and ron got his first close look at the man he wanted to see win. [ applause ] >> as i see the campaign in '68 the issue of vietnam itself is a vital one of course and you
could pass a harsh judgment on that war. or if it were isolated altogether from any domestic consequences or any other international consequences. but underneath all of this i think is a fundamental judgment that we're called upon to make as to what the real role of america is. to what direction do we want to give america? what influence do we want it to have on the rest of the world? and i say this is the fundamental test we have to face up to in the electoral process of the year 1968. >> richard nixon came to town a few days later, and jim had a chance to meet and talk with the man who was his personal choice for the presidency. nixon had the most practical experience of all the candidates. as vice president in the eisenhower administration he had been actively involved in running the country for eight years.
nixon was a man that republicans had always been able to count on. he attended thousands of dinners and rallies to help the republican cause. the people he helped remembered and appreciated his work. and it was this personal contact with thousands of ordinary americans that was to become the backbone of the nixon campaign. >> it was my pleasure to have mr. nixon here as speaker when i came into office this past year. >> i know he mentioned being here. >> wonderful meeting. >> you know, we have to really promote sled dogging in all our winter events over here. >> jim was pleased to have nixon as his guest at the world championship dog sled races. >> doing about an hour and 10 minutes. >> terrific. >> i've seen it in alaska and i've seen it in laconia.
>> it's a pleasure to have you here again. >> good to see you. >> you have my vote. i want you to know that -- i mean that. >> he promised nixon his vote and he went to work to fulfill that promise by working for the nixon campaign in laconia. >> don't we have any other choice, jim? >> well, there are quite a few choices. are you a true johnson democrat? >> all the way. i think that he's handling things as well as they can be handled. >> 74, 67. >> the democrats who were supporting the president had organized an intensive write-in
campaign, urging voters to endorse the administration by writing president johnson's name on the democratic ballot. in effect asking him to run again. >> i'd say some more work has to be done on election day to better this. >> be sure to write in the name of president johnson. >> senator mccarthy was a newcomer to presidential politics. and since many democrats were supporting the president, ron and dottie began work on the mccarthy campaign with few assets. there was little popular support for the senator, a sparse organization, and even less money. every vote was important. >> we're glad you stopped in this morning. we're glad you stopped in this morning. send some more of your friends in. >> the mccarthy campaign did have one great asset. young people. many of them students too young to vote. they flocked to new hampshire to support the senator's cause. >> at first it was called the
children's crusade, and no one thought they could compete with the professionals in the hard work of organizing a presidential campaign. but leaders of both political parties were to describe the sudden involvement by thousands of young people in the political process as one of the most important benefits of the election year. >> he's a good candidate i think. >> senator mccarthy also got some support from another unorthodox source. actors and actresses lent their energy to the cause. and paul newman became a smash in laconia. >> if you have areas where you feel your own rumblings and your own dissension and your own questioning, then i think it's necessary to get behind the senator now, early in the game, and not sit around and wait till you feel that you're ready to make a political commitment that's convenient to you. >> a few weeks before primary
day the republican race lost a challenger. george romney withdrew. >> the cbs news poll of republicans in new hampshire last night shows that george romney's withdrawal has helped richard nixon much as nelson rockefeller. the romney supporters now say they will vote for another candidate. about half favor nixon and half favor rockefeller. >> people like you might write rockefeller's name in. >> some people including ann nelson thought nelson rockefeller might take romney's place. >> i will vote for any republican candidate that wins in miami at the convention. it will either be nixon or rockefeller. >> but no one could really compete with richard nixon in new hampshire. >> by the time nixon made his
last campaign speech, he had most of the state's republican votes. and according to all predictions he was already a winner. >> having traveled through this state, having met hundreds of you personally and thousands of you that i've spoken to, having heard your questions, having looked into your faces, you have given me new hope about america. is new hampshire going to ballot going to indicate a change is going to come in november or is it going to be more of the same? i say to you, turn out. let's get the biggest vote we've ever had. and with that vote you'll not only see to it that we will win tomorrow but that new hampshire will vote for the leadership in november and america will get a new president in january. thank you.
>> primary day in new hampshire was quiet. a sharp contrast to the intensity of the campaigns. >> are you ready to go down and vote? i've got bunny to watch the store right now, and it seems like a good time. we can get there while there aren't too many crowds or anything. >> but each voter went to the polls with the obligation to make his choice in this first test as carefully as he would in november. the voting procedure was simple. >> wilson james r. >> republican or democrat? >> republican. >> registered voters received their party's ballot. >> matthew callahan, democrat. >> clair livingston. >> moved to a booth to mark it in private. returned it to a sealed ballot box. and had their names recorded to prevent voter fraud. >> james r. wilson. >> james r. wilson.
>> ron and dottie voted for mccarthy. but they also had a personal interest in this election. ron was on the ballot as a mccarthy delegate. if elected he would go to chicago in august to vote for the senator as a representative of his state. the polls would close at 6:00. but until then campaign workers for all the candidates were busy urging their neighbors to vote. >> have you voted in the primaries for president? >> no, but not for him. >> have you voted yet in the primaries? >> no, sir. but that's my boy right there. >> thank you. >> this is mrs. kirby at nixon headquarters. we wanted to be sure to remind you to vote today. >> at nixon headquarters voters were offered rides to the polls. a common practice in both political parties.
it began to snow in laconia. but that did not stop the voters from going to the polls. it looked so easy. a mark on a piece of paper. it was simple as picking out a new hat or selecting fresh vegetables for dinner. and it was done as casually. but in each voter's mind there was the feeling that his vote, his personal choice of a presidential candidate could make a difference. >> i declare the polls closed. >> now let's take a recap on what it's looking like. >> while ron went to mccarthy headquarters in manchester, dottie stayed in laconia.
and she was finding it hard to wait for the final vote count. >> 316. over 50% of the vote. >> it was an upset. mccarthy made a surprisingly strong showing, and the young people who had worked for him suddenly had proof they could influence the national election by working for change within the framework of the democratic process. ron was amazed and delighted when he found out he had scored a personal upset victory. and he'd been elected as a delegate. dottie of course was thrilled. ♪
jim and ann stayed home on primary night with their children to celebrate nixon's overwhelming victory in the republican race. and they were convinced that their candidate would win more victories in the future. as the campaign moved out of new hampshire and into other states, ron traveled to nearby vermont to work for mccarthy at that state's democratic convention, which was held instead of a primary to pick the state's delegates and presidential choices. and now mccarthy was facing competition from a new candidate, senator robert kennedy had decided to run. >> with the decisions made by this convention today -- >> there were other unexpected events. >> with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the
balance every day, i do not -- >> jim and ann did not realize at first as they listened to the president's speech, he was about to tell the nation he would not run for the presidency again. >> partisan causes. accordingly, i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. ♪ >> vice president of the united states. >> thank you. >> and vice president humphrey became the last democratic candidate to enter the race. as heir to the support that had been given to the president, humphrey acquired a substantial number of delegate votes before the national convention. >> thank you very much.
yes, sir. thank you. hello, there. >> senator robert kennedy ended most of his campaign speeches with the phrase "some men see things as they are and ask why. i dream of things that never were and ask why not." before those dreams would ever become reality senator kennedy was killed. shot by an assassin in the kitchen of a los angeles hotel. the nation mourned. and for a time politics were forgotten. although the country had lost a man that many loved, his death could not destroy the essential stability of the democratic process. the nation still had to choose a
leader, and in time the campaigns began again. >> do we have a nixon poster? >> jim wilson, working for nixon in laconia, was looking forward to the republican national convention. the choices at the miami beach convention were richard nixon, governor nelson rockefeller of new york, who was now working hard for the nomination, and california's governor, ronald reagan. ♪ as the republican delegates gathered in this resort city, it soon became clear that nixon was also their choice by an overwhelming mandate.
>> the next president of the united states, richard nixon. >> and i again proudly accept that nomination for president of the united states. tonight i see the face of a child. he lives in a great city. he's black. or he's white. he's mexican, italian, polish. none of that matters. what matters, he's an american child. he sleeps the sleep of childhood and he dreams the dreams of a child. that child in that great city is more important than any politician's promise. he is america. i see another child tonight.
he hears the train go by. at night he dreams of faraway places where he'd like to go. seems like an impossible dream. but he is helped on his journey through life. a father who had to go to work before he finished the sixth grade, sacrificed everything he had so his sons could go to college. and tonight he stands before you, nominated for president of the united states of america. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> nixon selected maryland's governor spiro agnew as his
running mate for the office of vice president. it was now time for the democratic convention. and mccarthy and vice president humphrey were the leaders in the democratic race. ron and dottie went to chicago as part of the new hampshire delegation. there they continued their protests along with many other delegates who also wanted to see a more detailed plan for peace as the party's campaign theme. ♪ we shall overcome ♪ we shall overcome ♪ we shall overcome one day >> other demonstrators protested against war in the city's streets. and these protests erupted 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 differences of individual groups and everything else that saved this whole damn thing for us. we all thought the same, we wouldn't be able to -- if you believe in democracy you believe in two things, ration and reason. the other thing is you realize all people don't look at what is right for human society the same way. it's a matter of degree. so somehow you have to -- politics are never 100%. you'll probably end up with 60% of what you really want. for the guy you work 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 flamboy ntd, and as the candidates moved across the country, they were surrounded by all the traditional vote-getting glitter. >> good to see you. >> massachusetts. >> good to see you. >> is your daughter here?
>> but there was a serious 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. laconia's people in the fall are part of one of nature's most impressive pageants. as the leaves turn and the ducks drop in briefly on their way to the south there's 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 future 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. and in this election year the nation chose richard nixon, bringing to its final conclusion a democratic process that had started months before in new hampshire. >> i received a very gracious message from the vice president. i know exactly how he felt. having lost a close one eight years ago and having won a close one this year, i can say this. winning's a lot more fun. >> mom, did nixon win? >> yes, he did. >> he made a great speech. >> it was very, very close. >> i'm sure you'll be able to watch it. >> nixon won and everybody said they looked around and everything. >> were they happy? >> yes.
>> they were? well, i'm really glad that i voted for nixon because i believe he can really get things started again. it all boils down to the fact that the country wanted a clean slate and this is what nixon is going to do. he's going to get in a whole new bunch of people who will have a new outlook on things. this is what they needed. >> it's just overwhelming. i couldn't -- i've never been so pleased at a political outcome. >> naturally as a democrat i'm unhappy he won but in a sense i think there's a certain amount of justice there. i think that what the american people have done is told nixon, johnson, humphrey, anyone who might be president now in the future that they're accountable for their actions, they're accountable for their policy. ♪
while congress is on break, we're showing american history tv programs that are normally seen only on weekends here on c-span3. coming up, a look at the life and legacy of 1968 presidential candidate hubert humphrey. two hours from now, his 1968 democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech, and that will be followed by road to the white house rewind, featuring archival video footage of the 1968 presidential campaign. >> american history tv airs on c-span3 every weekend, telling the american story through events, interviews, and visits to historic locations. this month, american history