tv Presidential Campaign CSPAN March 25, 2018 8:30am-10:00am EDT
the oval office fifth is ago. -- 50 years ago. >> on the last evening in march, 1968, the state was set. shortly before 9:00 p.m. washington time, in the midst of last-minute electronic preparations, president johnson put the finishing touches on his address to the nation. with the reassuring presence of his family seated thereby, the president was ready to deliver one of the most important speeches of his entire life, a speech that would alter the course of world history. johnson: good evening, my fellow americans. tonight, i want to speak to you of peace in vietnam and southeast asia.
no other question so crafty pies our people think no other dream the 250 million human beings who live in that part of the world. no other goal motivates american policy in southeast asia. himself todressing the continuing problem of vietnam, the president outlined plans for a unilateral american de-escalation of that conflict. president johnson: tonight, i have ordered our aircraft and naval vehicles to make no attacks on north vietnam except in the area north of the the method authorized -- demilitarized zone threatens allied positions and the movement -- and where the movement of their troops and supplies are clearly related to that threat. the area in which we are stopping our attacks includes
most 90% of north vietnam's population and most of its territory. thus, there will be no attacks around the principle populated food-producing areas of north vietnam. --n in this very limited even this limited bombing of the north could come to an early end if our restraint is matched by forestry in hanoi. >> the president issued an appeal for unity among the torican people and went on speak in moving words of the future he foresees america obtaining. but it was in the final moments of his speech that he voiced the syllables which stunned the nation and reverberated around the world. to a disbelieving audience of countless millions, president johnson announced the decision that had been many months in the but only resolved within
himself in the final hours of march. president johnson: with america's sons in the fields far away, with america's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the peace in the for balance every day, i do not believe that i should devote an any or day of my time to personal, partisan policies or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office, the presidency of your country. i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for .nother term as your president
host: that courtesy of the white house naval photographic unit as we look back 50 years ago here on c-span and cspan3's american history tv. theant to begin with announcement by senator eugene mccarthy in november of 1967 to seek the democratic nomination. the tet offensive began on january 30, 1968. richard nixon formally enters the presidential race on february 1. george wallace enters february 8. wallace wins the primary narrowly against mccarthy. a few days later, senator robert kennedy announcing in washington. two weeks later, president johnson stunning the nation announcing he will not seek reelection. on april 4, dr. martin luther king assassinated in memphis, tennessee.
hubert humphrey, the vice president, entering the race. and then senator kennedy winning shot theornia primary, day after the victory, and dies on june 6, 1968. accepting the republican nomination. richard nixon is elected president on november 5, 1968. we want to welcome our guest, barbara perry from the university of virginia's miller center. and pat buchanan who for the purposes of this discussion was a nixon aide. you aboutrt by asking that date. guest: we were at nixon's apartment having a debate about his speech he was going to give that afternoon. we were having an argument.
nixon was moving toward a more dovish position or war or in about two -- were about to. we got word that johnson was asking for more time. nixon told me i want you to be at laguardia, the private terminal, when i come back from wisconsin. he was make an appearance there for the primary. to brief me on what johnson says before the press gets to me. i was sitting on the tarmac at laguardia. nixon's african american driver starts yelling, "i knew it was going to happen when l.b.j. announced he was not going to run again." i ran down to the jet nixon had come in on. the press was walking to the jet. i got on the plane and told nixon that johnson is out, he's not going to run again. nixon stepped out of the plane and said i guess it is the year
of the dropout. george romney had dropped out of new hampshire. nelson rockefeller decided not to run earlier in march. apartment,to nixon's and we talked going in. i remember telling him i thought hubert humphrey would get the nomination. host: he did not expect to challenge senator robert kennedy? guest: he did not think kennedy was going to win the nomination. i did not either. host: barbara perry, let's go back to the announcement of eugene mccarthy to enter the democratic race. who was he and why was his voice so important in the 1968 campaign? guest: eugene mccarthy was the senator from the midwest. he had been a professor of economics and sociology. he was very professorial in his demeanor, cool, aloof. he was the antiwar candidate.
coterie of got a students to support him. some of them who might have been in the hippie realm shave their beards and cut their hair and "be clean forves gene." he was the young people's candidate, the intellectual candidate, the upper-middle-class candidate for the democrats. if you put the personality of eugene mccarthy next to johnson, you could not have found two more different personalities. he was definitely the antiwar candidate going into new hampshire and comes within seven percentage points of the incumbent, which is part of the reason johnson dropped out. guest: i cannot believe it was political malpractice. johnson's name was not on the ballot. race with 49% as a right in.
out half ofrned those who voted for mccarthy thought johnson had not been tough enough on the war. april 2 when they got to wisconsin, mccarthy wiped up the boards with johnson. i think johnson's guys knew that was coming. guest: johnson was also running at about a already 5% approval rating at that point. with the numbers from vietnam, it was not looking good. plus, johnson worried he would suffer another heart attack in another term. he was worried. the 31st, nixon registered under the name benjamin chapman at a hotel. he announced february 1. february 2, a single story in the "new york times co. the big story is about the tet offensive and the police chief who has the revolver next to the
head of a viet cong and where he fired and killed him. adams won a pulitzer for that photograph. that dramatized the vietnam war. host: this full series available on our website at c-span.org. richard nixon lost the presidency in 1960. he loses his bid for governor in 1962. he moves back to new york in the mid-1960's. why did he run in 1968? what was the state of the republican party that year? nixon was a64, two-time loser and considered a political loser. he moved to new york. inent to work for him 1965-1966.
i said i want to get aboard early if you're going to run for president. he said i will hire you for one year. do well, the nomination will not be worth anything. nixon got his own plane. i think we went to 35 states. what happens is one of the great comebacks. nixon helped pick up 47 seats in the house. i think they got three seats in the house, six governorships, greatest republican victory since 1946. , editorialtom evans writer in st. louis, came up to me and said i don't think you're going back to st. louis. [laughter] nixon declared a six-month moratorium on politics. he said i've been in the limelight. got into a string of battle with
johnson in 1966. nixon pulled himself completely out. i said romney was running first in the polls then, ahead of johnson and nixon. give hims it wise to all that space and time where you are going nowhere? nixon said i think i need to get out of the public arena for a while. let him to on him for a little while -- let them chew on him for a little while. that meant the press. the press went after romney because he was the only one out there. around september 1, romney made his famous statement, "when i was over in vietnam, i was brainwashed by the diplomat and military." said iner gene mccarthy romney's case, you would not need a complete brainwashing. the light rinse would have done the job.
tot: i want to take you back that time and a young pat buchanan on the campaign trail with richard nixon, then former vice president. estimate we have had in the neighborhood of 600 or 700 go by already. >> are these people all republicans? >> i could not say. out here, you cannot tell a democrat from a republican or independent. [indiscernible] >> i wonder how many of these people you think are going to [indiscernible] >> we don't know how many coming in, but we hope they all will be going out. >> there you are.
there are three. all right. >> [indiscernible] >> nixon all the way. >> is this a good chairman? >> a very good fellow. >> you really think so? >> i really think so. i think he is a good guy. >> good. a lot of people said he is too young to be chairman. i said we need a fellow that is younger. >> i agree 100%. >> are you on his payroll? [laughter] >> i am retired. >> you were in the service? >> the first world war. >> the big one, right? what division were you in? >> heavy artillery. third artillery.
>> those were 75's you used? >> we trained on the naval guns. >> artillery, sure. >> new hampshire. >> yeah, yeah. realize we have had many wars since then. then we had world war ii, korea, vietnam. let's do something. right. good to see you. nice to meet you. host: on february 1968, campaigning in new hampshire. pat buchanan, you sound the same. guest: thank you. int was insane and some -- saint anselm. we had 3000 people there. mr. mixes nixon went through the receiving line. the chairman in new hampshire
was dave sterling. got this young state legislator. he died a couple of years later or soon after in a bad automobile accident, but he did a great job up there. i will say this. ,ur campaign in 1968 with nixon we studied the book on how nixon overdid it and ran himself into the ground. and so did jack kennedy. we would bring him into new hampshire for two or three days and go down to key biscayne where he could relax and take it a easy -- it easy and then go to wisconsin. we paste him well. we knew it was a marathon. there whipping everyone to come out and look how many came out. we had a terrific crowd of 2000 people. that was the kind of event nixon wanted to do. it was excellent.
host: that exchange was a world war i veteran, and he made mention of it not. , that was the driving issue of 1968. explain how americans were viewing the war and how they were turning against president johnson. guest: the tet offensive was in january of 1968. i'm glad there are no videos of me from 1968. but i will say i was a 12-year-old in the sixth grade. my brother was 10 years older and graduating from college, a small catholic college in louisville where we grew up, that spring. he was told by the draft board that you will graduate may 15, and you will be drafted by june 1. my dad was a world war ii vet. my brother was patriotic. there was no way he was going to deny going into the draft. he served four years in the air force. that was the talk around our dinner table.
i was a 12-year-old soaking this up. what was happening in america is boys like my brother and girlfriends knew that they were going. fathers were going. the draft was up and running. we were going to end up with over a half-million people serving in the military in vietnam. an 1000 were dying every week. the campuses were in an uproar. the streets were in an uproar. we can talk about race, but we need to add that as well. the company was coming apart, particularly over this issue and with the students over the draft and the casualty numbers coming out of vietnam. host: we have the line for democrats, republicans, and independents. "1968: american turmoil." joining us is barbara perry and pat buchanan. he wanted to respond. guest: i had a brother that went
over to vietnam with the 101st airborne. he did not go in december. he broke his foot in his first jump. he went over in january in time for the tet offensive. even before then when i was in st. louis as a journalist in university,hington i was speaking in favor of johnson and kennedy's policies. demonstrations. it was not violent by then, but there was real hostility, especially on the elite campuses. they had members march. i would go down and talk to the kids in front of the buildings before they became violent. you are right. more was the major issue going on. i will say after dr. king was assassinated, they had riots in 100 cities, my hometown, d.c., was partly burned down.
marines, armed troops in the city. law and order in vietnam became the issues. host: to put this in perspective, you have president johnson who narrowly won the new hampshire primary on march 12. then you have senator kennedy entering the race on march 16. l.b.j. drops out on march 31. dr. king is assassinated on april 4. all within a four-week period. guest: it is hard to comprehend for people now, to see what was compacted into a month's time. to think the country seemed to be coming apart. a personal anecdote, my dad who was a lifelong democrat again saying i am really fearful for the country. i fearful about what is happening in the streets. and voted for nixon in 1968 because he thought he was the
law and order man who would bring law and order back and bring our country together, interestingly enough. the other thing about vietnam. we talked about the tet offensive. the united states won the tet offensive. to see the movement into the south of the north vietnamese regulars and the viet cong was so fierce and to the american people, and to see that in their living rooms. we want to talk about the role of the media because pat is telling us these great stories about how the nixon administration, the nixon campaign knew how to use media by 1968. people were seeing this in their living rooms. i believe inte february had gone over to vietnam. he came back and said we are mired in a stalemate. i think many in the american has broken on the war and decided it was an unwinnable war.
time nixon took over, they would move heavily into the camp of the demonstrators. they were allies of the demonstrators by 1969. there's something else in march that was stunning for us. i was with dwight chapin, you had a picture of him, in a room on march 21 or something when nelson rockefeller was going to announce for president. nixon did not like to watch these on television himself. he said you guys watch and tell me what he said, and the nixon would get our reaction. i went in and said rockefeller is not running. he sort of dropped out. that is where nixon got his statement, "the year of the dropout." it was rockefeller and johnson. all of a sudden, we had this clear path to the nomination. you got to realize the revolution in 1968 was largely contained in that gigantic
f.d.r. coalition inside the democratic party. george wallace was a populist, southerner,o -- pro-segregation. humphrey and johnson by then were the center of the party. bobby kennedy had moved dramatically to the left. with gene mccarthy and george wallace in that wing of the party, all three would be represented in chicago. reportersw brought in and said he was for rockefeller. he had the citizens for rockefeller for three weeks. he calls in reporters when rockefeller is going to announce. when rockefeller never called him and said i am not running,
agnew was left with egg all over his face. we caught him on the first top. -- hop. nixon was right on the phone. come on up, governor, and talk to us. he came up. agnew ran against mahoney in 1966. your home is your castle. basically democrat that opposed open house and. so he wasorted it, seen as a liberal governor except for the rights for he was very hard line. that is one of the reasons he wound up on the ticket. guest: rockefeller still thought he might have a chance of the condition -- at the convention and was going around to the governor's asking them to support him. agnew said i'm not doing this again. jules was covering us.
inre was a beer commercial that day that schaeffer's was the one bear to have if you are having only one. [laughter] call for pat a buchanan and barbara perry. caller: i want to thank god for c-span. thank you for the way you present. history to us i was a student in high school at the time. we understood the importance of withcountry being created great compassion and great things given by god that america stands still as a guardian of freedom. thank you. i appreciate everything. god bless you all. host: thank you for the call. a comment or question? guest: i will comment to that very optimistic view of 1968.
it is one of my colleague at the nelson -- miller center shares. he wrote a book called "resilient america" about 1968, rather than focusing on the fact we were coming apart. pat explained what was happening in the democratic party. democratic party was coming apart. riots on the streets and on campuses. and yet, there is a resilience in america thank goodness and in our constitution and government that we were able to survive and move forward. host: in an interview with james jones, longtime aide to l.b.j., he said he traveled with president johnson on the afternoon of march 31. they went to vice president humphrey's apartment, told him to read the speech, told him he was not going to run for reelection. humphrey was shaken. the president said if you are going to run, you need to start now. humphrey reportedly said i lost
to one kennedy and i'm going to lose to another. i mention that because vice president humphrey did not announce until april 27, almost a month after l.b.j. announced he would not seek another term. guest: use the example of rockefeller. rockefeller did not get in because nixon would have crushed him in the primaries. my guess is humphrey might have delayed until then. me, thought bobby kennedy was not jack kennedy. by then, he had moved to the left, antiwar, very sharp edged. but i always felt even after california when bobby kennedy won that when they got to chicago, humphrey would take it. that humphrey had enough. he had a machine put together. i thought he would win it. i did not know he was that apprehensive that he could not beat robert kennedy. host: it is a "what if."
guest: it is. i jotted down last night that when bobby kennedy died on june 6, hubert humphrey had already .massed over 500 delegates for what was left of the new deal correlation -- collation, humphrey had those people behind him. he had the rank and file of the party. it is unlikely even if robert kennedy had lived, it is unlikely he would have beaten humphrey. remember how devastated humphrey was that johnson was not going to run. i understand that meeting at his before johnson announced, he was in tears about it. he also had that ambivalence, that he was not going to bash the president he was serving.
that is in part what caused humphrey to lose the race. host: down the street is where senator kennedy made his announcement on march 16, 1968. . has been speculation this is opportunism on your parts, that mccarthy had the courage to go to new hampshire -- i said --as >> what was the question? >> i have to repeat that? there were a lot of ugly things. there was the question of it arenism coming out as
mccarthy had gone into the new hampshire primary. i have spoken about these issues for a number of years and how i feel about them. was generally accepted if i had gone into the primary new hampshire, whether i won the new hampshire primary or if i had done well in the primary in new hampshire, it would have been felt at that time it was a personal struggle. it would have been written in the press that this was a personal struggle every time i have spoken about vietnam over the last several years, every, i of spoken about what i think needs to be done, it has been put in the context of a personal struggle between myself and president johnson. therefore we would get away from what the issues are, which divide this country. i think the new hampshire the divisions that exist in the democratic party are there. i did not bring that about. what rot that about are the
policies of president johnson. as far as what is happening at the moment, i can't believe that anyone thinks that this is a pleasant struggle from now on or i am asking for a free ride. i have five minutes -- i have five months ahead of me. i'm going to go into primaries. i am going to present my case to the american people all across the country. buchanan, that was two weeks before lbj dropped out. abouthe allegation opportunism -- i remember that murray at "the new york post" really admired bobby kennedy. he said that what bobby kennedy is doing proved st. patrick's did not drive all the snakes out of ireland. people forget that bobby kennedy was ruthless on lbj in the interim. besides he accused johnson of
appealing to the darker impulses of the american spirit. is astounding how ruthless he is on the president, because we assumed the president was going to stay in. and of course, mr. nixon said, keep gathering that. we've got better quotes than that. i got mr. nexen thought we might end up with robert kennedy as the candidate and we would have another kennedy run. i always thought that humphrey and had a great depth inside the democratic party from that 48 convention. he was mr. civil rights. he had put that on the floor of the senate and run it through for lbj. he could bring together the antiwar groups -- as eventually he did -- along with the center of the democratic party. all of those groups in the deep south. robert from maryland. go ahead, please. caller: good morning.
i am a vietnam veteran and i do not think that mr. nixon gets the credit he deserves. goodnk nixon was a very president, but what overshadowed his goodness as a president was the vietnam war, watergate, and his personality complexes. but some of the decisions he made with civil rights and other asues -- epa -- nixon was very good president. just those three things overshadow his presidency. host: thank you for the call. barbara perry. at the: we now look back end, and i think nixon thought of himself as a moderate republican and he was viewed in those days, in 1968, as a moderate republican. he could be viewed in the center
the train someone like a reagan -- we have not talked about his have --, i'm sure we and rockefeller on the left side of the party. when we look back at richard nixon almost one and a half see ain office, we can number of things he did that people on the liberal side now say good for him. that awould call nixon progressive republican. there were 31,000 dead. he is exactly right. the american people agreed with the gentleman. richard nixon after all 149 states in 1972, over 61% of the vote. an senator mcgovern was antiwar candidate. nixon's policy of getting out of vietnam, but giving the vietnamese a fighting chance to survive on their own as a free and independent country, by a
march, even though it was protested by hundreds of thousands in the streets here, was a policy supported by the american people and obviously awarded in 19 -- reported in 1972 with that landslide. reagan.u mentioned he traveled to iowa in the fall of 1967. here is what governor reagan said back then. governor reagan: you know the one way to make sure crime does not pay? let government run it. i remember way back in 1964, when they said all the way with lbj, and now we know what he meant. [laughter] [applause] governor reagan: he has his troubles. there's bobby kennedy. nervous aboutso the upcoming convention, he is thinking about putting the country and his wife's name. [laughter]
governor reagan: bobby is just right of the helpful. he said he wanted a johnson-hammering -- johnson-humphrey ticket, but he did not so whereto. he is one of those rare people, bobby is, who can say exactly the right thing at the right time to the wrong person. if it seems like i am picking unduly on the opposition, please note that i am picking on the leadership of the democratic sure because i am there are millions of fine, patriotic members of that party your deeply disturbed with what has happened in the nation's capital as we move from 1960 and the new frontier to the great society. they know the great society is not the wave of the future. it is the end of an era, a dismal rehash of the methods in
the language in the philosophy of the past. october 1967. vintage ronald reagan. have workednored to as the gipper's communications director many years later. that was the candidate i was most afraid of and the republican primaries. it was the possibility ronald reagan would get into the race, given his personality, his conservative views, and the likability of him that he could really stand those goldwater delegates and pull the nomination away from richard nixon. i never believed rockefeller could get it after what he did in 1954.goldwater republicans would have walked out if rockefeller had been nominated. host: explain the reagan candidacy in 1960 eight. what was he thinking? was the on the ballot? was he a serious contender for the white house? barbara: what is fascinating for
him, for that clip for to kill her, the facility had with the audience and as a speaker, and that goes back to his days as an announcer for baseball where he he was getting the baseball game over the wire, but explaining as if he was at the game. he had a great facility for telling anecdotes. he was a hollywood actor. but he had made this interesting journey -- he kind of thatsented the country in sense -- he made the journey from a new deal roosevelt democrat, the head of the screen actors guild, a prounion man, do becoming more conservative as he worked for ge and out of the banquet circuit for general electric. that is where he picked up the facility for the banquet speech and the political speech. it's very clear to business people and conservatives in errorrnia he is the real to goldwater, and he came on the scene -- particularly him
politics -- from that great speech in 1960 four supporting goldwater, and he ends up in 1968 as this right-wing challenge to richard nixon. know, believe -- and you because of the letters of nixon and reagan, which i have copies cut- that there was a deal at bohemian grove in 1967 where next in an reagan talks, where , give med reagan, look the first shot at romney and the liberal establishment in new wisconsin ind if by have not succeeded really well, then you, in -- then you come in. there was a lot of exchange, trying to have a meeting with reagan in new orleans. he knocked on the door and came hisnd reagan was riding and people were calling nixon in saying we did that is my belief.
-- theyre reagan people brought him into oregon -- he got 22%, we got 70%, rockefeller got 5% of the vote out there in oregon in the primary the 20th of may. barbara: their hope was they could draw enough delegate votes again that if nixon did not win on the first ballot, right -- going tohey started reagan, the rockefeller people would go to nixon. they started going to rockefeller. so, we were a good second ballot. would richard nixon ronald reagan as his running mate even though they were both in california? pat: let me tell you. at some points nixon was behind humphrey in the polls by six points in a number of us got together and sent reagan and
nixon a memo and said you've got to put reagan on the ticket. ray price and i got in a violent argument over a vice president -- there was talk of losing in the same state -- but next in was going to have to roll the dice and make a choice, a dramatic choice, and if you were going to do that, they thought it should be reagan. but once the polls show nixon had, you go with the moderate o t. agnew, apirit centrist choice. perry andave barbara a nixonpat buchanan, aide in 1967 and 1968. thank you for waiting. caller: yes, i have a comment and a question directed to pat buchanan. i have a long-held belief that
had nixon won in 1960, he would have been a better candidate or a better president than he wound in 1968. what does pat buchanan think nick sim would have done during his presidency following his election in 1960? .ost: thank you another what if. pat: it's hard to know. -- i don missile crisis not know how nixon would have handled that. he was a small c conservative. i do not think he would have launched the bay of pigs. of course, there would never have been a great society. in that sense, a lot of what nixon did was very progressive, in hisn he got in,
mid-50's, he did not repeal the great society at all. there's another part of your what if -- what if makes and had met with khrushchev indiana in 1961? indiana in 1961? it might have been a different bay of pigs. wouldn't it have been interesting to see khrushchev a in aon in the in physics to want? historians think that because kennedy did not have such a good outing, that helped precipitate the missile crisis. but chris jeff having met nixon in the kitchen in 1969 -- chris jeff having met next and in the kitchen in 1969 did not like nixon. -- he did not want
to do something that nixon could claim credit for. but i think you are right. kennedy misjudged -- or excuse -- chris jeffff ruschev mistress kennedy. that what about the night kennedy was assassinated? pat: i got a call from headquarters. jeff bell, who just died -- he was in his mid-20's -- he called me at my apartment and i was asleep. he will me up and said, bobby kennedy has just been shot, and i called nixon and he said, i'm already up. julie and david, i think, had been watching the race, so they
had woken him up. it was maybe one week before that. one. in oregon when nixon he swept it, as i mentioned, .0%, and he went down to dinner i went with my girlfriend, now my wife, because bobby kennedy was going to concede the race. out of the car. that was a bobby kennedy i had not seen. his concession speech was just as it was everything you would expect. he said now let's get on to california. barbara: think how hard it was for him to give that speech.
the first kennedy -- pat: i heard that he was very down. barbara: -- host: what was going through the kennedy after the assassination of kennedy? horrible shock. just two months after martin luther king's assassination. our political leaders, our social activists are being gunned down. bobby kennedy, ironically, had been the person to rise up on that night. there campaigning for the indiana primary and he gets the speak with an indianapolis segment and he tells the people, gives one of the best speeches ever and
political history in the united states. thecan hear the gas in audience. indianapolis is the only major flames. to go up in i have written a biography of his mother. and his mother said if this had been a story, a work of fiction that this family would lose two i would not believe it. it was in comprehensive -- it was encumber his, that level of violence. northport, newm york. thank you for waiting. caller: i want to say thank you to mr. buchanan for all of the hard work and everything he is committed his life too. i used to enjoy watching them on maclachlan. that was a great show.
i would like to ask two quick questions. this is more towards current events. i was curious -- the vietnam war and some of the bigger mistakes were made -- this is to pat -- are we making some of those same mistakes in afghanistan after we have been there for 17 years? what you thinkus about syria. thank you. host: you're breaking up, but we get the essence of the question. made the mistake in the middle east that, frankly, we made a van him, that we went and without thinking through what the end of this intervention would be, and the idea that we can turn afghanistan into a quasi-western
you overthrew the regime in iraq, that we could agree withut -- i the general. he said that movement into the middle east militarily was the worst diplomatic blunder in american history. when did president johnson begin to think he would not serve another full-term? barbara: i think it was after the tet offensive that he were thatur forces battle -- even though our forces won that battle -- i will use a crudity that is easy to find among johnson for comments -- she said if we pull back in vietnam and halt the bombing, and remember that speech he gave withdrawn from the race in march was also to announce a halt to
the bombing in the north -- but he said later on he had to restart it in the summer. he said i pulled back in vietnam. drives a truck on my ass. what he saw in the campuses and the student circling the "hey, hey,, chanting lbj, how many kids did you kill today?" the combination of that -- i think he's said genuinely in that speech, look, i do know what to be taking time out on the political stump when i have all of these other problems for the country i need to address. and the personal issue -- men in his family died young. he had already had two serious coronaries and the 1970's and barely lived after what would have been his second full term.
he died in january of 1973. so imagine with the stress of , he verythat office well could have died in office. host: george, republican line, go ahead, please. caller: good morning and thank you for c-span. i volunteered for the draft. i know the focus of the show is on 1968 and the turmoil that occurred there, but my question is -- 50 years from now, i think you could be doing another show , the trump19 presidency and what this is creating. in 1968, i think we had consciousness throughout the of the constitution, the united states of america -- yes, they were in the colleges, you had colombia and all of that, but there was more intelligence there's a lot of
emotion. today, as i look at the march on it, buton, sorry to say this is the march of the know nothings. they have a lot of emotion, but very little intelligence. everything is phrases. so i would like pat to comment. of youras not one pitchfork people, but i have always appreciated your comments on crossfire and all of that. host: we will get a response. thanks for the call. pat: thanks very much. i agree with the gentleman. i mentioned i was at the teachings of washington university in 1965. when i went out there, the young people questioned me. they knew the history of vietnam . they knew -- they were extremely intelligent. state, i after can't
spoke at kent state, and they were just emotional, and i would .gree about yesterday but the kids seem full of and caught emotion up in not a great deal of thought, frankly. i can understand the passion and the immediate aftermath of that -- in the immediate aftermath of that killing down there and broward county. so much passion. like we could wave a magic wand and put an end to these school killings. we can do it. i think the generation does -- you can never know exactly, but the generation, i think, of the 1960's, the early to midnight in 60's was intelligent in a lot of ways, even on the liberal side. it was mature. in new where it was going. it have -- it had a lot of ideas. some of the guys at columbia, i put out a statement.
i denounced of them for a takeover institution. theara: we should thank color for his service. my brother is a vietnam vet. i'm very supportive of the veterans. i am always a little leery, particularly as a teacher and longtime professor of american government, it is a sign of aging to look back to a golden age and say, oh, this new generation does not know anything. i think what this new generation knows is they do have passion, of course. they also know social media. they know how to organize. they know how to be civic we engaged. i think we did have better civic education that would have taught the baby boomers and they were , andtly impacted en masse they needed to know what was happening, they needed to know the rights because they were subject to the draft. but i do have hope for this
generation. and glad they are taking part. i am glad they are cynically engaged. i would like a little bit more education. 68 -- and on think we can go back to 68 because what took place was not only this political revolution, nixon putting together this new majority, but the wallace vote pulling off the catholics from humphrey, but socially, culturally, morally, racially, every other way, it was a huge cultural revolution going on in those years, which i think ultimately prevailed in the society and created divisions which exist and indoor to this day and well today is not as violent as 68, which was a her -- -- sleep violent year her rent a sleep violent year -- year, wesly violent
have a country where it is hard for me to understand how it comes together again. jfk. a critic of i read them now. they were very mild. what happened to senator eugene mccarthy after the assassination of robert kennedy? -- ira: what happened listed where he stood on the delegate count at the time the robert -- that robert kennedy won the california primary and sadly was assassinated, he was running a distant third. so, he became disaffected in the race. it became clearer as they got closer and closer to chicago that humphrey had the rank and of the the rank and file democrats. he had mayor humphrey on his size -- on his side.
we mentioned george mcgovern. he was drafted by some of the pro-kennedy forces. even though robert kennedy was gone, there was another person in the race. he became embittered by what happened to him -- he waited until very, very late in the game. pat: when iran against the president george h.w. bush, in new hampshire, iran into mccarthy. he said, don't worry, pat. when you go up there, you do not have to win. you just have to beat the point spread. at [laughter] host: democrats line. caller: yes, i am also a veteran. he had a cause. just turned everybody
away from the thought we were going to have anything other than a war for the rest of our lives. host: thank you, larry. pat: you know, the draft -- when i went with nixon, i had come out and decided you have to do away with the draft because the country was coming apart and secondarily because we were beginning to draft people that in the barracks would have been seditious. they were so antiwar at the time that in order to fight the war, you probably are going to have limit the draft. nixon talked to eisenhower and i wrote nixon the memo and said, people are liable to say we are doing this to let folks who are against the word not have to serve, and that's a bad thing,
wrote on it, "i think so, too." i did not want that draft ended. i will tell you else push for. a libertarian who joined us in and eight. -- john from austin, texas. yousts for the discussion today. it is very good. i have got two quick questions. how do you view the democratic party now versus 1968? it seems to me that a lot of people who don't really love this country have taken over the leadership of the democratic party. my other question is a what if question. i usually stay away from what if, but the two panelists today, i think it is appropriate task. how dot if question is
you think things would haveen elected president in 1968 instead of 1980? host: thank you. a few moments ago i think that we have come out of 1968 so polarized. the point about now, i think the polarization is ossified within our system. you don't see the big parties that we have had in this party because we have only had two major parties. they tended to be big tent parties, maybe not in the primaries necessarily. typically, they would take in people from different parts of the political spectrum. we see that polarization to this day. certainly in the democratic party or the republican party. people, leaders are unpatriotic or un-american. they just have a different view
of the america that they want to lead or that they support. how: in a follow-up, strongly was president johnson supporting hubert humphrey? was he focused on politics or was his focus vietnam? problem for johnson was that even if he had was tood him to the health, hmt dangerous. the secret service did not want him to go on college campuses. which was another reason why he thought he couldn't run. he was not able to go out on the stump. -- maybe as much as eisenhower did not go out for nixon in 1960. johnson was supportive, but he also had that tension with humphrey. ronald reagan, 1968, had he won -- guest: i think he would have ended the bombing.
in thatg johnson did do last week, i think it was on october 31, declared a bombing halt in vietnam. , at the beginning of october it was nick's and 43, humphrey 28, wallace 21. by the time it ended it was 43 all. much of the wallace in the north moved to humphrey. some of the nixon vote. almost put halt humphrey over. then the north vietnamese -- the ,outh vietnamese pressed declined to come to paris for the meeting. aat bollixed it up and caused great controversy. reagan, reagan was young. you saw the reagan there. that was a different reagan then i saw on the white house in 85. which was a must 20 years on.
i think reagan would have gone for victory in vietnam, all-out bombing, american power i think there would have been no limits on going into laos or cambodia. -- t: he gives a speech in which he thelly comes out against johnson policy on the vietnam war. he speaks up in favor of peace and going to peace talks and the americanization of the war. some people think that if you just done that earlier, he was coming on strong at the end. in part because of johnson's decision. --also made a reference to in south vietnam. about the great book back channeling that was being done between the nixon campaign and the present about the peace talks. host: -- guest: is a matter of some controversy. host: george, from illinois.
go ahead. caller: thank you, good morning. concerningestion tardiness innson's and 68.ng humphrey -- in 68. what if theg president had come out sooner? it was palpable. guest: indeed, there are -- there were -- they'll will always be this historical what if. i think it was against his personality. he was such a joyful, positive,
brilliant character. and such a loyal character. it was really hard for him to turn against his president. think it is possibly the case that if he had come out sooner and drawn the people who are supportive, the antiwar activists, the far left fringe he was not going to get. they are going to be against him as was indicated in chicago. earlier, come out maybe humphrey would have gotten what he needed in the popular vote. so flooded him on the electoral college vote, it is hard to put together. is the 1968 electoral map. you can see a different country back then. dates like california and the upper midwest. the democrats winning states like texas. then there is george wallace in the south. host: --
guest: at one point he had seven, both carolinas. he took those states away. one of the reasons and picked agnew, he had a hard line on riots. i went, as a matter of fact, canhrey was gaining, if you believe it we were campaigning on long island. and said the president i am not doing any good here. we have the same old message. i went out and spent a week on agnew's plane. i do think that hubert humphrey, if he had moved earlier, would have done better. one reason is his campaign from september 2 -- from september to
the salt lake city speech, was dumped -- point whereot the he was denouncing fascism. teddy kennedy, he was being denounced and massachusetts. when he delivered that salt lake city speech, it turned for humphrey and be began moving up the hill at a tremendous clip. i remember going to nixon and saying that we have to attack humphrey to drive the wedge back through the party. it is coming together. host: who was george wallace? guest: what a colorful character. he said he used to go speak with him. , eventuallyulist segregationist. in alabama, he was a world war ii veteran.
he may have suffered from some ptsd from his service in the pacific. he was a pugilistic kind of fighter. the late 50's, when he lost a race in 1958, he said he would ed by someone else. he turned the right, the segregationist. and the anti-civil rights view. he brings that on end of the 1968 campaign. he knew that he probably would not carry any states outside the south. he thought that he could be the broker. if there was not an electoral majority. here's the thing, wallace had come out and 64 -- cannot in 64. he had done very well in -- and right here in maryland. of the got a majority
democratic primary in 1964. lbj was president. then he comes in 68 and announces his third-party run. , he was notthen was only a segregationist, he was strict segregation. he got that vote. he was also a real populist. he was bashing the students and demonstrators. i got to know him. i went down after i left nixon and got to know him. i would go down to alabama and speak at a chair intrastate. a state trooper would be there. i would be with my wife. he would say the governor would like to speak to you. i would go to his office and we would tell stories about the campaigns and how he did.
he used to talk trash to reporters. he was quite a guy. he felt in his life badly about a lot of the things that he had done. in 1953 it was segregation forever. guest: and robert kennedy tried to integrate the university of alabama. art of the federal court orders. guest: i think it was choreographed. they nationalized the guard. he stepped aside and all came out. everybody got what they wanted. guest: it worked for him politically. his biggest mistake was the air force general as his vice president nominee. guest: yes, it was. they asked him what about nuclear weapons. he said people are too frightened of these things. we tested them out and everything was fine.
although, the sand crabs were a little hot after. guest: they were saying let's do it. how richard nixon rose from the seat to create the new majority. the director of presidential studies at uva's miller center. from kentucky, go ahead. caller: thank you. like to thank mr. buchanan, he has been a good service for the united states. i take my hat off to you. , i was born in 1963. i love politics. there will ever be any more conservative democrats? i know there were some back
then, i know they're still out there. ? do you think they will arrive in the future? guest: socially, culturally, no. i think we saw this and illinois. a pro-life democrat. , on social, cultural, moral issues the democrat party has made its move. the fact that they lost the entire south, which is something that kept them to a degree conservative. i don't think that you are ever going to see it. i think younger americans, the therenials seem to be -- is pro-lifers, the majority seem to be in the left. i think the democratic party is going to be pulled to the left. the real danger for it in the coming election, i think is that they -- the left nominated candidate in the way mcguffin did in 1972 when they nominated mcgovern. and pulled the party so far to the left that nixon was
centrist, progressive republican. and orderine on law gave him 29 states. republicans are not going to win 49 states ever again. i think democratic party is never going to be conservative. guest: we will see in the be asms, connor may conservative as the democrats will go. it was an interesting choice and a successful one. i would say that the callers from the hometown of one of my political mentors who became the majority whip in the senate. and was a conservative democrat from it -- from kentucky. now, there are no such things. kentucky is a republican state. it has republicans throughout the senate and throughout the house of delegations itself. andt: i went into politics 66. there was one republican senator in the entire confederacy. he had gone that as a result of
lbj becoming president. now, it is the reverse is true. host: raymond, from cleveland, ohio. how do we go from 1968 to can state and how do we deal with -- we did not have the social media and internet back then, how do people organize? how do we go from 1968 to 1970. the answer is an opening up the cambodian front in the vietnam war. that is to invade cambodia to try to stop the flow of men and material from the north into the south and be used against united states forces in south vietnam. in announcement of that april 1970, the campuses exploded again.
there was a peaceful demonstration, the ohio nest -- national guard opened fire on the protesting students. several of them are killed. that is yet another open wound for the united states to have to deal with. had it these people organize, i just watched a documentary last night about the civil rights movement and martin luther king and the media. without social media, the way to ,et to the media in those days it is a bit of a misnomer now. the media is supposed to be between the government and the people. now we are the media. it is about how to reach the media and the next campaign. how to do good advance work. it was word-of-mouth. telephone. telegrams. it was old-fashioned hardcopy letters. guest: i wrote this beach with nixon. the cambodian invasions beach. it was very dramatic.
what happened was three or 4 -- they did have -- that is why the national guard was called in. made a rough speech on sunday and monday. the students were up and approaching these guardsmen, who foolishly had live in you met -- ammunition in their rifles. they shot and four of them died. i went home and i was not feeling well. -- called and said that there is for kids shot. i said where is that. that is where nixon came closer somethingroken by within any town i had ever seen in that month of april. that is when he had left the white house on the friday. he went to the lincoln memorial at 4:00 in the morning where all the students were gathering.
they went down on manolo. put him up in the speaker's chair. mayflower forhe breakfast. in the early hours he was moved by what had happened. the white house was tremendously divided over -- they did not like the invasion of cambodia. they urged nixon to go much further, accommodating the students. that was the roughest time of nixon's presidency. at 1968.are looking beginning with the decision to seek the democratic nomination in the fall of 1967. we will look at the timeline as we listen to garrett from orlando, florida. caller: good morning. very edifying, thank you. i would like to have you, -- comment on the johnson campaign. the congressman and the
legislatures. maybe, in particular nixon. host: thank you. guest: i mentioned that johnson was bouncing down into the low to mid 30's. nothing will get members of the president's party like really low approval ratings. that is part of the movement. you mentioned loewenstein of new york. he was pushing robert kennedy to join the race as an antiwar candidate. one thing we haven't mentioned is where we do typically presidential oral history, he came to us to do his oral history after 40 years in the senate. he told the story of being dictated by his brother to go out to the middle west -- the midwest. at thethat if you put --
top of your agenda in addition to being antiwar, -- bobby will reconsider getting into the race. said no, antiwar is at the top my platform. that was the movement of trying to get bobby to get into the race. host: h -- guest: he tried to get a number of people. i think he tried to get mcgovern. host: donna from st. louis, missouri. go ahead. caller: good morning. i have a question for pat. i was an independent and went to california and was a delegate for you in 2000. i also had a nice chat with ryan lamb while i was there. it was an exciting experience. is, there was a time
when i supported the vietnam war in the mid 60's. i was in high school and graduated in 66. you knew it was unwinnable with all the chinese pouring in their , as they did in korea. why didn't we handled -- why didn't we handle vietnam like truman handled korea? korea drove truman out of the white house. it was general eisenhower who came in and decided that we are not going for victory. he had a dmz where the two armies were lined up. he threatened the chinese and got an armistice. in vietnam you had a bunch of different story. the chinese were not in the -- were not in vietnam. it is a very good question. anybody that has been involved in any way, i was not over there.
i was writing speeches in the white house and working for nexen as an aide. you have to ask yourself, the vietnam war a compass to a lot of good things. it held a lot in southeast asia. those countries did not move with the chinese or toward communism. they moved toward the west. should we have gone and in the first place? host: was richard nixon undercounting such that -- undercutting the johnson administration? that is what the latest literature says about that. i'm going to pass it over to pat because i think he was there and he will know the answer to it. the historians are saying yes, that indeed nixon was back channeling. whittle -- widow of .laire -- from world war ii
and the go-between between the nixon cap and the south vietnamese. encouraging the president to -- president of south vietnam to hold off on dissipating in peace talks. get a better deal. saying that heng had a plan to end the war. he was very public about that. i don't credit what reason authors have said about this. i was with neck's in. as i am that saturday and said that friend of mine called john sears. michigan was gone and we are down three. we were in tough shape. there are reasons why i don't be did not the president need anybody to tell him that richard nixon was going to take a harder line than hubert
humphrey. secondly, if it was some kind of signal sent, where other tapes that -- wiretapped planes, wiretapped people? why didn't he come out of vietnam saying that the reason i did this was this. none of these main actors were questioned or came forward to validate the suggestion that to tellld mitchell president chu, don't go, you will get a better deal from next and. .e is not a dumb man he could have gone from any number of years. i don't believe. one fellow who wrote a book told -- said nixon throw a monkey wrench into this. he used that phrase all the time
about everything. i don't know if there are tapes of the wiretaps. there are tapes of president johnson talking about this issue that you can listen to and that he told humphrey this would happen. host: humphrey said -- from gaithersburg maryland, phil. go ahead. caller: good morning. missedou for having perry and mr. buchanan on. two fabulous guests. i appreciate that c-span and my comment is -- i was a history student in 1968. behaviorge campus seems to be quite different than if is today. many points of view were listened to. many points of view could be tolerated.
today, it seems to be the college campus behavior is much more progressive and anyone who disagrees is silenced. guest: i agree 100%. i was out there teaching. they didn't like our views, but they invited pro-war and antiwar speakers on campus. today, you get a real sense of intolerance and a sense of that we have found the truth and we don't want to hear anymore dissent. and certain forms of defense -- dissent are racist and bigoted and homophobic. that goes to the idea that one side of a cultural war is evil and there is only one good side. host: to final points. in 1968 when nixon said sock it to me, tv was never quite the same. it is very brief. listen carefully. sock it to me.
host: why was the significant? guest: because's and -- because nixon, he was not with it. that was a real progressive type of show. i did not think it was a good idea. i think paul keyes, who was a very good friend, he persuaded nexen to do it. said he was considering to an uptight and stiff and sweaty from 1960 in the debate. to go on a hip and happening show and make fun of himself, i don't even know that is, they told me to say it. it is a turning point for politicians to go and do popular culture. the lessons from 1968, what are they? think that we have
touched on some of them already. they are the increasing polarization that has kicked off. the polarization that we have seen today in the parties and in today's culture, referenced a cultural wars. we still see those day. i think that there is a linkage between 1964 and goldwater. his brand of -- brand populism into the reagan years. the movement conservatism all caps donald trump. i think we see some of the seeds of both the democratic left and the republican right. the democratic populism and republican populism to this day. guest: i think that is very true. goldwateree is the laid this foundation for this powerful conservative movement which basically couch -- capture the party but could not capture the country. andook that movement brought the republican party together and picked up the two pieces of the democratic party
of the northern catholics and southern protestants. he crated a new majority. majority.ted a new which was astounding, considering the defeat. the democratic party, bobby kennedy, george mcgovern, would capture the party and nominate mcgovern in 72. to 68,u got subsequent that year was we have only crossed the continental divide and we have never been able to get back over that divide. because it involves more than simply politics. it involves the most fundamental beliefs about right and wrong and good and evil. justice and injustice. there is very little upon which you find americans agreed these days. host: for your insight, perspective, stories, barbara and pat, thank you very -- thank you for being with us.
next week, we continue our series. announcer: 50 years ago on march 31, 1968, president johnson announced his decision not to run for reelection that year. lbj'st on real america, entire 40 minute address from the oval office. he begins by outlining steps to limit the war in vietnam. >> good evening, my fellow americans. tonight, i wants to speak to you of peace in vietnam and southeast asia. question so preoccupies our people. thether dream so absorbs 250 million human beings who live in that part of the world. motivates american