tv Washington Journal 1968 - Presidential Campaign CSPAN March 28, 2018 7:44am-9:16am EDT
captioning performed by vitac you know, i wrote the speech with nixon, the cambodian invasion speech. it was very dramatic because i think it was april 1, 1970. >> yes. >> and what happened was they did have riots out at kent. the town. the mayor called in the guard. the students were approaching the guardsmen who had the live ammunition in the rifles. i think four died, five more wounded or something. i remember i was at home, i wasn't feeling well. and mort allen called and he said there's four kids shot at kent state.
i said, where is kent state? word went around, that's where nixon -- nixon came closer to being broken by something than at any time i have seen in that month of april. remember, that's the time he left the white house the friday after kent state, he went over to lincoln memorial at 4:00 in the morning where all the students were gathering and took bibi with him and in the early hours he was really moved by what had happened there. and the white house was tremendously divided over it. most white house aides didn't want the invasion of cambodia. didn't like the invasion of cambodia. and urged nixon to go much further and sort of accommodating the students but that was the roughest time of nixon's presidency i recall in the first term. >> we're looking at 1968 really beginning with eugene mccarthy's decision to seek the democratic nomination in the fall of 1967.
we'll look at the time line as we listen to garrett from orlando, florida. >> caller: good morning. very edifying. thank you both. i'd just like to ask or have you comment on the dump johnson campaign. that was, you know, that was -- by congressmen and by the legislators and in particular maybe you mentioned mr. alan loewen stein. >> sure. i mentioned that johnson was bouncing down into the mid to low 30s in the approval rating and nothing will get the attention in congress like really low approval ratings for the president. so that's part of the dump nixon movement. you mentioned allard k. lowen stein of new york. he was pushing robert kennedy to join the race as an anti-war
candidate. one thing we haven't mentioned that came out in ted kennedy's oral history where we do typically presidential oral history but he came to us to do his oral history after 40 years in the senate and he told the story and being deputized to speak to eugene mccarthy, you know bobby is considering getting into the race but if you will put near or at the top of the agenda in addition to being anti-war to looking into the issues of poverty, rural and urban poverty, bobby will reconsider getting into the race and mccarthy said no, anti-war is at the top of my platform. so that was the movement trying to get bobby into the race. >> lowen stein way toed to get mcgovern and he said, why don't you talk to jean mccarthy. >> donna from st. louis,
missouri. where pat buchanan spent much time in the 1906s. >> caller: that's true. i have a question for pat, but first i would say i was an independent and went to california and was a delegate for you in 2000 and i also had a nice chat with brian lamb while i was there. it was an exciting experience. >> long beach. >> caller: yes. and my question is, there was a time when i supported the vietnam war in the mid '60s. i was in high school and i graduated in '66. you knew it was winnable with all the chinese pouring in this as they did in korea. why didn't we handle vietnam like truman handled korea? i have always wondered that. >> well, with truman, korea drove truman out of the white house and it was general eisenhower who came in and said we're not going for victory and you had a dmz where the two armies were lined up and he
threatened the chinese and he got basically an armistice. vietnam, you had a -- you had a much different story. i mean, the chinese were actually not in vietnam. the north vietnamese were in the south. but it's a very good question. i mean, looking back and obviously anybody that's been involved in any way -- i wasn't over there, but i was writing speeches in the white house and working for nixon as a -- an aide before he ran. you have to ask yourself afterwards the vietnam war accomplished a lot of good things that held the line in southeast asia, all those countries did not move with the chinese or from communism, but moved to the west. but should we have gone in in the first place? >> barbara perry, was richard nixon undercutting the johnson administration in trying to keep the war going through the election of 1968 saying you'll get a better deal with me? >> well, that's what the latest
literature, the historical literature says about that question. but i'm going to pass it over to pat because i think he was there and he will know the answer to it. but the historians are saying, yes, that indeed nixon was back channeling with ana chinault -- >> who was? >> the go between between the -- according to the historians now the nixon camp and the south vietnamese encouraging the president to south vietnam to hold off on participating in peace talks, get a better deal under nixon. remember, nixon was remember -- saying he had a plan to end the war so he was being very public about that. but i'll let pat address the behind the scene issues. >> yeah, i don't credit the -- that the -- what recent authors have said about this. i was with nixon and i had nothing to do with it. i remember going in to see him
that saturday. before the election and telling him a friend of mine had called, john sears and said michigan is down we're down three nationally in the harris poll. and first, president tieu did not need anyone to tell him that nixon would take a harder line than humphrey. humphrey said i'll halt the bombing as soon as i get elected. secondly, if there was some kind of signal sent, why -- where are the tapes that lbj, who wiretapped planes and wiretapped people, why didn't president chu who came out of vietnam who said the reason i did this was this. none of the main actors were questioned or came forward to validate the suggestion that nixon told mitchell or someone
to tell mrs. chinault to tell president chu, don't go, you'll get a better deal from nixon. he's not a dumb man. so i don't believe that came up. and one fellow had -- wrote the book recently and said, nixon told halterman when he read about the bombing halt, he said throw a wrench in this. >> i don't know if there are tapes of the wiretaps but there are tapes of president johnson talking about this issue. >> treason. >> you can listen to. and he told humphrey this was happening and humphrey refused to release it. >> he didn't believe it too. >> yeah. >> from gaithersburg, maryland, phil. go ahead, please. good morning. >> caller: good morning. thank you for having ms. perry and mr. buchanan on. they're two fabulous guests and i appreciate that c-span, and my
comment is i was a history student at the university of maryland in 1968. and the college campus behavior it seems to be 50 years ago was quite different than it is today. many points of view were listened to. many points of view could be tolerated. today it seems to be that college campus behavior is much more progressive and anyone who disagrees is silenced. >> i agree 100%. i think it -- i mean, as i say, i was out -- they were hearing our views, they didn't like our views if you supported the war but they invited you out there and they invited pro war and anti-war speakers on campus. but today, you get a real sense of intolerance and a sense of that we have found the truth, we don't want to hear any more dissent and certain forms of
dissent are racist. and bigoted and homophobic and things like that. that goes to the idea that one side of the cultural war is evil and there's only one good side. >> this is the headline from the smithsonian website when nixon said, sock it to me on laugh-in. tv was never quite the same. it's very brief. only five seconds. listen carefully. >> sock it to me. >> why was this significant? >> well, it was because nixon with us basically the stiff -- he was considered stiff and correct and he was not with it. and that was a real -- it was a real sort of progressive type show. and i didn't think it was a good idea. but i think paul keys who was a very good friend of nixon and a writer, he persuaded nixon to do it. >> well, pat said he was considered you know uptight and stiff and also sweaty from 1960
in the debates with jack kennedy. to go on a hip and happening show and to sort of make fun of himself sock it to me, i don't know what it is, but they told me to say it. it's a turning point for politicians to go into popular culture. >> in our remaining minutes, the lessons from 1968, barbara perry, what are they? >> i think we have touched on some of them already and they are this increasing polarization. i think it's kicked off the -- the polarization that we see today in the parties and in today's culture. pat's made reference to culture wars. we still see those today. and i also think that's a linkage between 1964 and barry goldwater. his brand of right wing populism and through the reagan years and nixon, but reagan with movement, conservatism, all the way up to donald trump. i think we see the seeds of both the democratic left and the republican right and democratic
populism and republican populism to this day. >> pat buchanan, final word. >> i think that's very true. what you see is the goldwater laid this foundation with this powerful conservative movement which captured the party but couldn't capture the country and nixon picked up that movement and brought that republican party together. picked up the two pieces of the democratic party. the northern catholics and the southern baptists and one for republicans, five out of six presidential elections after 1964 which was astounding considering the defeat then. but you're right, in the democratic party the gene mccarthy, bobby kennedy, george mcgovern wing would nominate mcgovern in '72. but i think what you've got subsequent to '68 that year -- we really crossed the contine continental divide. we have never got over that divide. because it involves more than
simply politics but it involves the most fundamental beliefs about right and wrong and good and evil and justice and injustice. there's just very little upon which you find that americans really agree these days. >> for your insights, your perspective and your stories, barbara perry of the university of virginia and pat buchanan. to both of you, thank you for being with us. >> good to see you, friend. tonight american history tv continues with our series 1968, america many turmoil. focusing on the 1968 presidential campaign. we'll hear from communications director of the nixon administration, pat buchanan and the studies director, barbara perry. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3.
coming up a discussion on privacy, the law and government surveillance. we're live with the international national association of professionals. live coverage at 1:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. thursday morning, we're in olympia, washington, for the next stop on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. washington governor will be our guest during washington journal. starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern. for nearly 20 years in depth on book tv has featured the nation's best known nonfiction writers for live conversations about their books. well, this year as a special project we're featuring best selling fiction writers for a monthly program in depth, fiction edition. join us live sunday at noon eastern with walter mosley. his most recent book is "down the river on to the sea."
his other books is "devil in a blue dress." gone fishin' and fearless jones. plus other books and mystery series and we'll take your phone calls, tweets and facebook messages. our special series in depth fiction edition with author walter mosley, sunday, live from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on book tv. on c-span2. james jones, president lyndon johnson's appointment secretary from 1965 to '69 discussed the surprise announcement in a televised address to the nation that he would not run for re-election in 1968. he also told the back story of the president's decision process which began in september of 1967. james jones is a former member of the house of representatives from oklahoma and former u.s. ambassador to mexico. the interview was recorded for c-span's the weekly podcast.