tv Washington Journal 1968 - Presidential Campaign CSPAN March 28, 2018 5:55pm-7:31pm EDT
sear -- research. watch landmark cases, monday. join the conversation. our hashtag is landmarkcases. follow us at c-span. next, a look at the 1968 presidential campaign. it started with candidates including lbj, robert f. kennedy. ronald reagan and third party candidate george wallace. this is 90 minutes.
>> on the last evening in march, 1968, the stage 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. finally with the reassuring presence of his family seated nearby, 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. >> good evening, my fellow americans. tonight i want to speak to you of peace in vietnam and southeast ease ya. no other question so preoccupies our people. no other dream so absorbs the 250 million human beings who
live in that part of the world. no other goal motivates american policy in southeast asia. >> first addressing himself to the continuing problem of vietnam, the president de-escalated that conflict. >> i've ordered our naval vessels to make no attacks on north vietnam exsecept in the aa of the north demilitarized zone. where the movement of their troops and supplies are clearly related to that threat. the area in which we're stopping our attacks includes almost 90% of north vietnam's population. most of its territory. thus there will be no attacks
around the principal populated areas or in the food producing areas of north vietnam. even this very limited bombing of the north could come to the very end if our restranint is matched. >> the president issued an appeal for unity among the american people and went onto speak in moving words of the future he forsees america attaining. it was in the final moments of his speech that voiced the syllables that stunned the nation. to a disbelieving audience of countless million, president johnson announced the decision that had been many months in the making but only resolved within himself in the final hours of march. >> with american sons in field far away, with america's future
underchallenged right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, i do not believe that i should devote an hour or day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office. the presidency of your country. accordingly, i shall not seat and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. >> that courtesy of the white house naval photographic unit as we look back 50 years ago on
c-span and c-span 3 american history tv, 1968, america in turmoil. we want to begin with the announcement in november 1968 to seek the democratic nomination, the tet offensive began on january 30th of 1968. richard nixon n enters the presidential race on february 1st and george wallace enters on february 8th. president johnson wins the new hampshire primary but narrowly and then a few days later senator robert f. kennedy entering the democratic race. two weeks later president lyndon johnson announcing he will not seek re-election. then on april 4th, dr. martin luther king assassinated. then senator robert f. kennedy winning the california primary. shot after midnight on the day of victory and dies on june 6th,
1968. richard nixon accepting the republican nomination in august of that year. richard nixon is elected president in 1958. we want to welcome barbara perry. thank you for joining us. >> nixon campaign. >> let me begin by asking you about the announcement of lyndon johnson, march 31st. where were you? >> on the saturday before that sunday i was at nixon's apartment. he was going to give the speech that afternoon. we were having an argument. we got word from cbs that lyndon
johnson asked for time sunday night. what nixon was going to wisconsin the next day and told me, pat, i want you to be out at la guardia, the private terminal when i come back from wisconsin. he was making an appearance for the primary. to brief me on what johnson said before the press gets to me. i'm sitting in a limousine on the tarmac at la guardia. had nixon's african-american driver was there. he starts yelling i knew it was going to happen. i knew it was going to happen when lbj announced he wasn't going to run again. i got out and ran on the jet that nixon was on. i got on the plane and i said johnson is out. he's not going to run again. nixon stepped out to the top of the steps on the plane and said i guess it's the year of the drop out. george romney has dropped out of new hampshire on him. nelson rockerfeller decided not
to run earlier in march. we drove into nixon's apartment. we talked going in and i said i thought humphrey would be a tougher nominee. >> he did not expect to challenge senator robert kennedy? >> he didn't think kennedy was going to win the nomination. i didn't either. >> let's go back to the announcement of eugene mccarthy. who was he and why was his voice so important in the '68 campaign. >> he was the senator from the midwest. he had been a professor of economics. very cool. some might have said aloof. he entered the race as the peace kan candidate. he was the anti-war candidate.
he was the young people's candidate. the intellectual candidate. the upper middle class candidate for the democrats. if you put the personality next to lyndon johnson and thought they would be running to get the nomination for the inckuc incum president, you couldn't have found two different personalities. >> jnls's name was nohnson's nae ballot. half of those who voted for gene mccarthy not johnson had not been tough enough on the war. when they got to wisconsin,
mccarthy just wiped up the floor with johnson there. i think johnson had polls and they knew that was womaning. -- coming. >> between that and the tet offensive aftermath, he would have to boost up the numbers in vietn vietnam. johnson worried he would suffer another heart attack in another term. he was concerned. >> nixon announced, you mentioned february 1st. nixon registered under the name benjamin chapman. we took him into the hotel until he announced. he's not that small revolver and where he fired and killed him. eddie adams won a pulitzer for
that photograph. >> galvanizing moments, wasn't it? >> yeah. >> we talked about that last week. this full series available on our website, cspan.org. he loses his bid for governor in 1962. the headline, the political obituary richard nixon. why did he run in 1968 and what was the state of republican party that year? >> in 1964, goldwater was wiped and nixon was the lead surrogate. he was a two time loser and considered a political loser. he moves to new york and what he did, i went to work for him. 1965, '66. january, '66. nixon told me then, sir, i want to get on board early if you want to run for president. he said i'll here you for one year. if we don't do well in these off
elections, nomination won't be worth anything. nixon helped pick up 47 seats in the house. greatest republican victory since 1946. tom evans said i would have been an editorial writer in st. louis. i said i don't think you're going back to st. louis. he got into a battle with johnson at the end of '66. johnson attacked him in the white house.
nixon said i need dpoet out of public arena for a while. in 1967, making ste ining state. remember gene mccarthy. you need a light rinse. >> along those lines i want to take you back to that time period in a very young pat buchanan on the campaign trail with richard nixon and the former vice president. we'll watch this.
>> seems to be a pretty magnificent turn out. estimate more than 3,000 for the afternoon is over. you can't tell republican or democrat. i would assume it's a good cross section of people. >> i'm wondering how much of these people will be benefit? >> we don't know how many are coming in. >> how you doing?
tell me is this fellow is. >> every way. you really think so. >> he's a good guy. >> all right. good. we got a lot of people said he's too young to be chairman. i said we need a fellow that's sort of a goer. would you agree? >> i would agree. >> are you on the payroll? >> no. i'm retired. >> you were in the service? first world war. >> the big one. what division were you in.
>> i was in new hampshire. do you know it's hard to realize we've had so many wars since then. we thought that was the end of the last one and we had world war ii and korea and vietnam. let's hope we can get rid of them. >> let's do something. good to see you. >> nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you. >> february 1968 campaign in new hampshire, you sound the same. >> thank you. we had a great thing put together by one of the great advancement. we had 3,000 people and president and mrs. nixon went all through the receiving line. the fellow who was the chairman of our campaign was dave sterling. very young guy. we didn't want to antagonize any of them. we got this young state legislature. he died a couple years later in
a bad automobile accident. we study teddy white book. nixon over did it and ran himself into the ground. we would bring him into new hampshire for two days or maybe three days and fly him down to key biscayne where he could relax and take it easy and go into wisconsin. you paced him well. we knew it was marathon. i can still remember it and it was tremendously well advanced. we're up there whipping everybody to come out and look how many came out voluntarily. we had a terrific crowd. 3,000 people and that was a kind of event nixon wanted to do. it was excellent. >> that exchange with a world war i veteran and makes mention of the vietnam. clearly that was the driving issue of 1968. can you explain what was going on here in this country.
how americans were viewing the war and why they were turning against president johnson. >> we mentioned the tet offensive. that was in january of 1968. i'm glad there are no videos of me from 1968. i will say that i was a 12-year-old in the 6th grade. my brother was ten years older than i and graduating from college. small catholic college in louisville where we grew up that spring. he was told by his draft board, you'll graduate. may 15th. you'll be drafted by june 1st. my dad was a world war ii vet. my brother was patriotic. there was no way he was going to deny going to the draft. in the end he served four years in the air force. that was the talk around our dinner table. here i was a 12-year-old soaking this up. what was happening in america was boys like my brother, girlfriends and their boyfriends knew they were going.
fathers were going. the draft was up and running. the streets were in an uproar. we need to add that into it as well. the country was coming apart and particularly over this issue and with the students over the draft and the casualty figures coming out. pat buchanan, you want to respond. >> i had a brother who went over to vietnam with 101st airborne. he didn't go in december.
he broke his foot in the jifirs jump. he went over in january. when i was in st. louis as a journalist in 1965, washington university out there called harvard of the middle west. demonstrations, it wasn't violent by then. it was real hostility. i would go down and talk to some of those kids in front of the buildings before they became violent. it was major issue going on. after dr. king was assassinated, i had riots in 100 cities in my home.
>> that's my next question. try to put this in perspective. you have president johnson who narrowly won on march 12th. then you had senator kennedy entering the race on march 16th. lbj drops out on march 31st and dr. king is assassinated on april 4th. all within a four week period. >> it's hard to comprehend for people now to see what was compacted in a month time. my dad who was a lifelong democrat began saying i'm really fearful for the country. i'm fearful about what's happening and voted for nixon in 1968. he was the law and order man. he was the man that would bring law and order back to our streets and bring our country together. the other thing about vietnam that we talked about the tet
offensive, the united states won the tet offensive but it was the offensive of the north and the viet cong and the south. it was so fearful to the american people and 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 prior sdagoing i office knew how to use it. >> i believe it was in february, he had gone over to vietnam. american elite media really had decided it was unwinnable war. they tended to move at that point. they would move heavily into the camp and we have always thought of them as really our lives of
the demonstrators by 1968. there's something else in march that you don't have in there. it was stunning for us. you had a picture of him there in the room. it was the 21st of march when nelson was going to announce for president. nixon told us he didn't like to watch these on television himself. you watch and tell me what he said. he dropped out. that's where nixon got a statement the year of drop out. it was romney. he had this clear path to the nomination and to your point, you got to realize that the revolution in 1968 was largely contained in that gigantic fdr coalition.
tough on pro-segregation. he was ripping the south apart. humphrey and johnson were the center of the party. >> wasn't governor spiro a rockerfeller supporter. >> he brought in reporters and said he was for rockerfeller. the citizens for rockerfeller. he headed it up and announced it for three weeks. he calls in the reporters and going to have a major role in it. when he didn't ever call him and went out and said i'm not running, agnew was left with egg all over his face and someone wrote we caught him on the first top. nixon was right on the phone.
come on up and talk to us. he came up. agnew was regarded. your home is your castle. basically a democrat who opposed open housing and agnew supported it. he was seen as something of a liberal governor except for the riots where he was very hard lined. >> i was going to say rockerfeller thought he still height have a chance at the convention and was going around the governor saying support me and went to agnew and he said i'm not going this again. fool me once, shame on me. >> did get one governor of pennsylvania. this was a beer commercial in those days that if schaffer is the one beer to have if you're having only one. >> let's go to leo in joliet,
illinois. >> caller: good morning. thank you. i was a student in high school at the time. when we understand the importance of this country having been created and fills us not with pride but compassion and understanding and good thanks giving to our mighty god that america stands still as freedom. thank you. i appreciate everything. bless you all. >> thank you for the call. a comment, not a question. response. >> i'll comment to that very optimistic view of 1968. it's one that my colleague at the miller center, mike nelson, also political scientist shares. he wrote a book called resilient
america about 1968. rather than focusing on the fact we were coming apart. pat has already explained what was happening in the democratic party. the democratic party was coming apart. the new deal coalition was coming apart. riots in the streets and on campuses. there is a resilience that we were able to survivor and move forward. >> i'm going to bring something else to the table. in an interview with james jones who was a long time aide, he said that he traveled with president johnson on the afternoon of march 31st, went to vice president humphreys apartment. told him to read the speech. said he wasn't going to run for re-election. humphrey was shaken and said vice president -- the president said if you're going to run you need to start now. i mentioned that because vice president humphrey did not announce until april 27th.
almost a month after lbj announced he will not seek another term. >> humphrey might have delayed until then. bobby kennedy was not jack kennedy. he didn't have the charm, charis charisma. i think he had moved to the left. he was anti-war, very sharp edged. i all felt that even after california when bobby kennedy won that when they got to chicago that humphrey would take it. humphrey had enough -- he had the machine put together for him. i thought he could win it. >> it's a what if. we know. >> it is one of those what ifs of history. i jotted down last night that when bobby kennedy died on june 6th, hubert humphrey had already
amassed over 500 delegates. robert kennedy, 393. gene mccarthy, 258. humphrey had those people behind him. he had labor. he had the rank and file of the party. it's unlikely that even if robert kennedy had lived. it's unlikely he would have beaten humphrey. also remember how devastated he wasn't going to run. he went to that apartment to tell him. he was in tears about it. he also had that ambivalence that he wasn't going to bash the president he was serving. that's in the end in part what caused humphrey to lose the race. >> just down the street not far from where we're at is where senator robert f. kennedy made his announcement on march 16th,
1968. >> there's been speculation this is opportunism on your part. >> first, as i said, i don't believe -- do i have to repeat that. the charge has been raised about the question of whether this is op tor tu opportunistic of my coming into the contest at this time. as i said, i've spoken on these issues and these questions for a number of years and how i feel about them. i felt, and i think it was generally accepted that if i had gone into the primary in new hampshire whether if i had won
the primary in new hampshire or done well in the primary in new hampshire, it would have been felt this was a personal struggle. it would have been written in the press this was a personal struggle. every time i've spoken on vietnam of the past several years, every time i have spoken as far as the scities is concerned, it's been put in the context of a personal struggle. therefore, we would get away from what the issues are which divide this country. i think the new hampshire primary established the division that exist in this country, the division that exist in the democratic party are there. i haven't brought that about. what has brought that about is what president johnson, the policies that are being followed by president johnson. as far as as what is happening at the moment, i can't believe that anybody thinks this is a pleasant struggle from now on or that i'm asking for a free ride. i've got five months ahead of me
as far as the convention is concerned. i'm going to go into primary. i'm going to present my case to the american people. i'm going to go all across this country. >> pat buchanan, that was four days after the new hampshire primary and two weeks before lbj dropped out. >> the allegation of opportunism was really in the air on robert kennedy there. when he got into it, i remember a great writer at the new york post who really admired bobby kennedy said he's coming down from the hills to shoot the wounded. it was very rough on bobby kennedy. people forget bobby kennedy was ruthless on lbj. he accused johnson of appealing to the darker impulses of the american spirit.
mr. nixon said keep gathering that. i think he believed more than i did that we might wind up with robert kennedy as the candidate. as i said, i always thought that humphrey was the candidate who had great depth inside the left wing of the democratic party from that 48 convention. he was mr. civil rights. he put the civil rights act on the floor. he had labor. the deep south was gone. >> robert from frostberg, maryland. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. i'm a vietnam veteran. i don't think mr. nixon gets the credit he deserves.
i voted most of the time with democrats, i think nixon was a very good president. what overshadow his goodness as a president was the vietnam war, watergate and his personality complexes. some of the decisions he made with civil rights and other issues, epa. nixon was a very good president. just those three things overshadow his presidency. >> thank you for the call. barbara. >> well we now look back at nixon and he thought of himself in many ways as a moderate republican and viewed in those days in 1968 as a moderate republican. he could be viewed in the center between someone like reagan. we haven't talked about his entrance into the mix but i'm sure we will. when we look back at the almost
two and a half term, one and a half terms in office, we can see a number of the things he did that people on the liberal side say good for him. >> i would call him a progressive republican. he inherited the war. there were 31,000 dead when he came into office. the american people agreed with the gentleman. he won 49 states in 1972. won over 61% of the vote, i believe. nixon's policy of getting out of vietnam but giving the vietnamese a fighting chance to survive as their own country. tf it was a policy supported by the american people and rewarded in
1972 with that land slide. >> you mentioned ronald reagan who was a first term governor elected. here is what governor reagan said back then. >> there will be one way to make sure that crime doesn't 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. he has his troubles. there's bobby kennedy. bobby has him so nervous about the upcoming convention, he's thinking of putting the country in his wife's name. bobby was just trying to be h p
helpful. he said he wanted a johnson-humphrey ticket but he didn't say where too. every time he offers to help a voice from the white house says please wbobby. we'd rather lose it ourselves. he said the right thing at the right time to the wrong person. if it seems i'm picking unduply on the opposition, please note i'm picking on the leadership of the democratic party. i'm sure there are millions of fine patriotic members of that party who are deeply disturbed with what has taken place in the nation's capitol. as we moved from 1960 in the new frontier to the great society. they know the great society is not the wave of the future. it's the end of an era. a dismal rehash of the methods and language and philosophy of the past. >> from october 1967 and pat buchanan vintage ronald reagan.
>> i'm honored to have worked with the director of communications many years later. that was the candidate i was most afraid of in republican primaries. it was the possibility that ronald reagan would get into the race and the likeability of him he could stampede the delegates and pull the nomination away from richard nixon. republicans would have walked out if he had been nominated. explain the reagan candidacy. >> back to his days as an announcer for baseball where he
was getting the baseball game over the wire. he had a great facility for telling jokes. he had made this interesting journey as learepresented the country in that sense. he made this journey from a new deal. the head of the screen actor's guilds. the biggest hollywood union there is to becoming more conservative as he works for ge. that's where he picked up the facility in telling the quip. it's very clear to business people and to conservatives in california that he is the real heir to goldwater. he had come on the scene by the great speech that reagan gave. he ends up in '68 as this right wing challenge to richard nixon.
rockerfeller got 5% of the vote out there in oregon, 28th of may. >> their hope was that rockerfeller and reagan that they could draw enough delegate votes away. >> the people would come to nixon. >> did richard nixon consider him for his running mate? >> we had staff up there in new york. he was behind in the polls by six points. a number of us said you got to put reagan on the ticket. we got into a violent argument over vice president. there was talk of lindsay even
though he was in the same state. he was going to make a dramatic choice. >> 1968, year in turmoil and our guests barbara perry and pat buchanan. tony joining us from prair prairievil prairieville, louisiana, on our line for republicans. thank you for waiting. >> caller: i have a comment and question directed to pat buchanan. i've long held a belief that had nixon won in 1960, he would have been a better candidate or better president than he wound
up being in 1968. had he won in 1960, what does pat back to you cannon think nix on could have done. >> it's hard to know. i don't know how nixon would have handled that. my guess is he was a more small seat conservative. a lot of what nixon did was very progressive. he did not repeal the great society at all. >> let's add another to your what if. that is what if nixon had met with chris jeff this 1961.
it would have had a different outcome perhaps many the bay of bigs. wouldn't it have been interesting to see nixon in 161. historians think because kennedy didn't have such a good outing there that helped to precipitate the cuban missile crisis. he did not like nixon at all. as a matter of fact, it wasn't gary powers but we had two other pilots that had gone over russian territory. he didn't release them in 1960 so he could help kennedy defeat nixon. he didn't want to do something that nixon could claim credit for.
i think you're right. i think he misjudged kennedy and soft as weak. he think he took him as weak and made a grave mistake. >> what was the reaction when kennedy was asassassinatassassi? >> he was in his bhmid-20s and called me at my apartment and woke me up and said bobby kennedy has just been shot. i called nixon and he said i'm already up. julian david had been watching the race. they had woken him up. it's amazing. one week before that, i was in oregon when nixon won and may
28th, he swept it. i went out to the front door with my girlfriend, who is now my wife. bobby kennedy was coming up from california to concede the race. he had the dog with him. he went in and i went down to the room to watch him concede that. i remember telling folks there that was the bobby kennedy i hadn't seen. he was at his most gracious. the concession speech was just very -- it was everything you would expect. he said now let's get onto california. >> think how hard that was for him to give that speech. the first kennedy ever to lose an election. >> yeah. i read later that he was just down about it. maybe i can't win these votes and the presidency. >> there was no better state.
>> what was going through the country after the assassination of sent kennedy? >> well, horrible shock. just two months after martin luther king's assassination. here our political leaders, our social activists are being gunned down. bobby kennedy, ironically had been the person to rise up on that april 4th night, 1968 in indiana. gets the word as he comes in to indianapolis going to speak to an african-american segment of indianapolis that martin luther king has been shot. he tells the people. it's viewed as one of the best speeches ever in political history in the united states. it's off the cuff. he has no script. he doesn't say our thoughts and prayers are with the king
family. you can hear the gasp in the audience. indianapolis is the only major city that doesn't go up in flames that night. to think two months later he's assassinated. i've written a biography of his mother. his mother said if this had been a work of fiction that this family would lose two of its sons running for a presidency and in the presidency, she said i wouldn't have believed it. it was incomprehensible that level of violence. >> dave from north port, new york. thank you for waiting. >> caller: hello. i want to say thank you for mr. buchanan for the hard work and everything he's committed his life to. i used to enjoy watching him. i would like to ask two quick questions. i was curious about when you look at the vietnam war and some
of the bigger mistakes that we made there, are we making ju just -- are we making some of those same mistakes being in afghanistan for 17 years. >> thank you. you're breaking up. we get the essence of the question. >> i think we already what he had the mistake in the middle east that we made in vietnam. we went in without thinking through what the end of this intervention would be. the idea we could turn afghanistafgha afghanistan into a wrern e western country or once you overthrew the regime in iraq we could work that all out.
worst diplomatic blunder in political history. when did he begin to think he would not serve another full term? >> i think it was after the tet offensive. our forces, the u.s. military forces won that battle,. he said if we pull back, for example, in vietnam, if we halt the bombing and remember that speech that he gave withdrawing from the race at the end of march was to announce a halt to the bombing of the north but he said later on and he had to restart it in the summer, but he said i pull back in vietnam. he said he drives a truck up my
ass. he couldn't find the answer because there was no answer. between that and what he's seen on the campuses and the people students circle the white house chanting every day, every night, hey, hey, lbj, how kids did you kill today? a thousand americans were dying a week in the rice paddies of vietnam. i think he says general you winwin -- genuinely i don't want to be taking it out on the political stump. he died in january of 1973. imagine what the stress of being in that office for another four years could have done. he could well have died in office.
>> george is next joining us from florida. republican line. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. thank you. i volunteer for the draft in '68. i know the focus of the show is on '68 and the turmoil that occurred there. my question is 50 years from now, i think you could be doing another private show on 2018, 2019 perhaps a trump presidency. they were in the colleges. you had columbia and all of that. there was more intelligence about it and there was a lot of emotion. today, as i look at the march on washington, sorry to say this, but it's the march of the no nothings.
they have a lot of emotion but they have very little intelligence. everything is phrases. i'd like pat to comment. >> thank you. we'll get a response. thanks for your call. >> i agree with the gentleman. i was in teachings in the washington university in 1965. when i went out there the young people questioned me. they knew the history of vietnam back in the french and before then. the agreements in geneva. they were extremely intelligent. later on after kent state i went out and spoke and they were just emotional. i would agree with him about yesterday. maybe it's film that was taken out but the kids seem full of passion and emotion and caught
up and not a great deal of thought. i can understand the passion in the immediate aftermath of that killing down there in broward county but that's what you got. so much passion as though we can wave a magic wand and put an end to these school killings. we can't do it. the gentlemen says i think the generation does and you can never know exactly but the generation of the 1960s, early to mid-60s, was intelligent in a lot of ways. even on the liberal side it was mature. i knew where it was going. it had ideas. some of it like the crowd at columbia, mark penn and his friends that helped us. i put out a statement denouncing them for revolutionary takeover for our institution. it got a 95% in polls. >> i think we should thank the
caller for his service and volunteering for the draft. my brother is a vietnam vet. i'm very supportive of those veterans. i'm always a little bit leery as a teacher and long time a sign g to look back to a golden age or a sign to say this new generation doesn't know anything. i think what this new generation knows is they do have passion, of course, those who went through that horror in florida several weeks ago. they also know social media and how to organize. so they know how to be edge gauged civically. i think we did have better civic education that would have taught the baby boomers, and they were directly impacted en masse. they needed to know their rights and what was happening, because they were subject to the draft or their friends and family were subject to the draft. but i do have hope for this generation. i'm glad they are civically engaged. i would like a little more education. >> in '68, i don't think we can
go back to '68, because what took place wasn't only this political revolution, nixon putting together this new majority, the beginnings of it, with the wallace vote. but socially, culturally, morally, racially, and every other way, it was a huge cultural revolution going on in those years. which i think is ultimately -- excuse me -- prevailed in a way in the society and created divisions which exist and endure to this day, and while today is -- it's not as vie rent as '68, which was the most violence since the civil war inside this country. i think that those divisions have endured and gone through several generations. and we've got a country, it's hard for me to see how it ever comes together again, the way that those of us that grew up in the eisenhower and jfk era, the way it was together. i was a critic, taking on jfk.
i read him now, i thought i was a tough editorial writer, but i was very mild. we disagreed with an area redevelopment act or something. >> what happened to senator mccarthy after the assassination of robert kennedy? >> he was running a distant third, and so he became disaffected in the race. it became clearer as they got closer and closer to chicago that humphrey had the rank and file of the democrats. he had the party bosses. he had mayor daly on his side. and gene mccarthy was not going to win the nomination. in addition to that, george mcgovern was drafted by some of the pro kennedy forces. even though robert kennedy was
not gone, there was another person in the race. so he became rather embittered by what happened to him in the race, and he was -- >> he didn't endorse humphrey until the end of the race. >> that's right. he waited until late in the game. >> when i ran against the president george h.w. bush, i ran into gene mccarthy. he said when you get to new hampshire, you don't have to win, you just have to beat the point spread. >> larry from houston, texas, democrat's line, go ahead. >> caller: yeah, i'm also a veteran. the thing that i think caused nixon to win is because he had a cause that all my friends and a couple of them died in vietnam, as a result of it. and what it was is the draft just turned everybody away from the thought that we were going to have anything other than a
war for the rest of our lives. >> thank you, larry. >> when i went to work with nixon, i was -- had come out and decided that we were going to have to do away with the draft, because the country was coming apart. secondarily, because we were beginning to draft people who basically, in the barracks, would have been seditious. they were so anti-war. they were so anti-military at the time, that in order to fight the war, future wars, you're probably going to have to end the draft. and nixon, i've got a memo. nixon talked to eisenhower. so i wrote nixon a memo. i said people are liable to say we're just doing this to let folks against the war not have to serve. and that's a bad thing. and nixon wrote on it, ike thinks so, too. so ike did not want that draft ended. i'll tell you who also pushed to
end the draft, a libertarian, martin anderson, a nixon aide, one of the young men around nixon, as i was then, steve. >> john from austin, texas. go ahead, please. >> caller: yes. thank you for both of you, the panelists for the discussion today. it's very good. i've got two quick questions. the first one is, how do you see the democratic party now versus 1968? it just seems to me that a lot of people who don't really love this country have taken over, or the leadership of the democratic party. my other question is a what if question. i usually stay away from what if questions, but with the two panelists today, i think it's appropriate to ask. and the what if question is, how do you think things -- instead
of 1980. >> john, let's take barbara perry. >> sure. to pat's point a few moments ago, i think we come out of 1968, so polarized and to pat's point about now, i think that polarized is osified within our system and the parties. so you don't see the big tent partying we had had in this country for so many years, because we only had two major parties. i don't expect people in the democratic party, rank and file, are un-american. i don't see that at all. they just have a different view of the american they want to support. >> and the democratic party in 1968, how strongly was president
johnson supporting hubert humphre humphrey? >> the problem for johnson, even if he supported him to the hilt, he couldn't campaign for him, because it was too dangerous. the secret service did not want him to go on college campuses, which is another reason i thought i can't run myself. so he was not able to go out on the stump and do much campaigning for him. i think is reason why eisenhower didn't go full throated for nixon in 1960. they had tension with each other over the war. >> ronald reagan, in 1968, had he won, a what if question? >> he would have gone for victory in vietnam. i think he would have ended the bombing -- johnson -- one thing johnson did do for humphrey in that last week, i think it was on october 31st, cleared a
bombing halt in vietnam. and people forget, at the beginning of october, it was nixon 43, humphrey and wallace, 43-all by the time the race ended. so he had a tremendous campaign there. and the bombing halt i think almost put humphrey over. but then the north vietnamese -- excuse me, the south vietnamese declined to come to paris for the meeting. i was with nixon then, and with regard to reagan, reagan was young. you saw the reagan there. that's a different raug theagani saw in the white house in '85. i think reagan would have gone for victory in vietnam and would have gone all-out bombing and
used american power, and no limits on going into laos or cambodia. >> late september, vice president humphrey travels to salt lake city to do what? >> he gives a speech in which he finally comes out against the johnson policy on the vietnam war. and he speaks up in favor of peace and going to peace talks and de-americanization of the war. and some people think if he had just done that earlier, because as pat said, he was coming on strong at the end, in part perhaps because of johnson's decisions. but you also made a reference to president tu of south vietnam. >> that's a matter of some controversy. >> we're going to get to that. jordan from illinois, republican line. go ahead with your question.
>> caller: thank you. good morning. i have a question of both concerning president johnson's tardiness in supporting hubert humphrey in '68. and i'm wondering if -- it's sort of a what if question, but what if the president had come out sooner? the tension between humphrey and johnson over the war, it was palpable. >> indeed, there will always be this historical what if. what if humphrey had -- and i think it was against his personality. he was such a joyful, positive character. and such a loyal character. it was really hard for him to
turn against this president. but i think it is possible the case that if he had come out sooner and drawn the people who were supportive of mccarthy, supportive of robert kennedy, the far left fringe he was not going to get, they were going to be against him as indicated in chicago. but i think if he had come out earlier against the johnson policy, maybe humphrey would have gotten what he needed in a popular vote, but as pat know knows -- >> which brings us to the 1968 electoral map. you can see a different country back then, with the republicans winning california and the upper midwest. the democrats winning states like texas and of course, the midwest to new england. and then there's george wallace in the south. >> at one point he had seven states, he had both carolinas, i think.
yeah, he took those states away. one of the reason nixon and agnew had hard positions -- i went -- as a matter of fact, you mentioned humphrey. humphrey, if you can believe it, we were campaigning on long island. i went to the president and i said, mr. nixon, i'm not doing any good here, i need to help agnew. so i went and spent a week with him. i do think that hubert humphrey, if he had moved earlier, would have done better. his campaign was developed everywhere with dump the hump
and obscene comments. he finally got to the point himself, he was denouncing fascism out here. they won't let me speak. teddy kennedy, he was being denounced in massachusetts with teddy kennedy. when he gave that speech, it turned for humphrey and he began moving up the hill at a tremendous clip. and i remember going to nixon and saying, we have to attack humphrey to drive the wedge back through the party, because it's coming together. >> who was george wallace? >> oh, george wallace, what a colorful character. pat and i were talking before the show today, he said he used to go speak with him. but he was a populist, eventually segregationist. he was not, in his earlier life in alabama, but he was a world war ii veteran. we look back now and realize he may have suffered from some ptsd from his service in the pacific theater of war.
he was a bantamweight, pugilistic kind of fighter. by the late '50s, when he lost a race in 1958, i won't use the "n" world, but he said he would not be out-n'd by someone. so he turned towards the right, segregationist view and anti-civil rights view and brings that into the 1968 campaign. not to think he was going to win. he knew he wouldn't carry any states outside the south. but he thought he could be the broker if there was not an electoral majority. >> here's the thing. wallace had come out in '64 and run in the democratic primaries and had done very well in wisconsin and indiana, right here next door in maryland. he got a majority of the white vote in the democratic primary in 1964. and then he comes in '68 and
announces his third party run. what he did then was -- he was not only a segregationist, though, a strict segregationist, and got that vote, but he was a real populist. he was bashing the students and the demonstrators. i know some four-letter words, too. but i got to know him after i left nixon. i would go down to alabama and speak down there, and i would get to the airport and a state trooper would be there. i would be with my wife and he would say, the governor would like to say to you. that's after he had been shot in the '72 campaign. i would go to his office and we would tell old stories of the campaign and how he did against lindsey. he was quite a guy, and later on in his life, he sort of felt
badly about a lot of the things he had done. but 1963 was segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. >> president kennedy and robert kennedy tried to integrate the university of alabama. >> i think it was choreographed. he stood in the schoolhouse door. they nationalized the guard and everybody got what they wanted. >> it worked for him politically. his big mistake was choosing curtis lamee, the air force general. >> yeah, he was asked about nuclear weapons. he said people are too frightened of these things. we tested them out in the bikini atoll, although the sand crabs were a little hotter.
>> pat buchanan is the author of "the greatest comeback, how richard nixon rose from defeat to create the new majority" along with barbara perry, director at uva's miller center. andy from ownsboro, kentucky, go ahead. >> caller: thank you all. i would like to thank mr. buchanon, he's been a good servant for the united states and everything. and i take my hat off to you. my question is, i was born in 1962. i love politics. do you think that there will ever be -- [ inaudible ] i know there's still some conservative democrats out there, but do you think there is any that will arise in the future? >> socially, culturally, no.
we saw this with the lipinski battle in illinois. he's an incumbent, pro-life congressman. the democratic party has made its move. i think the fact that they lost the entire south, which was something that kept them to a degree conservative. i don't think you're ever going to see it. as a matter of fact, i think younger americans, millennials seem to me, there's pro lifers, but the majority seem to be of the left. i think the democrat party is going to be pulled to the left. the raefl dangdanger in the com election, the left nominates a candidate the way they did in 1972 when they nominated mcgovern and pulled the party so far to the left that nixon was a centrist, progressive republican. but the hardline gave him 49
states. republicans aren't going to win 49 states ever again. but i think the democratic party is never going to be conservative. >> we see in the midterms, someone like conor lamb may be as conservative the democrats will go. but it was an interesting choice and a successful one. i would say to the caller from kentucky, who is from the hometown of one of my political mentors was wendell ford, who became the majority whip in the senate and was a conservative democrat from kentucky. now there are no such things. kentucky is a republican state and it has republicans not only throughout the senate delegation, but throughout the house delegation itself. >> in '66, it was one republican senator in the entire confederacy john tower, he had gotten that as a result of lbj becoming vice president. we have howard baker in 1966 in tennessee. but now the reverse is true.
>> raymond from cleveland, ohio, independent line with pat and barbara. >> caller: from 1968 to kent state, how do we deal with -- we didn't have the social media or internet back then. how do people organize? >> interesting question. barbara perry. >> how do we go from 1968 to 1970 and kent state? and the answer is, nixon opening up the cambodian front in the vietnam war. and that is to invade cambodia to stop the flow of men and materiel from the north into the south. and to be used against united states forces there in south vietnam. what w the announcement of that in april of 1970, the campuses explode again, particularly kent state. there's a peaceful demonstration, but the ohio national guardsmen opened fire on the students and several of them are killed.
so that is yet another open wound for the united states to have to deal with. i just watched a fascinating documentary last night about the civil rights movement and martin luther king and the media. without social media, the way to get to the media, social media is -- media is supposed to be between the government and the people. now we are the media. the people of the media. it's what pat was saying, about how we reached the media in the nixon campaign. how to do good advance work when you're having a rally or demonstration. so it was word of work, telephones, telegrams and hard copy letters. >> i wro the cambodian invasion speech, and it was very dramatic, because i think it was april 1, 1970. what happened was, they did have riots out at kent, that's why
the national guard was called in by the governor. he made a speech on sunday and monday the students were up there and approaching these guardsmen, who foolishly had their live ammunition in their rifles. but they shot these -- four of them died, five more wounded or something. i remember a fellow that worked for he called and said that's four kids shot and 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 other time i've seen in that month of april. that's the time he left the white house on a friday after kent state. went over to the lincoln memorial at 4:00 in the morning where all these students were gathering and went down, put him up in the speaker chair at the congress. went over to the may flower for
breakfast and he was really moved by what had happened there. the white house was tremendously divided over it. most aides didn't want the invasion of cambodia, didn't like the invasion of cambodia, and urged nixon to go much further accommodating the students. >> 1968, mccarthy's decision to seek the democratic domination in the fall of 1967. we'll listen to garrett from orlando, florida. >> caller: good morning. very ed fieing. thank you both. i would just like to have you comment on the dump johnson campaign. that was, you know, by congressman and legislatures. >> thank you.
>> i mentioned a little while ago that johnson was bouncing down into the low 30s, mid to low 30s in the approval ratings. and nothing will get members of a president's attention like low approval ratings. you mentioned howard ralingstein 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 of ted kennedy's oral history that he did, he told a story of being deputized by his brother bobby to go out to the midwest to speak to mccarthy to say bobby is considering getting in the race, but if you will look into the issues of poverty, world poverty, urban poverty, that bobby kennedy had embraced at
that point, bobby will reconsider getting into the race. according to ted kennedy, gene mccarthy said no, anti-war is at the top of my platform. so that was the movement trying to get bobby to get into the race. >> he tried to get a number of people. i think he tried to get mcgovern. >> that may be. >> and mcgovern said, why don't you go talk to gene mccarthy. >> donna from st. louis, missouri. go ahead, donna. >> caller: good morning. i had 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
graduated in '66. you knew it was unwinnable, though, with all the chinese pouring in there, as they did in korea. why didn't we handle vietnam like truman handled korea? i always wondered that. >> well, truman -- korea drove truman out of the white house, and it was general eisenhower who came in and decided that we're not going for victory. and you had a dmz with two armies lined up. he threatened the chinese and he got basically an armistice. vietnam, you had a bunch of different stories. the chinese were actually not in vietnam. the north vietnamese were in the south. but it's a very good question. looking back, obviously anybody that's been involved in any way, and i wasn't over there, but i was writing speeches in the white house, and working for nixon as an aide before he ran. you have to ask yourself
afterwards, the vietnam war accomplished a lot of good things. it held the line in southeast asia and all those countries didn't move for the chinese but moved towards 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 anna shinault, which was the widow of general s shenault from world war ii. so the nixon camp and the south
vietnamese were encouraging the president of south vietnam to hold off on participating in peace talks, get a better deal under nixon. nixon was 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 scenes issues. >> yeah, i don't credit what recent authors have said about this. i was with nixon and i had nothing to do with it. i remember seeing him that saturday before the election and telling him a friend of mine had called and said, michigan's gone and we're down three nationally in the harris poll. so we were in tough shape. but let me say this. there are reasons why i don't. first, president hu didn't need anyone to tell him nixon was going to take a harder line than humphrey. secondly, if it was some kind of
signal sent, where are the tapes that lbj, who wiretapped planes and wiretapped people, why didn't the president of vietnam say the reason i did this was this? none of these main actors were questioned or came forward to validate the suggestion that nixon told mitchell or someone that told mrs. shinault to president president shu, don't go, you'll get a better deal from nixon. this is not a dumb man. one fellow that broke a book said nixon told halderman, throw a honky wrench into this. he used that phrase all the time about everything. so i just don't validate it. >> i don't know if there are tapes on the wiretaps, but there
are tapes of president johnson talking about this issue. he told humphrey this was happening. >> he said he didn't believe it. >> phil from gaithersburg, maryland. go ahead, please. >> caller: yes, good morning. thank you for having ms. perry and mr. buchanon on. i appreciate that. i was a history student at the university of maryland in 1968. and the college campus behavior it seems to me 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 with silenced.
>> i agree 100%. pro war and anti-war speakers in the '60s were invited to campus. but today you get a real sense of intolerance, a sense of we found the truth and we don't want to hear dissent. and certain forms of dissent are racist 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. >> two final points. this is the headline from the smithsonian website. in 1968, 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 basically was -- he was considered stiff and correct and he was not with it. and that 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. >> pat said he was considered uptight and also sweaty. so to go on a hip and happening show and make fun of himself by saying, sock it to me, as if i don't know what that is. but it's a turning point for politicians to do popular culture. >> the lessons from 1968, barbara perry, what are they? >> well, i think we've touched on some of them already, and they are this increasing pol polarizati polarization, the polarization
we see in today's culture, we still these the culture wars today. and i think there is a linkage between 1964 and barry goldwater, his brand of populism, and reagan with conservatism, all the way up to donald trump. so i think we see some of the seeds of both the democratic left and the republican right, and democratic populism and republican populism to this final day. >> pat? >> i think that's very true. you see goldwater laid this foundation with this movement that captured the party but couldn't capture the movement. and nixon picked up that movement and brought the republican party together and picked up the two pieces and created the new majority that won for the republicans five out of six presidential elections
after 1964, which was astounding. be the democratic party, kennedy, mcgovern, they would capture the party and nominate mcgovern in '72. but i think what you've got subsequent to '68, we really crossed a continental divide. and we've never been able to get back over that divide, and i think it's because of more than politics. it involves the most fundamental beliefs about right and wrong, good and evil, and justice and injustice. there's just very little upon which you find that americans really agree to these days. >> for your insight and your stories, barbara perry of the university of virginia and pat buchanan, to both of you thank you for being with us. >> our pleasure. >> tonight, book tv and primetime looks at the environment. we'll hear from charles mann on his book "the wizard and
prophet." and journalist catherine myles reports on the man made and natural causes of earthquakes. and the rise of sea levels in "the water will come." book tv all this week starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. former cambridge analytica employee christopher wylie appeared before a british house of commons se s select committe tuesday, saying the brexit vote was won through fraud and touches on the work in the 2016 u.s. election. see his four-hour testimony tonight on c-span. sunday night on "q and a," high school students from around the country were in washington, d.c. we met with them at this
historic mayflower hotel, where they shared their thoughts about government and politics. >> i'm really passionate about daca. it's unfair that 700,000 men, women, and children's lives hang in the balance. it is's not a democratic or republican issue, it's a human rights issue. >> an issue that's very important to me is climate change. the notion that we're the only country in the world that is not in the paris climate accord is a travesty. every other country recognized the debt mental impact to climate change and taken steps to address it. currently, we are not on course with the other countries. >> we are the richest nation in the world. yet we have citizens who go bankrupt, trying to cover basic health care costs. and i think that is an outrage and that we should be ashamed. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern, on c-span's "q and a. " the c-span bus is traveling
across the country. we recently stopped in phoenix, arizona, asking folk what's the most important issue in their state? >> i stand here in support of more public schools, for teacher pay, and it's hurting the state's economic competitiveness. it's a very important issue that needs to be fixed so the state can be healthy. >> hi. an important issue here in arizona is k-12 education. we rank 49th for funding for schools. we need to make funding our schools a bigger priority. we're all wearing red here today at the capital in support of teachers and trying to get them the support and respect they deserve. >> we are here today at the
state capitol to advocate for students and student leadership. we think that the most important public issue is that there is a lack of public education funding. so we're here to combat that through the repeal of the esa vouchers and more funding for scho schools, and teach er retention. >> an issue that's very important to me is funding public education. i'm a product of public education, and i don't feel that we do enough here in arizona, and it's time we pay teachers what they deserve and support the classrooms that focus on empowering minority students in the state. >> the issues going on in the state and nationwide is two things. one, public education and the
funding that is necessary to meet all of the objectives that we have in public education. of course, that starts with providing the best academic opportunities for all of our students. a secondly is the critical shortage area of teachers. to the profession. and filling all the positions necessary to provide our students the best classroom environment and the most highly qualified teachers, especially the areas of math and science and even technology. "voices from the states" on c-span. james jones, president lyndon johnson's appointment secretary from 1965 to '69, discussed lbj's 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 '67. 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." >> i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. but let men everywhere know, however, that a strong and a confident and a vigilant america stands ready tonight to seek an honorable peace and stands