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tv   1968 - America in Turmoil Liberal Politics  CSPAN  May 3, 2018 2:25am-3:58am EDT

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american independence party. he will be questioned by cbs news, we shall resume the interview with governor george wallace in a moment. >> despite your optimism about your chances, every poll, every indicator of national opinion ows at you, yourself, have no hope to win the presidency, your critics contend that you are deliberately adopting the role of spoiler, trying to throw the election into the house of representatives. at least we have critics and they are paying attention to our movement. members of both parties have said we must join together to stop the movement headed by george wallace. but george wallace is one individual but i am speaking to millions of individuals in the country, there are many polls i
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win, radio and television polls from new bedford massachusetts to syracuse new york, i have won, the other polls that you are talking about show that we have doubled our strength since april of last year. we are just now getting into the campaign. if you follow me around the country, you would see we are having larnger clouds than the candidates for the two other existing marriage parties. witness our trip to ohio yesterday, we had larger crowds than those that came out to witness the arrival for candidates for the democratic party. we can win the election, that's the purpose of running, not to spoil anything other than to spoil the chances of the republican and democratic party, neither of them are giving the american people a
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choice. >> governor, you just said you thought you could win, indicate the states where you think you are going to win. >> i think that we are going to win every one of the southern and border states. missouri, oklahoma and the free state of maryland. we have an excellent chance in pennsylvania, new jersey, wisconsin, california, new jersey and michigan. states like nebraska and connecticut and new england. in fact we are running well in all of the states. even in the western states but i think that we are going to win the southern and border states and we are going to win several of the states in the midwest and a good chance to win california. we also have an excellent chance in new york, whether some people believe it or not. we received more mail from the state of new york than any state in the union. >> are there any conditions now
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under which you would withdraw from the race before november. >> there are no conditions under which i would withdraw from the race for the presidency, i said last year when i was trying to get on the ballot in california, that this ought to be a lesson to one of the two national parties, they ought to give the american people a choice, not only have they not given the american people a choice but party leadership joined together in the passage of the so called fair housing law, an attack on private property of the everyone looking for the democratic and republican party demonstration joined together to pass this antiproperty law,
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you would need a 180-degree alternate from the present position of both parties. >> this past we can, you have occasional yu said, this is not ang exact quote, regardless of what happens in november, we are going to change some trens. >> i am saying, the fact that we are having the largest crowds, we are having the most support for our attitude and philosophy throughout the country is today making the leadership of both national parties sit down and think, is making members of the congress wonder whether we are voting right or whether or not we must change our position, this movement is going to help change trends in the country. >> are you talking then about possible spoiling. >> no sir. change is trend is not going to spoil anything, is going to correct things, that is what we are in the race for, to change
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directions in our country because neither one of the two national parties are giving the people a choice this change of direction. >> governor, may i quote to you an observation you made yourself last february when you intended that your campaign role could be that of a spowler. >> who said that. >> this was this the new york times, he were quoted as having said that. >> i do not know all of the quotes that i made at press conferences and the context in which the statement was made. but let me say this, i am in the race to spoil but not to spoil in the sense that you are talking about. it's to spoil the chances of both national parties of electing a president, that's what we are doing. anybody who votes for the national republican or democratic party will be throwing their vote away if
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they think like we do. because you do not have a choice there. >> lets try it this way, you also said at that time, according to the new york times, if the election is thrown into the house, we, that is you, have all to gain and nothing to lose, you implied that, that kind of a dead lock could force important concessions. if you were thinking along those lines then, has your thinking changed. >> the context in which that statement was made came about as a result of a question from the member of the press in the audience, i have never voluntarily said we are going to three it to the house and that's our purpose but the question was asked, if, a speculative question, if neither one of the two parties get a majority, what is your
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position, i always answer the question by saying, if that happens and there is always that probability when there are three or more running because if you do not get a plurality of the popular vote which gives you a majority of the electoral vote. it would wind up in the house unless it was settled in the electoral college. they meet first, that would have the solution in the president, but i may be number one in the electoral college instead of number three but what i was trying to saw when you said we have everything to gain and nothing to lose, if i was not a candidate. one of the two major party candidates would win the election and they are tweedle
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dee and tweedle dumb. we have everything to gain and nothing to lose. >> lets ask another hypothetical question, what would you do about riots. >> the first thing i would say as the president, i give my moral support to police and firemen in the country, if the continuation of the breakdown of law and order continues to exist, just today we saw pictures of people murdered in the streets, i would use the office of the presidency to restore order this the district of columbia, if i had to call federal troops into the city, i would give my moral support to the police of the country, i would ask the congress to pass legislation that did away with the decisions of the courts that hand cuffed the police, i would say, we are going to have law and order. when i said that, my election
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was indicate that the politicians and leaders of the large cities of our country, especially, that the people are sick and tired of the breakdown of law and order and they in turn would tell the police to enforce the law, in my judgment, enforcement of the law would bring about a restoration of law and order in the country without the billions of dollars proposed by the social engineers. >> ud said one of the ways to stop a right is to hit someone on the head. >> when someone goes out and begins to loot and burn a building down which endangers the health and safety of everyone, that's a good way to stop it. if you let the police hit someone in the head who was assaulting a person on the street or throwing a fire bomb, i think he would be getting off
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light if someone hit him in the hez. if he was the president of the president of the united states, i would take what ever steps are necessary to prevent the stoppage of law and order. it's not a matter of race, it's a matter of anarchy, and the government has cow trntion owed to anarchists in the streets of the united states and we do not have safety in the streets of washington, dc. >> a lot of people feel that the result of your actions and the result of things you say is to speed up and accelerate the trends, a senator called you the chief aider and abettor of these civil rights laws you pretend tog against, his -- to
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be against. >> you are quoting something he said four years ago, he has not said that lately. >> i have a quote here. >> i would like to ask you, senator ervin, i think he is a fine man but do not tell mow i am responsible for what happened in los angeles and detroit. i was not there, i am not the chief aider and abettor. in alabama, contrary to what you might know, we did not have a breakdown of law and order. >> no breakdown of law and order in birmingham. >> we put some water on some people and arrested some folks. >> what happened after selma. >> a woman was shot on the highway by some thugs, people
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are shot in washington, dc and philadelphia everyday. >> governor, you cannot say no one got hurt during the march. >> eight people got hit in the head. >> i am talking about the march seventh march. >> who got hurt. >> i would estimate conservatively, 15 people were hurt. >> 15 out of 35,000. >> did one have to go to the hospital? >> yes, sir. >> how many. >> we are talking about five years ago. >> one person went to the hospital. eight got hurt at the selma bridge, then the next week, 50 people were killed in detroit and los angeles, a few people got their heads skimmed in selma with 35,000 people there and you call that the breakdown of law and order. when you talk on these programs, you talk about selma, lets take your word for it, 15
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people got hurt, in six weeks, in washington, dc the other day, over 1,000 people got injured in one day, so the breakdown of law and order has not been in alabama. it's been in washington, dc and detroit and new haven and other places outside of alabama. i will take your figures. >> i am talking about one day. >> nobody was killed in the march. >> there were other killings. >> there was one that took place after it was over, when it was under the complete jurisdiction of the federal government. not under the jurisdiction of the state. one person was killed on the highway which is tragic but i compare that person with how many people were killed in washington, dc and detroit and los angeles. it's generally accepted in the press that we had peace in the south. >> that is the point senator
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ervin was trying to make, what followed after that was a violation of civil rights laws. >> you are quote the senator four years ago, over four years ago, going on five years. >> is it right or wrong what happened after that with the civil rights laws. >> every time someone wants a law passed, they go out and do something. they had martin luther king being assassinated and they used that as an excuse to pass the antiproperty laws, someone will always say that a reason exists for the passage of some law but ki say to you, if i become the president, we are going to maintain law and order in the nation's capitol. that's going to be a good moral support for law and order in the united states when women can walk the streets and people
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with ride the transit systems. >> you repeatedly objected to being called a racist. >> yes. i do not regard myself a racist. i think that the biggest racists are the ones that called others racist. my wife got more negro votes than others in alabama. negro citizens would not have voted for my wife if they considered me a racist. >> governor, today. >> i said that within the context of the public school systems, i again say that when i said i was honest and when i come to washington, dc and i see all of the folks that talk one way but move to virginia
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and maryland. when i see people expediting the rush from the city. >> what bridges. >> they have been here a while. you have a lot of them because you have to expedite the rush of people away from the nation's capitol. only six members got their children in the public schools in washington, dc. all of the pseudo ifnt elect yals are hypocrites. >> what do you mean that segregation was in the context of the public schools. >> you do not understand, there has been more mixing and more association and togetherness of the races in alabama than there has been in new york or in washington, dc. but we did have a social separation in the school system because the school systems of the rural south were the social
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center so we were canned it and honest and we said we will have a separate school system. >> nobody said you are not honest but i am talking about the meaning of separation. >> i am talking about the hypocrisy about the people saying that they are together. >> i would never teach segregation, i could care less what the people of california do in their school system, i say, you run your schools yourself but we are not going to use federal money to bus children in chicago, if you want to do it in chicago, do it. i would not advocate segregation, i advocate that these domestic institutions be run by the people in philadelphia and saint louis and los angeles and they have the type of schools that they want. >> we have federal laws. >> that is what i am arguing.
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>> what would you do about the law. >> we do not have laws that go as far as the guidelines, they transcend the civil rights law, we are going to obey the law but the law of the country does not say you have to transport little children from one area to another, the civil rights law prohibits that but the hew is going beyond what the law says, i would ask congress to change the laws that have taken over the public school systems in new york, philadelphia and chirks i do not want a separate -- chicago. i do not want a separate school system. we have more togetherness in alabama then in washington, dc,
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this is a segregated city because of the hypocrites that moved out. this is the hypocrite capitol of the world. >> you said you thought you had a chance to be president, less address ourselves to the questions that the president have to deal with, what is your approach to the nuclear arms ways, the nonproliferation treaty. >> i pray that the nondissemination of nuclear information is honest. >> not information. >> the weapons themselves, that should be an honest effort by the major powers. >> would you be in favor the signing. >> i would be in favor of that step provided we had adequate intekses programs and adequate safeguards to see that the treaty was not violated. >> does the treaty satisfy you as it's written now. >> i am not sure whether it
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satisfies me or not but its a step in the direction of some dialogue between the great powers and the great nuclear powers and the matter of the gefg of atomic nuclear weapons to other countries and to prohibit that is good provided we have adequate safeguards. >> do you think that the safeguards are adequate. >> i am not sure. >> that's one thing, of course we understand that on that treaty any nation can withdraw with certain notice to the other signers, that means that its not all that binding but i am for doing something real and concrete in the matter of the spread of nuclear weapons so we can have adequate safeguards to protect the national interests of the united states. >> around the campaign trail, people that support you say
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they like your stand on vietnam but your stand is simple. >> i have said there is no simple solution. it's an exasperating experience. we should not have gotten in by ourselves. we should have had a long talk with our european allies and our noncommunistation allies, they -- -- noncommunistcommunist asian countries, i pray for peace and diplomatic negotiations but if this fails, there is only one conclusion to
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rely upon, one method to rely upon, the joint chiefs of staff, if they thought that the would be could be concluded by the military with conventional weapons, that's what i support. >> right now we are in pass is, you -- paris, you have not mentioned whether or not the country should insist on recognition of the national liberation front. >> some places where you have coalition government, with the vietcong there, you lay the ground work for the take over of the communist. i am against the terrorist group, the viet t cong and the national liberation front.
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i do not think that they deserve to be in the government, if you let them be represented in the peace talks and set up a government with them having an equal voice, a voice with the other groups in south vietnam, you are setting the basis for a take over of the viet co thrks g for the government of south vietnam. >> do you see hope for a political sment. >> i did -- political settlement. >> i do not know, i do not think that the president knows or the republicans know, we have to wait and see what comes out of the peace talks, we can pray about it and hope about it but if they do do not get an honorable settlement, we should bring the american servicemen home and we should stop the
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folks in this country from advocating communist victory and building the moral of the coneu any of the. >> stop them how. >> by stopping the speeches, by the men that raise clothes and money for people on the campuses, you have a right to say get out of the war but you do not have to right to ask for a communist victory. >> governor we have run out of time. >> today on faws the nation, george wallace, former governor of alabama and presidential candidate of the american independence party was interviewed by cbs news correspondents
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face the nation originated in color from cbs washington sunday on q & a, author and former esquire contributor on rocket man. >> it was impossible to disregard the roles that the which was played. all three of them believed without their which was, they could not have pulled this off. apollo 8 was the move daring mission nasa had run, it looked like near deft, everything was for the first time. these men needed which was at home that were supportive but who also did not reveal to their husbands how much they
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were suffering. >> q & a, sunday night at 8:00 even on cspan. we continue our series, 1968, america in ter moil with a look back at liberal politics 50 years ago, lbj's great society redefined the role of the government and challenged traditional values but the deaths of robert kennedy and martin luther king challenged the times. first we hear from senator robert kennedy, during his march 16th 1968 presidential campaign announcement. i have traveled and i have listened to the young people of
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our nation and felt their anger about the war that they are sent to fight and about the wormed that they are -- world that they are about to inherit. in private talks and in public, i have tried in vein to alter our course in vietnam before it further saps our spirit and our manpower and raises the risks of wider war and further destroys the country and the people it was meant to save. i cannot stand aside from the contest that will decide our nation's future and our children's future. the remarkable new hampshire campaign of senator mccarthy has proven how deep are our divisions within our party and within our country, until that was clear, my presence in the race would have been seen as a
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clash of personalities rather than issues but now that that fight is won and over policies which i have long been challenging, i must enter that race, the fight is just beginning and i believe i can win, i have previously communicated this decisions to president johnson and lawsuit last night, my brother senator edward kennedy gave my decision to senator mccarthy, i made clear my candidacy would not be in opposition to his but in harmony. i aim to support and expand his valiant campaign in the spirit of his november 30th statement. taking one month at a time, it's important that he achieve the largest possible majority
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next month in wisconsin, pennsylvania and the massachusetts primary, i strongly support his efforts in those stays and i urge my friends to give him their help and their votes. both of us will be encouraging delegates to the national convention, both of us want above all else an open democratic convention in chicago, free to choose a new course for our party and for our country, my decision reflect no personal animosity or disrespect towards president johnson. he served president president kennedy with the utmost loyalty and was extreme lu kind to me and members of my family in the difficult months which followed the events of november of 1963. i have also commended his
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efforts in health and education and i have the deepest city for the burden that i carries today but the issue is not personal. it is our profound differences over where we are heading and what we want to accomplish, i do not lightly dismiss the deign dangers and the difficulty of challenging an incumbent president but these are not ordinary times and this is not an ordinary election, at stake is not just the lowp of our party and even our futures, -- leadership of our party and our futures, it's our right fo the moral leadership of this planet. i thank you. >> from march of 1968, a tumultuous year, the
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announcement that robert kennedy would seek the nomination, joining us is the oldest daughter of senator kennedy, kathleen kennedy townsend, thank you for being with us. >> is good to be with you. >> also join us is michael cohen, the author of american malestrom, coming out in paper back later this year, president johnson, a key political figure in what we are talking about, what was his standing as the year began. >> he was in a tough political position, the war in vietnam had become a stalemate and there was a growing opposition to the war in washington, dc and in party. he was facing a primary challenge within his party from
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senator mccarthy then the tete offensive occurred, it showed that the administration was leug about the war, there was no light at the end of the tubl. things had fallen apart in veto number. it became clear that johnson was not likely to survive. >> what was the tete offensive. >> you had viet cong gorillas taking over the embassy, you had massive casualties. mostly by the north vietnam people. it was a failed military offense but it had a huge effect at home. we felt that the war was lost. >> where did this put the vice
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president at the time, humphrey. >> he was a classic liberal. he supported civil rights legislation and had support among liberal groups, when he became vice president, he became a loyal supporter of johnson. he was a bigger supporter of the war than johnson in some respect. this created a lot of problems with his party. liberals thought he turned his back on the party and among some, they believed that he lost his beliefs. >> kathleen kennedy townsend, we want to talk about your father but first i wanted to ask you about senator mccarthy,
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he announced to challenge the sitting president, president johnson, what was your father thinking about as he was ramping up his campaign. >> as you know, a number of people were asking my father to run for president and my father was ambivalent about it because he thought it would be seen only as a fight against president johnson, personality versus personality, when he spoke out against the war, very few people listened to what he said. what they publicized wat the personal animosity, senator
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mccarthy did not have that personal animus and that personal history. >> when did your dag decide to seek the nomination, what was the tipping point. >> i think that the tete offensive was the tipping point. he had said early in january that he would not run and after the tete offensive, i think he changed his meupped because he saw that there was no way that this war was going to be won the way it was and that president johnson could not acknowledge what was going on and president johnson understood that it could not be won and lives were being lost in a fruitless horrible effort so he decided that he wanted to run, he made that decision before the new hampshire
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primary. he had made that decision before that time. >> a popular magazine in the 1760s and 70s and you and your father are on the cover, the next president's daughter, you were 16 years old at the time. what was going on. >> i remember that, it was funny to be on that. i have not seen that picture fo r a long dr for a long -- for a long time, thank you for putting it up. >> what was going on in your family, were you questioning whether or not he should seek the nomination. >> we thought our father was terrific and my mother was a big supporter of him running because she knew that in his
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gut, he wanted to run for president, she knew he saw what was going on in the country, not just in vietnam. she thought that was his destiny in a sense and was saying he should run, my father, understanding politics, was worried about the issue with president johnson and the second issue was he ran his brother's campaign and he understood when you want to run for president, you want to make sure that you can win and you have lined it up and you have a campaign in place, he established that for his brother but he had not done that for himself in 1968. it was more of a passionate crusading campaign which, part
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of him liked that but part of him still held that oal political knowledge about how to put together a campaign. it's an interesting balance. >> beyond the leaders of the democratic party in 1968, what was going on within the party among the rank and file. >> one of the most interesting figures is al lowenstein, he decided that johnson should not be the nominee and he needed to be defeated. it was based on his opposition to the war in vietnam. he went around to look for someone to challenge johnson for the nomination, at first kennedy said no, mccarthy was interested.
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he was going around the country making his option to the war known but he was not a well- known figure, he was aloof. not popular on capitol hill. he had been the number two choice for the vice president nominee but he lost that to humphrey, when mccarthy challenges johnson, it was in part because of the activism. when mccarthy got involved, a group of appellate war activists got behind the campaign, it's one of the reasons that he did so well in the primaries in wisconsin and oregon. one of the reasons he wanted to run was to create an outlet for appellate war activists to be heard. in some ways, it was the most
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successful thing he did, he gave the antiwar active i was a voice, in the end, the active i was were the ones that toppled johnson. without mccarthy, i do not think that ken did you guess into the race and without the two of them in the race, i do not think that johnson drops out. >> we are looking at a year in crisis, a lot happening in that year, joining us from west palm beach florida is kathleen kennedy townsend and my -- michael cohen, give us a sense of mccarthy and why he entered the race. >> he is an interesting figure, like i said, he was an aloof
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guy, an intellectual, you saw his liberal poles but he had a conservative demeanor. he believed in the april process, the reason that he ran was because he was fearful that the democrats opposed to the wear were going to create a third or fourth party. he wanted to give them an outlet within the party and within the political process to make their voices known, he had a traditional view of politics, even though was also someone who was lawzy, i was -- lazy, he did not like campaigning. he always said, i am not a morning person, he had a hard time talking to people sometimes, he could be a very
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effective politician but did not like the details of campaigning, if he had his drothers, he would have given speeches the whole time. here's my position and here's my opponents position, you decide. but that strategy did not work so well politically, it became more difficult to be effective. >> kathleen kennedy townsend, what was the relationship like between your father and senator mccarthy. >> they were both catholics but i think that they were different kinds of catholics, mccarthy was more intellectual and reserved. my father was shy but he liked
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people, he was empathetic, he had the issue of vietnam but he also spoke very much to working people, to the poor, to the disenfranchised. so he had a much, i would say, larger heart that embraced lots of people and touched them and was touched by them. they had very different personalities and passions. >> march 1968. your father formal yu announces his candidacy in the same location where john kennedy announced. >> what do you remember about that owe caution. >> it was very exciting to have my father announce his presidency, we were thrilled that he was going to run, a number of people asked, weren't you afraid.
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one of the things we have learned is not to be afraid. so we were very happy about the fact that he was going to run, that he was going to do what was in his heart and that he had something to offer the country, so there was a lot of chaos but we were accustomed to growing up in chaos, there were 10 kids and my mother was pregnant with one more. we went to the saint pass ricks parade. there was an irish sense of, lets get out there and fight and make our views known. >> this is senator mccarthy. >> what is your reaction as a politician and can you take him. >> i have not been moved to
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withdraw at this point. i thinkthat i can win in wince kons and i do not see a reason that i could not win the other primaries. >> has this caused you to reassess your positions. >> i do not think that reassessment is necessary, i have announced to run in the primaries and i have made no change in my plans because of new hampshire or in consequence of the announcement of senator kennedy. >> i hear a rumbling and indications of a deal in the future, you are proposed to deal with bobby kennedy. >> i am not prepared to deal with anybody as far as my candidacy is concerned. i committed mice to a -- myself to a group of people, you said i would be the candidate and i
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intend to run, i committed myself to run. i will stand firm, if i find i cannot win, i will say, you are free people and you can make the best judgment you can make. >> that interview was conducted after the announcement of senator robert kennedy, what is your reaction. >> i think that the senator had a tough issue with the kennedys. i think that he thought he should be the first catholic president not john kennedy. he never got over the way that
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bobby kennedy got into the race . i think what is interesting, mccarthy did not like at that kennedy was emotional. he used to say that kennedy held these outreach groups to african americans and hispanics, i thought that was not the ways that politician should work, he did not think it was appropriate. he would not have been
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successful in today's politics, it created a lot of animosity and a sense that as time went on, he came to dislike kennedy and that defined a lot of his campaign, he became more critical of kennedy. >> less get a response and then we will get to your phone calls that's politics, i think
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that mccarthy, as you can see, he did not win the nomination, it was not as though he wept back and said, what can i do to help more americans participate. more african americans and indians and others, that was not his way of asking and that's not where his heart went. >> kathleen kennedy townsend, the former loo lieutenant governor of mr land. -- maryland. >> we are here this weekend because its my mother, ethel kennedy's 90th birthday, we had a great celebration last night. lots of brothers and sisters and cousins and grandchildren and great grandchildren were
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a fabulous evening to celebrate my mother's extraordinary life and her life in my father and her ability to say, can you achieve things. my mother believed in my father which was a very important part of his success. we are going to albert in chicago. democratic line. >> good morning cspan-3. i was just wondering. >> how are you? >> dpood. i was just wondering if your father had in mind who he wanted to be his running mate in that campaign? >> i do not think at that point
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my father had a tough fight. he was really focused on winning winning the primaries, then he had a couple of months to figure out who would be his running mate. >> frank, good morning. >> good morning, in 1968, i formed with others, in corning new york, a dissident democratic group that supported mccarthy, it was a shoe string operation but it was exciting because we managed to 12 of the
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went to chicago, i also met al lowenstein, you know about his tragic end
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. >> and i had been in town only three years. i came here in '65, so i can understand his comment. >> thank you for the call. that's a great story, it reminds me of something interesting, when i was researching my book i went through the papers and found all these oral histories of people that worked on the campaign, and people would say people that are involved in the campaign that they didn't really like ma -- they didn't like mccarthy, but because he
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was this very difficult person he was very can you remember rage, he took on johnson. you wouldn't have seen the anti war wing of the party and debate about the war in vietnam so mccarthy inspired a great deal of loyalty and among the supporters, he had a great deal of animosity toward kennedy in part because they felt like he had stolen mccarthy's thunder. he had challenged johnson, but at the same time he did it when no one else would and i think it created a lot of loyalty but also people who remained involved in the political process after the '68 campaign. people who worked on both campaigns i think more often than not, people who worked with
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mccarthy stuck around to work for ma -- to work for mcgovern. >> it was clearly a very tough relationship, as you know my father objected to his brother's choice of johnson for vice-president. they didn't really mesh personality-wise at all and they really didn't get along very well, so that was just clear. they just came from different parts of the world and different backgrounds and they didn't get along.
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but i said in, you know, looking back 50 years, what they did share was a commitment to dealing with the issues of poverty in this country and i give -- and johnson also signed the '65 civil rights act and he signed the immigration act which my father very much agrees with so on some issues they really did agree even though they didn't always get along but the real break came over the war. >> as we set the stage on some of the key players in 1968 we want to move on and talk about the primary campaign that began in new hampshire, ended in california, with a victory, 46% for senator robert f. kennedy, and this ad from the primary campaign. >> robert kennedy and some people who aren't registered this year, in ten years these
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americans will inherit the problems we don't solve today. >> it is suggested in the next several decades the people will start to have to wear gas masks in new york city it is becoming so pow poluted. there are laws we can pass about dumping and throwing refuge in lakes and streams and into the air. we'll all have to live underground and industry has to do something and the interest you might take it in, i think that's what's going to make the difference in this country. >> nebraska can make the difference. >> the 1968 campaign by robert f. kennedy, we're looking back
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50 years later, america in turmoil. joining us from west palm beach florida and greg is our next caller from new castle pennsylvania, please. go ahead. >> i'm one of the guys that ended up spending years in the jungle in vietnam, and a lot of the mesh that was going on involved because of drugs in china. but i'm firmly against the democrats because of the vietnam war and the mess it turned out to be, you know, and the draftees and the rich people could also avoid the draft, and i'm just making my comment.
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>> thank you. kathleen kennedy thompson how would you address that sentiment. >> i think it's an excellent sentiment. when my father was running for president he said the same thing, how unfair it was that people who could go to college got out of the draft, and that the people who couldn't afford college or didn't get out of the draft and he said that was unfair and he said that to college students, so he was willing to go right into people who were benefiting from the unfair system and say this is unfair, this is unjust, this is not the way this country should act. so i think my father was very clear that he didn't like the fact that so many people who couldn't afford college went to vietnam and those who were well off were able to get out of it. >> from northeastern washington -- >> what's unusual, i just want
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to underscore because often times politicians tell people what they want to hear and one of the things unique about my father is telling them what they didn't want to hear telling them about their responsibility and how difficult it was and he was willing to do that. >> we'll go to washington state, bryan is next. good morning. >> good morning, c span. great show. a question for each of your guests. first question is do you think that the liberals in politics will be able to make things -- daylight very clear how things look when each party is in charge of our country and then who comes along and has to fix things? >> thank you, bryan. that's more of a contemporary question, i suppose. i guess the thing i would say is this goes back to the first
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question from greg and i just want to thank him for his service. one of the ironies about vietnam it was the democrats who propagated the war and lyndon johnson, one of the most liberal presidents we ever had ended the war. it was not just within the parties but i think in general about their ability to handle foreign policy and military affairs. the irony of vietnam is johnson in part wanted to minimize the political fall out from letting vietnam fall to the communist, and i think this is something that came back in the debate in the 1950s, and for the way for democrats to avoid that label was to fight in vietnam, of course the result was it basically showed a lot of people
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that democrats couldn't effectively handle foreign policy or manage the war effort in vietnam so in a lot of ways it created assigns i think the democrats were leaking national security, and that image i think has been propagated for 50 some years since then and i'm not going to say that richard nixon fixed the war, the problem johnson created because he was out of vietnam, but there is a sense there that i think democrats created this problem and it under mind them politely for a long time to come. >> kathleen kennedy thompson i want to share with you a column to look at 1968, it's available online, he says the year america came apart. among the things he talks about the the race riots following the
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assassination of dr. martin luther king, johnson was seen as a lackey. your thoughts on that? >> well, i think that vietnam did destroy a lot of the establishment because they knew that they weren't winning it and they were still sending people over to vietnam to die in a war that they knew was not going well, and they were dishonest with the american people, and it was a disaster and as i would say and i think people historically could say you weren't going to win that war. if you don't have the people in south vietnam, the government itself didn't want to fight, you can't prop it up from outside and it's so ironic and so sad when you think of how many
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people died both vietnamese and americans and now we can have good relationships with vietnam and was really, you know, a tragedy. i think michael pointed out lyndon johnson was afraid democrats would be criticized for losing, and yet they're criticized any way, so at least we could have been criticized and not had so many people die and had a quicker reconstruction of vietnam. >> will is joining us from wisconsin. please go ahead, sir. >> how you doing. i just want to point out something that's missing from sort of the national conversation. we have a personality who happens to be running for governor of one of the states that has to win, illinois, and he happens to be your brother. i just wanted to kind of pick your brain and see what are your
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sentiments toward of lack of identity for the democratic party and lack of engagement for support? >> well, i think, well first of all, my brother did run for governor of illinois and i think he would have been a terrific governor. as you know his opponent spent $60 million against him so it's very tough when you're running against $60 million, but across the country i have to say i think the democrats have been revised and reenergized because of what's going on in washington. we're winning elections we haven't one in decades and i think there's this new energy and new sense that we have to get involved, we have to get engaged. i'll give you a statistic on
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women, this year 34,000 women are running for office. this is our country and we're going to get engaged and get involved of the the other thing that's interesting about who's running is how many people have served in iraq, in afghanistan, and they're running as democrats, so i hope this will be sort of the end of vietnam, you know, era that the military can't be democratic because so many democrats are running who have been in the military. >> michael, i was going to say i tend to agree with what the captain says, the division of the military party were extraordinary, not just over the war in vietnam, there was a whole bunch of things that really divided the party. you had a wing of the party, more conservative democrats, somebody like bobby kennedy, he
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had a lot of opposition within the party. labor didn't like him, southern democrats couldn't stand him. there was some serious, serious fault lines in the party, nothing like that today. you do see this debate obviously between the bernie sanders wing of the party and they're not, i don't want to -- there is differences but nothing on the scalf what we saw in '68. the differences were fundamental and i think there was a big wing of the party. i think mccarthy supported anti war activists who viewed the party and johnson in general and you have activists who regularly picketed, it's knowing like '68.
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as the politics have become in our country, the animosity, not just between the two parties but inside the two parties -- >> the box is called the politics of the division with michael cullen in fairfax, virginia. susan could ahead, please. >> i'm calling with a comment, i want to say hi to kathleen, i'm richard mackey's niece. so good to see you, kathleen, you and your family have been very much on my heart. my husband was a high school senior in maryland in 1968, and last night he was showing the picture, the so long bobby picture on the arts and style on the washington post picture to
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my daughter elizabeth last night, and telling her a little bit of the history of that time and i just wanted to say hello and glad to hear you celebrated your mother's 90th birthday and hope to see you back in this area sometime soon and my brother andy strayhorn sends his love as well. >> very nice, susan. >> we're looking at 1968 and the democratic primary. here's an excerpt. >> robert kennedy had decided to run. >> with the decisions made by this convention today, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace and balance every day --
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>> he did not realize that they listened to the program he was about to tell a nation he would not run for the presidency again. >> accordingly, i shall not seek and i will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president. . (music)). >> the vice-president of the united states. >> vice-president humphrey became the last major democratic candidate to end the race. humphrey acquired a potential number of votes before the national convention.
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. >> michael, let's talk about the democratic party, what the structure was in 1968 and what changed. >> so we just saw that video and there are pictures of humphrey, he never ran a single primary in '68, they were controlled by powerful democrat, big city, big democratic party, power brokers, so even though kennedy/mccarthy faced off in these primaries, once humphrey entered the race in '68, it was predetermined he would be the nominee of the party unless mccarthy or kennedy could convince enough delegates
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to change their allegiance. these two, this decision of the convention in '68, one of the things of the convention in '68 was creating an informed commission to create a way democrats chose their nominee and that has completely rechanged our politics, because the whole spending years in iowa, new hampshire trying to win over support, that all happened because of this reformed commission which said the nominees should be chosen at the state convention and that has created a modern primary system we have and again it was something that was not really talked about much in '68. it was something they were pushing but because of the way mccarthy's campaign, one of the
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things he said you need to have an out let to make their voices heard and most of the delegates are chosen at state conventions, so one of the important elements of mccarthy's campaign, we were living in a very difficult world because of that. >> kathleen kennedy thompson, james jones who served as the de facto white house chief of staff to president johnson said on the afternoon of march 31, 1968, when lyndon johnson met with his vice-president announcing he was not going to seek renomination, humphrey reportedly said i have lost to one kennedy and i will lose to another. have you heard that story. >> no, i have not but thank you for sharing. >> what about humphrey though and his standing in the democratic party and how your
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father would have campaigned against him. >> well, the campaign against hubert humphrey would have had to have been with the democratic insiders and you would have to go to them and say hubert humphrey is tainted by his association with lyndon johnson and it's only me who has won the primaries, otherwise hubert humphrey would have looked illegitimate to the voters, and obviously my father knew many of the democratic insiders because he had met and worked with them in the 1960 campaign, and as the attorney general and as a senator he knew what they were so he had a
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relationship with them and i think he could have made a pretty strong argument about what needed to be done. i think that it would have been very hard having won as many primaries as he did, he did beat them in the biggest california primary, i think he would have had a very good argument it would have looked bad for the democratic party to nominate hubert humphrey and i think it would have been a compelling chase. >> we're going to come back to the california primary shortly but let's go to glen joining us from pennsylvania. you're on the air. >> yes, good morning. my question is ms. kennedy, would you agree that every time the republican get in the white
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house we have chaos, mahem, and i appreciate your dad and bobby for their good intention and good human being, okay? >> thank you, glenn. . >> i'm a democrat so i believe the government has a role and makes government work effectively and i think that's a different attitude than some of the republicans have. i think we all agree we're not talking about present day politics. >> i mean i would just say to that as far as every politics whoever comes after president
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trump will have to find a way to fix washington. >> next week we'll turn our attention to conservative politics and the republican party and the nomination of richard nixon after his defeat to john kennedy. craig in tulsa, oklahoma, you're next. >> yes, it's an honor to speak to a kennedy, and i've always respected john f., he was almost a conservative in many ways. i just want to point out liberal politics in '68 was a change in how we face war. it was the liberals that brought on the idea that it's like the florida the war, it was in '68 in the liberal politics, and there's nothing wrong with it, but you
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can't bring in the idea because of liberal politics when you have an action we have to take, the first question is when are we going to bring our boys home, there's nothing wrong with that but we need to win and one thing about conservative politics they say we have to win and there may be sacrifice and that's realistic in the ugly thing of war, it's necessary sometimes and i think a bad thing with liberal politics, i think the liberals need to reconsider and yes we want our voice to come home but it shouldn't be time lined and bring our boys home now and before we start. >> craig, thank you. michael? >> i would say a lot of men felt the war in vietnam was a mistake and the boys should come home. one of the reasons why vietnam was the success it was was there was no real strategy behind the
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war effort. there was no political strategy and in a sense one of the reasons why vietnam was the disaster it was was because lyndon johnson refused to have a court with the war effort or withdraw the troops. and johnson couldn't decide which way to go, escalate the war and get it over with or begin bringing american troops home and it lead to that in '68, and johnson refused to acknowledge the war was going badly, he refused to shift courts, he refused to seek an alternative strategy and seek this middle ground between too much escalation or withdraw and it ended up as a disaster or
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i'll have to reject the moment, the war wasn't being won. >> let's put the year in context, we are talking about eugene mccarthy, the senator to challenge a sitting president in his own party. that announcement was made on november 30, 1967. president johnson fairly defeats mccarthy. he didn't lose the primary it was just his margin of victory. >> he one by four points, i believe. the part he one was extraordinary and i think showed his dissatisfaction within the parties. bobby kennedy actually used that. the party is divided. >> that's right, the party was clearly, there was a huge division. one thing worth pointing out though about the new hampshire
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vote, 20% voted for george wallace, it wasn't a bunch of hippies saying we shouldn't bring johnson home. he wanted a way out of vietnam. they didn't care if it was withdrawal or escalation, they wanted to find a way to bring troops home, there's a lot of this, he didn't run on a mass form, and he send a message to washington about how you feel about the war effort and he could bring in people not just opposed to the war but he could bring in more moderate, conservative voters who supported the war effort, but were upset with how the way the world was going to it created a big coalition in new hampshire. >> four days after, robert f.
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kennedy enters the race. president johnson announcing he will not seek reelection. of course senator kennedy winning the california primary on the evening of june four, and then tragically shot after midnight, dying the following day. hubert humphrey accepting the nomination on august 29th, and richard nixon he lepthd president on november 5th. >> let's go to ohio. you're next. >> how are you, and mrs. kennedy my sympathies in the loss of a wonderful person robert kennedy. >> thank you very much. >> i'm sorry? ? thank you. >> i said thank you. >> you're welcome. i was age 23 in the years i studied humphrey, but i read
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material that they broke on the vietnam war and johnson stopped including humphrey in some of the briefings and he was really on the outside. and i felt when i was witnessing this first primary that i would vote in, that robert kennedy brought sort of a love an a positive that i thought, in contrast i disagree with mr. cone. my impression at age 23, i thought he was under mying the military. he was in an atmosphere, so my friends were or plea abused and abandoned. the military was blamed for things and they're among the bravest and finest people in the world who fought there and bob kennedy brought love and respect across the boarder. from my feeling and my life
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at age 23, that i could not in the same breath talk about your wonderful bob kennedy and g mccarthy. those are my thoughts and i would ask for your thoughts, please. >> thank you for the call, i think if anything he probably shouldn't have been in vietnam and he thought the war, his criticism of the war of the political leadership, particularly of president johnson, and the strategy that was being utilized in vietnam, so i think there were people perhaps that were in the camp but mccarthy and the supporters who made it more critical. >> kathleen kennedy thompson who on the critical stage did your father rely on for advice when he began his primary campaign leading up to california, who did he count on? >> well, he -- you know he had
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two terrific aides in adam and peter who he trusted. really what my father, and you read his speeches and you talked to him he really believed in the young and he thought the young people with whom he spoke on college campuses had a lot to say and that's who he often listened to, but what he really was moved by was those who said, you know, go to the indian reservations, go to the delta, go to the inner city, so he was listening enlarge part to his heart and to what was going on with young people. he losses the oregon primary and comes back to win the california primary. how did he do that?
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what changed? >> well, the easy answer is the demographics changed. he won, i think, i can't remember exactly, but almost 98% of his span i can vote hispanic vote, he won in some present sinks areas all of the african-american votes, where the people who, hispanics and african-americans were not a large part of the population in oregon so that was one of the go differences in the two states so unlike about g. mccarthy, my father was tireless campaigner. he got up really early, he worked 15-hour days, all over the state, listening to people, engage with people, hearing
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people, and that thrust, that energy and that ability and that determination to win was i think compelling, but it was also helpful that his message of everybody has a role to play in this society, everybody can participate, everybody should have a job. >> the demographics was the reason kennedy was successful in california and indiana. he 180 to 90% of the african-american vote. in california he had a big pulling lead going into that campaign and it narrowed and part of it was because of his empathy to hispanic voters. of course kathleen kennedy, as
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your father said the win in chicago in reference to the democratic convention which we'll be walking through in a moment, but walk us through the evening of your father's assassination and the days that followed. >> i'm not going to go through that kind of tragedy, that's not what i would want to do, but i think what you saw on the days that followed was the enormous out pouring for my father, the train that went from new york to washington which was supposed to be two hours i think lasted seven, eight hours because there were so many people on the tracks that came out, both, as you know train tracks go through working class areas of the country, of the states, and both white and black came out saluting with their hands over
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their hearts because they saw their champion was fallen, and i think that what my father was able to do was to reach out to people who afterwards did not get along sole. i mean, michael is right, in california the whites were afraid of my father's affection with african-americans and hispanics but there was still a white working class population that believed in my father. they saw him take on tough issues in his career. they identified with his sense of justice, and they really felt that they had lost something. >> yeah, i just want to add to that, i think -- i didn't read much about it in the book but the train ride from new york to washington is really an extraordinary story of just thousands of people coming out to say good-bye to kennedy, and
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i think it's a combination of not just love for him and love the kennedys in general, but this assassination happened two months after the assassination of martin loot there luther king and i think some of the politics of it, it really destroyed humphrey's chance to win the president presidency, and he said something at the time of something about that the -- that the assassination hurt his can
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presidency, after the assassination of kennedy the numbers shifted. its was a very tragic moment but in a sense it did turn people to the view that how much more can this contree take? you think it's promising now and i'm not minimizing the difference, when you have two assassinations in two months, people ask how can this country survive. >> if your dad would have lived, would he have gotten the nomination in 1968. >> it's always hard to speculate. as i said i think would he have because i think he was -- he one the california primary, he won every primary he entered except for oregon and he had good
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relationships with the insiders and could have made a very good argument he was the candidate that could pull people together so i believe he could have won. i think that if he wasn't nominated and he had won all these primaries, it would really hurt humphrey because it would look like he wasn't really the candidate of the people, and i think humphrey about have understand that as well, as well. >> that's what i believe, you know, it's easy to say because who knows, actually, what would have happened, but i do think my father would have understood after the california primary he had to get along with mccarthy, and the question is whether mccarthy would be willing to do that because he if was, as you heard earlier, it might have been possible to say that


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