tv The Contenders - 16 for 16 PBS September 14, 2016 2:00am-3:01am PDT
election 2016 on pbs - one. - what's wrong with my running for president of this country? - i almost resent vice president bush your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy. - ahh! - i'm doing this because i love you. - tomorrow night my name will go on nomination for presidency. - i will beat al gore like a drum. [cheers and applause] - i want my country back. [cheers and applause] - mr. president, you were elected to lead. you chose to follow. and now it's time for you to get out of the way.
female announcer: "the contenders: 16 for '16" is made possible in part by the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide; the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build measurably better lives; the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. - people are interested in having candidates that are truthful, that have just a tiny bit of morality. - the bigger part of the joke for them isn't that she's a african-american running but, like, she's a girl running. we're never gonna have some girl president, right? much less a black girl president. - i will not take the low road to the highest office in this land. there were thousands of phone calls made that, uh, said, you know that the mccains have a black baby. - bush says, "hey, it's politics. this is going to war." - when i asked former secretary of state condoleezza rice
who was the most impressive person who never become president, without hesitation she said, "senator john mccain." now, considered a maverick within his own party, mccain was a war hero who was willing to speak from the heart even when it wasn't politically expedient. shirley chisholm, a black woman who dared to run for congress just three years after african-americans saw the passing of the voting rights act, could be described the very same way. in fact chisholm, another bold straight talker who didn't want to wait her turn. instead she saw an opportunity and she took it. for both john mccain and shirley chisholm, part of the reason they ran and maybe part of the reason they lost, is that these contenders were supremely unbought and supremely unbossed. [upbeat music] ♪ ♪ - delegate strength, because that's the name of the game.
you can go to the convention and you can yell, "woman power here i come." you can yell, "black power here i come." white power, any kind of thing. the only thing those hard-nosed boys are going to understand at that convention, "how many delegates you got?" - shirley chisholm is considered a pioneer. how she took the knocks and the stones and the bricks and the bats. i mean, you would've thought that she would've got enough of that in brooklyn, but it only strengthened her. - she was gonna shake up this country. she was gonna be a catalyst for change. - "if not me, then who? and if not now, then when?" in many ways is her--is her mantra. - she was clearly smarter than all of 'em. and so why not? i mean, for me, it was easy. [laughing] - she was a very complicated woman who understood politics.
felt it in her gut. quite frankly, shirley chisholm didn't give a damn what other people thought about her. [upbeat music] - she's born in brooklyn, new york. her parents were barbadian immigrants, working-class immigrants. they were extremely poor, and the family sent them to barbados where she lived for seven years with her mother's family. she lived in a country where there were black bus drivers, there were black teachers, there were black public officials. - she was expected to excel and it didn't matter that she was a girl or a boy. that's the way she was raised. and when she entered politics, her attitude reflected that. - send me to the united states congress. - in 1968, shirley chisholm is the first african-american woman to be elected to congress from the 12th congressional district in brooklyn. it was the front page of "the new york times."
people have to remember what an extraordinary thing it was for her to get elected because five years earlier, african-americans in the south could not vote. - i think it was a moment of hope for some, but it was also a time of disaffection. i mean, you have assassinations of martin luther king, for example, and urban unrest. you have high unemployment, the vietnam war, you have under-education, right, and particularly in urban places but also in rural spaces, so it's not just blacks. it's poor whites, it's women, it's latinos, native americans, all kinds of people are really feeling like they're not being heard. - the fact of the matter is that we cannot continue to take things as they are. when we see around us that government is not responsive to certain segments of the population. - her first speech, which people call in a very gendered way one's maiden speech, in congress
was in opposition to the war in vietnam. the money spent on the war should be spent on alleviating poverty, on expanding education. she believed in national health insurance. and she really wanted to expand lyndon johnson's great society programs. then she challenges the entrenched democratic party machine by refusing to accept a seat on the agriculture committee. - she makes it very clear that she is from brooklyn and, you know, she wants to represent the people and not necessarily the trees. - she said, "if you don't have a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." - when i first got to the congress, some of those men thought i had horns in my head. but what was very difficult for some of them to accept was that a black woman getting the same salary, that was very interesting to me, getting the same salary, $42,500, like they are. so you had this particular representative from a certain state. and every day i would come into the chamber and he would say, "miss chisholm, how are you doing?"
i say, "oh, i'm feeling pretty well." "my! imagine making 42 five like me." i say, "what did you say?" "miss chisholm, you making 42 five like me." this all i kept hearing, "42 five." - they were surprised that she wasn't just happy to be there. party leaders kept asking her what did her husband think. to her that was just, you know, an insult. - i think one of the reasons i can do so much that i do, basically i'm a very happy woman because of a very understanding mate. - as anybody knows about women in politics, you're under a different kind of scrutiny than are men. - and i think many of the congressmen must have thought that i was a very tough, big woman. many of them were surprised when they actually saw me, to realize how how small i am, physically speaking, and how nice i really was. a couple of them told me, "you're quite nice." but you see, this is what happened... - i went with her to congressional meetings.
i saw her in action. i saw the way she related to members of congress. and we're talking about members of congress who could not stand the fact that she was there. i remember that very clearly, being--being struck on how she was able to maneuver through the shoals of-- of the congressional hierarchy, dealing with racist congressmen from--from the south. - she wants to be a leading african-american and a leading democrat. - she sees the level of despair that so many americans are in with nixon as president. and so she decides to throw her hat in the ring because she felt like it was time and it could be her time. - i stand before you today as a candidate for the democratic nomination for the presidency of the united states of america. [applause] i am not the candidate of black america, although i am black and proud. [applause]
i am not the candidate of the women's movement of this country, although i am a woman, and i'm equally proud of that. [applause] i am the candidate of the people of america. [cheers and applause] [upbeat music] ♪ - in southeast asia, south vietnamese troops swept into laos early in february. the drive met with early success but soon bogged down in heavy fighting. bhutan and other world leaders condemned the movement of troops into a neutral country. - how ya doing? i'm shirley chisholm. how are you? i'm shirley. how you doing? - we were in the throes of an anti-war movement, where thousands of blacks and whites were being killed daily in vietnam. we were involved in a black power revolution. we were involved in a feminist revolution.
and we were living with richard nixon. - i have no complaint over the fact that during this period, when i have been ending a war i did not begin, i have been subjected to vigorous criticism. and i do not question the patriotism or the sincerity of those who disagree with my policies to bring peace. but as i said in 1968, when i was a candidate for president, we only have one president at a time. - mrs. c., that's what we called her, was running to not only prove a point, but to prove to other people, to show other people, to show minorities, whether it be women, blacks, latinos, whoever they may be, that you are entitled to sit at the table with white america. - i am a candidate, i'm a person, that has never really been favored tremendously by professional politicians
because of my independent attitude. because of my forthrightness. because of the fact that i do not equivocate on the issues. and if nothing else, i am finding out all over america that people are sick and tired of the tweedlydees and the tweedlydums who constantly flip-flap from one side to another. people--people are interested in having candidates that are truthful; candidates that have, if you will, just a tiny bit of morality. - the main things that she was campaigning for are the things that we're still campaigning for. living wages, fair wages, equality for women. she was very clear that she wanted for mothers and for women going back to work after they've had children. she really wanted them to have equal opportunity and essentially not get fired. - do not forget tomorrow, democratic primary. vote for the chisholm slate. the unbought candidate. vote for a person who represents people, not politicians. but people like you and myself. - nobody could buy influence. there was no party boss who could say,
"shirley, i want to meet with you on saturday over a cup of coffee, and could you tone it down?" she was unbought and unbossed right from the beginning. and in every speech, she reminded people of that. - at this point don't know and anybody who's followed my political career knows very, very keenly that i am the only unbought and unbossed politician. and i mean that literally. - that's one of the most exciting political slogans ever heard. as a matter of fact, i've heard quite a few people steal it. it's a terrific saying. - for a particular segment of the population, that would probably resonate so beautifully just as a fresh face as someone who's not part of the machine and all the negative things that come along with the machine. for others, who see a black woman, a black woman speaking her mind and having the audacity to run for the presidency saying that no one has bought me off
and i'm the boss of myself in this entire campaign, that would be quite scary. - that's why i am running, i am running because when you grow up, nobody will laugh or make a lot of snide remarks when a black person says they want to run for the presidency or a woman says they want to run for the presidency. everybody's making a lot of snide remarks and laughing and think i'm kooky. - [speaking spanish] right on, brothers. - i'm only here to tell you if you want change, i'm here. if you want change, i am an instrument. - she did not have, shall we say, a well-oiled political machine. she collected most of her money in cash, sort of unheard of today. but it was all "pass the hat," which means she never had enough money. - and i remember i had on jeans and a t-shirt, big afro, and she said, "little girl," and she--up until she died, she called me little girl. she said, "you've gotta register to vote first."
[chuckles] i said, "oh, no, no, no. "that's kinda bourgeois politics. i don't do that." she said, "but if you really want to make a difference, "you've gotta get on the inside "and you've gotta become political "and you gotta really shake things up. and you can only do that through political work." and so one of the efforts that i mounted was coordinating shirley chisholm's northern california campaign. - if my candidacy does nothing else, it's beginning to make america become aware of the fact that indeed people in america will be judged on the basis of their capacities and their abilities and their merits, and not on the basis of the pigmentation of their skin. - and i recall very clearly my first trip as national student coordinator. i was incredibly excited. i had to wait for the bumper stickers and the brochures to be printed. i kept them in their original boxes, took a plane to raleigh, north carolina. i get off and i go to the luggage carol
to pick up my luggage, and the boxes that i'm going to bring to the college universities. and i go to that carol and scrawled all over both boxes, "nigger go home." - a catalyst for change has to be able to withstand the insults, the humiliation, the abuses, and the slurs. what's wrong with my running for president of this country? - and what made her believe that her candidacy was not quixotic, was not a pipe dream, she really believed she could bring youth, women, the black freedom struggle, veterans, older people all together in a coalition that had a chance of winning. - and what i did was organize these events around what people were interested in. and whether they--whether it was politics or not, i mean it, people who showed up at the events i had brunch for shirley chisholm, fashions for shirley chisholm, all kinds of interesting events for shirley chisholm
and people would show up and then we'd register them to vote and we'd raise money. - a black for vice president, a woman for head of hew, an indian for the head of department of interior, and all your heads of departments, your heads of agencies, your ambassadorships, your councilships, all of these different positions would be reflective of the different kinds of peoples that are found in america. - she was a very stron feminist. she wanted to promote women. she wanted to mentor women. and she hired black and white women. it was a diverse office staff. - so the white feminists, initially, they found her candidacy exciting and they said that they would support. - and this campaign, the shirley chisholm campaign, is the note of the new politics. the rest of it is just making tired old noises, tired old noises. i can't get excited about any of it. i am excited about shirley chisholm's candidacy. - personally i have considered senator mcgovern the best white male candidate. and i have worked for him in states
where shirley chisholm was not running. but shirley chisholm was clearly better, is clearly better on the issues of powerless groups, as far as i'm concerned. - and it was, i mean, it was lip service. and slowly but surely that support from white feminists just trickled, waned, and then completely faded. when women said that they wanted a female president, what they really meant was a white woman. [upbeat music] ♪ - 4,000 blacks, some radical, some conservative, met in gary, indiana, for the first national black political convention. - a conference was called in gary to discuss black political power. passage of the '65 voting rights act, enabled a lot of african-americans to believe that they could play a greater role in national politics as an organized black force. when this conference takes place, mrs. chisholm decides not to go. - listen, when you have enough political courage
to do what shirley chisholm has done, which i never had this much of it, i'm not prepared to give advice as to what she should've done. - and chisholm chose not to go because one, she had already announced that she was gonna run for president and she didn't feel like catching flak and she didn't want to be there when there was a vote of non-support for her. - i went to the gary, indiana, black political convention, and we tried to get an endorsement from the black political convention delegates for shirley chisholm for president. we couldn't even get it there. i mean, the guys had it so sewed up. - they could not stand the fact that a black woman kind of leapfrogged over them and made the decision for herself to run. for many, they thought a black man should do this first. - she sees black men as often extremely hostile to her candidacy.
the bigger part of the joke for them isn't that she's a african-american running, but, like, she's a girl running. we're never gonna have some girl president, right, much less a black girl president. - the convention voted not to support her. - you see, the black politicians are no different than the white politicians. they've made their deals. they've made their contracts. 'cause they didn't believe that mrs. chisholm knows how to maneuver or what have you. that has always been their problem with me. "don't pay her any min" but, you know, you can't wish me away. you can't. - she knew that she wasn't taken seriously and still fought the good fight. - because she was so committed to actually shaking it up, that's why she was able to get out there day in and day out. - because i burn myself up with, you know, with what i see and it makes me more determined than ever to-- to see if i can't conquer it. and i know i can't conquer it, but, you know, it's deep with me. it's not, you know, it's intense. it's deep.
i see too much suffering. mm. and now i want to tell these politicians around here. they don't care. they don't care. - she was very sensitive and she was very hurt by people who would tell her one thing, do something else, didn't believe in her. you know, they tried to shut her out every step of the way. she had to file a lawsuit, from what i remember, to just get on the stage in a debate. - this diverse array of delegates now converged on the convention city miami beach, florida, where the final choice of the democratic candidate would be made. - the black people of america are watching us. find out what these candidates who need our vote to get across the top are going to do for us concretely, not rhetorically. - we knew we weren't going to be necessarily a real power broker. we didn't have enough delegates. but there was no way she was going to step aside
or back down. she was going to finish the race and she understood the symbolic importance of doing that. so she was really out there alone. and it was like that from the beginning to the end. there were a few exceptions. and she always spoke so highly of representative ron dellums out in--out in san francisco, in california. - ron dellums, who was a prominent member of the house of representatives from oakland/berkeley, and he was very progressive, he had once been a panther, had promised that he would put mrs. chisholm's name into nomination. and then at the very last moment, dellums said he would not. it was a real betrayal. it was a terrible betrayal. - the support of congressman dellums. i know he has supported in recent months the candidacy of congresswoman chisholm out of the conviction, out of the same kind of sincerity
that he brings to this endorsement of my candidacy here today. and i'm most grateful... - i want my people to know, that, you know, there's no feelings, you know, towards ronald dellum. if any of you see him, whatever, you just tell-- you just tell ron, "shirley wants you to come say hello." - she understands it, but it still hurts nonetheless because this is a friend who had actually stayed with her for quite some time and when other elites had abandoned her or flat-out said that they would not support her. - so i think at some point she just realized this is just politics, right, it's not personal. - i stand before you here tonight at an historic moment for the democratic party and for the american people. - fortunately for mrs. chisholm, she had percy sutton to put her name in nomination. - i present to you, in nomination for the presidency for these united states, all these united states, the honorable shirley chisholm. [cheers]
- she was able to claim that she's the first woman who ever had her name placed in nomination for the u.s. presidency. - she eventually relinquishes her delegates so they can be free to pledge their support for whatever candidate was left. - so people who might naturally support shirley chisholm at a certain point said they had to make a judgment. they couldn't live with the thought that richard nixon would be re-elected. and when the crunch came, so many of them then threw their hat in the-- in the ring to support george mcgovern. - senator george h. mcgovern is hereby by declared the 1972 democratic nominee for president of the united states. [cheers and applause] - come home, america. come home to the affirmation that we have a dream.
come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward. come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world. - don't let the spirit die. don't let the enthusiasm die. just let's say, that this was a wonderful trip that we all took together during the past seven months. that we have learned from our errors. god knows there were plenty. that we have gained experience. and that if there is to be a next time, we will start a little bit differently because we will have learned and we would be able to continue. i am not downheartened. i'm not disillusioned. i am not bitter. the only thing that i continue to regret, of course, is that we didn't have the moolah. [laughter] - even the most liberal, even the most progressive individuals in this country, even women and women leaders in this country, could not really wrap their hands around the thought
that a woman, a black woman, could actually be elected president. - among the half dozen democratic candidates george mcgovern came into the convention with a decided edge. the platform he favored was chosen and the nomination was his. - when we think about the end of 1972 with nixon garnering 49 of the 50 states. we see that, unfortunately, the democrats chose a candidate that just did not represent how they were feeling in-- in the best of ways. and it always makes me wonder if they had given chisholm a closer look what-- [chuckles] what could have been. - it's-- it's impossible. it's impossible to express what it means. she always showed
that you could be interested and involved in politics and be true to yourself. and to really stand up for something and to fight for something. - gosh, in order to bring about change, what one doesn't have to go through to bring about change and to get people thinking and moving in another direction. it's a real sacrifice that you have to pay. - but when you're ready to take on goliath, when you're ready to get out there and you only got a slingshot, when you can hold your own and it seems like the whole world is against you, i think that is when you grow to recognize the actual strength of a person. - you know she charted a new course. she cracked that glass ceiling. - and so i'm sure many people have heard the conversation there would be no barack obama in 2008 without the successful runs to a certain extent of jesse jackson in '84
and especially in '88. but in many ways you can't look at the successful runs of jesse jackson in '84 and '88 without looking at shirley chisholm in '72. - shirley chisholm's example transcends her life. and when asked how she'd like to be remembered, she had an answer. "i'd like them to say that shirley chisholm has--had guts." and i'm proud to say it. shirley chisholm had guts. - i'm breaking the ice, though. the next time a black person runs and a woman runs and they have the ability to guide this country and to lead this country, you will know that they're serious. - you and your buddy bill clinton debase the institutions of government. - john mccain forged his own path. he wasn't easily held down by party labels. - he talked off the cuff, so i think that caused people some nervousness. [upbeat music] ♪ ♪
- i'm the luckiest person you'll ever know. i'm a guy that crashed four airplanes. i'm the guy that got hit by a surface-to-air missile. ♪ - if i'd met you when you were 16 and said, "john, what are you gonna do in the future," would you have said politics? - my grandfather was an aviator, my father was a submariner. that was my ambition in life. - john mccain had an amazing story. he was born into a kind of famous american naval family. - his father was the commander-in-chief of the pacific, had responsibility for the execution of the war in vietnam when his son, john mccain, was shot down and taken prisoner by the vietnamese. he was considered by his fellow pows to be, you know, the most badly injured prisoner of war to survive those wounds, to survive his captivity.
none of them thought that he would. - he's finally released, along with the other american pows in january 1973. - then governor reagan and his wife nancy took a very deep and abiding interest in the whole issue of pows and mias. and i think he was really the catalyst for me wanting to be involved politically. - he began public service, as a member of the congress. and was ultimately elected to the united states senate in 1986. - on issue after issue, john mccain forged his own path. he wasn't easily held down by party labels. - you had to have some kind of thing like you have... - one of the things that mccain was always willing to do was to reach across the party aisle. on the one hand that helped burnish his legacy in terms of legislation. on the other hand, he didn't seem quite like a party man. and so i think that caused people some nervousness.
but ideologically, he was hard to fit. - and more recently in somalia. i was working to try to be a good senator, but people did come to me and say, "you ought to consider running." - john mccain was an antidote to the insanity of the clinton years, particularly at the last term where it was just a complete battle between congress, you know, the impeachment, the allegations, whitewater, all this stuff that confounded the clinton administration. john mccain stepped into that as a, "i'll settle you down." - because i'm gonna turn to al gore, and i'm gonna point my finger and i'm going to say, "al, you and your buddy bill clinton debase the institutions of government." - i've got character. i'm a war hero, pow. and he really had a set of credentials that blew away all of this sense of the clinton years as superficial, as erratic, as immoral.
- that the lincoln bedroom has become a motel 6 where the president of the united states serves as the bell hop. - i think it was natural, you know, by 2000 that, you know, john mccain, who had been then in the senate for 14 years, would take a shot at the presidency. - he just seemed to be the man for the moment to re-engage people's faith in american politics and run as a conservative, but a reformer. - it is because i owe america more than she has ever owed me that i am a candidate for president of the united states. [cheers and applause] [dramatic music] ♪ - i'm going to run a campaign that is optimistic and hopeful and positive. - i'm proud of our son. i'm proud of our whole family and this boy, this son of ours, is not gonna let you down.
he's gonna go all the way and serve with great honor all the way. - george w. had been a successful governor of texas. he talked about a new kind of optimistic conservatism. and it--it had a certain resonance. it was a powerful message. - there is a contest... - but george w. bush had been running for a while and had consolidated the fundraisers and political leaders and governors and sort of the republican establishment were all behind bush. - i felt we had a clear route. we thought that we could sort of weave our way past lamar alexander and elizabeth dole, and that we would have a challenge from steve forbes, who had a personal wallet. but, of course, then along came john mccain. - senator mccain launched the "straight talk express" and started getting a lot of attention in new hampshire and started, you know, this freewheeling 24-hour-a-day press conference on his bus. - senator, how do you reconcile the fact that you were one of the most vocal critics on pork barrel politics. and yet, while you were chairman of the commerce committee,
that committee set a record for unauthorized appropriations? i'm just kidding. no, i don't even know what that means. - he was sort of the one that was appealing to the frustrations of people who were only hearing from candidates who were scripted and who had talking points and, you know, who were of the establishment. and john mccain famously talked off the cuff. - and it is the beginning of the end for the truth twisting politics of bill clinton and al gore. [cheers] - in 2000, mccain was ahead of the curve. he wanted nothing to do with the republican leadership. mccain did not see eye to eye with the standard republican conservative leadership. and, he did things his own way. and i think he had a power base that he could demonstrate would work
'cause people listened to him and respected him. - he was feisty. he's kind of a classic-- if there was "scotch-irish feisty magazine," he'd be on the cover. - neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of american politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be louis farrakhan or al sharpton on the left or pat robertson or jerry falwell on the right. [applause] - but he ultimately emerged as governor bush's chief challenger. he made a mark. a candidate who gave access to the media. dodged no questions. he was irreverent. he was funny. - the republican party nationally have lost the last two presidential elections. they've lost the last two congressional elections. and that's because we've lost our way, my friends. we are a party of inclusion, not exclusion. - we thought if the country could get to know mccain, not only his story, but what he was talking about at the time in 2000,
he could really catch on. we had rocket fuel. so we didn't know if the rocket was going to blow up on the pad or get all the way to jupiter, but none of us could resist the idea of lighting the match. - george w. bush, a compassionate conservative leader. a fresh start for america. - we were outspent by the bush campaign in 2000 by a factor of a hundred, you know, they saturated the airwaves. - we had a pretty simple strategy. pick our spot to kind of ambush the frontrunner, george w. bush, which was new hampshire. beat him there, beat him in south carolina with veterans support and then run the table. - how you doing? - well, hanging in there. but, the people in new hampshire want to meet you. i would have as many as five town hall meetings in a day. thank you again. - lunching with you. - thank you. it's my honor to be with you. john mccain. nice to see you how are you? they expect that and that's how we did it. how are you, sir? good to see you. looking forward to seeing you tonight. - so mccain talking about some process issues that normally don't resonate in a presidential primary much, but talking about campaign finance reform
and kind of replacing political bs with straight talk, he hit a chord. he really hit a chord. and then we got that rocket fuel. - governor bush called me. i was in my hotel room that afternoon, and said, "you need to come down here," and i said, "well--" he said, "have you talked to karl?" and i said, "no." and he said, "well the polls have come back and they're not good." and i said, "how not good?" and he said, "really not good." [cheers and applause] - a lot of us kinda thought, "well, mccain's kind of tilting "at windmills here, but, you know, he's a good guy, let him go." well, then he started winning primaries, particularly crushed bush in new hampshire, and it became a real race. [upbeat music] ♪ ♪ - how did you feel coming out of new hampshire down by 19? did you guys feel like we always assumed there was going to be an upset? - well, we assumed there would be an upset, but we didn't assume there would be that upset, or that it would be that big. - we were feeling very confident,
to be honest with you, because the size of our victory, which no one had expected. i just remember being stunned. that was a huge setback to the front-runner, and so then we went to south carolina, and it was clear we had to win in south carolina or basically the campaign would be over. - the george bush campaign thought, "we gotta do something about this." and they went for the jugular. - south carolina has a history of rough politics and they lived up to it in 2000. - but i like my chances here in south carolina. my message... - it was very nasty. there were thousands--i don't know how many thousands, tens of thousands of phone calls made that said, "you know that the mccains have a black baby." - a spartanburg, south carolina woman, donna duren, describes how her son idealized the former navy pilot and pow until the 14-year-old boy scout took a phone call last night allegedly from a bush pollster. - but he was so upset when he came upstairs. and he said, "mom, someone told me
that senator mccain is cheat and a liar and a fraud." and he was almost in tears. - you guys socked mccain in the jaw pretty hard. there was some pretty tough camping that-- - like what? - [laughing] i mean, you've heard the push polling. the--the whisper campaigns. - look, first of all there was an allegation made that mccain had fathered a black child out of wedlock, and mccain blamed it on us. now, this was an important moment, though, because it angered mccain and caused him to strike out at bush in ways that caused people to say, "wait a minute, that's not fair; that's not true. - i'm calling on my good friend george bush to stop this now. he comes from a better family. he knows better than this, and he should stop it. i'll pull down every negative ad that i have. let's treat the voters of south carolina with some respect. - imagine what would've happened if john mccain, rather than being egged on by his advisors, to say this is george bush and i'm gonna hit him hard
for saying and being behind this. what if he had said, "you know what? "i'm glad people brought that up. let me tell you about my daughter." - we have a daughter that we're so blessed that my wife, cindy, got from mother teresa's orphanage in bangladesh. she's one of the joys of our life. - and my wife brought that child home. it was one of the best days of my life. i mean the american people would have said, "wow, we now know something about the mccains we didn't know before, and isn't that terrific?" - it's hard to describe the emotion i feel about that because there should not be a place for that in the political process. - it's impossible to know whether or not the bush campaign is totally responsible for that. - yes, of course. yes, i do think they did, and of course they're gonna deny it. that is typical of what these strategists who are brilliant at the dark arts, as we call them, that's what they do. they put stuff out there and then they deny that it was them.
but every campaign has some sort of mechanism that can do that if needed. and clearly they needed something to change the narrative. - i'll use the surplus money to fix social security, cut your taxes, and pay down the debt. governor bush uses all the surplus for tax cuts, but not one new penny for social security or the debt. his ad twists the truth like clinton. we're all pretty tired of that. as president, i'll be conservative and always tell you the truth. - and we did a response ad where governor bush said, "call me anything you want, but do not question my integrity." it was a really powerful response ad. so i think in that case, senator mccain made a mistake because the response ad was more powerful than his attack ad. - politics is tough. but when john mccain compared me to bill clinton and said i was untrustworthy, that's over the line. disagree with me, fine, but do not challenge my integrity. i fought the education establishment for high standards and local control and won.
while washington politicians deadlocked, i delivered a patients' bill of rights. i challenged the status quo to reform welfare and cut taxes. i fight for what i believe in and i get results. - do you remember that 2000 primary debate on gop side that you moderated that had w. and mccain? - never forget that, as long as i live. columbia, south carolina, live. i moderated that, press in the next room mobbed, mccain had just won new hampshire, and it was dirty campaign. and right before we go out, we're standing, it's about two minutes to 9:00, the debate was at 9:00 and i'm standing-- bush here, mccain here. mccain said to bush, "george." like this, "george." "what, john, what?" he said, "is everything-- "you can do anything to win, george? is that it? you'd do anything to win?" bush says, "hey, it's politics. "we go to war, you went to war. this is going to war."
and suddenly they called us on stage. this is the south carolina republican debate. - and i was beat up very badly by all of the surrogates. called clinton, called clinton, like, you've seen it. turn on the radio, turn on the television, and unfortunately now pick up the telephone and you'll hear a negative attack against john mccain. - let me say one thing about all this business, john. - i told you i pulled them all down. - you didn't pull this ad. - yes, i did. - this had ended up in a man's windshield yesterday. it questions my-- this is an attack piece. - that is not by my campaign. - well, it says, "paid for by john mccain." - it is not by my campaign. - and you could feel the heat there. - oh, ho, the whole hour and a half. it was intense. the--you--these were two guys who didn't disagree with policy. they didn't like each other. - i guess it was bound to happen. gov. bush's campaign is getting desperate with a negative ad about me. - unfortunate results of these kinds of nasty smear campaigns, is that the person who is the receiving end of it
has two choices. either you respond, and if you're gonna respond in kind, then you have the possibility to get as dirty as the person who is throwing the mud at you, or you don't respond. and if you don't respond, then the narrative sticks. - i-i will not take the low road to the highest office in this land. [cheers and applause] i want the presidency in the best way, not the worst way. [cheers and applause] - we had a great comeback win in michigan right after south carolina, but we really needed to break him early, break george w. bush politically early because the resources-- like wrestling a huge gorilla. you know, if you don't kind of knock him down fast. and it's an attrition war, the gorilla is bigger and stronger. and that's what happened. we didn't get our early knockouts. we got two of them, but not the third one.
- in you go. there you go. - welcome to the celebration of victory for george w. bush's campaign on this super tuesday night. [cheers and applause] - after super tuesday, i withdrew and met with george w. bush in pittsburgh and agreed to support him. - john mccain and i just had a very good meeting. - you can't be a sore loser in this business. i congratulate governor bush and wish him and his family well. he may very well become the next president of the united states. it's just like in a football game. you lose, and you've got to get ready for the next sunday. [dramatic music] ♪ - in 2008, he ran as a more establishment candidate 'cause he'd had that credential of coming so close in 2000. and he had to do what we did not do in 2000, which was bring in parts of the party that were more establishment to build a bigger coalition than he had.
and, you know, he had competition there. he had mitt romney, who in 2008 had a lot of support in the regular establishment. - in the 2000 election, john mccain had been a supporter of immigration reform. it was an issue that he knew, as arizona had a large immigrant community. and had a large border shared with mexico. and so this was an issue that he cared about. - we should build no walls in a futile attempt to keep the world at bay. walls are for cowards, not for us. - some of his consultants had told him that, "part of the reason you didn't beat george w. bush in 2000 is that people didn't think you were conservative enough." and so in 2008, as the immigration issue was really picking up steam because they had had these two failed bills, mccain shifted and decided to become a border security first candidate. - and by july of 2007, john mccain was bankrupt. everybody on the campaign had quit. he was in last place in the polls. and the press that had gathered to greet him up in new hampshire
had only one question in their mind, "when are you going to drop out of the race?" but john mccain doesn't quit, doesn't give up. one foot in front of the other clawed his way back and became the republican nominee. - i went over to iraq, and i saw the surge. and i saw it working and i did not want to lose in iraq after all the expenditure of american blood and treasure. so i said at the time, we cannot surrender. it was called the no surrender tour. - for while-- while senator mccain was turning his sights to iraq just days after 9/11, i stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face. - i think he had counted on the fact that this would be an election about the military. about america turning the corner in these wars.
and what it became about was a black president possibly. - there wasn't a strategy to outshine barack obama. barack obama was a celebrity politician without parallel. he was on the cover of every news magazine in the world. and he also had another powerful force working for him, which was the notion of generational change. john mccain was 72 years old. barack obama was in his mid-40s. - i think what happened in 2008 was when it was clear that barack obama-- well, if it had been barack obama or hillary clinton. it would have been a game-changer, either the first woman or the first african-american nominee of a major party. so i think mccain felt, as a white male, that he had to show that he was, you know, just as open and diverse as anybody else. - you go to the dnc in denver, and it is epic. epic, right.
they build basically the white house right in invesco field outside. and turns out that all the hillary supporters come right along. there'd been all that anxiety that the hillary supporters wouldn't come. everyone in the world is focused on denver and obama-biden for 32 minutes until they announce... - the next vice president of the united states, governor sarah palin of the great state of alaska. [cheers and applause] - sarah palin is the vice presidential candidate for john mccain and the world goes, "who?" i was in denver and i watched every light, camera, and all the action... [inhales sharply] pack up and head to wasilla, alaska. it was the wildest thing! i was like, "where did everybody go?" - senator, i am honored to be chosen as your running mate.
[cheers and applause] - what drove you to choose governor palin? 'cause as you're saying, you had several good choices. - well, she was a very successful governor. she was a very conservative voice. i thought she was suitable for the position of vice president. the most important thing, obviously, is if something happens to me, would she fill in as president? - sarah palin's capacity to capture the space that was left open for those who needed an obama on the other side, o needed something to feel excited about. something vigorous, something new. - i love those hockey moms. you know they say the difference between hockey mom and a pit bull? lipstick. [cheers and applause] - she was pitch perfect. it's just that it couldn't hold. - good evening. this is an extraordinary period for america's economy.
over the past few weeks, many americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future. i understand their worry and their frustration. we've seen triple digit swings in the stock market. major financial institutions have teetered on edge of collapse and some have failed. - america this week faces an historic crisis in our financial system and we are running out of time. tomorrow morning, i'll suspend my campaign and return to washington. i've spoken with senator obama and informed him of my decision and i've asked him to join me." - your recommendation that you guys suspended campaigning for a bit and really focus on that, that some people felt like that was a turning point, in your case, perhaps a negative turning point. - look, the country was in crisis. i was a united states senator. whether you think it was the right thing to do or not, how could i be out campaigning when the congress is expected to,
along with the president, to act in a worst financial crisis since the great depression. - if the meltdown hadn't happened in the economy, i think the mccain-palin might have been able to beat the obama-biden ticket. - my friends, we have come to the end of a long journey. the american people have spoken and they have spoken clearly. a little while ago, i had the honor of calling senator barack obama to congratulate him-- [audience booing] please-- to congratulate him on being elected the next president of the country that we both love. - i was with him when he lost the '08 election. and he said, "i'm disappointed but, you know, "this is--losing the election is nothing compared to what i've been through." but he is a man of great integrity, and he encourages others to be the same. and he got a long way toward winning the white house
with that integrity and that commitment and willpower to win. - this is an historic election, and i recognize the special significance it has for african-americans. and for the special pride that must be theirs tonight. occasionally someone comes to me and says, "senator mccain, "why don't you get back in there? we need you." and i am reminded of the great southern philosopher who once said that there's no education in the second kick of a mule. i'm proud of our campaign. i'm proud of the people around me. you can't look back in anger. and you gotta move forward and appreciate the fact that a guy that stood fifth from the bottom of his class at the naval academy won the nomination of the republican party for president of the united states. - god bless america. thank you all very much. [cheers and applause]
for stories from the v.oworld around us... on pbs! stories of the fearless... man: these human towers give us a glimpse into what it takes to defy gravity. v.o.:...and the new world. woman: our kids are going to have to work with knowledge that hasn't been discovered yet. v.o.: for stories that get you closer... ...to life! think wednesday! tomorrow starting at 8, 7 central. think pbs! - i just--more and more people were getting excited. and i remember the spirit coming over me i said, "i don't want to listen to the fundamentalist preachers anymore." - he had all the answers until he didn't and then, boy, he didn't. - abortion on demand, homosexual rights. it's not the kind of change we can abide in a nation we still call "god's country." - buchanan's orthodoxy was attractive to the base, but was frightening to the general population.
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♪ >> narrator: tonight on frontline, two reports about education in america. >> the closing of itt tech is affecting students... >> narrator: first, for-profit colleges and allegations of fraud and predatory behavior. >> they were targeting the most vulnerable and desperate people. >> narrator: frontline investigates the rise and fall of this once booming industry. >> martin smith: you have termed these students that are signing up for these courses as "subprime borrowers." >> yeah, tha characterization of the types of students that are being served.