tv Race for the White House CNN February 23, 2020 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
his brother's son. he feels edward is cavorting with the nazis. undermining. >> edward hasn't adjusted to the fact he isn't the king. this is a big problem. you don't look like a typical commander in chief. and you're right. so you don't act like one either. >> the carter administration lives in the world of make-believe. >> your presidency is under threat. >> he believes in the leadership of the american people, and we're going to change it. >> you have one chance to swing this race in your favor. do you do what's right for your fellow americans? or what's right for you?
seized by iranian students. the american diplomatic staff are now prisoners. >> 60 american citizens continue to be held as hostages. we are using every available channel to secure their release. >> there is an ancient principle of diplomatic immunity, which means that embassies are off limits. so we were shocked by it. i couldn't believe it was possible. >> americans felt helpless that this had happened. it felt as though the united states was losing its power in the world. >> the perpetrators are supporters of iran's revolutionary leader, ayatollah khomeini. they are outraged by president carter's decision to admit their former dictator into the united states. >> jimmy carter's humanitarian
gesture to the shah of iran angered the iranian students. in 1980, the great satan was carter. >> not that he's mr. popular back home. >> it was a feeling that jimmy carter was a failed president. we had 21% interest rates, 7% inflation, 7% unemployment, 0% growth. >> you begin to see gas lines forming across the country, which lead to violence. people are shot. people are stabbed. >> and here you have jimmy carter really trying to juggle all of those things, particularly a moment where the nation just does not have confidence in being america any more. >> as the election approaches, carter needs his party behind him. instead, he feels the chill of growing discontent. >> jimmy carter spent much of his presidency seeming to reject the culture and values of the
democratic party. >> he was a fiscal conservative. that was a problem. sometimes people would say that if carter had a quarter or half dollar, he would squeeze it until the eagle choked. >> in particular, the liberal wing of his party feels very deeply that carter has thrown liberalism under the bus. and to begin to turn their attention to other politicians who they feel like really embody the qualities of leadership they want from a president. >> and the figure people really circled around is ted kennedy. >> where as president carter veered to the center, kennedy was this crystal clear liberal lion. >> kennedy was the kind of guy, if he walked in the room, you knew he was there. carter, if he walked in the room, you might not notice that he was there till somebody said, president of the united states, and you'd say, oh!
the president of the united states. >> nice to see you. nice to see you. >> ted kennedy and jimmy carter might as well have been raised on different planets. >> jimmy carter at age 6 was running around on a farm in southwest rural georgia. his house didn't have running water or electricity. ted kennedy about the same age is living in a massive mansion in london. his father is the ambassador to the united kingdom, and teddy kennedy lacks for nothing. >> jimmy carter looks at teddy kennedy and sees an entitled play boy. ted kennedy looks at jimmy carter and sees a hick who is over his head. >> today i formally announce i am a candidate for the president of the united states. [ applause ] >> i was deeply upset. i thought this will divide the
party. it threatens the democratic control of the presidency. >> the iowa republican debate. >> republican hopefuls are also squaring off. at the first big showpiece of their primary calendar, there's one notable absence. >> i wish governor reagan was here. oh, how i wish he was here. >> ronald reagan is at home in sunny california. >> ronald reagan is the heir apparent in the republican party. ronald reagan is the man to beat on the republican side. >> he had been a hollywood actor. he had been the governor of california where he had earned a national reputation as a new voice in the republican party. >> let's get a real leader in the white house. >> he ran strong in '76 against ford. he was the preemptive nominee. he was the favorite.
so the decision was to keep out of the debates and coast to the nomination which they thought they could do. >> and the six candidates spend 90 minutes pounding on ronald reagan. >> i think he has other ideas about how he wants to run. if indeed he's running, and i think he is. >> i want to say to governor reagan where ever you are, i hope you're having fun tonight because we are. [ laughter ] >> by ducking the debate, ronald reagan dramatically boost the stock of george bush. >> we have a $2.3 trillion economy. it can work. >> george bush is a world war ii hero of the pacific. he had served as director of the c.i.a., our envoy to china. but he's not well known on the national scene. >> we were asterisks in the poll. nobody knew who he was, nobody. >> george h.w. bush ran a terrific campaign, and i can
remember that morning of the iowa caucuses, i was on an elevator and there's bush. and he said, hey, pat, i've got the big mo. and he meant the big momentum. >> it's a shocker to the world, and i mean a shocker to the world, george bush wins the iowa caucuses. >> because of what happened in iowa, we're going to go all the way to the white house. >> and he played into these fears, was reagan really up for this? maybe he wasn't the political heavy weight like people thought. >> i ran into a reporter in iowa and he told me, pat, he's a straw man. you punch him and straw comes out. >> how big is the wound to governor reagan? >> ronald reagan for president is effectively dead.
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bring your family history to life like never before. get started for free at ancestry.com i am not going to resume business as usual until our hostages are back here, free and at home. >> as the hostage crisis passes 100 days, president carter's strategy to defeat ted kennedy is not the campaign at all. >> the president undertook what was called the rose garden strategy. what that meant was he wasn't going to actively campaign while the house tajs were stages were. >> the president said the hostages are the only issue at stake here.
>> the message was a vote for carter was a vote for the hostages. >> all of a sudden they rally behind the president. >> president carter finished with 75% of the vote. >> carter has 680, kennedy 385. >> the rose garden strategy pays off. carter races to victory in a string of early primaries. but he's not the only one running ahead of his rival. >> george bush is only 55 and a very young looking, a athletic-looking 55. ronald reagan is 68 years old. >> people assumed a man 68 years old was too old to assume the mantle of the president of the united states. >> bush is doing jumping jacks and push ups. let's see reagan come here and do this. reagan is pissed about this. >> reagan wants to steal back the show with a televised debate. bush is wary.
>> george bush knows right now he's the front runner, so why should he put up with other challengers in the party taking potshots at him? >> hoping to sway his rival, reagan proposes a one on one debate and offers to pickup the check. >> and now bush can just share the stage with the actor ronald reagan and show how good he is on his feet. >> terms are agreed, but reagan has a trick up his sleeve. >> then at the last minute reagan decides instead of the one on one debate, he wants all the republicans who are running to be part of the debate. >> ronald reagan wants it opened up to the other challengers under the guise of fairness. >> but bush was very committed to the idea, he had given his word, and this is the way it ought to be. >> he challenged me to a one on one. that's what i'd like to do. >> so there is a fight brewing before this debate about who is actually going to be included. >> a date is scheduled for 7:30.
by 8:15 there's still no candidates. it's hot in there. instamatics are flashing. the tension is just horrific. >> finally reagan comes in. he's followed by all these other candidates. [ cheers and applause ] >> george bush, he doesn't know what to do. he's frozen and is looking very much like the second banana in this debate. >> i asked these gentlemen to come out here to make this a debate including all of the candidates. >> reagan starts talking about how important it is to include everybody in the debate. >> the crowd is on his side, but
the debate moderator wants to play by the rules. >> would the sound man please turn mr. reagan's mic off for the moment? [ booing ] >> remember, reagan paid for this debate. >> turn that microphone off, please? >> i paid for this microphone. [ applause ] >> you see a real flash of passion from reagan. it's clear that whatever else comes out this debate, that's going to be the moment everyone remembers. >> i paid for this microphone. i am paying for this microphone. i am paying for this microphone. >> everybody out there watching on television saw that replayed again and again, and they said the gipper is back. >> it was for all intents and purposes the end of george h.w. bush's see ious effort to be the nominee in 1980. and it was a sign that ronald
reagan was a political maestro. >> the 100th day, the last american reporter out. >> the problem on day 100 was basically the same as it was on day one, which is nobody knows what khomeini or the militants will do. >> carter is really bogged down unable to solve the hostage crisis. >> iranians now are threatening to hold the american hostages forever. >> khomeini's statement to, quote, fight against america till death shattered the first real hope in this prolonged crisis. >> walter cronkite ended every single night's report, day 103, day 205, day 307 of the hostage crisis. it was like a drip of poison every single day. >> you start to hear more people criticize the president for being weak on defense, criticizing the president for not having a forceful response. and this gives kennedy a little boost.
>> jimmy carter wanna be right here. >> ted kennedy surges forward, winning the new york and connecticut primaries. >> the carter campaign is incredibly frustrated because they felt like they had kennedy on the mat. >> no more american hostages and no more jimmy carter! >> but instead of a knock-out punch, the boxing match is going to continue to go on and on and on. >> carter has suffered a bruise and blow at the hands of his rival. and still, america is relying on its commander in chief to bring the hostages home. >> there is a decision that's made to try a military operation. it's called operation eagle claw. the mission would take a rescue team into iran where they would pick up the hostages and take them out to safety.
>> the rescue was a courageous thing for carter to do, but everything that could go wrong did go wrong. (paul) some wireless companies want you to spend your tax refund with them. at sprint, we're doing things differently- we say, keep your refund. you heard that right- because now you can get the samsung galaxy s10 for zero dollars a month when you switch. yup, zero dollars a month. plus, sprint's offering a 100% total satisfaction guarantee. while i think their network and savings are great, you don't just have to take my word for it. try it out and see the savings for yourself. so, what are you waiting for? switch today. for people with hearing loss, visit sprintrelay.com.
on april 24th, 1980, commander in chief jimmy carter launches an audacious operation to rescue the hostages. >> 10:30 a.m. eastern standard time, the helicopters entered the iranian air space. >> the joint chiefs asked for six helicopters. carter added two more, eight. one helicopter turned back because the warning light showed hydraulic failure. a second had a rotor blade problem. >> another hit a sand storm and had to return to the uss nimitz. >> as carter used to say in the south where i'm from, as if you were snake bit. things were always going wrong. >> they had eight helicopters, needing only six. who would have assumed that three would go wrong? >> so at that point they decide
they've got to abandon the operation. >> but the failures and tragedies didn't end there. >> as they began to withdraw, a helicopter collides with one of the transport planes and there is an explosion and eight people die. jimmy carter gets a phone call. his face just sort of goes blank, and he looks crest fallen. >> it was a horrible blow. i don't think he'll ever get over it. >> to the defenders of those who died and were wounded, i want to express the admiration i feel for the courage of their loved ones. >> after that, whenever you went over the white house, there was this increasing air of gloom that sort of settled in like a fog. >> on august 14th, ronald reagan arrives at the republican national convention. >> reagan has this really sunny optimism in a moment when the
american people are dealing with a real crisis of confidence. >> i had a dream that jimmy carter asked me why i wanted his job. and i told him i didn't want his job. i want to be president. [ applause ] >> reagan fended off george bush, one step to his white house dream. >> thank you very much. >> the primary had become quite bitter, quite divisive. >> the untold secret of reagan/bush relationship is reagan didn't much like george bush. >> but guess who he picks as his running mate? >> george bush has more foreign policy experience than reagan, more moderate than reagan. so picking him made sense. >> he was competitive. it always came down to the decision that made the most
sense in terms of winning. >> i pledge to you to restore to the federal government the capacity to do the people's work without dominating their lives. >> reagan was all about limited government, lower taxes, strong economy, strong defense. he was a real authentic conservative, and we'd come to believe that reagan was the leader of our national movement. >> we'll make america great again. >> president carter seems to have the nomination in his grasp. or so he thinks. >> senator kennedy won a lot of the primaries at the end, the big states, california. but we were so far behind in delegates, we couldn't catch up. >> the delegate advantage was almost 2 to 1, carter over kennedy. >> carter invites kennedy to the white house, expecting a white flag of surrender.
>> kennedy will have none of this. >> i welcomed the opportunity to tell the president i have every intention of continuing in this campaign as a candidate. >> okay. >> the fact that senator kennedy stayed in the race, it pissed us off. it was, i think, unforgivable. >> kennedy makes a last grab for victory by trying to tear up the rule. >> i come here to seek a free and open democratic convention. >> the rules of the democratic party bound delegates to the candidate for whom they were elected and to install kennedy as the nominee, they would have to change the rules and give people a chance to vote for another alexandcandidate even i were committed to carter. >> we traveled and met with our delegates and we told them we're coming to fight for the heart and soul of the democratic
party. don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. we were going in strong. >> carter's forces desperately fight to block kennedy's last-ditch bid for the nomination. >> i say to you as a democrat who worked for john f. kennedy, but who is now a carter delegate, that we don't change the rules after the game has been played. >> it is basically a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour trench fight for the carter forces. trying to make sure not one delegate desserts them. one delegate can lead to a trickle can lead to a flood. we set up a pretty sophisticated communications operation with the delegates. i remember one of my assistants saying we are going to enclose all the wires to the phone in copper tubing. i said why are we going to do that? isn't it going to cost a lot of
money? he said if we don't, somebody is going to cut the wires. >> there is reason to be paranoid. ted kennedy has some heavy weight supporters. >> jane byrne, the mayor of chicago, flew in with a rough bunch, and they kind of parachuted into the convention and went out on the convention floor and started trying to button hole carter delegates to change their votes. suddenly a brawl erupts because there was great hostility between the kennedy and carter forces. and it was just complete mayhem. >> a wounded veteran said to us, i haven't seen such sweat and anger since world war ii. i'm your 70lb st. bernard puppy,
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>> kennedy had seen the writing on the wall. >> after kennedy concedes, he is not going away quietly. >> someday, long after the signs come down and the crowds stop cheering, may it be said of our campaign that we kept the faith. >> i remember standing on the floor of the convention listening to the stories that teddy told. and crying my eyes out. >> the work goes on. the cause endures. the hope still lives. and the dream shall never die. >> i could see this vast ocean of people cheering, clapping. it's one of the most extraordinary sights i've ever seen in my lifetime. and i think for carter it was a big problem because it set a very high expectation for what
he had to do in his acceptance speech. >> i thank you for the nomination you've offered me. >> jimmy carter is not on his game somehow, and goes to give praise to hubert horatio humphrey who is passed of cancer recently. >> this is a guaranteed sign, this is a guaranteed emotional tug at this crowd. >> a man who would have been one of the greatest presidents in history, hubert horatio horn blower humphrey. >> it's as if every step carter's attempts to appear the victor are going horribly wrong. >> there is a large balloon carrier that will not empty itself.
they've gotten one end of the net holding the balloons down. >> even when he's done, the balloons on the roof don't fall when they're supposed to fall. >> the speeches had not gone well from our perspective. so what we hoped is to put a big bow on it and say, ah, yes, but all is forgiven and we're waiting for senator kennedy's arrival in the hall to join everybody on stage. >> ted kennedy's motorcade is stuck in traffic on the other side of time square. >> we wait and we wait and we wait. >> during that time the cheering, the singing, the music, almost dies out. and carter's aides are calling everybody and their mother onto the stage to try to keep some sense of momentum going in the hall. finally kennedy arrives. carter wants kennedy to get on the stage with him and hold his hands together in a sign of
unity. >> i said to kennedy, now, remember, you're going to raise his hand. and he said yes. >> but instead of kennedy raising hands with carter, he shakes his hand, but does not raise it up in the air. >> there's no embrace. >> no holding his hands, no "v" for victory. >> i thought give it up, you made your point, now think about the party. >> it was, in fact, a middle finger to jimmy carter by a poor loser. >> and teddy's wife said it was as if kennedy had showed up at the wedding of his chauffeur. kennedy was too proud to admit defeat. so in return he actually humiliated carter in front of the entire country. >> carter looks pathetic. >> kennedy sent a clear signal
to people he was not 100% behind jimmy carter. so kennedy backers were given permission to basically not unite behind their nominee. >> it's been a disastrous convention for carter. but as he embarks on the fall election, he has one reason to be optimistic, his opponent. >> if jimmy carter thought teddy kennedy was a play boy, he thought ronald reagan was a total lightweight. >> thank you. >> reagan has to show that he's not a stupid actor, that he is not too old, that he's not too muddle headed to be president. >> reagan takes aim at carter and misfires. >> i'm happy to be here and he's opening his campaign down in a city that gave birth to and is the apparent body of the ku klux
klan. >> first of all, that wasn't true. the klan was founded in polasky, tennessee. >> it turned white southerners against him. >> he also makes a statement about vegetation causing pollution. >> that was a faux pas, and they played it pretty big. we went to california, went out here to clairmont colleges. and from a big oak tree he's hanging a 4 by 8 sign that says chop me down before i kill again. now, that said it all. that said it all. >> reagan's gift came gift wrapped for carter. >> he wants to call down all the trees. he said that's where pollution comes from. >> i don't think carter could really imagine himself losing to
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hope he can fight back with a winning performance on live tv. >> i had confidence in reagan in a debate because to me a debate is as much visual as it is context. how you handle yourself makes you look like, et cetera. reagan wins that one going away. >> president carter buckles down for a debate that will take place just one week before the election. >> carter, as always, is confident in his own intelligence. he thinks that he will outclass reagan simply because he can explain things better. >> i have prepared a briefing book with foreign and domestic questions and answers. >> it's a very detailed book which gives carter background on policy, but also gives him lines of attack. >> they produced three sets of volumes. one for carter's review, one for walter mondale's review, and a
third backup copy. and the third backup copy one day just disappears from the carter white house. >> the mastermind of the theft is never proven, but there's one chief suspect. >> in preparation for writing my book in any campaign, i went through the registration book for people coming to visit, individuals of the reagan campaign. and around the same time, the carter briefing books go missing, a man signs in, then picks up a check for $1500 for professional services. >> and he's not your typical reagan man. >> paul corbin was fiercely loyal to the kennedy family. he hated jimmy carter and he wanted to get reagan elected in 1980, and then ted kennedy defeats ronald reagan in 1984. ted kennedy knew nothing about what paul corbin was doing. >> it shows how deeply many in
the kennedy camp hated carter. they actually wanted a republican who many thought might be unfit for president to win the presidency. >> he, of course, denied it, but in all likelihood paul corbin gave the briefing books to bill casey, the chairman of the ronald reagan campaign. >> bill casey put a black book on my desk. all he said was, here, you might want to give this to your debate people. >> i probably should have said, where did you get this, bill? >> did that book that they stole make that much of a difference? >> i can't say that. but when you know the strategy, the tactics, the arguments, the counter arguments of your opponent, it gives you an enormous advantage. >> please welcome president jimmy carter and governor ronald reagan of california. >> it's the most-watched
presidential debate in history at that point. so the stakes are high for both candidates. >> both of you have expressed the desire to end the nuclear arms race with russia, but through vastly different methods. you cannot both be right. will you tell us why you think you are? >> the president's team has been preparing him for this very question. they want carter to paint reagan as a nuclear cowboy and himself as a safe pair of hands. >> we had a full-scale debate preparation, cameras, someone playing reagan, a question is asked, what would you do about the spread of nuclear weapons? >> and he said, i talked to my daughter amy about this, and she told me that at school they know the greatest threat to the country is nuclear arms. well, we all laughed. this was going to trivialize a very important issue.
he said that's not a good idea. hamilton jumps on him. jodiy jumps on him. gadel jumps on him. i said, okay, guys, he gets it. he's not going to use that. >> i had a discussion with my daughter amy the other day to ask her what she thought the important issue was. she said nuclear weaponry and the control of nuclear arms. >> oh, no. we've got a major problem on our hands. >> thank you, mr. president. >> at turn after turn, carter over estimates his own abilities. and that overconfidence leaves him vulnerable. >> undeterred, carter presses on. >> governor reagan, as a matter of fact, began his political career campaigning around this nation against medicare. >> carter thinks it's a winning strategy to accuse reagan of wanting to cut medicare.
>> social security benefits should not be taxed and that would be no peremptory change in the standards by which social security payments are made to the retired people. >> the only problem is he's saying it in such a way that's dogmatic and overly detailed and not very relatable. >> and reagan's skill is in deflecting his attacks and coming across as being comfortable with himself on the stage. >> governor reagan, again, typically is against such a proposal. >> governor? >> there you go again. [ laughter ] >> that moment, it's remarkable. it's a forward line, but it pushes the president off stage. >> next tuesday, all of you will go to the polls and stand there in the polling place and make a decision. >> reagan ends his final statement with the coup de gras against jimmy carter. >> i think when you make that decision, it might be well if you would ask yourself, are you
better off than you were four years ago? >> that freezes the election right there. it's carter status quo versus the reagan change. >> he didn't win because of the briefing he came across as talking to the concerns of the american people. >> there was no better person on television ever than ronald wilson reagan. >> we can turn this country around and we can turn our economy around. and the time to do it is now. >> the white house looks within reagan's grasp, but the selection may be decided by players on the other side of the world. >> what if the iranians release the american hostages and give jimmy carter a huge victory just before the election takes place? >> we have seen during the past 12 hours several developments in the hostage issue. (paul) some wireless companies
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>> the approval of the leaders of the armed militants who stormed the u.s. embassy nearly a year ago. >> the iranians wanted money. they wanted an apology. >> they want to be immune from any kind of legal prosecution for what had happened and carter is resolute that he can't do that. so carter feels that he has to tell the country. >> carter's last chance to get the hostages home before election day has vanished but his advisers think he can turn the situation to his advantage. >> we were urging him, i would say begging him, to really attack the iranians for trying to give us an inadequate offer. all of us said be tough, this can actually help you, can turn a lemon into lemonade. >> carter is hearing from advisers that you have to think politically about how to handle this, you have to make a statement which is defiant in part so you can be victorious in
the election. >> and he says we don't play politics with this. >> he was concerned that our rhetoric would jeopardize the safety of the hostages. >> getting those hostages home, that was more important than winning and losing as far as we were concerned. >> we were within two days of an important national election. let me assure you that my decisions on this crucial matter will not be affected by the calendar. >> carter was really committed to doing the right thing and that was great for a sunday school preacher. it wasn't necessarily good for a president running for reelection. >> we were all very depressed that he did that. he didn't have the right political instinct at the right time. >> we are pursuing the matter through diplomatic channels. >> the announcement is absolutely devastating at that moment in the campaign. carter's support really starts
to plummet. >> as one person has said if this little guy carter can't handle a two bit -- i'm going to take a chance on the cowboy. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president elect, ronald reagan. >> exactly one year after the start of the hostage crisis reagan turns america red in a political tsunami. >> 44 states to six, people were stunned. at the magnitude of the victory. it was just an historic and astonishing triumph. >> governor reagan we wanted to show you what the map of the united states looks like as of 8:00 tonight. >> hey. >> it's all yours. >> a genuine conservative affiliated with a conservative ideology that had been at the margins of the party, has now taken center stage. >> when that began to slide i thought that maybe the world was going out just as i was getting
in. >> reagan was the right person to restore america's pride and confidence in itself. >> i promised you four years ago that i would never lie to you, so i can't stand here tonight and say it doesn't hurt. >> the day after the election we were all as low as hound dogs. and he said get your chins off the floor. we're going to make this the best transition out. immediately he went back to work ask worked tirelessly to secure the agreement to get the hostage released. >> the orderly transfer of authority is nothing less than a miracle. >> reagan is giving this powerful piece of oratory and gives a compliment to carter. >> mr. president, i want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition. >> and the camera cuts to
carter, and you can tell his mind is completely focused on whether the hostages have gotten out or not. >> the hostages were sitting in the planes at the end of the runways waiting for ronald reagan to be president. >> god bless you and thank you. >> thank you very much. >> the situation is this, the hostages have left tehran, we're told. >> reagan is inaugurated on noon january 20th, 1981. the hostages are released minutes later. >> the iranians purposely tried to deny president carter as much credit for it as they could. >> what a punishing blow that must have been to jimmy carter. but in the end all of the hostages returned safely. not one of them died. it wasn't good for him politically but it's hard to argue with the success of that
approach. >> president carter put what's right and moral above politics, and you could not change that. and in retrospect you wouldn't have wanted to change it. spring 1937, albert windsor, known as bertie is woken by the sound of a military band, practicing for his coronation. he is about to be crowned king george vi. a role he never wanted. his elder brother chose to give up the throne to marry a twice divorced american. >> the discharge my duty