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tv   [untitled]    February 18, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm EST

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one of the first of these was tom carty who re-examined the catholic issue in the 1960 election in a nice way, but maybe not terribly changing the narrative. and petroska who offered a journalistic account of suffering the web for newspaper coverage in the election in a way that would have been impossible to do before the internet made it possible to do this about newspapers. sean casey's recent book looked at the ties between nexton and a formal anti-catholic effort. an interesting argument although it pushes the argument further than it should. donaldson who was the first of these new studies has the right title on his. the first modern campaign and donaldson's argument is the first election where that was true, and i would agree with that part that tv was important
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and laura gifford in her recent book sees what's important in 1960 as the rise of conservatives in the republican party which of course, manifests itself at the is republican convention and goldwater speaking to the entire convention. it's interesting to think that if nixon had actually won the 1960 election goldwater would never have been nominated, of course, in '64 and probably not later either and the whole republican party might very well have been quite different. one can speculate about that. i think what actually drives the '60 election and what makes it important historically is that it is the point where both money and television entered into politics in a big way. money, of course, is not new in politics and one can go back to alexander hamilton to see that, but money is used in much larger quantities than 1960 and especially when kennedy comes up with the idea that the only way
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he can win the democratic nomination is by winning primaries and he had to spend a lot of his own money in order to do so and the combination of the money for tv ads and also money for staff in running a campaign that starts way before the nominating convention, and all of this is an innovation. since he has more or less locked up ahead of time doesn't have to worry about the nomination, but he can see that kennedy is on to something and in 1968 nixon copies the kennedy formula using a lot of money and lining up television commercials and so forth and is, of course, successful in '68 as well. one of the things that we need is a big book on the 1960 election. i wrote one that was commissioned by a press to be short, and so i didn't have space, but a book similar to the one done in 1968 by the three british journalists is something
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that would go into all of the details at the state level because the fact is that presidential elections are not a national election so much as they are 50 separate state elections and what happens in a particular state often depends upon the political combinations of who the personalities are there and the relationship of the candidate to those particular people, particularly inside the candidate's own party. looking at the state leaders, it would be interesting as well as the presidential candidates themselves. it's very interesting that as you look at the 1960 election, kennedy and nixon beth had a similar extraction, they both knew that the election was going to be very close and they knew that from the beginning. they also knew that they were fairly equally balanced in terms of the electoral college and therefore, the winner of the election was likely to be the person who carried a majority of
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the most pop loss states. there were seven key states in 1960. new york, ohio, michigan, illinois, texas and california and largely the same states that are important today and florida hadn't made it to the list yet, and if you could carry four out of seven of those you probably would win and if you carried five out of seven there was almost no way you could lose. interestingly enough in 1960 all of those states were fairly competitive. it was not a case that either side could really totally write off any of the big seven, and so both candidates made major efforts to win those seven. joe kennedy had, maybe back in '56, had figured out that kennedy's catholicism could give him an edge in new york and pennsylvania, states that had large numbers of catholics and where catholics after world war ii had begun to move away from the democratic party especially
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catholics who moved out of philadelphia and new york city into the suburbs and eisenhower got a substantial vote and an even bigger margin in '56. nixon with his anti-communism spoke sprokly to conservatives was a natural for continuing that in '60, but this could be neutralized by the democrats if they nominated a catholic candidate and cultivated catholic votes on that basis. so it was always, i think, problematic whether nixon could really carry new york or pennsylvania. in addition, michigan was increasingly under the control of the uaw during the 1950s, and so by 1960 the odds of nixon actually being able to carry
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michigan were somewhat less than 50/50. this meant that nixon had to carry all four of the remaining states. ohio, illinois, california and texas. he had the home state advantage in california and although the democrats did make an effort in california, i don't think they ever thought california was leakly, even though they turned out to be very close they couldn't count on california ending up on the kennedy column. ohio had a natural tendency toward the republican party that was not true of other midwestern states and so nexton got a bit of an edge there and had fewer catholics. illinois, the polls show nixon running ahead of illinois all spring more than in other parts of the country and nixon was quite confident that he could carry illinois. the key to the election turned out to be texas, kind of strange and texas hadn't played that key role before and eisenhower carried texas very easily and if
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nixon could hold on to texas and illinois he could, in fact, win the election. a couple of days before the democratic national convention nixon wrote a letter to a friend in which he said that he expected that kennedy almost certainly would be the democratic nominee, but he wasn't sure what the total ticket could be, but if kennedy could persuade johnson to get on the ticket with him and have a kennedy johnson ticket, that would be by far the most difficult ticket for nixon to defeat. that was the correct analysis. the truth of the matter is that johnson, and this is something i point out in my book, johnson really was absolutely essential to kennedy's victory, without johnson on the ticket, there is no way that texas turned out to be very close anyway would have ever gone to kennedy and kennedy was simply too liberal as iran in that election and also senator clinton anderson of new mexico in his memoir says that without johnson kennedy would
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not have carried new mexico because there are seven counties along the texas border that were settled by texans and they were greatly influenced by johnson. in addition, johnson learned that there was a move afoot by the state's rights governor of lose lose to have the democratic electors in louisiana be unpledged and not vote for kennedy in the electoral college and this was stopped by personal intervention of russell long acting at the request of lyndon johnson and had johnson not been on the ticket, it would have been hard for russell long to argue the case. as it turns out the central committee voted 51-48 to put the electors on the ballot and it was very close and it could have easily have gone the other way. johnson's campaigning was extremely important in the south and it was almost certainly responsible for kennedy carrying south carolina and possibly north carolina as well. so when you add it all together, johnson was one of the few cases
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in history where a vice presidential candidate actually made a difference. samuraiburn after the election said it was the most important vice presidential candidacy since teddy roosevelt back in 1900s. johnson did have an unusual role to play as it turned out. it turned out to be much closer than perhaps the kennedy people expected. but nixon had problems at the state level and for example, illinois, where you had a weak, incumbent republican governor, william straten who was insistent on running for a third term. he really didn't control the republican party and mayor daily who was not yet famous and was about to become famous as a result of the 1960 election. mayor daly arranged for a brilliantly balanced democratic ticket with kennedy at the top to draw out those suburban catholics, but then running for governor and lutheran auto
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kerner against the unpopular stratton and paul douglas picking up the university of chicago vote, the intellectual vote and also douglas had cultivated farmers in southern illinois for the entirety of his senate career. he campaigned in southern illinois not only for himself, but also for auto kerner and jfk. so the republican party even though it was a shambles and even though nixon was ahead on the polls, well, he didn't win the election in illinois, did he? whether he got enough votes, of course, is another matter. actually, that raises an interesting question, the vote count in texas. it seems that in illinois there's now, a few years ago someone developed new techniques for evaluating votes which involved random sample numbers and apparently if you try to add
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votes, steal elections by simply making up numbers, you don't do it randomly the way it would like you were counting real votes. if you had the precinct tallies, you being tell the difference. this is another study that needs to be done and ed's not a satisfactory vote in that, it needs to be supplemented. in addition, we know that in texas, the democratic officials controlled everything through the entire political system. there wasn't a single elected republican state or county official anywhere in the state of texas. the way some of the vote counts is done in texas is truly bizarre and spectacular is the way to describe it without going into the details. i would suggest that more vets were stolen in texas than in illinois in reality. in 1968 richard nixon copied
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kennedy's 1960 formula to run in the primarieprimaries, to show popularity by winning in primaries and to use television advertising in order to massage the electorate and win the election. the begger budget and the bigger staff really mattered. well, that's good because i'm at the end. as nixon hinted in a letter just before the -- so the 1960 election was a big disappointment and republican party officials were angry with him because they believed that the underlying fundamentals of the economy and peace and prosperity, eight years and so forth should have given nixon the victory and of course, one does wonder if he only hadn't done the debate in chicago under
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those sort of strange conditions, wearing a grey suited that faded in the background and with 101-degree fever, that debate is what really cost him the election or maybe he was up against the fact that in the country, he was only the number -- the second most popular politician or third. i was putting eisenhower at number one. kennedy was simply more popular than nixon. there wasn't anything nixon could do about that. i would end with one thing, i don't think religion was as important in 1968, and the reason i say that is if you overlay the returns for 1968 on 1960, and that and jfk's and so the idea that there were large numbers of people on the grounds
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that kennedy was catholic in fact, that's not what happens and the loss of democratic votes like states like oklahoma can actually be explained by the shift of oklahomans away because they were becoming too liberal and it was a rejection of liberalism and that would become a theme for years after 1960. >> why don't we open up the discussion to our audience and please wait until a microphone comes to you before you start asking a question. so there's a guy way in the back with the white shirt and the tie. wait. wait. wait. wait until the microphone gets
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to you. >> i would like to address this question to dr. coffee. did you give much thought to eisenhower's motivation behind the statement? >> the letter -- can you hear? is this -- >> it's on. the letter is rather opaque. eisenhower writes in saying don't get me wrong. this is almost a direct quote. dick nixon is one of my dearest friends and the very next cause of the sentence is i cannot let him become president. earlier dr. golan wrote how eisenhower wrote that he could have stopped nixon from becoming the vice presidential candidate in '56. i think it's a personal thing. eisenhower just -- i recall that
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milton eisenhower wrote negative things about nixon's trip to moscow. he would later say that he was embarrassed that nixon carried some of the family name. milton is someone who probably deserves attention since he was the much more famous eisenhower in t i93 just think that mostly it was a personal thing. >> great. >> there was a gentleman right there, right next to him. >> bill, i think you rightfully say that we should look at the presidential elections as a conglomeration of 50 state elections and it got me to thinking about a couple of names that would benefit from hearing your folk's opinion on. i know spiro agnew was a rockefeller man and nixon in his
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letters that i saw in the nixon project was particularly impressed with himself that he was able to turn nelson away from rockefeller. and you covered a person who was critically important to nixon's electoral success and is also not mentioned very much and that is george romney in turning the michigan -- the michigan election. so my question for you is am i correct in assuming that nixon had a great deal of skill in terms of working with the executives so as to maximize his political success in those states starting with rockefeller and then with romney? well let's go back to nixon's problems with the ten most populist states with the republican governors and one is
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discredited william straten on his way out and nelson rockefeller and they had no interest in nixon winning. >> the best way is for nixon to lose the 1960 election. so rockefeller has very little interest in winning new york state or win the election, either one. so i think having a weak republican party was really hurt by the 1958 elections and so that really made a difference and it makes it much harder for nixon to run and it had been the republican governors who had been elected earlier in the '50s had they still been in office. one thing you mentioned in your talk is the power of the uaw in the 1950s and the 1960s is the ticket-splitting state. they had a democratic governor in 60, 1962 and john swenson takes over. george romney gets himself elected in '64 and remained in
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republican hands for quite a long time. so it was a master stroke. how many votes romney carried, people voted that the hud secretary, and it was a smooth move. . >> the vice presidency for nixon and jonathan and the importance of 1960, johnson on the ticket. >> the question of why nixon chose ingagnew. the republican party in 1968 was
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unified today is nowhere was in 1968. nixon could not choose a liberal because the conservatives had so much power and they couldn't choose a conservative because there were still enough moderate to liberals. he couldn't choose therefore ronald reagan and nelson rockefeller. he didn't want either of them. you didn't want to be overshadowed or have someone like them either. a few of the names were tossed out. gerald ford, george bush of texas, although a few hours before nexton chose agnew he was talking to rogers morton of maryland who i believe is rogers. he had a brother from kentucky and he said rogers, if you want the vice presidential -- i'll give it to you.
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morton said no, no. so he said over on agnew. there wasn't a real groundswell for anyone, but also nixon couldn't afford to alienate anyone. he still had a tiny bit of fear that if i nominate someone that the party doesn't like, the floor might revolt and maybe they might go for reagan, so yes, it defees common sense and consider nixon's options, he didn't have any. agnew alienated nobody because the question was spiro who? >> right. >> also, by the way, you use the word puzzle or 1968, look at those times, that year. the whole year was a total puzzle. you had the assassination of robert kennedy, martin luther king and total chaos and particularly at the democratic convention and vietnam war going
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crazy and a surprise announcement that lbj wasn't going to announce again and if you look at the times nothing made sense that particular year. there's another consideration and that is agnew as a play for white, ethnic votes and that nixon is making a play trying to peel off some folks that traditionally had been identified as democratic. >> strom thurmond submitted a list of who was acceptable and who wasn't acceptable, spiro or spiro was on the wrong list. my question's about chicago in '60, my beloved home state. there was a saying that for every dead person that voted in chicago a cow voted down the state. it's important to enter that into the record. what was the state of the investigation? you had mentioned a study and
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trailed off. it seems one could take a hard look at this as someone tried in 1960. as i understand it, ed colina who had written a book called from courthouse to white house in which he actually goes back and looks at the precinct returns and while one can only speculate about the 3,000 chicago presinks that used machine-counted ballots, there may have been valid tampering and it may not have proven anything with the voting machines and they used paper ballots and republicans insisted after the election in reviewing those ballots and when they opened the machines and -- the ballot boxes and counted the ballots and "the chicago trib e tribune" was reported in all of this and it was no relationship
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at all to what was inside the ballot boxes and the number of votes would be off by sometimes 10 votes and sometimes 30 votes or 100 votes. it was consistent precinct to precinct. had it been random error, you would find it went toward nixon and not kennedy. this adds up to thousands of ballots. kennedy won illinois by and of course, there were republican counties downstate, say outside brooke county where republicans did steal ballots. i would have thought there were a lot of democratic ballots stolen where the rep reps didn't have poll watchers. they did have poll watchers in quite a few precincts and there was much less of an issue. both sides were steal income illino illinois, but the demeanor democrats had more opportunity because of the fact that they controlled the political voting
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machinery in certain looks that were operating to their advantage. the technical statistical analysis and this is now being used when the united nations does vote monitoring overseas that this is what they do. you take each precinct and you look at the final digit and while you might logically think that random numbers mean that 10% of the vote totals for a precinct would end in zero zero and 10% in one or 10% for two. it doesn't actually work that way. you spend in random numbers. it would turn out to be a different distribution from that. so you would compare the actual distribution on the ballots for the random number forecast and therefore, the computer can actually tell you whether or not there's been vote tampering. >> sir? >> my name is dee and i'm from
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salisbury university. i have three really quick questions or comments that were directed toward professor coffee and all about agnew as you can imagine. i worked through the agnew papers a little bit and i found them to be pretty interesting and pretty rich for what they held here at the university of maryland. so i thought you may want to comment on that. i also was fascinated to study agnew from the angle of native american indian policy and it dove tails to what you were talking about, and he took an interest in that. >> he did. >> when it got serious in 1970 he was nowhere to be found in that. the last thing is when you mention these two marylanders, you have this ideological divide in the party and it's fascinating that it's a geographical divide and maryland being something of a border state that those two names come to the forefront. >> first of all, the agnew
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papers are at the maryland college park. after agnew resigned he worked with the staff for about nine months, kind of the paper. i worked on them. they're sensational papers. they're organized and the staff there is very efficient, and i found things writ in 1964, jotting down notes about how he was with barry goldwater and also letters he wrote to -- if any of you were from california do you remember senator thomas kiickel? agnew wrote him a letter saying 1963 that said i'm endorsing you for president and he wrote him saying i don't know who you are and i'm not running. agnew said you're a practical person and i don't want the party to go on in a crazy, ideological direction left or right. there were jeps in the paper and the second thing about agnew and
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liberalism, he was someone who by 1972-73 had become conservative in large part because he really believed that the liberals were out to get him. he really believed that particularly the media and "the washington post" and "new york times" had begun to unfairly and he began to read a national review. he said they're giving me a fair shake and his aide told me that agnew really studied issues, he read a lot and he actually was intellectually curious. something that people don't give agnew credit for. he was very well versed, very well read but in terms of the nixon administration when it came to civil rights, particularly integrating schools, he was invited in new orleans when they were going to
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do it in 1977 who said i'm not going. through the riots he said even though i'm in charge of this policy i'm not going to do it. the final thing with maryland. maryland is a very strange state. is it south? is it north? is it east? is it west? it has a lot of people who are very difficult to discern what they are even in terms of are you a democrat or a republican? so agnew fit because he wasn't south and wasn't north. i do disagree with you. i don't think agnew actually was there, and i also disagree with the thing about strom thurmond. i don't think agnew was a part of the southern strategy. i think he was a part of the suburban strategy. nixon figured by '68, voters and the suburbs and states like pennsylvania were the once making the differean


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