tv The Contenders Hubert Humphrey CSPAN October 20, 2020 3:11pm-5:17pm EDT
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>> this moment -- this moment is one of personal pride and gratification. yet one can't help, but reflect the deep sadness that we feel over the troubles and the violence which have erupted, regrettably and tragically in the streets of this great city and for the personal injuries which have occurred. [ applause ] >>. >> that's hubert humphrey accepting the 1968 nomination for president at chicago's conrad hilton hotel where the democrat his gathered for their convention in the midst of the vietnam war while thousands of angry protesters demonstrated outside. hubert humphrey, longtime,
minnesota senator and unsuccessful candidate is the focus of this week's contenders program. we are live from minnesota's history center. nick collette is the document ari documentarian of hubert humphrey's life and the tumultuous year of 1968. i want you to set the stage for people, as '68 dawned this country was in an uproar about the vietnam war. set the stage. >> the vietnam war had been running for a long time, at that point, probably 15 years and the tet offensive at the end of january really set the stage for the year because it was obvious to everyone that the war was not being won and the north vietnamese reached all of the way to the american embassy in saigon. president johnson's approval rating had plummeted and bobby
kennedy was entering the race and it was utter chaos at that point and right after president johnson resigned in the 29th of march, three days later, martin luther king was assassinated. so the beginning of that first part of the year was a terrible chaos. >> it was a year when people who were alive were turning on their radios every morning to wake up and there seemed to be another huge story every day. we'll try to tell some of that story in the context of hubert humphries' campaign for president and we'll be here for two hours and we'll learn more about the history of the time and the biography of senator m humphrey and we'll begin to take your telephone calls. what's important for young people to understand is what's different about the wars we fight today and the vietnam war is the draft. so this was real in a sense for american families in a different way than the professional army we have today. would you talk about that? >> the draft was really the point at which the protests really started when the draft was instituted and it really --
now people have a choice if people want to enter the military, if they're against the war they can stay away in those days and there was no choice and you went to canada or you went out to being drafted and that's what caused the protest and the other part of that was that people weren't being able to vote until they were 21 so they couldn't even vote the people out of office. they were running the war. so that was probably the biggest difference. >> is it fair to say every american family had a personal connection to this war in some way or another? >> they had someone who went to war and someone against it in the same family. in fact, lyndon johnson and robert mcnamara, his own kids were against the war and they had -- the defense secretary. they stayed at his house. families were broken over it, much like the civil war, i guess. >> the other thing that people should understand that made this real in a way that wars fought
earlier was television. television was bringing it into people's living rooms every night. will you talk about the effect of that? >> it was wide open because nobody had really done any kind of television wasn't restricted. it was all brand new, and so nobody in the administration or anyone else had any control over it. so the journalists were going out there and getting whatever they found and we don't have that now. it's much more controlled in the battlefield so we were seeing things that you wouldn't see now and actual battle scenes and people being wounded and that kind of thing and it had a profound effect on the country. there was another reason that people came out against the war is they were seeing it on tv and 300 body bags were coming back every week and they were showing the body bags and the caskets and it had a profound effect and changed the average person's mind. >> we have to remind people that the war started before lyndon
johnson's term. it had been raging 15 years earlier with advisers and later as troops were deployed. lyndon johnson's attitude about the war was what? >> well, he -- i think he was confused about it for a long time, but he did not want to lose it. it was really important to him to win the war, and it colored everything he did. people tried to talk about any kind of a settlement and he wouldn't do it. he was interested in winning the war and once he got into it, he didn't have a lot of options and that was the only one he wanted. he had no other option and that affected him when he left office, too. he want someone to come into the office that would continue it, and it wouldn't end the war and make him a loser, basically. >> lyndon johnson and hubert humphrey became teammates in 1964 following the assassination of kennedy when lyndon johnson ran in his own right. what was the relationship like and how this was period for senator humphrey?
>> the intensity in vietnam started almost at the exact same time that he became vice president. the tankan gulf resolution of '64 was -- there was a resolution in congress that lbj asked for and it was passed and humphrey signed on to that. as did gene mckarthy and others and then the convention came later in the summer and humphrey became vice president. so he walked into the beginning of johnson's real involvement with the war. and campaigned all during the fall and they never talked about vietnam and it was more about barry goldwater being trigger happy and humphrey with the peace candidates and goldwater was the war candidate, basically. and so -- vietnam wasn't talked about. >> they were talking more -- >> in '64. >> they were talking more about annihilation and nuclear war.
they won by a landslide, 44 of 50 states. so in the spring, in the early part of the year when they were in office, was there another incident in vietnam and johnson called the cabinet sort of an ad hoc cabinet and adviser meeting and they'd decided to bomb north vietnam in retaliation and he asked people around the table what they thought of this and everyone pretty much agreed and humphrey said it was not a good idea and we should not get involved and shouldn't send ground troops in, shouldn't bomb. this is not a good idea for the country and people won't understand it. he spoke up at this meeting and johnson got angry and he wrote a long memo and at that point he was completely frozen out of any discussion of vietnam. >> we have first, 1964 and remember that lyndon johnson had been operating without a vice president when he came into office after the kennedy
assassination. so there was a great deal of speculation going into the convention about who his choice would be to run in 1964. here is a film from the '64 convention as lyndon johnson announces his choice for vice president. >> as the next vice president of the united states my close, my longtime. [ cheers and applause ] -- my trusted colleague, senator hubert humphrey of ♪ ♪ ♪ >> democrats and most republicans in the senate voted
for education legislation, but not senator goldwater. [ applause ] most democrats and most republicans in the senate voted to help the united nations in its peacekeeping functions when it was in financial difficulty, but not senator goldwater! [ applause ] >> i couldn't help, but think at that particular moment how far we'd come, all of the hard work and the effort that we'd put in through those many years and this was a great moment in my life. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> mr. johnson said in his judgment, mr. humphrey was the best man to be president in case anything happened. no longer is the vice presidency just another job. ♪ ♪
>> well, that video, we should tell you, and much of the video you will see tonight is from the documentary on hubert humphrey, the art of the possible, and lots to follow up there. first of all, the scenes of the energetic hubert humphrey addressing the crowd and having the crowd out of his hands and lyndon johnson didn't seem to share the moment. >> he didn't like the spotlight taken away from him and humphrey was a better public speaker and he was upset about humphrey taking the show away, but he was that way. that was lipdon johnson. and by the way, the goldwater -- not the senator goldwater part of that speech and it was written by several people, by bill moyes, and that was an early one with that speech. >> the call-in response.
>> yes. want senator goldwater and it was a crowded respps. >> it was also -- senator humphrey had the vigs of the presidency and made a real bid in 60 accepting the vice presidential nomination. you can see how he was go that moment. he was the happy worryior. he called it the politics like joy, and tea pit believe in an innocent count reand the american people and all at once, he really believed in our testimony system ask that was that was a way to change the country, if he could. >> another clip, and this is later on in 1974 when hubert
humphrey made audiotapes and we'll use those throughout the program and this is one example of the relationship that you referenced and how it really became very testy between lyndon johnson and hubert humphrey as the administration wore on over vietnam, and he reflects on some of ways that lyndon johnson used the powers of the office, the perks of the office to keep his vice president under control. let's listen. >> there wasn't a time that i ever got a plane they didn't have to ask for, believe me, if there was a time when someone would tell you johnson was extravagant t wasn't with his vice president. many times he said it was better to take a smaller plane. if you had a plane that's too big, you'll have too many people that want to ride with you. there is an extra seat that hasn't been used and so from time to time on short trips, particularly up and down the atlantic seaboard i would take a
king air, beachcraft king air or queen air and one of the smaller planes that was available or a two-engine military plane. for our longer trips we'd use a jet star. nowhere within the continental limits of the united states, did you use air force one and two. those were four-engine jets. they are supposed to be used by me only for overseas trips. at no time was i permitted to bring a newspaper man or a person of the media the president forbid it, and of course, i respected his command and his wish. >> he -- i gather he felt that the vice president should be heard and seen, but not reported upon too much. >> of course, lyndon johnson had been the majority leader in the
senate when hubert humphrey had been serving there and these two men had a long relationship and served in leadership together. could you talk about how johnson used the levers of power to control hubert humphrey. >> as i was saying earlier, he had this argument with johnson about vietnam. johnson shut him out for at least a year about any talk about vietnam or any foreign policy, basically. he cut off his privileges and shortened his staff and at one point he tapped his phones and did a number of things to basically control humphrey, and he didn't want him speaking out against vietnam and he didn't want him speaking out of anything that johnson didn't want him to speak about, basically. he wanted to keep him quiet and he had a way of calling them my planes, my boats and he had could see that the johnson had their possessive he and a lot.
>> there were times when he had three or four speeches for that week. so that's word and that freeze lasted about a year before vietnam. >> can hubert humphrey talk about how he reacted about this? >> he was miserable during this time. johnson was shutting him out of the inner circle and he was on the outside and he wasn't happen during that time because he wanted to be involved with what was going on. then he went back and he was sent to vietnam a year later and then things changed in 1966. >> we are going to walk around this exhibit tonight and give you some sense of the exhibit that's been put together here showing the year 1968 with the focus on politics and our stops and i wanted to remind you about your participation and about ten, 12 minutes we'll start
taking telephone calls and if you live in the eastern or central time zone, if you live in the mountain or pacific time zone, 737002 and you look forward to your comments on tumultuous year in american history, and the year that hubert humphrey was a contender for the president of the united states. we'll go to our next stop here. >> so how did you first get interested in hubert humphrey. he was always on the air, and he spent some time working here and the archive was just fabulous and the documentary filmmaker and of course, gold mine. >> the humphries had children. ? his daughter is no longer alive. she died a couple of years ago and his grandson buck is more involved in politics, and skip -- and hubert iii, his son
works with advertising and no one is in politics at this point. >> we are in an exhibit about the political life of hubert humphrey that was his life and he wasn't born in minnesota. >> no. >> where was he born? >> 90 miles into south dakota and in one of the railroad towns and that dotted the south dakota prairie and it went along the prairie and he was born 1911 and it was a remarkable little town. it was an intellectual format and his father was a druggist and his mother was a methodist and he got the politics from his father's drugstore and her social gospel kind of feel. he got it from both sides and -- it is a great combination of the preacher and the politician. he's got both sides. >> he went to pharmacy school himself so how did he end up in politics? >> he went to pharmacy school
for a job and he mostly always wanted to be in politics and he did it in a year a short time to help his father with the drugstore, and i don't think he wanted to be a pharmacist for life. >> he ended up being a doctor doctorate. >> why was he studying politics? >> he was going to come back to the university of minnesota, get a doctorate and teach. he was so good at public speaking and communicating that a lot of people around him convinced him to run, and i guess he probably did really want to run so he ended up coming back to minnesota and becoming mayor of minneapolis. >> when did he serve at mayor and what was the city like then, do you know? >> oh, yeah. he came back from lsu, from the south from grad school in 1940, and minnesota had been a republican state that never elected a democrat to the senate and the reason why was that the non-republicans were divided as
the democrats and he helped unite the two parties and built himself his own political base and the city was corrupt and bigoted and all kinds of problems with segregation and when he first came kwot nation" magazine called it the capital of antisemitism in the united states and when he left he got an award from the national council for the christians and jews. >> is it still active today? and hubert humphrey is its founder. >> he was probably the greatest negotiator. >> what does it stand for? >> the -- >> from an ideology standpoint? how does it distinguish itself? >> i don't know, at the time it was a group of farmers and laborers who probably had differences and it's a complicated story and they probably had differences with the more professional sort of
democrats that were, you know, fdr democrats and there was a split there and they just didn't like each other and humphrey was one of the people who had convinced them that they would never win an election unless they get together and the labor party had one-third of the legislature. >> he ran for senate when? >> he ran for senate in 1948 after the speech. >> i have a clip, not from then, from 1960 when he first seriously thought about running for president and this is one of those joy of being a politician of hubert humphrey. let's watch. >> how do you think your race is going? >> like this roller coaster, it's been an uphill fight, but i think we've been going quite well. >> would you mind telling us what's the most exciting part of the campaign? >> right now. >> thank you, senator. well, i tell you, this is good fun. politics ought to be fun. >> yes, sir.
♪ vote for hubert humphrey, the president for you and me ♪ >> and there we see hubert humphrey just enjoying life. did he -- bring this to his politics all of the time? >> all of the time. that was pretty much the way he ran and he would light up a room. people that met him would say it was 11:00 at night and he would get off the plane and work until 3:00 in the morning and everyone was asleep and he'd do that, and he'd run like that constantly. >> what were some of his characteristics? i read that he was known for talking a lot, for example. >> absolutely. >> he was also a good listener and people missed that part. he did talk a lot. in his speeches he would come with a prepared speech and put it down and just talk for an hour. he knew a lot about a lot of different subjects and really intelligent and an astounding memory. they figure at the time that he knew 5,000 to 10,000 people's
name. >> to go back and remember what they did for a living. remarkable memory? we'll start to take calls and we'll learn about his political philosophy. first up is kurt in copley, ohio. welcome to our conversation about hubert humphrey. >> good evening, miss wayne and it's a wonderful program to be participating in. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. you mentioned 1948 and i remember hearing and i've watched some of the clips on youtube on the internet an actor named ronald reagan who endorsed hubert humphrey in 1948 for the u.s. senate. when you think about it, were they kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum even though they were both democrats at that time? but also i wanted to find out what hubert humphrey's relationship was with barry goldwater in the u.s. senate versus what their private life
was like and also did hubert humphrey and jack kevin knnedy along well when they were running in 1960 and 1956 when they actually vied for the vice presidential nomination to run with governor adlai stevenson who ultimately they lost to senator estes of tennessee? >> right. thank you so much. first, his relationship with ronald reagan. >> he was a lifelong friend of ronald reagan's. and ronald reagan was the same politics in those days and he was the head of the actor's unone and the actors guild and he was a democrat and pretty much of the same philosophy and ronald reagan changed and ronald reagan changed, but they did remain friends. >> barry goldwater and they were even better friends and the best story i heard about their friendship was they were giving
speeches in iowa on the back of a hay wagon out on the farm. they just ripped each other apart in the back-to-back speeches and someone went through town and they were having dinner together. >> if you could talk in general, kennedy is next, but before we talk about kennedy specifically about the united states senate. these were the times of very big names of the senators and people recognize names from the history books even today and was there bipartisanship? did people walk work across the aisle? talk about the senate at that point? >> it was disagreeing without being disagreeable and there was camaraderie and hum freeh was friends with a lot of democrats and he was friends with some of those people and it was different -- it was more a cordial, and i believe there was more camaraderie than there is now, but i'm not in the senate now, but i can tell you they were pretty close, those people. jfk and their relationship. >> jfk's relationship through
the early years in the senate and they voted together on many of the same bills and humphrey -- and the relationship changed dramatically in 1960 during the election and during the primaries and the election. >> in what ways? >> they fought -- they had these debates in the election in the primaries and wisconsin and west virginia and they got to know each other that way, and when kennedy became president, humphrey gave him many, many of his ideas to use in his administration and the washington post had called him the idea factory for the kennedy administration because the peace corps, for instance -- oh, yeah. let's take a call from indianapolis. this caller is jerry. welcome. >> i love your show, but i've got a question for the man. back in 1968 was humphrey
spending time in the civil rights movement with dr. martin luther king and lyndon b. johnson? >> yes, and we'll spend quite a bit of time talking about his civil rights. in fact, why don't we get into that part of his world view by showing a clip? this is from your film "the art of the possible," this is early in his career which hubert humphrey talks about his view of the world and his brand of liberal echl. let let's listen. >> all right. we don't have that clip as we're getting it ready, i want you to help us understand what informed his politics. >> to answer the question, the civil rights was long and it was in him from the time he was born. so it wasn't new to hubert
humphrey. lyndon johnson was in a southern state and the whole idea, and humphrey felt and believed deeply what he was up against and what he did in that speech, lyndon johnson called the most courageous political act in the 20th century because he could have destroyed the democratic party and truman and his own career. and he believed in the civil rights. >> and the caller asked about humphrey's commitment and compared to the other two to lyndon johnson. >> can you make a valued judgment about how much they cared about the issue with hubert humphrey? >> kennedy -- johnson probably was more in line with humphrey. kennedy was a reluctant civil rights person. he came to it later and bobby came to it even more, but it was an issue for humphrey from the beginning and it was an issue for johnson for many years, too. humphrey was much more passionate about it, i believe.
much more involved with the african-american community and spoke at naacp meetings and he didn't know martin luther kings and he didn't know the labor leaders, philip randolph and other people who were out at the time and -- yeah, so. >> let's listen to cynthia in sioux city, iowa. >> good evening. i was a member of the television news team in sioux city, iowa, but i happened to be in washington, d.c. reporting the day we withdrew from vietnam and i had the privilege of interviewing hubert humphrey on that very day, and he spoke about -- i asked him about how he felt losing the vietnam war and he said he too was a casualty of the vietnam war and he had a tear in his eye. i wonder if you can talk about his policy. >> the two trips he made to vietnam while he was vice
president, the first trip was scheduled for him and he went to a prescribed tripe with all of the stops planned for him and he was watched pretty closely and he saw only the good side of the war and spoke to the good generals and heard the good news of the war. the second time he decided to go on a zone a year later and went to hospitals and talked to people and at that point he quit cheerleading wart because he found out about the corruption of the south vietnamese government and he came back from the second trip in 1967 knowing that the war needed to be over, but he was boxed in. he'd been speaking out for the war for the last year, the year previous and lyndon johnson was not going to let him speak against the war so he had himself in a bad situation and that conflict lasted with him all of the way through 1968. >> as the caller before alluded the two great issues of hubert humphries' political career was civil rights and the vietnam war and the 1948 speech launched
hubert hum freeh on to the national stage. we'll listen to that clip from the convention in philadelphia in 1948 and when we come back we'll be joined by another guest who will be with us for the program. ron williams, fox commentator, and the auth are on of a number of books that deal with the civil rights era. to the 1948 clip now. >> mr. chairman, fellow democrats, fellow americans i realize in speaking on behalf of the minority report on civil rights that i'm dealing with a charged issue, with an issue which has been confused by emotionalism on all sides of the fence. i feel i must rise at this time to support the minority report, a report that spells out our democracy. a report that the people of this country can and will understand and a report that they will enthusiastically acclaim on the
great issue of civil rights. to those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights i say to them we are 1172 years late! >> after all, i have been the destroyer of the democratic party, the enemy of the south. hubert humphrey, the quote, end quote nigger ♪ ♪ >> i never felt so lonesome and so unwanted in all my life as did i in those first few weeks and months as the united states senator. >> and that second clip was hubert humphrey reflecting on what it was like coming to washington in 1949 after his big speech in the '48 convention. juan williams, welcome to our conversation. >> good to be with you. >> how important in the civil rights of the country was hubert humphrey? >> that '48 speech was truly a landmark and that's the moment
when you see organized politics get behind what we think of as the modern century civil rights movement and that's the moment at which the democratic party sheds so much of the paralysis engendered by being reliant on the dixie kracrats and you see someone rise up in the democratic party in the form of this convention and hubert humphrey's voice is heard nationwide as speaker of minneapolis at the convention and here he is saying to people across the land via the medium of the day, radio, that this is an abomination and not what the democratic party and not what the american people should be standing for. he's speaking in terms of a morality and a call to justice and you have the segregations of dixiecrats walk out of the convention and it leads to third
parties and all of the rest and it has a tremendous consequence thats like domino. you have senator eastland -- thurmond would be the great been and you have eastland and -- how risky was hubert hem free's kachd at to put his neck out on the line. it was controversial here at home? >> no, when he was running. he was a candidate, wasn't he that year? >> he was, but he was still mayor. >> he was a candidate and here among the voters in minnesota to speak out against civil rights. >> he came back as a hero. >> other parts of the country it was a real problem. >> did he offer any risk for harry truman in making this? >> absolutely. >> how did truman feel about this? >> when he first started the
speech, truman called him a pip-squeak and he was upset about it and he thought he ruined the election for him and truman was watching this in the white house and he condemned him for it and he learned later on and it helped him and he turned it around and used his speech to get the north and the african-american vote in the north and that helped him win. >> what inflamed his commitment to civil rights and where did this come from? >> that's a good question, nobody knows. his father, he got it from his father in the middle of south dakota. his father raised him to believe that people are people and they have their own form to colorblindness. there were no african-americans in the small town he was in. there was a catholic family and a jewish family who both had crosses burned on their lawns. it was inside him. it was innate.
no one could really come up with a reason, but it was certainly there. >> this is andrew watching us from newberg, new york. you're on. welcome. >> good evening. what are you doing? your question? >> i was hoping you could comment on the relationship between robert kennedy and hubert humphrey and how it developed from being political enemies in 1960 to 1968 when they were vying for the democrat presidential nomination. okay. >> rfk relationship. >> the rfk relationship started in 1960. he didn't have much of a relationship with him before that. it didn't start off well because of the way humphrey was treated in the primaries, but he learned to like robert kennedy and they learned to be friends and he campaigned for kennedy in '66 when he ran for the senate and
scuttle his bid for the white house. >> he didn't help very much, he didn't do the things, and he was at the ranch and he'd bring the press out for nixon and he would tell humphrey no tell humphrey press could be there. part of the belief is among historians is that johnson believed that humphrey might end the war and make him look bad, his legacy, and he thought nixon might continue the war. he thought he might lose texas at the end, which he didn't really want to do. he was late in the campaign when he started working for humphrey. pretty much during the whole campaign, he was out of the picture. he wasn't helping at all. >> i want to bring the story back to civil rights. from the 1948 industry of hubert humphrey, in the early 1960s, when civil rights legislation
>> does he make comfrey thehtkño point man? >> humphrey becomes the point man in the senate. the man who has been persistent in terms of calling for civil man who gave the 48 speech, the man who has been persistent in c terms of calling for civil . rights and justice ass part of the democratic agenda who really takes up the cause in the senate. and he's up against it because the rules were different then.
you can filler buster to no end and the numbers are 67 votes were required in order to end the if i recall buster. if you look through history, there are very few points where you get enough points to end the filler buster. that's almost unheard of. and it takes a great deal of effort by hubert humphrey to hold off a republican effort to just prolong this filibuster and he gets four votes in order to call an end to it. and the legislation couldn't be put through the normal channels. if it had been put through the judiciary committee, you would have run into senator east land. it's kind of extra judicial process being put in place by mansfield but engineered by
hubert humphrey and the bill gets its passage. >> states right, that we have a right to run our businesses, for instance, in a public place. we have a right to allow whoever we want in, the constitution allows us to do that. of course, that was one of the main arguments. but there were a number of them. i want to say too that the dixiecrats were probably the biggest obstacle for him. he had a number of republicans that were on his side. in fact, it was a coalition of republicans and democrats that made it happen because they had the dixiecrats in the democratic party and those people were -- there was no way they were going to change any of the minds. it was an interesting group, thomas keiko was on the republican side and eventually -- so the opposition was real conservative republicans.
barry goldwater was against the civil rights bill and the dixiecrats, that was his obstacle. >> and the drama of this filibuster coming down to the wire. just to give you a sense of what the arguments were like, we have another clip. this is hubert humphrey and strom thurmond debating the civil rights bill. it's a back-to-back clip with t hubert humphrey talking in a >> speech about his strategy. two clips back to back. tha let's watch that debate from '6e and we'll come back to our two guests. >> we know the fellow americans who happen to be negro have been denied, in their travels, the chance for the place to rest and to eat. it's not public accommodations.r it's invasion of private ity of property. this will lead to integration of private life. said in the city of birmingham, o alabama, up to 1963 there was af
ordinance that said if you weree going to have a restaurant, you had to have a seven-foot wall down the middle of the restaurant dividing the white ie from the colored. how foolish this is and isn't d. that ann invasion of private -- >> consenator, we live in a cot of freedom. under our constitution, a man t has a rightes to use his own ef, private property as he sees fit. we must remember that this bill creates no jobs. -- therefore, whose jobs are these negroes and minority going to take? other w negroes' jobs or white people's jobs. >> this is weighing heavily on our conscious andnd we must spei out against prejudice and bigotry and discrimination and we must be willing to accept the fact that every american is l entitled to equal rights under the constitution and the law.
>> having to watch every move and make sure that at all times we have present -- or readily available 51 senators because one of the tactics of the opposition is to call for repeated quorums which means we have to produce 51 senators to answer the roll. >> that story of of always to have 51 supporters of the legislation on the floor. how did he organize the people to be there. >> he had teams and they would rotate and at times when he -- if they didn't get a quorum, the senate would get shut down and work in favor of the anticivil rights people. they were able to bring two or three people in and they had this rotating basis and they would wear out the 51 people that had to be there. they drove to baseball games and bring a senator back to the senate. they did all kinds of things. they had a list and a schedule for senators that had to be --
it was really a well -- well done. but they had moments when i didn't work. they had to get people from outside the senate and bring them back, fly them back and things to get a quorum. it was tough. >> was the opposition largely regional? or was it broader than that? >> you had goldwater who is a westerner from arizona. and his opposition was sort of libertarian which picks up on was mick was saying. this is a matter -- this is a free country, it's a matter of private country. you shouldn't be telling a man what to do. and you see much of this then get reflected in strom thurmond's language. i think we just saw some of that. but thurmond is not speaking in terms of sort of rank racism, but he's saying this is a violation of my rights and humphrey is having to come back and say this is ridiculous.
what you're doing is perpetrating the worst kind of racism and you're oppressing people and that becomes the argument. it's interesting to go back, just to listen to that clip and we have such arguments today about jobs in our country and what's necessary to be done. and here, you can hear strom thurmond saying this job -- this legislation doesn't produce jobs and therefore blacks or he says negroes, are going to take the white man's job. you think, oh, my god. but he was comfortable saying this and it had some effect in that era. it's not as if he was speaking into a void to the con strtrary. it was generating a political response to the civil rights legislation. >> you're on, jimmy. >> caller: i'm so glad you called me, ma'am. this is wonderful. i haven't spoken but to one of the sons of senator humphrey in the last, well, since he died
over the years. i think spoke with skip. i'm jimmy wolford, the fellow who sang the hubert humphrey songs. i have such a wonderful love for him. over the years -- he took me everywhere. i sang everything. he taught me politics. he had great respect for me because i came from a family who my father worked the railroad and my grandpa, the mccoys worked coal mines and hubert humphrey came back in here, he heard me sing on a radio station in 1960. he gave me $25 a day to travel with him. and teddy white wrote a book called "the making of the president" and teddy became one of my best friends. and teddy taught me a lot. and everyone in minnesota that i've met and throughout america, the great people that i met, the henry fondas and the presidents
and the vice presidents and the people all over this country, it -- i'm 77 years old now and i'm -- i still record -- i did record for capital records for years and i'm doing material now and the stories of the hatfields and mccoys, my mama's family. hubert humphrey was to me like my father. >> jimmy, thank you so much for that personal story. you know jimmy's songs? >> i'm not going to sing them. i know them. he was -- he's traveled with him all the time. he was with him very closely. it's good to hear his voice. he's one person i lost in this search for interviews. i didn't know where he was. >> 77 years old. thanks for calling in and adding in that personal touch. we have to get one more relationship established here which was over the course of his
civil rights -- around the package passage of the bill, he did develop a relationship with martin luther king. >> he had a relationship with king around this legislation. if you look inside the reaction in the black community, remember, there are lots of people who are militants who don't see the value of this legislation. king, on the one hand, is saying, no, this is a necessary step. if you go back to the great march on washington in '63, it says it's for jobs, freedom, et cetera, but in large measure it's to say that the united states congress, pass the civil rights act. pass the law. put it in place. and humphrey is one of the great supporters of this at the time. he's at the march on washington. he's emphatic of his support even though some people are saying, we shouldn't have a march on washington. humphrey was a total supporter
and thought it was a good and necessary step. >> one other thing about he and m martin luther king, he met with martin luther king at the early parts of the filibuster. he said, i want you to know that we're on the same page, if i say -- humphrey's policy was to treat them with respect, use the humphrey way rather than the johnson way which was negotiated. if i say things to them in public you don't like, i'm saying this because i want the bill to get passed and we're on the same page and don't get upset with it. >> so we can hardly do justice to hubert humphrey's career before he ran in 1968, but at least you get sense of his work on the national stage in civil rights. he took into the vice presidency and in 1968 when he decided to run for president himself. very important, that lyndon johnson made the decision early that he would not seek the office, thus setting the stage. at that point how many democratic contenders were thinking about challenging
lyndon johnson? >> it was basically bobby kennedy and jegene mccarthy. >> and they were antiwar candidates? >> yes, they were. it was april 27th that humphrey joined. >> was it a surprise to the nation? >> it was a shock to humphrey. he had shown up at his apartment earlier that day before he left washington, he showed up at humphrey's apartment said i'm going to give this speech. i have two endings. i'm not going to tell you which one. but you should listen to the speech because you'll be surprised. he hadn't decided yet. humphrey was in mexico and he was called out to watch this broadcast and he announced that he was leaving the office and because of it have chaos that was going on there, they thought that they heard that he was immediately leaving office which would have made humphrey president. there was all of this commotion, but they realized he was leaving
at the end of his term. >> what's interesting about this to me is that, susan, as you ask about who is running against him, it really was gene mccarthy. and gene mccarthy is the one who is in new hampshire and taking on johnson. johnson is not actively campaigning. but he has surrogates all around. gene mccarthy is the antiestablishment, anti-johnson candidate and he has support from people who are superstars of the era. they're all people who are anti-vietnam war and of course all of the college students are just emphatic about gene mccarthy. and gene mccarthy does well in new hampshire and legitimatized the idea that johnson is vulnerable. and that's -- it's only after mccarthy's success that then you start to see robert kennedy willing to jump in and people are, you know, questioning why
is he jumping and trying to block gene mccarthy because they think mccarthy has the momentum. and that sets the table. but even as hubert humphrey is thinking that he too is trying to pull back on the war, he is pressured by the fact that he's loyal to the man who gave him the vice presidency, lyndon john. to me, it's a wonderful political story where you see someone saying, you can tell hubert humphrey is a good guy and he's not going to put lyndon johnson in a position where he feels he's being undercut by his number two. but at the same time, johnson is just totally dismissive of humphrey and especially humphrey's contribution saying this war is not the right war. >> let's get to another call. this is larry in california. hi, larry. >> caller: hi. i'm a rather big fan of humphrey's and for many years it
took me quite a while to accept the fact that he was never going to be president, even after his passing. i was able to finally channel that energy into putting up my own humphrey website. in 1998 i visited mhs along with the humphrey institute. we looked in the catalogs, didn't see any items surrounding the middle east war in june. i would have thought humphrey would have made speeches or something. he didn't and that surprised me. >> was he involved in middle east policy and did he speak out on it? >> he was, but talking about june of '68, i guess. i don't think that that was at the forefront at that point he had too much else on his plate. i don't remember seeing anything either. >> with the early primaries, things start going into warp
speed in 1968. it was a year of assassinations, the first being martin luther king. what happened in the country with the king assassination? >> it's hard to summarize it, but you immediately have riots. you have riot that is are still -- mark cities like washington, d.c., chicago, kansas city. it becomes a national moment of crisis and you have people fearful that there's going to be large-scale racial war in the country after this assassination. and, you know, the unrest that surrounded the vietnam war is all -- is still present but now it becomes a background. remember, king was an opponent of the vietnam war and he had said that this was an unjust war and a wrong war and why are black and white boys dying in this war and there are people
who were trying to join the civil rights movie with the antiwar movement and king who has not been political, king who had condemned -- said there were flaws within the democratic party and flaws within the republican party, is becoming more political and there are people inside the civil rights movement who recognize that johnson has been so supportive in terms of civil rights and humphrey. why are you, dr. king, now challenging this administration that's been so supportive of us. but king, nonetheless, says he feels a moral imperative. he's a nobel peace prize winner. he feels a moral imperative that he feels this is part of an injustice that is being perpetrated by america. america is on the wrong side of world history in pursuing this war effort. you have a half a million americans at war, record numbers of deaths, and he is out there speaking against it a year before he's assassinated, he's
in new york making a speech that gets lots of attention. he's speaking against the war. it becomes part of the energy that surrounds him and it puts him in the position of being on a opponent of the johnson administration. >> this is ralph, you're on the air. >> caller: thank you very much. and thank you for the contenders. i'm a work from upstate new york. i have a quick comment and a quick question and i'll hang up. i have a video another home, the title is "words of a true friend" and it was about hubert humphrey and he was speaking at a gathering and it was towards the end of his life and he is still smiling. he knew it was almost at the end and he had a great quote at the end, he says, i rather live 50 years like a tiger than 100 years like a chicken.
but i want to move up to 1968. and i met a guy 20 years ago who said he worked on the humphrey campaign in 1968 and he said that he came home after working on the campaign and he was at this hotel. he was looking out -- he was looking out at this park and the news came on and said that humphrey protesters having violence in the park. he called humphrey the next day when they had a meeting and humphrey said, i know nixon has been doing it for a while and there's nothing we can do about it. but i think nixon, from this guy's story, nixon was doing it to try to link humphrey to antiwar protestors. i was wondering if your guests have ever heard a story like this. thank you very much. >> i have heard stories of being paid protesters and i've heard that the in the civil rights movement i believe where people were paid to cause trouble. but it's never -- it's hard to document. there were stories about him. it probably happened at times.
that's, you know -- there's no way to know for sure. >> he was a union caller. how important were the labor unions to the civil rights effort and the antiwar effort? >> it was very important. they were slow to come along. you think of the labor movement in this country understanding the importance of racial equity. by the time of the '60s, they're a essential part of the democratic coalition. the democratic coalition part of that fdr, legacy, if you will. here they are now linking hands with not only a. phillip randolph, but also dr. king to support the march on washington, showing a famous picture of dr. king speaking on washington. he's got several people right behind him in that video and you can see the union involvement, and you can see the head of the union and others right there with him. so it becomes -- not just a
matter of a support mechanism, but a controlling mechanism for people who wanted to be able to have some levers of control over the march and over the civil rights effort. >> we're going take a call here and then we've got to fast forward. shortly after the king assassination, robert kennedy assassinated in los angeles. hi, dean. >> caller: hi. i'm a fellow brother, also the cleveland building construction trade. my first ever political involvement in political was about -- was led by hubert humphrey. i was 18 years old and i lived in a city, a suburb of the city of brooklyn, ohio. and he had claimed -- he was the vice president of the united states and you can imagine what
was happening in '68 and '69 and all of the '60s for that matter. and he sat down and stayed in town for a couple of hours with our mayor who turned out to be a mayor for 51 years. his name was john coin. they were both mayors. they talked things over. and i was in lots of -- i also got drafted the following year. it just a pleasure, the series that you're running, and happy warrior of hubert humphrey. thanks for having me. >> hubert humphrey, the happy warrior. the name he was given throughout his political career. we're live from the minnesota history museum in st. paul right by the capital. beautiful building. we're using this as our backdrop to talk about the presidential campaign of 1968. hubert humphrey, unsuccessful in
his bid for president, but he made a major contribution to american history and we're learning more about that. in june, the california primary and next politician, national figure to be gunned down, rfk. what happens to the campaigns? >> it stopped for a good month. he didn't feel comfortable at all under those circumstances and it set him way back. that's really the beginning of his numbers sliding. earlier in the year, in the early primary season, he was in the primaries. well, after kennedy was shot, it looked like the democratic party was falling apart and it really -- it stopped his campaign. so when he got back on his feet again in july, he was behind nixon and came the republican convention which cemented his lead. >> what stands out to my mind is that we were talking a moment ago about the king assassination and robert kennedy gives an
amazing speech that so many people still remember in indianapolis on the night of the king assassination because as i described to you, there's rioting breaking out all over the country. there's racial anger and unease and he talks about the king assassination in terms of his own brother's assassination and, you know, kind of drops of pain and all that we can do to try to ease that pain, but the patience that is required. just a few months later, here he is laying dead in los angeles and i think the -- again, the sense is that america's leaders are being killed, people who are the idealists, people who were to carry on the grand traditions of liberalism, people who are challenging the establishment or being eliminated, there's a great sense of sadness and despair in the american body of politics at the moment and it's hard to capture -- sometimes we have arguments today about what's going on in washington, paralysis, polarization and
people say to me, if you were here in '68, you would understand how bad things could have been. it feels like we don't know the forces of evil that are at work and why so many great american leaders are being killed at this moment and don't forget president johnson's approval numbers are in the low 30s. he can't come out -- he can't attend major events. he won't be able to go to the democratic convention. and there's rioting at the -- it's really an incredible moment, '68, and hubert humphrey is there. hubert humphrey is there and he wants to be antiwar and he wants to stand up with people and say, there's reason to hope america can do it. but he's seen as an establishment figure because of his association with lyndon johnson. >> cities are burning, our leaders are being gunned down and all of this, people are trying to vie for the office and bring america to the next stage. we're going to go to a next stage as well.
we're going to listen to a call, and our next stop is going to be about the oppositionists gathering with george wallace and the republicans. let's listen to jim who is listening in new york. hi, jim. what's your question about hubert humphrey? >> caller: let me first say how much i'm enjoying this program. i really appreciate it. my question really, though, deals with the first draft lottery which i believe was in '67 or '68. i have great recollection of being eligible for that. having a very low number which, of course, upset everyone in my family. what was humphrey's position relative to that, the whole concept of the lottery, what did he do on that issue?
>> you know, i don't know that i've ever heard humphrey say anything about the lottery. but i know later on he worked -- at that time he worked to raise the voting age because he thought it unfair that people were being drafted at 18 and couldn't vote until 21. and i think later in his life, he had different ideas about it and he probably felt that the draft itself was probably wasn't a good idea. at the time, i don't know that he said anything about it. >> summer of 1968 and the country is in disarray. the democratic party with the assassination of both dr. king and then bobby kennedy are in disarray. it was reported that gene mccarthy lost his heart to campaign after the assassination. on the republican side, richard nixon who had been in the senate, also former vice president, wanted to be president as well. what was his campaign's reaction to all of this turmoil? how are they positioning their man? >> you know, the principle response from nixon was law and
order. that he wanted to restore law and order in the streets. he wanted to get the counter culture, all the young people who were so in their antiwar efforts, protesting on campus and shutting down the campuses, wanted to get that under control and he appeal today a group that is now -- it's a famous name, but the silent majority in american politics who felt as if they were being put upon by this counter culture and all of these young people, some of who supported gene mccarthy. what is interesting is nixon in this period is a guy who himself has concerns about the war, has questions about it. but he is -- he's positioned himself as a staunch supporter of the military and the war as a counter to some of the democratic efforts and to separate himself out for the johnson forces. >> and hubert humphrey described as being boxed in as being loyal
to his president and johnson demanding loyalty. the two candidates were able to distinguish themselves -- >> before that, it's interesting, if you look on the republican side, it's not only nixon that is running, but you've got romney -- >> the father of the current candidate for president. >> and romney was trying to position himself as antiwar. and it leads to what i guess we all will remember as the most famous moment of his presidential run when he says he's been brainwashed by the generals and political leaders about what's going on in vietnam and saying that he was brainwashed then alienated some of that silent majority based because they wanted to see the war continue and to win the war. romney thought that he could outflank nixon by being the antiwar republican, turns out he hurt himself with his base and he was never able to challenge nixon after that. and then you also had, you know -- you have people like
harold stassen. >> rockefeller. >> rockefeller is in that mix. romney is in that mix and ronald reagan is in that mix. ronald reagan is the strong, strong conservative as opposed to nixon and it comes down to rockefeller and ronald reagan kind of knocking each other out and allowing nixon then to have a clear path to the nomination in miami. >> let's take a call from fred watching from michigan. hi, fred. >> caller: hi, there. i just wanted to mention one of my favorite stories about hubert humphrey when he was the mayor of minneapolis. they went out on strike and the mayor's office goes -- overlooked the bell telephone company across the street and he saw them taking in mattresses and food being brought into the building to prepare for a long
strike. he ordered the inspectors to go over there. so he ordered them to empty the building of all that stuff. and hubert humphrey was always a great friend of the working people and that's my comment. >> okay, thanks for telling that story. let's move on to another call from nancy in norton, virginia. hey, nancy. >> caller: hi. i was 14 years old in 1968. i was visiting washington and my older cousin was a humphrey supporter. i was always very proud of that. i wanted to ask since i heard on msnbc earlier that the occupy movement is coming to d.c. december 5th through the 9th. what your guests might -- could offer in regard to recognizing
paid provocateurs. all of the 99 percenters i approve of are not violent a. >> thanks very much. >> he studied at the high lander school, as did rosa parks and others who were involved with the civil rights movement. initially, the high lander school is there to help people involved with union activities who were fighting against coal miners and teaching them how to organize. of course those tactics extend to civil rights protests and the like. obviously in the case of the bus boycott that rosa parks and dr. king become so well known for in 1959. but in terms of the lessons you would take to something like occupy, remember that when king is assassinated, he was
intending to come to washington to lead a poor people's campaign in '68. and it was going to be right there on the national mall, right in front of the u.s. congress and the capital and the idea as dr. king expressed it, he wanted to show the leaders of the free world that there was still need and poverty, including in appalachia but also in the big city and is he was going to build, you know, these shanty huts right there on the mall. talk about an occupy movement. there's a direct analogy to that. and there was the fear that this was going to attract all sorts of that. >> we have a clip that talks about the fact that there were no debates during the general election and there was a lot of discussion about whether there would be. here is richard nixon talking about not debating hubert
humphrey. >> i happen to be of the opinion that we need to debate in this hundred. i think you and mr. humphrey should at -- >> i think mr. humphrey is having a great time debating himself. >> you're prejudice, mr. nixon. >> if you don't want to debate with the third-party candidate whose name shall not be mentioned, why don't you get your friends in the house of representatives to pass a special law permitting you and mr. humphrey to debate? >> have you ever looked at the membership on that committee? it's always amusing to me people say, why don't i get the republicans to do something on a debate or the rest? let's remember that the senate is 2-1 democratic. the house is 3-2 democratic. and any time that hubert humphrey, with his great influence on his side wants to debate, i would think he would be able to get the democrats to pass it. i think that -- i think that my
power in terms of what i could get the republican members in the house to do is greatly overestimated. they are insisting on the three-man debate. that's the problem as you know it. they're not opposing the debate, but they say with wallace getting 21% in the poll, i'm sorry, i shouldn't have mentioned his name. with wallace getting 21% of the poll, they're insisting they can't go back to their constituents unless they give him an equal chance. >> surely you would have enough friends to bring this thing off, wouldn't you? >> i don't think he's got that many friends. >> wow. >> glimpse of richard nixon talking about the 1968 campaign. the focus of our discussion here and the contenders program featuring hubert h. humphrey, candidate for president in 1968. richard nixon talked about george wallace. we're going to listen to jim and
talk about george wallace. you're on the air. >> caller: great series, great show. >> we can hear you, go ahead, please. >> caller: i have purely speculative question i wanted to ask primarily to mick in dealing with power of celebrities in 1968 that supported in the primaries mainly kennedy and mccarthy and through the announcements of a bombing halt possibilities that many of them came flocking back to humphrey and many participated in an election eve telethon called call humphrey and many of these stars were there, frank sinatra and there was a poll taken on election day saying that humphrey would win. and my question is, do you think that if these stars and that sort of vehicle -- this marathon
telethon taking questions live on the air, that humphrey had pulled it off if these people had come to him earlier in the fall of '68. >> well, gene mccarthy called in that program and it would have helped if he had come in earlier in the year. there was a lot else going on at that time besides the telethon. they thought they had peace in vietnam the weekend before, that week before. and humphrey's poll ratings jumped -- just kept going up almost past nixon in most polls because a peace in vietnam would have went under the presidency. and nixon convinced the south vietnam leader to not come to the peace talks. this happened. it's documented all over the place. he backed out of the peace
talks. many people believe that's what really lost the election at the end. >> we mentioned george wallace right behind you as a campaign poster for george wallace. when did he come into the race and what bloc did he represent? >> he represents southerners who were alienated not only by humphrey but by the student protesters, by -- he's representing working-class people in the northern cities who really i think are frustrated with the entire climate, they think there's a lack of law and order. they think the minority, the blacks are out of control, and they think that nobody is listening to them. this is kind of the archie bunker element, if you will, and that's who wallace comes to represent and it's a substantial feeling because a lot of these people, remember, would have been democrats. they're union people or southerners. but they are not in line with
what has become of the democratic party in terms of the gene mccarthys, the edmund muskies. they're not there. and wallace gives form to their feelings. >> so in the interest of time, we've got to fast forward the story. the republicans meet in miami for their convention in the summer of '68. the democrats convene in chicago with their party, with serious fractions about the war and chicago was what kind of scene? >> where do you begin with chicago? humphrey tried to get the hole convention moved to miami because he knew it was coming and johnson wouldn't do it because he knew he was so close with the daily and he promised daily they would have the convention. there were all kinds of strikes, cab strikes, communication strikes. there were barricades up. they expected 5, 10, 15,000
protestors. it was chaos. and he was worried about threats to his family. there had been threats to kidnap his wife. he arrived at the convention without a peace plank. he had a peace plank that would talk about ending the war and johnson squished it at the end. he ended up coming to the con vings convention. >> he had most of the delegates by way of lyndon johnson. that was another thing johnson held over him. he had sway with the delegates that would in a moment him. >> it's a critical moment in terms of all american political history. humphrey is the last one, the last nominee who gets the nomination through the bosses and not will you the primary process. so you get people like daily and the other big-city mayors and union leaders who get behind humphrey. again, almost out of anger at
the counter culture movement and the antiwar movement, and daily is not only beating up, i might say, on the protesters in the street. he's beating up on media inside the convention famously and it's a horrible scene. in terms of the american public that's watching this, a huge turnoff. >> richard daily was determined to have law and order. what kind of forces did he marshal? >> the police force there and the national guard are all on the streets and they're whipping heads. it's a really horrible scene and humphrey is put in the position of saying he stands with the bosses against people who are breaking down law and order civilization, the anarchists in the streets and the drugs that are being featured and the free sex and all the rest and he's trying to appeal to that silent majority and saying he stands for law and order.
democrats are not an out of control party. it's ironic because it's -- hubert humphrey was a guy who was not a great supporter of the war. he was not a machine guy. he was an idealist. in this moment, he becomes a representative of that big-city mayor union boss, lbj bullying, hard-ball politics. >> let's go back to calls. this is from honolulu. mike, welcome to the program. >> caller: i really enjoy your program. and the history involved. i'm 69 years old now and i remember in 61 -- 1960 i was in high school. i worked for kennedy. and of course he was running against hubert humphrey. and also hubert humphrey had a little campaign slogan or little campaign jingle that was to the tune of give me that old time religion. and of course kennedy was a
catholic. i remember that. of course we go back to '68 and i was married then and of course i voted for humphrey. and i wonder, my question for the author is this, was there any animosity between the kennedy camp in '68 and hubert humphrey because of hubert humphrey's anti-catholic campaign in 1960? thank you. >> i assume he means was it still there in 1968. it was gone by that point. but the things that john kennedy did to hubert humphrey in that 60 campaign, it paled in comparison. he bought that election in west virginia. >> we have a clip that we didn't show from 1960. i'm going to take a call and we have jfk talking about hubert
humphrey from 1960 that will help illustrate some of the relationship. as we're getting that ready, let's listen to john in knoxville, tennessee. >> caller: hubert humphrey and gene mccarthy were close friends for many, many years as former dflers. and at the end of the convention in chicago, he said he would come out and actively support him soon. and i think the assumption was like in september. but mccarthy never did. and that was a terrible burden for humphrey and probably mccarthy could have swung enough votes to get humphrey elected. and i'm wondering whether your experts share that view or whether they have some other view. >> thank you. >> i share it for sure.
we interviewed walter mondale and he said that if mccarthy would have come out on the stage at the convention and said humphrey is not our best candidate and we're against the war, he would have won the election. they had a meeting a couple weeks before the convention where mccarthy told humphrey to come out for him by mid-september, and he never did. and they were talking constantly, all through the campaign, trying to get mccarthy to come on board with humphrey and wouldn't do it. left the country for a while. no one knows why. >> if you joined us along the way, we have a copy of a documentary on hubert humphrey, the cover, if you're interested you can follow up on it. many of clips are from his research. one of those is from 1960 and jfk talking about his relationship with hubert humphrey. >> this week i had the
opportunity to debate with mr. nixon. i feel that i should reveal that i had a great advantage in that debate. and i'm not referring to anyone's makeup man. [ cheers and applause ] the advantage that i had had was that mr. nixon had just debated and i debated with hubert humphrey. and that gave me an edge. >> debating with hubert humphrey gave him an edge. we're going to go back to calls. greg is in south dakota and, greg, you're on. welcome to the conversation. hello, greg? >> caller: hello. >> we're going -- there you are. almost lost your chance. go ahead, please. >> caller: yeah, i was just -- was humphrey -- this kind of relates to what you guys with
your talked about earlier. but humphrey and lbj's relationship. what happened? why would he have to tap his phone over vietnam? okay. thanks very much. >> as i understood it, why would he attack his own over vietnam. >> well, because he -- lbj wanted to win that war and he didn't want anyone telling him -- getting off the farm about it. he wanted people to do what he told them to do and humphrey had reservations about the war and he knew it. he didn't want -- humphrey was -- had been a free spirit his whole career and he was in the situation where he had to be controlled. and johnson knew he could cause damage -- >> i think he was protecting his own legacy. >> yes, he was. that's right. >> we're going to close out our discussion in the 1968
convention. '68, national guardsmen who were in the streets holding back student protestors on the convention floor. this is hubert humphrey and a clip from the convention as he accepts the nomination. >> listen to this immortal sate, where there is hatred let me so love. where there is injury, pardon. where there is doubt, faith. where there is despair, hope. where there is darkness, light. those are the words of a saint. and those may those of us of less purity listen to them well
and may america tonight resolve that never, never again shall we see what we have seen. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> i was heartbroken. it was the moment of my life, the convention and there was total disarray. i, again, was posed with the problem, what do i do under these circumstances? >> and that last was a clip directly from the documentary about hubert humphrey reflecting on the terrible turmoil at the 1968 convention. we have just about 35 minutes left. we're going to move along to the next part of the exhibit here and take some seats and round out our discussion of hubert humphrey's life and career, continue taking your telephone calls. as we do, we're going to show you some of the humphrey
commercials from the 1968 presidential campaign. we'll see you in just a couple of minutes. >> what have the democrats ever done for you? well, let's think about it. your kids are getting a better education today because democrats have given schools needed federal aid. and when school is out, your kids won't have to -- democrats have paisved the way for them t get good summer jobs. you have more money today because democrats worked hard to push through a higher minimum wage. you don't have to worry about supporting your mother today and she needn't worry about being a burden burden on you thanks to social security and medicare. quite an accomplishment. you know it. and you only heard a minimum's worth. what have the democrats ever done for you and yours? think about it.
>> paid for by citizens for humphrey muskie. >> the vice president of the united states. >> we have seen the terrible results of violence in this country. it would be intolerable if a handful of violent people and that is what it is, just a handful, could harden us against needed change. i've seen an uglier violence too and it perverts the spirit of america. i saw it at the republican convention in 1964 when governor rockefeller was down. i saw it in minneapolis when governor wallace, a man with whom i agreed, was heckled into silence and it happened to me in philadelphia. we must give notice to this violent few. there are millions who are willing to sacrifice for change but they want to do it without being threatened and they want to do it peacefully. they're the nonviolent majority. black and white who are for change without violence. these are the people whose voice
i want to be. >> the preceding was paid for by citizens for humphrey. >> mr. nixon, where do you stand on expanded medicare? mr. nixon, where do you stand on aid to higher education? where do you stand on the wheat program? where do you stand? where do you stand? i must say he's the -- >> you know something, richard nixon hasn't won an election on his own in 18 years. let's keep a good thing going. >> those were campaign commercials from the 1968 humphrey campaign as we talk about hubert h. humphrey, our featured contender of our series of 14 men who sought the presidency and lost but changed american history. we're live from the minnesota
history center in st. paul, minnesota. and this is a special exhibit they're doing on 1968. would you tell me, it's going to travel to other cities, right? >> chicago, for sure. i believe it's atlanta or charlotte. >> it's time to talk about the fall campaign. both of them have worked extensively in this period, juan has written a number of books about the civil rights era. the fall campaign, we've got wallace, nixon, and hubert humphrey all vying for the white house. we had riots in the cities in the spring. what was the fall like? >> there were some -- there was some rioting that persisted but it wasn't a major kind of smoke in the skies variety that we saw earlier in the year. but the racial tension was palpable throughout the country. and it's interesting, the way that nixon presented himself was as someone who was going to restore order in the big cities.
so this was also -- had a strong appeal to people who felt that, you know, this civil rights movement now, has sowed chaos and it's way beyond just a matter of equality, but it's now creating instability in the country and combined with the anti-vietnam war sentiment, you get nixon as the guy who is the man of stability, law and order, the man who is saying that you know what, we can win in vietnam even though later we'll know after the election he goes on to be someone who starts to pull out from vietnam. but he clearly understands that he's appealing to this so-called silent majority and that's what his campaign is about. >> hubert humphrey comes out of the chicago convention on vietnam still tied to lyndon john's policies. >> probably worse. the democratic national committee has no money. he has no money.
he has to borrow money to start his campaign. no tv ads. no promotion, whatsoever. and he's 20 points down in the polls. that's how he starts his campaign. >> really bad. >> how does it play out? >> well, he runs into -- continues like that until the end of september. he is booed off stage in seattle and other places from the protesters and it continues and nothing changes. and then he gives a speech in late september, september 30th in salt lake city, where he's sort of -- he had little left to lose at that point and he makes a break with johnson in a subtle way where he calls for a bombing halt and bringing the troops home. and things change instantly. he got something like a million dollars in cash come into him and people saw it as a change. the next place he went, it was humphrey we're for you. >> to give you a sense of what it was like for hubert humphrey campaigning after the election, here is a scene from that --
those months and the popular refrain that he met from protesters, dump the hump. let's listen. >> i proceeded to go out the door, the main door, walking across that campus with students, with protesters on each side of the sidewalk, pushing and shoving and cursing and doing everything they could to harass me. and one of the things they were doing was throwing urine, cans of urine at me and my party and other human excement. i got to my car and waved at the students and started to drive away.
>> i believe that the republican candidate -- i believe the republican candidate owes it to the people to come out of the shadows. >> what you heard and saw there, was hubert humphrey in 1974, reminiscing about a visit to stanford university and scenes of visits to other areas. this is shirley. hi, shirley. >> caller: hi.
i first heard hubert humphrey when i was in my 20s. he was the mayor of minneapolis. he was on a program and made a speech in favor of civil rights. since then, he was always my political hero. and i would like to ask a question. would someone talk -- wasn't he active in the antinuclear weapons issue towards the end of his political career? i would like to hear more about that. >> he was actually -- earlier in his career, he actually was the force behind the disarmament agency and the test band treaty and he started -- he couldn't get in the middle of the 1950s, he couldn't get the senate and the congress to because of the cold war to actually talk about disarmament and talk about negotiating with the russians and he started a subcommittee and it ended up in the test ban treaty. and when it was signed by
president kennedy, he turned to humphrey and said, hubert, this is yours. i hope it works. >> i always remember on this front is we're talking about the general election in '68. george wallace is there. george presidential candidate is general curtis lamay. and he suggesting at one point the united states might use nuclear weapons in vietnam. of course, people are alarmed by this. people have not forgotten what happened in terms of the a-bomb and all that. but it is an example of how extreme and harsh this year was, and how the campaign, the '68 campaign is about war, immense social change taking place in the country. we talked about the civil rights movement and especially the idea of assassinations. but there's also a feminist movement. the campuses are on fire and
aflame and young people are just angry. the draft is going on and there's great discontent about that. it's just -- again, this period that is, you know, it shapes all politics that is to come subsequently. we're going to see the change out of the democratic primary process, because after that, no longer is it the case that the big boss, the union bosses and the mayors are dictating everything, and you're going to see the need for the democratic party to come back together and it doesn't do so for a very long time. subsequently, we see the trajectory which the south becomes increasingly republican. >> we mentioned vice presidential nominees, richard nixon choosing spero agnew. hubert humphrey chose edmond musky. how did that alliance come together? >> he had known him for quite a while and everyone wanted him to have a southern candidate to pull the south and he said i want someone that would be a good president if someone happens to me. the assassinations were very
fresh, so he wanted someone that he liked and someone that was stable. it didn't help him much politically. he wasn't thinking along those lines. he also spoke to nelson rockefeller about being his vice president, crossing party lines. which would have been pretty remarkable. rockefeller gave it 24 hours and said he couldn't do it. rockefeller didn't have any special liking for nixon. >> next telephone call is from annadale, virginia. >> caller: hello, ladies and gentlemen. i am thoroughly enjoy thing series. i was intrigue about the comment earlier that humphrey was the originator of the idea for the peace corps and a lot of other ideas for kennedy. i wonder if kennedy ever gave him credit for those ideas, and what some of the other ideas of his were. >> as i said, he gave him credit
for the test ban treaty pretty much publicly. he gave him credit for food for peace program. i don't think he said so about the peace corps. there were a lot of things that i don't think he said specifically but he might have said that these are humphrey ideas, because he took him -- humphrey, when he lost the primary to jfk, he said i want to get my ideas into his administration. so he worked on them. >> hubert humphrey by the way, was 57 years old, born in 1911. so in 1968, 57 years old. and how did he present himself as a candidate, gentlemen? was he -- i mean, we have all this change going on in society. was he conventional? >> extremely conventional. we talked about the difficulty he had portraying himself as aen opponent of the war. but you know what? he's not a counterculture guy.
there's no way that he's going to be standing around in a dashiki or with long hair or be credible. and, in fact, what he's frying to do is say he understands the need for stability and law and order, even though he's not a law and order candidate. so he's in a suit and tie, and he has difficulty, even with the kind of poetics that robert kennedy had employed when kennedy was -- when king was assassinated. that's not hubert humphrey. hubert humphrey is a great speaker. but how do you speak as we just saw in that clip? you had people screaming at you, as basically an operator for lyndon johnson, who is extremely unpopular. so he's a political vice that seems like a squeeze to me. sunday and it was impossible for him to present himself as anything. it was done for him. he didn't have much chance to be himself. but interestingly enough, he was
the revolutionary in 1948 and became part of the very establishment that he, like it or not, that he attacked in 1948. >> next telephone call from belfast, maine, pat. >> caller: i worked for hubert humphrey. my husband, in the '60s, was his press secretary. i was murriel humphrey's press secretary. so >> oh, my goodness. >> caller: we were involved in his 1960 campaign, we were with him through all of 1968. we were at the democratic convention and the horror and tragedy of what was unfolding. and i have the experience of escorting murriel humphrey and their children through the
basement of the convention center, with tear gas seeping all around us, as we were going into the convention hall on the evening that he would get the democratic nomination. and that night, from the hotel room at the conrad hilton, we were with him as he stood there looking out the window at the violence and the terrible tragedy unfolding in grant park. and the atmosphere in the room was almost of a funeral. and humphrey was the saddest man you can imagine on the night that he had achieved his greatest political victory to be the democratic presidential candidate. humphrey was a man whose ideals and integrity carried through
his whole life, and in his personal life when you knew him at home, when you were with him privately. he was the same person with the same passion, the same conviction for civil rights, for working americans, for the concerns of world peace that you heard in his public statements. and i don't think we have had somebody with his gift in the years since. >> pat, our time is short here, but are we doing your boss justice tonight? is there one aspect of his political career that you think it's important for our viewers to hear about? >> caller: i think you're doing a beautiful job on him. you've touched on so many things. i was happy that efls being
given some credit for the tremendous array of ideas and programs that he actually generated, and then championed during the kennedy administration. >> thank you for your call. what is your family name. >> caller: my last name is griffith. my husband wrote a biography of hubert humphrey in 1963 called "humphrey, a candid biography." >> thank you so much for being part of our conversation. great to have your personal story that has really added to our understanding of the '68 convention. we have 15 minutes left and still a lot to cover here. let's talk about election night. where did he watch the returns? >> i believe he was -- boy, i think he was in the lemmington
hotel in minneapolis. >> what was the election day and results like? >> well, the day -- they really thought they had a chance at the end. and then illinois and ohio and a couple of other states came in at the end. they were very close and ahead for a while. he basically went to bed believing he probably wasn't going to win and then found out he didn't. >> so ohio -- it's a very close race. ohio, illinois, and then california, which all go to nixon. and they don't go to nixon by a lot. very, very close. it's just above a percentage point difference in terms of percentage of vote in that national election. >> the electoral college vote as we're showing on the screen, 301 for richard nixon, 191. and journgeorge wallace got 46 electoral votes. who did he take them away from? >> if you think about the south
being mostly democratic and they're reacting to the civil rights efforts, those votes would have been available for a democrat who was operating at the behest of the democratic machine, the union bosses, the mayors, the wealthy in the country. but that was gone. that had fallen apart. they were trying to hold together for humphrey as part of lbj's machine. but remember, lbj was not -- didn't make the effort to try to give those people a reason to vote for humphrey. so i think if i look back, and my take those were democratic votes. we haven't talked about african-americans who are coming into the process. but, you know, what happens if king lives? does king get more involved at this point? does king say that he is for humphrey? i think he might have. would king have been someone who might have himself launched a third-party effort? i don't know.
but i think that would have changed the dynamic marketedly. >> what was the african-american voter turnout like in 1968, do you know? >> it was pretty good. i don't know the exact numbers. this is right after the voting rights act in '65, civil rights act of '64. this is a rallying cry for turnout. much more in the north and west than in the south. there is still a lot of intimidation going on. but, no, plaques are turning out in numbers. >> the block of states that wallace got, the southern states, alabama, mississippi, georgia, it's been a question among historians since the end of the election who the votes were taken from. if you look at it a different way, if they had a choice of only nixon and humphrey, it might have gone with nixon. so it's hard to know where they came from. >> wallace also take louisiana, mississippi, georgia. let's take a call.
this is jim. >> caller: hi there. first of all, i would like to mention that in 1968, in march of 1968 when johnson made his speech to step down, two days before on friday, march the 29th, which i have to correct your guest there on that date, march the 29th, mr. humphrey agreed to speak at my school. and the speech was scheduled for three weeks later. on sunday, march 31st is when johnson made his speech. and i've always wondered since that event whether he had a clue on that friday. because he had scheduled some other speeches for later in april on the same date that johnson was going to step down or he was just simply anticipating that the possibility may exist.
because of that speech i was able to sit on the front row of his announcement speech on april 27th at the hotel along with the other students that helped invite him. and i was also at the capitol the day the civil rights act was passed in 1964, june the 19th of 1964. so i feel like i'll always have a privileged front row seat in parts of his life. finally, i would just like to make a comment, which is that most of the progressive legislation and programs that evolved in the 50s, 60s, 70s were a result of him friday's, you might say, forward agenda. but it seemed at that point when he ran for president in '68, those key supporters of that
legislation turned on him. and he suddenly became outdated or a little bit too conservative, you might say in their eyes. and what the country was looking for at that time. so progressives for civil rights didn't view him as a strong advocate. the anti-war party did not consider him a strong advocate. and others. >> jim, i'm going to jump in. i think our guest made that exact point earlier. his great influence. but when it came time to for his own campaign -- >> he had his hands on over a thousand bills in ten years. the problem in 1968, there was only one issue. it was only vietnam. and all of that was lost, unfortunately. >> who had a plan to end the war? richard nixon won.
the war raged on another couple of years. what about hubert humphrey's life after this? >> nixon didn't say he was going to end the war. what he said was he was going to win the war. >> the plan anyway. >> a secret plan. >> that was the effort that appealed to that silent majority. so the problem for humphrey, again, we talked about how he is trapped in terms of being lbj's vice president and lbj's feeling that he wants to win this war. but he's also trapped in terms of this larger argument with nixon where he wants to say, you know, i'm for stability. i'm not for things going out of control. at the same time that nixon really says that he is the law and order candidate. humphrey can never be that because nixon has that space occupied. even as humphrey is trying, he is alienating the people who logically would be his supporters. >> i want the take a call.
this is for gavin in port jervis, new york. hello, gavin. >> caller: hello. you sort of touched upon this earlier. the question i have, if george wallace had been out of the 1968 presidential race, would you have seen the outcome being even closer than it was and in all of your opinions, who would it have been closer for? would it have been humphrey on the top? or would it have put nixon ahead. thank you very much. >> okay. do you have any more to say on that? >> as i said, nick said he thinks it's kind of up in the air. i don't know why, but from my perspective, i just think wallace hurt humphrey. and i think a lot of working class union folks who had some allegiance to the democratic party going back to fdr, i think they peeled off. and, you know, went with wallace. and i don't know that they would have gone to the republican
party and to nixon. >> we have seen that in the north. the south is where i think if wallace wasn't in the race in the south, nixon would have gone the votes. >> he started to do it and backed out to mcgovern. he decided not to do it. he began to get -- began to be ill at that point. so i think that had some influence. >> but he did go back to the senate? >> 1970 he took mccarthy's seat in the senate. jim mccarthy's popularity in the state had dropped and he left politics. and humphrey took it. one of the largest landslides of sen natural for career and served there until 1978 when he died. >> what was his second stint like? >> second stint. >> when he returned. >> he was at the bottom. he was a freshman. he was treated that way. he had no committees. walter mondale was senior senator. and treated like someone was just starting. he was given no respect. he found his own way.
and within a short time he was working on bills again and passed a couple different legislation bills during that time. he got back into it. >> and this is amy. hi, amy. we're talking about hubert humphrey. what's your question? >> caller: my question is, since humphrey served during the mccarthy era, what was his relationship with joe mccarthy? did he go after him because he was so liberal? >> that's a really complicated question. humphrey tried to pass something called the communist control act where he tried to make it illegal to be communist. and that was done in some part because he was trying to make joe mccarthy out -- to force mccarthy's hand so he would have to proven somebody was a communist and it would be illegal. you couldn't be so passe about it.
he would have to incriminate them. that was a bad plan. it didn't work. he didn't like mccarthy. he didn't like any of his tactics. even though he was anti-communist, he didn't like anything that he did. thought he was a demagogue. >> hubert humphrey was very ill with cancer. what kind of cancer did he have? >> bladder cancer. >> in the last years of his life in the united states senate. he ended up dying in january of 1978. the time before he died, he was brought back to the capitol for an unusual tribute >> never happened before. its the first time. >> tell us about that. >> it was the first time that both houses of congress and the senate met for to honor one senator. never happened before. they all met. just to honor his work. he died two months later. his spirit was still there. republicans and democrats all spoke.
>> and he invited nixon to come back for his funeral in the capitol. >> right. he called nixon at christmas and said you need to come back. he said i don't think any president should not be allowed in the city. nixon said i don't think you're going to do it. he said you're coming to my funeral. it's my dieing wish. and nixon came back to washington. >> as we close here, i'm going to ask you to bring us full arc. the premise is people that were not successful in the presidential bid but changed american history. how did he change american history? >> that speech at the '48 convention changed america. you think about major social movement of the 20th century, it's the civil rights movement. hubert humphrey was at the top of that order in terms of people who held elected office who put themselves out as advocates as some might say on the right side of history.
he was well ahead of the curve in terms of pushing the democratic party, pushing politics in the direction of the passage of the civil rights act. so much of the change we have seen when it comes to race relations. if you think about it just in pure political terms you think about barack obama, president of the united states today, that doesn't happen without some of the changes that come as a result of democratic party, primary process. again, here's hubert humphrey. he is the last selection by the party bosses and the machines and in this aftermath of hubert humphrey's defeat in '68, suddenly you have allocation of delegates based on primaries and process. again, that is part of hubert humphrey's legacy. and all the other social programs. we think about the end of the new deal period. but then you have a whole new range of some of them which nick has been mentioning here, efforts on the social justice
scene. but social programs that were the work of his fertile mind. >> nick, i'm going to apologize. we have run out of time. i encourage people to find your documentary. because you make the case about how hubert humphrey changed history. this is what it looks like. hubert h. humphrey, the art of the possible. it is widely available wherever you buy your videotapes. thank you so much for being here. >> sure. thank you. >> hubert humphrey died, as we said, buried back here in minneapolis at lakewood cemetery. his tombstone says i have enjoyed my life, its disappointments outweighed by its pleasures. i have loved my country in a way some people consider sentimental and out of style. i still do and i remain an optimist with joy, without apology about this country and about the american experiment in democracy. that's hubert humphrey's grave stone. as we close on this contender
series, we're going to show you just a bit of video from that very unusual session in the house of representatives. familiar faces to you when hubert humphrey, just months before his death, was invited back for a tribute and celebration of his long political and legislative career. thanks for being with us. [ applause ] >> hubert, old friend, we asked you here so we could tell you, we love you. [ applause ] >> mr. speaker, knowing full well the dangers of what i'm about to do, i yield as much time as he wishes to consume to the senior senator from minnesota. [ applause ]
>> i am standing where the president of the united states gives his state of the union address. my goodness how i long for that opportunity. >> we can nights this month on me american history tv, we look at 14 presidential candidates that lost the election but had a lasting effect on u.s. politics. tonight, we feature four-time presidential candidate george wallace. watch tonight, beginning at 8:00 eastern. enjoy american his tremendous tv, this week and every weekend on c-span3.
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>> up next, hubert humphrey accepts his party's presidential nomination at the 1968 democratic national convention in chicago. vice president humphrey lost to republican richard nixon in a close general election with less than 1% of the popular vote separating the two. independent candidate george wallace finished third in the race. >> mr. chairman. mr. chairman. my fellow americans.
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