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tv   The Contenders George Wallace  CSPAN  October 20, 2020 8:02pm-10:04pm EDT

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"the contenders. tonight we come to you live from the governor's mansion in montgomery, alabama, as we look at the life and times of four-time presidential candidate george wallace, elected four times as governor of alabama, george wallace called this house behind us home for 20% of his life. now, before we begin our conversation on george wallace and his legacy, and introduce you to our guest, here's a look at his political style.
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>> and i said if you can't distinguish at harvard between honest dissent and overt acts of treason, come on down to alabama because we'll teach you some law down there because y'all don't know. both national parties in the last number of years cowtowed to every group of anarchists that roamed the streets of san francisco and los angeles and throughout the country. and now they've created themselves a frankenstein monster and the chickens are comin'home to roost all over this country. i love you, too, i sure do. oh, i thought you were a she, you're a he, oh my goodness. when he was in california, a group of anarchists laid himself in front of them and threatened his personal safety, the united states president.
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if you elect me, the president might go to california, all come home to our kids on some of them lie down in front of my automobile, it will be the lasting of or want to do to lie down in front of. >> and now we're joined here in the governor's mansion, in front of the governor's mansion in montgomery, alabama, two miles south of downtown montgomery by dan carter, biographer of "george wallace: the politics of rage" is his book. dr. carter, in your book you describe george wallace as the most influential loser of the 20th century. what do you mean by that? >> well, certainly of the 20th century and the period since world war ii, the rise of conservatism, i can't think of anyone who was more influential not so much in creating ideas, but as showing that there was a tremendous amount of support in the country for what was at that time not seen as very important, the new conservatism ultimately evolved. >> what is the new conservatism?
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>> well, it went through several, it metamorphized over the years. in the early stages it was closely linked with the activism of the federal government, and particularly the flash point with the civil rights movement. that's where george wallace got his start but it was something that was far broader than simply what was happening in the south. >> george wallace was first elected governor of alabama in 1962. where did you come from? >> barber county, which was one of the most politically active counties in areas of alabama. somebody said there wasn't much to do except get involved in politics, so that's what george wallace did, and he turned out to be very good at it, coming back after world war ii, having served as an engineer, b-29 engineer flying in the pacific, he ran for the state
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legislature, easily won, was an up and coming figure, then was elected judge, and was so popular, he decided to run for governor. >> and this is 1958? >> 1958, and the problem was he ran as a moderate, and -- >> what's a moderate in alabama in 1958? >> a moderate in alabama in 1958 was somebody who emphasized law and order. >> certainly governor or later to be governor wallace, was a segregationist just as much as his opponent, john patterson, but there were kind of nuances you had to listen for, and when judge wallace, as he was then, emphasized that he was going to uphold the law, and criticized his opponent for having the backing of the ku klux klan, that was a way of saying to voters, look, i'm a segregationist, but i'm a rational segregationist, and i'm not going to lead us into violence, and that was essentially the way he was perceived, and he lost. >> he lost in the democratic primary.
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>> which at that time was tantamount to being elected. john patterson ran as he himself said later on as a stronger segregationist candidate and that's why wallace lost, and at that point, i think he faced a critical kind of crossroads in his career. >> there's no place for him to go except to tap into the rising tide of anti-government conservatism, which was at that time built around the civil rights movement, and then he's elected easily in 1962. >> what did he change? >> well, he became the stronger, much stronger proponent of segregation, and essentially later on we associate him with the stand at the schoolhouse door. i will stand in the schoolhouse door to prevent the integration of any schools, higher education, lower education, in
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alabama, and that's exactly what he did, although he had to back out of the door pretty quickly. >> dan carter, he ran for president in 1964, after two years of governor. >> right. >> as governor of alabama. >> right, and when he ran in 1964 in the democratic primary, lyndon johnson had become president, after the assassination of john kennedy, and johnson insisted he was too busy, so he didn't actually run as a candidate, but he had a series of surrogates around the country in the democratic primaries, and when wallace announced that he was going to run in the democratic primary, no one paid any attention to it. it got about two paragraphs in "the new york times" and when he went to wisconsin, northern state in 1964, the governor predicted there the democratic governor he won't get 1% of the vote. well, he got 33% of the vote. >> it stunned everyone, and i think it was at that moment
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that pundits, political observers, realized that the separation between the south, what was going on in the south, was not just southern, because clearly there was a constituency for someone like george wallace, an avowed segregationist in the south. >> george wallace ran for president in 1964, 1968, 1972 and 1976. >> in 1968, he won five states, and 46 electoral votes, that's the last time an independent candidate has won any electoral votes. here's george wallace announcing in 1968. >> for over a year i have repeatedly stated that one of the existing political parties must offer the people of this country a real choice in 1968 or that i would lead a political effort which would, in fact, offer this choice. i have traveled throughout our country in the last year, literally from concord, new hampshire, to los angeles, california, and to miami, florida, and the american people are hungry for a change
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in the direction of our national government. >> they are concerned and disturbed about the trends being followed by our national leadership. there has been no response from either of the parties which would show the american people that they are heeding the growing disillusionment with what amounts to a one-party system in the united states. no prospective candidate of the two existing parties nor anyone in party leadership positions have come forward with any indication that there will be any difference in their platforms. no one has suggested that the wishes of the american people will be heard. so today, i state to you that i am a candidate for president of the united states. my wife, the governor of alabama, joins me in this decision. my wife and i together, in making this announcement, are carrying out our commitment that the people of alabama made during her campaign in the year
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1966. i am in the race irreparably. i will run to win, and we will, of course, discuss in depth as time goes on the issues and our solutions to problems that face the american people. >> dan carter, why was george wallace so successful in 1968? >> well, he was successful for the reason that he was usually successful, and that was he had an almost unnatural ability to size up both the audiences he spoke to and public opinion, a couple of pollsters used to say, always listen to what governor wallace was going to say because i knew the next time i polled, that's the way it was going to poll, and that may be a slight exaggeration, but he was certainly aware that, whereas'64 may have seemed kind of flash in the pan, revolving around the civil rights act in
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the passage of the civil rights act in 1964, that was the main issue then. >> by 1968, you've had riots in the cities. you've had the anti-war movement. you've had a general reaction throughout the country as americans realize that the civil rights movement not only was having an impact in the south but the passage of the civil rights act of 1965 was going to effect the rest of the country as well, everything from housing to jobs, and suddenly there was this constituency that he knew that was out there, opposed to the activities of the federal government, and particularly the role of the courts, the role of the presidency under johnson, and his very assertive, great society, and he knew that as an independent candidate, he also had the possibility, and it was a long shot, he didn't think he was going to win, secretly, i think, but he knew there was at least a possibility that he'd be able to get enough votes for the third party candidate to throw
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that election in to the house of representatives, something that hadn't been done in well over 100 years. >> was that his goal? >> publicly he was always running for president. he was going to be elected but i think deep down he was pretty realistic, and he realized that was a long shot in 1968, but he was also thinking about 1972, so even if he didn't win in 1968, he saw himself as stronger by'72. >> he was not governor at the time in 1968 when he was running, correct? >> no, his wife, arlene wallace, who had been elected in his place in 1966 because he couldn't succeed himself at that time, tragically died in office, and albert brewer succeeded her, and supported him in that campaign, so he wasn't governor, but he did have the support of the state of alabama pretty successfully. >> what was happening in april, 1968, when martin luther king was assassinated?
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what was george wallace's reaction? what did he do? >> he made remarks about how tragic this was, and talked about it a couple of times. he really didn't respond publicly very much. he responded earlier much more to the assassination of john kennedy despite the fact he always used kennedy as a foil for example in the school house door trying to keep out black students in 1963, he admired kennedy and respected him. when kennedy was assassinated it disturbed him deeply, he realized the assassination of a public figure like kennedy could happen to him as well. >> you've got a picture in your
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book, the politics of dan carter of president kennedy touring. alabama in 1963, not a picture that jfk wanted to have published. >> he made every effort to make sure he was not photographed side by side with george wallace and for him it was politics, he may have not to liked wallace in some way n some way he admired political skills, he didn't like him, but he realized that politically this was not going to do him any good to have his picture next to governor wallace. >> and there is a picture. you can see was taken but a long lens, jfk getting off the helicopter and greeting governor wallace. what was his reaction in june, 1968, when rfk was shot? >> he really didn't like robert kennedy.
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they had a number of, disagreements, they had met at some great length in the months preceding the stand in the school house door and one is again he used it to talk about the rise of lawlessness in america, but i don't think he was really deeply touched by it at all. >> dan carter, in 1968, how serious did president nixon and hubert humphrey take george wallace? >> humphrey worried about it, because he saw him as potentially pulling votes but as time went on in that campaign, third party candidate, hubert humphrey, richard nixon the republican candidate, i think humphrey came to realize that wallace was going to be pulling votes from nixon so he didn't worry about him as much. nixon was the one that came to be deeply concerned about it, as the campaign opened, nixon was so far ahead in the polls, that it was only by the time you got to late september that he began to realize, whoa,
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humphrey's moving back a little bit, coming up in the polls, and now wallace is pulling close to 20% of the vote, that is in the polls, and these are my voters, his political advisers felt. >> so he had to figure out a way to get the support of the wallace voters, without directly attacking him. >> president nixon won in 1968, 31.7 million votes, he got 301 electoral votes. >> hubert humphrey 31.3 million votes and 191 electoral votes and george wallace received nearly 10 million votes and 46 electoral votes, here's george wallace discussing the'68 campaign "the the road to victory." >> the strong support we have in our region of the country from whence this movement originated gives us an excellent base to
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go forth on the day of november the 5th with and we in my judgment will go forth in the beginning with at least the 107 electoral vote that comprised the states of the south and border and when you couple that with just a few other states of the union, then you have the 270 odd electoral vote necessary to win the presidency. so let -- no new party movement has ever had the grassroot support that our movement has. the other movements are movements of personalities or some small group who represent only a small fraction of the voting public but our movement does represent in my judgment the majority thinking of the american people at this moment and represented over themselves.
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>> we are back live in montgomery, alabama, a live picture of the governor's mansion, two miles south of downtown montgomery. >> dan carter, how is it george wallace got 46 electoral votes and which states did he win? >> he won all of the states he won were in the deep south. and to him that was a disappoint because he hoped to break into some of the border states and he was close in a number of them in north carolina, in virginia, and particularly in tennessee. he was within striking distance. so although he was disappointed it's an extraordinary showing. no political candidate had third candidates since strom thurman back in 1948, had carried enough votes in the state to take the electoral votes and he saw it as a strategy that didin't succeed, but one that was sound, i think, in 1968.
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>> we want to get you involved in this program on "the contenders" this week the legacy of george wallace. 202 is the area code. 737-0001. for east and central time zones. 202-737-0002 if you live in the mountain and pacific time zones. so go ahead and start dialing in and we will get to those calls in just a minute. last week on the contenders we talked about hubert humphrey. and so much of the discussion was about the vietnam war. can you talk about george wallace without talking about segregation and civil rights? >> sure. he had positions and often quite popular positions on social issues, for example. he was the first candidate, first person i should say to testify in favor of a constitutional amendment guaranteeing school prayer against the supreme court decision. he talked an awful lot about pornography and the dangers of
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pornography. but it was a mixed -- you have to remember this is the 1960s and'70s. for example, he supported roe v wade. he came out in favor of the equal rights amendment when it was first proposed. so at this time, yes, there were these social issues. but they didn't have that hard edge they would later have in the 1980s and 1990s there. but the vietnam one was a particularly interesting one. because most conservatives to the vision of victory at any cost. and wallace, i think, governor wallace sensed that the american people were very ambivalent about that war. on the one hand he wanted to appeal to the hard liners. and the way he did it was by coming up with this formulation. either we go in, we win at any cost, or we pull out. and that way he sort of had both sides of it. >> what was he known for as
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governor of alabama? he was elected four times. did he ever have a close contest? >> a lot of the support of course stepped from the race issue. >> there's no question about it. alabamans and many quite southerners felt besieged. here you had someone, governor wallace was their champion. and they saw him as the kind of person who would speak up on their behalf. not apologetically but very forcefully. so i think that was part of it. the the other part was, you have to remember george wallace came out as franklin roosevelt liberal. he had been liberal in the state legislature. so he did have a program which was often abused but it was a program which emphasized increases in education, the establishment of community colleges around the state that would give access to individuals who couldn't afford
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to go to auburn or the university of alabama but they could attend the community college for a couple of years, maybe get a tech degree or whatever. so education was a big part of it. but i think the sort of underlying force of this passion for governor wallace was, at least in the 60s, was the race issue. >> our first call on george wallace comes from freeland, michigan. you are on the contenders. we're live from montgomery, alabama. caller: thank you very much. >> what appeal did governor wallace have to white ethnic and religious groups like jews, irish, et cetera, outside the south and the urban areas? and also what did he think of senator goldwater. >> senator goldwater was also against the civil rights stuff. thank you very much. >> he did have a remarkable
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appeal to ethnics, particularly first generation eastern europeans, other ethnics. >> he didn't have the baggage of being anti semitic. and of being anti-foreign. and what he found was particularly in many of the urban areas of the north was he found that the very prosperity of the 1950s and 60s had created tension between blacks and ethnics in these working class communities in which african-americans were finally getting jobs, finally getting housing. and they were often moving in and conflicting directly with these working class ethnic neighborhoods. >> dan carter, so much was going on with civil rights in alabama during his first tenure as governor, 1963 to 1967, including the bombing of the church in birmingham and the killing of the four young girls. >> yes. >> what did he do? what was his reaction to that?
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>> that was one of the most difficult moments i think for him at the time. and i don't doubt one moment that he was genuinely horrified, particularly when it happened. and he did, he told al lingo, who was head of the state police, you know, do what you have to do to find out who did this. it changed. i think partly because governor wallace reacted as he often did when he felt under attack. and that was to fight back. so after a few weeks, although he continued to insist that he was trying to get to the bottom of this, he often then claimed or at least privately claimed to many individuals that maybe blacks had set these bombs, or communists had set these bombs. and it showed how difficult it was i think for him to deal
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with it. but it was not his finest hour, i don't think. >> what was his relationship with o'connor? >> an ambivalent one. partly because o'connor was kind of a loose cannon. and wallace liked to feel like the people that he was working closely with he had control over, at least could control. but he certainly found o'connor a very useful kind of ally during the height of the civil rights movement and the birmingham demonstrations and he never made any real effort to reign o'connor in during that period. >> george wallace served as governor of the state of alabama from 1963 to 1967. then again from 1979 to 1979. and his final term, 1983 to 1987. a total of 16 years. he died when he was 79 years old. so he lived in this mansion behind us for 20% of his life.
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next call comes from ken in san diego. hi, ken. >> good evening. i wanted to know what kind of relationship did governor wallace have with lyndon johnson? apparently johnson was known to persuade people. and when did george wallace finally abandon his philosophy of segregation? thank you. >> lyndon johnson, i guess the most famous moment between johnson and governor wallace came in the midst of the selma crisis, the march to selma in which president johnson brought him to washington or actually governor wallace very foolishly volunteered to meet with him where he got the full treatment from lyndon johnson, was pretty intimidated by the whole process. but he wasn't alone in that respect. lyndon johnson intimidated
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everyone. that of course was in the early'60s. the last hoorah for the kind of racial campaign came in 1970 against albert brewer. who had been actually one of his proteges who replaced his wife as governor. and in the wake of that campaign, it was a pretty all-out use of the were race issue, attacks that brewer was a candidate of blacks. in the aftermath of it politically he said to many of his aides this is the last campaign we'll ever be able to run like this. the mood was changing. white voters were changing to some extent. black voters were fully enfranchised at that point. as to when he emotionally changed, that i think really comes later on. >> as we discussed with dan carter a little earlier, george wallace ran for governor in 1958 and lost one in 1962.
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here's a little bit from his speeches in'58 and'62. >> and i want to tell the good people of this state as a judge if i didn't have what it took to treat a man fair regardless of his color then i don't have what it takes to be the governor of your great state. >> today i have stood where once jefferson stood and took an oath to a lot of people. it is very appropriate that from this craddle of the confederacy this very heart of the great angelo sacks on heartland that today we sound the drum for freedom as we have done time and again down through history. let us rise to the call of freedom loving blood that is in us. in the name of the greatest people that have ever walked
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this earth, i draw the line in the dust and pass the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny and i say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever. [ applause ]. >> dan carter, the power of those words. it really was amazing. >> that really got his for serious national attention. his aides worked very hard to make sure all the networks were there. and it transformed -- it was the first stage, along with the school house that i think took him out of position of being a narrow, parochial southern politician and put him on the national stage. that speech was written by asa carter, one of his unofficial aides who had been a clansman and right wing political activist and citizens council in the'50s and later under the name of forest carter, a writer
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of a number of best-selling novels. he wrote that speech, pulling together ideas from a lot of other people. and it caught people's attention. >> danny in mississippi, you're on the contenders. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> thank you, gentlemen. as farfetched it might seem, what is george wallace would have been elected president? and i know it would have been compromise on both sides. but do you think he would have been a good president? would the people have supported him? and i'll hang up and listen to what you gentlemen say. thank you. >> well, the only time that he
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even, i think, really stood a chance of being elected was not in 1968 but'72. and it would have been an extraordinarily long shot. certainly he would have been a different president than he was a campaigner. i can't imagine him being an effective president. although there were always 25% of the american people, mostly white americans who supported him, he always had the great hostility of well over half of the american people. it would be hard to govern under those circumstances no matter how well intentioned you were. >> was carter religious? >> oh, yes. he was a lifelong methodist. it's interesting. during these years, the'60s and'70s, he did about the only time he ever talked about religion even in an indirect way is when he ran in'62, he was taking liquor out of the governor's mansion because his mentor had not taken it out of the mansion. so he talked about it in terms
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of being a christian that he was going to do it. it was just a totally different kind of religion in the sixties and seventies. politicians just didn't do that in this period. >> with all the campaigns he ran, did he enjoyed politics? was he actually the happy warrior? >> absolutely. any good politician i think has to be more than tolerate it. in his case you would have to really figure out the politician. he loved the crowd. it was a love affair between him and many of his constituents. he was enormously popular among, particularly here in alabama,
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and he loved that feeling of people supporting him. >> here's a little bit more from his 1963 first address t. >> within its own work has the freedom to teach, to instruct, to develop, to ask for and receive help from others of separate racial station says. this is great freedom of our american founding >> fathers. -- then the enrichment of our lives, the freedom of our development is gone forever. we become therefore a unit of one under a single all powerful government and we stand for everything and for nothing. the true brotherhood of america is respecting the separateness of others and united and effort has been distorted from its
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original concept, then there is no small wonder that communism today's winning the world. we invite the negro citizens of alabama to work with us from this separate racial station as we will work with him to develop, to grow in individual freedom and enrichment. we want jobs and a good future for both races. we want to have to physically and mentally sick of both races, the infirm. we are all the handiwork of god. >> dan carter, that was from the same speech in segregation now, segregation tomorrow. was he moderating his position? what was he doing? >> well, it's hard to know. he did make a few changes from the original, and that was -- that doesn't sound like asa carter. >> that sounds more like george wallace. but it is an attempt to, i
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think, take a little bit of the edge off the harshness of the speech itself. it's an interesting part of that speech. it only has one line there. but it becomes a constant motif, and that is a reference to communism. we don't think about that so much today in terms of anything except the cold war and spies. but to white southerners and many americans around the country, the civil rights movement was the handiwork of communists. and it's hard to recreate today just how frightened americans were and how much they believed that communist infiltration had taken place. civil rights seemed to be a logical place they would be operating. and it became a very useful weapon against the movement to emphasize that. >> george wallace's running mate in 1968 was curtis le may. our next call is from harry in
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oakland, maryland. >> how are you doing? good. >> the reason i'm calling, i can remember in'72 at allegheny college, cumberland, maryland, i didn't see him but he came to the campus one day. and then it was the following day he was shot at the mall. what i can remember is the things that i read about, something that didn't seem to be talked about much. you hit it on a little bit. he did go through a major transition after that. and things that i've read since then talked about religion that he did talk openly, much more openly about it. and actually some sort of religious conversion. a conversion or whatever you want to call it, because of the promise he had. but also i can remember seeing him receive an award from alabama's naacp. that was his last term as
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governor. am i wrong on that or not? because i can remember actually watching that. i was amazed to seat transformation from segregationist to basically receiving that type of recognition. >> thank you very much. we're going to be discussing all of that throughout the evening on the contenders. dan carter, give us a snapshot of what harry was asking about. >> well, it is clear that if you want to know what happens in terms of whites's attitudes towards race, simply follow george wallace's career. he was a segregationist, using the race issue in the 1960s. but by the'70s and particularly after he was nearly assassinated, was wounded, and then as the whole political structure changed, and blacks came to play a larger and larger role in the democratic party, both politically and i think in his own thinking, yes, he was a different person. >> very quickly, the 1972
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campaign, how is he doing prior to getting shot? >> it's amazing to think about it. >> george wallace in 1972 was outpolling everyone up through may in the primaries. >> george mcgovern emerged as possible in the eyes of the national media as the candidate. he brushed aside the other candidates. but in terms of votes, until the day he was shot, governor wallace had considerably more votes than gorge mcgovern did. >> next call for our guest dan carter, the author of this book, politics of rage. comes from sealy lake, montana. charles, you're on the contenders on c-span. >> yes. i was wondering if he was influenced by heweyp. long at all or did he ever
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think about running for office, senator of the house? >> no. he claimed he wasn't influenced by long at all. i think that's probably unlikely. >> he was certainly familiar with the career of long. and he really wasn't interested in running for united states senate. at one time he talked about it and thought it. but he was really, really much more comfort in alabama. he said why would i want to go to washington and be one of 100 senators when i could be governor of alabama. >> did george wallace use the "n" word? >> oh, yes, yes. bsolutely. that would have been pretty common. lyndon johnson used the "n" was pretty common among figures in southern politics privately. there are a couple times he slipped up and used it publicly as well. but that was not typical at
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all. and i think much more important than whether you use the "n" word, i mean, as i said, lyndon johnson did. but often in a different kind of context. i think it was the -- the real problem was the extent to which, in the early 1960s, this man who had been a racial moderate, on the board of trustees at tuskeegee university, black university. >> when? >> in the early 50s. he said blacks are going to vote in this state and i want to be on the ground floor. of course, currents change. that was by the late 1950s. the tragedy is someone who had empathetic feelings for black and white let himself be caught up politically and emotionally in the racial currents.
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it was a pretty nasty business, i think. >> right here in alabama, florence alabama, tina, you're on the contenders. the topic is george wallace. guest is dan carter. >> hello. george wallace, deceased. is his shooter still in prison? and if not was he gassed or shot? >> arthur brimmer you're talking about? >> yes. he eventually was -- he wanted to shoot president nixon, but he couldn't get close enough. and he eventually was released and he is now after many, many years, i can't remember the exact date, i think it was late 90s or early 2000s. >> 2007.
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>> 2007. it was that long. i remember i was approached in about a statement for his parole hearing. and he was turned down at that time. so only in the last four years that he has been released. >> let's go back to 1965. george wallace is governor. he's living here in this governor's mansion in montgomery, alabama. there are marches from selma to montgomery. very quickly, why are they happening and what was their effect? >> the broader context is voter registration efforts on the part of african-americans. but there were a whole series of these violent incidents. there was an assault on some demonstrators in marion, alabama, in which one young man was killed by a state trooper. and that was really the
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triggering episode in which they began to talk about some way to demonstrate how angry and frustrated they were. there was the first attempt to march and that was -- it turned out to be a disaster in some ways at least nationally for governor wallace. television cameras everywhere. violence doesn't happen unless it's on television at least in terms of the great impact that it has. when john lewis and others attempted to walk from the brown's chapel in selma across the bridge towards montgomery, they were met by the alabama state troopers. >> under the orders of governor wallace? >> under the orders of governor wallace. it's never been clear exactly what those orders were. but he said to stop them. they thought this meant stop by
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any means. they had deputies on horseback who were anxious to do a little head cracking. that's what happened. we'll show you some news reels from 1965 about those marchs from selma, about 100 or so miles, less than that from where we sit here in montgomery. we'll introduce you to peggy wallace kennedy. she's inside dimension, we will be joining her in there. here is the 1965 follies. >> spreading overnight, from an obscure southern town in the newspapers, discharge was headquarters anthony crew tried, for the right to vote. and it was here that martin luther king came to lend his support to the campaign. he pointed out from selma's 14,000 negroes only 300 had been registered at the polls. the procession was broken up by state troopers and sheriff deputies.
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dr. king led another contingent through the town. ♪ ♪ this time there is no violence. thethousands negores reached the end of the bridge and are ordered to turn back. dr. king confers with the police as the marchers hold their ground. he requests they be allowed to pray. there are a few minutes of mounting tension. ♪ ♪
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a request to pray is granted. and they do it in the streets. >> the long anticipated freedom march from montgomery finally gets under way as dr. martin luther king addresses the crowd. twice before they had been turned back by state troopers. now they march under a federal court order. and with the protection of federalized national guard units and regular troops a total of nearly 3,000 men. for the first day there are 3200 marchers in line. half of the four way highway 80 is closed to traffic. later, where it becomes two lanes the marchers had been ordered to reduce their number to 300, a measure designed for their safety. there are a few isolated fairups between whites and negroes but otherwise it is peaceful.
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the first day they tramp a little over seven miles. those assigned to committee the 54 mile walk hope to present a petition to governor george wallace. >> and you are now looking at a picture of the conclusion of the third selma to montgomery march. >> it finished up on dexter avenue in front of the state capitol. the dexter avenue baptist church where dr. martin luther king pastored in the'50s is located just a block from the state capitol. and just recently c-span took video of this same site. this picture was taken just about a month or so ago. and it is about two miles north of where we are now. and we are right now at the governor's mansion in montgomery, alabama. we're inside the foyer. and we are joined by george wallace's daughter, peggy wallace kennedy. mrs kennedy, we were playing the news reels from 1965. what were your memories? you were living here in the
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house at the time? >> yes, i was here. i was 15 years old. and i can remember what went on and everything. and of course at that time i didn't really have an opinion. but i did go to selma in 2009 and march across the bridge with congressman john lewis. even back in'65 i knew that their cause was just and i was able to walk across that bridge with my husband and my children. >> what was life like here in the governor's mansion? >> well, it's a great house, as you see. and when we moved in, my mother made it a home. she made it a home. and we had a lot of happy times here. we came from a small town. we moved from a small town to the big city. and into this wonderful,
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wonderful house that my mother made a home. and it was wonderful. it really was a wonderful place to live. >> how aware were you of your father's reputation outside of alabama or some of the controversial things that people thought about him? >> well, i really wasn't aware of that part of it. i was just trying to live a normal life. if you can imagine. and my mother was the kind of person that tried to keep us as normal as we could be, normal life, an everyday life and school and that kind of thing. so i really wasn't aware of his -- >> now, did you, as a child of the governor, did you have a state trooper following you around at all times, or were you pretty free to come and go as you wanted? >> oh, we were free to come and go as we wanted. but before i had to drive i had to have a trooper take me to school and pick me up. after i learned how to drive then i was on my own.
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>> now, how often was your father around? he was running alabama. he was running for president throughout your childhood. >> well, he was in and out. but i grew up in a political family. so it was all right for me to not see him often. so when you don't know any different then it's okay. and that was all right. and my mother was gone a lot too, but that was okay too. >> well, we're talking with peggy wallace kennedy here in the foyer of the governor's mansion. in montgomery, alabama. and these steps pretty meaningful to you. there's a couple of different incidents here on this these steps. let's begin with santa. >> i believe this was a 1970 i believe or'71. it was'71. >> my father dressed up like santa claus and sat on the steps. i sat on his knee.
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that's a picture that i'll always cherish. >> what was he like behind closed doors? was he he like as dad? >> he was busy. he was always really busy. he ate fast. he walked fast. but he was a wonderful dad when you could get with him. but you had to get the time you had with him, you had to get the quality time. and that was fine too because we were used to that. >> something else happened on these steps. what was that? when you got married? >> yes, i got married. and also when we first moved in here my brother and i slid down the banisters and into a tour group. so my mother was very, very angry about that. but i got married and i had my wedding
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reception here. >> well, we would be remiss if we didn't talk a little bit more about your mother >> lurlene wallace. how did she get elected governor? >> well, i think the people just loved her. >> were they voting for your dad? >> well, i think eh thought so. when she was elected she certainly let him know who was governor. i can assure you. >> and what happened to her, mrs. kennedy? >> well, she had cancer and died in may of 1968. she did serve 15 months in office. >> after that, between'68 and'71 when your father was re-elected or'70 when he was re-elected, moved back in in'71, where did you live? what did your father do? >> well, he remarried in'71. and so we moved back in. and then i lived in an apartment in the back of the governor's mansion. then i married in'73.
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so i was only here for two more years. >> but between'68 and'70, where did you move to? >> we had a home in south montgomery that my mother and father had bought. >> and was he practicing law or running for president?. >> he was running. >> we do have your husband over here and your son. >> if we can turn the camera very quickly so we can wave at them over there. tell us about your husband. >> well, mark -- we've been married for 38 years. and he has spent 22 years in public service. he retired fromthe alabama supreme court in 1999. he's now state chairman of the democratic party. and my son, youngest son burns is a history major at the university of alabama. and our oldest son is serving
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in afghanistan right now. >> peggy wallace kennedy, has anyone ever pointed out the irony of a wallace marrying a kennedy? >> yes, they have. in fact, when we got engaged senator ted kennedy wrote my father a letter saying that he was really glad that the kennedys and the wallaces could finally get together. and so i have that letter. >> well, peggy wallace kennedy will be joining us a little later in the program. thank you for spending a few minutes with us. we're going to work our way back out to the set and we're going to be joined by joe reed out here in front of the governor's mansion. he is chairman of the alabama democratic conference, along with our other guest, wallace biographer dan carter. as we take this next call from houston. joe, you're on the air. hi, joe. oh, i'm sorry. we're talking to joe the caller. sorry about that. go ahead, joe from houston.
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>> thank you for taking my call. i have a question. had george wallace not been shot in 1972, do you think he would have ran for third-party candidate? and i have another question regarding in 1976, had he defeated jimmy carter, in florida, how far he would have gone in the democratic 1976 nomination for office? >> thank you, joe. start with the third-party in'72 and then what could have happened in'76. >> well,'72 of course he was shot. and severely wounded. he did go to the democratic convention. but i think it was pretty obvious that his health was such from the injuries he had suffered from being shot that he was not a serious factor in '72. and in'76, americans have a pretty short life span as far as politicians are concerned. that was part of it. the other part was everybody
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kept talking about the relationship between governor wallace's campaign and president roosevelt, who of course campaigned from a wheelchair and was president from a wheelchair. the difference was that in the 1930s there was this gentlemen's agreement on the part of the media that he would never be photographed in a wheelchair. and most americans simply didn't realize how severely crippled he had been by polio. whereas after 1972, particularly in 1976, every single moment the cameras were on, there were a couple of incidents, one in which he was dropped. and it reemphasized the fact that he was in a wheelchair. and it also -- it wasn't even -- apart from that, one of the things that made governor wallace so effective was this feisty, rooster kind of bravado that he had.
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he didn't walk across the stage, he strutted across the stage. often with his fist in the old boxing -- boxing champ as a young man. in a wheelchair, it was not possible to do that. >> now we want to introduce you to dr. joe reed, chairman of the alabama democratic conference. >> he's also -- he also works with the alabama education association. >> yes. >> dr. reed, what's your first memory of george wallace? >> the first memory i had of george wallace was back in 1958. i had just returned from korea. he was a candidate for governor at that time. john patterson had -- it
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was'58. that's when i first heard of. >> do you remember what the memory is? >> he was very vocal. at that time he didn't have any particular claim. the southern politician at that time, most times were running against the u.s. supreme court 1954. they were all saying they were going to maintain segregation. they were all claiming that they could do what the law insisted that they would do. they all claimed they could get around the law. so at that particular time he was not much different than the rest of them. >> what was your life like in alabama in 1958? >> like most other black folk in the south and to some extent in this country. for example, the segregation was at least in law, for practical purposes even though the supreme court had ruled in
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brown versus the board of education. for all practical purposes alabama is still arguing and fighting that particular issue. we were all mindful of strom thurman's ticket in'48. and blacks were becoming more and more desensitized. blacks had achieved a great victory there. so things were looking up. so things were looking up. >> and were you able to vote in 1958? >> 1958, yes, i was able to vote in'58. >> i was between a small county between mobile and campbell. blacks were not a threat to whites politically. veterans didn't have a problem getting reticent to vote in the county because they were not a
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threat. also, there was a sheriff there whose name was john brock. john brock took on the establishment in the county. and john brock went out and got blacks, helped blacks get registered to vote before'58. because john brock died in'56. because, again, blacks did not constitute a threat. the votes were more captive votes than anything else. so at that particular time being a veteran it was not a major problem. >> dr. reed, what do you do with the alabama education association? i'm the associate executive secretary. >> long-time teacher. >> that's a teacher's union. it's our official organization. and i've been privileged to serve that organization since 1964 when the black and white associations merged in'69.
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i came up with the black association in 1964. >> the alabama state teachers association. there was some 11 southern states had dual associations stretching from virginia to texas. so i came on as executive secretary at that time. then in 1969 we merged. and i've been there for 47 years. >> well, it was in 1963 and dan carter, you have referred to this a couple of times, the school house stand. >> let's see this video of george wallace followed by president kennedy. >> the unwelcomed, unwanted, unwarranted and force induced intrusion on the campus of the university of alabama today of the might of the central government of the oppression of the rights, privileges and sovereignty of this state by the offices of the federal government. >> good afternoon. following a series of threats and defiant statements, the
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residents of alabama air national guardsman was required on the university of alabama to carry out final and unequivocal order of the united states district court of the northern district of alabama. that order called for the admission of two clearly qualified young alabama residents who happened to have been born negro. >> dr. reed, what do you remember about that incident in 1963? >> we were just glad to see president kennedy come on and make wallace behave. >> it was very simple. we always thought he was going to lose. he lost some races before that time. particularly in 1959 and'60 when he had a confrontation with johnson over some voter registration records. see, a lot of folks forget there was a civil rights bill
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in 1957 civil rights bill. that particular civil rights bill, which was -- came out with president eisenhower allowed the president to appoint a commission to come in and investigate voter discrimination. and because blacks in tuskeegee, alabama, and particularly in barber county and other places, could not get registered to vote, this commission came in and did its investigation. in the course of that, george wallace refused to turn records over them. they went into the united states middle district court. the presiding judge and judge johnson ordered the records to be turned over to the civil rights commission. so that they could complete their investigation. so that being the case, we found that that earlier time with george wallace also misled the voters again in alabama thinking he could do things he couldn't do. >> carrie in parkersburg, west virginia. you're on the contenders.
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the topic is george wallace. we're live from montgomery, alabama. >> yes first of all, i want to thank c-span for showing the exquisite mansion. and j. edgar hoover. did wallace have an opinion about carter? >> his relationship with j. edgar hoover and whether or not wallace was monitored? >> no, not really. not in the sense that subversives were. they kept a complete file on wallace as herbert hoover did on virtually anybody. >> it's interesting. because although governor wallace constantly praised mr. hoover and relied upon him particularly for information about the so-called links between civil rights activists and communists, hoover was always leery of wallace. in part because i don't think
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he could control him. and so as a result hoover always told his men to keep kind of hands off. as a result there was a kind of distant relationship between the two of them. >> dan carter is the author of this book, the politics of rage about george wallace. what's this picture on the cover of the book? >> that is from the inaugural address in 1963. >> january 14, 1963. >> that's right. >> steps of the state capitol, two miles from where we are now. randall in stockton, california, good evening. >> how are you doing? >> good. >> the question i need to ask you, as the son of a civil rights leader who came across the selma bridge in 1963, wanted to know why in the world wasn't he allowed to come across? i heard things from my father but i need an understanding as a person now. why governor wallace wouldn't let the rest of us come across the bridge? then when we did come across the bridge, why were we
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attacked? what kind of threat did we pose? so the bottom line is i want to know was governor wallace and the congressman in kahoots with each other to conspire for us not to come across the bridge? so i want to know the answer to that. >> i really didn't get his full question. >> dan carter, did you hear his question? >> yes. >> okay. >> go ahead. the real reason was if the marchers had crossed the bridge regardless of with television cameras, and there were always television cameras set up there, it would have been a face-saving loss for governor wallace. and he had made it clear that he was not going to allow it. he told al lingo, who was head of state troopers, and he also told major cloud, who was in
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charge of the troopers at the time, that they were not under any circumstances to be allowed to march. and they took it very seriously. at that point they were ready to go with tear gas, dogs. not dogs. horses. mounted men from a posse. and they didn't. >> i think that governor wallace was more concerned at that time about showing his fellow travelers, his supporters, his friends that he was going to make the black folks behave. i'm going to stop them. if he had just allowed the march to continue, a lot of things probably would have never happened, including the passage of the 1965 voting rights act. i think when nbc news -- i remember that one. i'm sure other news stations carried it too.
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showed how those ladies were being beaten in selma. and also a couple other things happened during that same time. when the two white ministers were killed, james reid and i forget the other's name. but at any rate, and see the white clergy also got involved in this. and they started demanding that something happens. and they started coming into alabama. then when the white clergy got upset the white house got even more upset. and so those things were major factors also in terms of responding to wallace's resistance to the march. but if he had just left it alone probably would have found out much differently. >> what was your level of
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activity in the'60s? i was not at the bridge. this was in 1965. as with the teachers association. we supported the movement, provided resources for the movement. our local chapter in selma, alabama, led by reverend reece was the leaders in the selma to montgomery march. he and andrew durgin. in fact, they came to the alabama state teachers association and we went to washington to solicit help from the national education association to get involved and protecting and ensuring that our members had the right to vote. soerp deeply involved in that. >> well, we just showed you the clip from 1963, the school house incident.
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here's george wallace in 1967 talking about that incident and a little bit on the new york riots that were occurring. >> as i said, we are further obligated to oppose them wherever we found them. a little over three years ago we stood at the university of alabama. we went back for the purpose of opposing the enemies of freedom and to use that as a forum that men in high places in washington can break the law and our constitution then revolutionary, every thug group and mob will feel they too could break the law. we warned of the coming lawlessness that would sweep our nation and adversely affect all citizens. >> the worst race riots since those two years ago in watts, los angeles, rocked new jersey's largest city, newark, for five consecutive days and nights. >> at least 24 persons are killed. more than 1,800 wounded. some 1,400 arrested. >> despite patrolling millions
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of property damage is done. looters wreck and clean out scores of shops. >> the mob makes any official looking vehicle a target. two days after its beginning, police are augmented by national guardsmen. snipers make the streets a battle field. governor hughes terms it open rebelion, just like wartime. sniper fire from open windows kills two police men. a fire captain shot in the back while answering a false alarm. scores of police, troopers, guardsmen and civilians are wounded. officials said the snipers, some believe not to be newark residents, used guns from a local rifle factory. even machine guns were used. because of widespread looting,
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eight emergency food centers are set up to supply milk, bread and cereal to terrorized residents. looters are dealt with swiftly. a 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew is now set on newark. the racial bitterness spreads to four nearby suburban towns. guns are stolen, looting and violence reported. new jersey, a state under siege. >> and back live here in montgomery, alabama. dan carter, the race riots of the'67-'68 time period. what effect did they have on george wallace's campaigns for governor? >> listening to that clip i think you can get some idea what effect it had.
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much of it is hyperbolic. we know a lot of claims that were made were extraordinary live serious. but all the talk about snipers and so on has been pretty much disproved. there's a lot of shooting. a lot of violence. but that -- even the music, everything about it gives the impression that the nation is under siege. and although there was absolutely no connection between the race riots, which had to do with poverty which i think had to do with poverty, had to do with the conditions in the inner-cities, in the minds of many americans, the civil rights movement and the riots of the 1960s are all blended together. both of them are rebellions against authority. and the distinction of one, which is the civil rights movement, is going to be nonviolent. it's going to rely upon nonviolence. and the other, this kind of spasm of outburst of violence, quite different. they're both black. and the connection is there. >> joe reed, what do you
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remember about april 4th, 1968? the day king was shot. i remember i was visiting really the doctor in his office, the president of alabama state university. >> here in montgomery. >> in montgomery. i walked in his office. he said, dr. king has been shot. you asked me a question earlier some things about the civil rights movement. i was also involved in the city movement, another effort on the part of this whole growing resistance on the part of black folks. and the >> unwillingness to continue to accept segregation. you had the sit-in movement, freedom rights. you had all of these things collectively where blacks were demanding it now. and of course with the riots taking place in certain places which of course dr. king always condemned, there were those who saw this as a threat to a fight.
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>> joe reed, did you ever meet george wallace? >> oh, yes. i met him many, many times. i met him -- i don't remember the first time i met governor wallace. >> i really don't. but i do remember him speaking to the alabama education association. i think that may have been the first time that i shook his hand. because he had signed a bill. >> this is in the'70s. this is probably in the'70s when we did that. >> right. >> but i was always very critical of governor wallace. in fact, he said to me one time. he said, joe, you know, you've always been critical to me but you were never nasty to me. because we had a bill we was trying to get him to sign. >> and that bill had to do with deputy registrars to register people to vote any time. and the boards across the state of alabama were against it.
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and of course we went to him and asked him to sign the bill. and he said, well, joe, you criticized me but you were never nasty and went on and signed the bill. i said all that to say yes, many, many times. the last four years we talked even more. >> and we'll get into that a little bit later in our contenders program. son in chase city, virginia. thanks for holding. you're on c-span. caller: thank you very much. i just wonder if mr. carter can comment on how the racial politics of rage in the 1950s and 1960s may have morphed into the current hard life stance of the tea party and the other republican candidates on issues like gay marriage and illegal immigration. >> these might not be surrogate issues for people -- racial attitudes haven't changed but it's no longer in fashion to seek blacklickly.
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publicly.> > dan carter? >> that's really a one to draw the direct >> connection. we certainly don't have the same kind of language about race that we once had. we can scoff all we want to about correctness. but we do have -- we do have this long tradition in the united states in this very cantankerous democracy of selecting scapegoats and particularly groups that seem to represent a violation of what the cultural norms are that are so profoundly and whether it's the issue of prayer in the schools, whether it's the issue of gay marriage, economic hard times whether it's the issue of immigrants and so-called job challenges that is threatening the jobs of americans. yeah, there is a connection in
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the sense that we want an enemy. and that enemy may be african-american at some point. it may be other groups. but unfortunately it's one of the darker sides of american history. >> george wallace ran for president in 1964. in 1968, in that year he captured five states and 46 electoral votes. >> he also ran in'72, and in '76. next call, tampa bay, florida. hi, mike. mike, tampa bay. please go ahead. >> caller: as a young american watching these old clips being played, it really gives me hope to see how the two i did srurpblg epbt cultures have come together in the clips and gives me a great sense of hope to see how our political differences may be able to be bridged >> today.
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>> joe reed, have politics changed in alabama? >> >> yes. politics -- martin king called it good thinking and whites of goodwill in this country realize yet the depth of racism. the gentleman who called and asked a question earlier are still part of the wool and racism that exists to this day. not only in alabama but in other states of this country. >> well, he was talking about how politics have changed. that leads me to ask you what is the alabama democratic conference. >> the alabama democratic conference was formed in 1960 for the purpose of helping john f. >> kennedy.
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blacks were shut out of the democratic party in alabama. we got smith versus albright back in the mid-40s. we were still struggling and hadn't gotten the right to vote until the mid-60s. blacks were struggling. arthur shores and others were trying to get a voice in the democratic party. the alabama democratic conference was set up for that purpose. as time moved on, they set out to do two things, to get white political leaders attention and also to unify the black vote so we could, do what we call, make the white politicians behave. it was that kind of thing that we were working on. that's what the alabama democratic conference was about and still about to this day.
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>> 1968 was george wallace's best run. both national priorities are apologizing today and saying that it comes about as a result of welfare payments, job opportunities, education, etcetera and the average man on the street in this country knows it comes about because of activists, militants, revolutionaries, anarchists and communists. if i were president, i would give strong moral support to the local police officers and local law enforcement and say, you enforce the law and i can tell you, if i were the president of the united states, you could walk on the streets at any section of washington, d.c. at any time and i would make that possible if i had to
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bring 30,000 troops to washington and put one every 30 feet with a two-foot bayonette in it on the end of a rifle. we are going to make it safe for all the citizens of washington, d.c. it is a sad commentary that in the nation's capitol, you are fearful of walking out of this hotel. this is not race i am talking about. every time i mention this, this has racial overtones. when does it come to have racial overtones to stand for law and order. newsmen have indicated so long that the people in our state who defended the right of the state to determine the policies of their local school systems believe in separation, that is, racial separation. we have had more mingling and association of the races in alabama than any large industrial state above the mason dixon line. when you talk about segregation, we have supported in the past a separate school system. but as far as working and mingling and living close
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together, we have done more of that than the people of any other region of the country. one reason we have had more peace in our region is that people of all races are needed and wanted in alabama. so i still stand for the right of the people of alabama through their elected representatives to determine the policies of their school system. >> joe reed, want to get your reaction to governor wallace speaking in 1968. >> if he is talking about desegregating public education, it is not old to his effort. it is because we had johnson in montgomery, alabama, who was >> the architect, who did more than anybody else in my opinion. then, of course, we had the lee versus macon decision, which counted for 100 school systems, in one fell swoop, we
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desegregated public education. it cannot be attributed to anything governor wallace did but the fact that the federal government and black leaders, the naacp and other organizations went out and fought and marched to desegregate public education in this state. >> dan carter, when you hear the words law and order, welfare, militants, are those code words? >> yes, absolutely. >> this is -- they don't like this. >> but the fact is that once television plays such a critical role in the political process, you do -- you are aware of the fact that every word you are saying is being captured on film or whatever. you have to be careful. as the sense of, as i said, whatever you want to call it, political correctness, then you
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have to be careful about how you say it. you learn a different language. it is a language in which you, without ever referring specifically to race, you talk about race. nobody was better at it than governor wallace. whenever he wanted to complain about the federal government enforcing housing, nondiscrimination, living close to you. he talked about blue-eyed chinamen, that they were going to make them come into your neighborhood and everybody knew exactly what he was talking about. >> 1968, richard nixon, 301 electoral votes, hubert humphrey, 109 electoral >> votes. hubert humphrey won 13 states plus d.c. george wallace won nearly 10 million votes, five states, 46 electoral votes. dan carter, who won the black vote in 1968? >> hubert humphrey.
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>> do you remember who you voted for? >> for the national committee of educators to support hubert humphrey. i was a strong hubert humphrey person. that was the first time that blacks went to the democratic national convention and it turned out that i was privileged or lucky enough to go, because chairman bob vincent arranged that. >> it was a wild convention, wasn't it? >> yes. that was the convention of 1968. i was a pro-humphrey person. i knew him personally. yes, we achieved what we wanted to achieve to get him nominated but not what we wanted to get him elected. >> we are out in front of the governor's mansion in montgomery, alabama, where george wallace lived, for 20% of his life. this is the contenders. >> our 12th week. we have two more weeks after this. our next call from jackson, mississippi. jordan, you are on c-span.
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hi. >> caller: yes, sir, i have a comment and a question. my comment is, again, my interest in politics began when i was 10 years old working for the american independent party as a wallace volunteer. he didn't have a great deal of support in pennsylvania, he had a strong base of support in the philadelphia area. my question for dr. carter is, what was his relationship as far as richard nixon? i know the alabama republicans backed him during the civil rights crisis pretty much congressman bill dickinson was a strong wallace supporter and one of the early goldwood or republicans in alabama. i was just wondering, what did wallace think of richard nixon and did he actually ever endorse richard nixon for president? >> dan carter?
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>> no, he didn't think much of richard nixon, particularly after 1968, because in 1970, when governor wallace was running, his wife had died, of course, and albert pool who became governor then was going to run against former governor wallace. richard nixon put $400,000 in secret cash into the brewer campaign. it didn't stay a secret all that long. moreover, governor wallace always suspected richard nixon was trying to destroy him, which he was. nixon saw wallace as hit his greatest threat in 1972. he made every effort he could. certainly, governor wallace was aware of that. >> dan carter, in your book "the politics of race, " the 1972 campaign, george wallace started strong before he was shot. >> >> absolutely. he got more votes.
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at the end of the day he was shot, he had more votes than any other democratic candidate at the time. i don't think he would have even then gotten the nomination but it was a tremendous problem for the democratic party. >> after he was shot in 1972, richard nixon went to see him, correct? >> that's correct, that's right. >> who else went to see him? >> just about everybody, hubert humphrey went to see him. george mcgovern went to see him. >> ethel kennedy? >> ethel kennedy went to see him. in her case, i think it was a sense of compassion after what had happened. in other cases, it was the politics of it. they realized they would like to have his support. nixon did more than go see him. he also really manipulated the shooting of governor wallace by trying to blame -- trying to link the man who had shot him
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to george mcgovern. joe reed, do you remember when george wallace was shot? >> yes, i remember that vividly. i learned it at my office that day. of course, regardless of whether you like a person or differ with them, you don't want anybody shot or hurt. >> of course, my sympathy went out to the wallace family as well as everybody else. it was just one thing you didn't want to happen. i do remember it very well. of course, went to the democratic convention in 1972. george wallace was and he was trying to make his way. as we said earlier, when he was shot and paralyzed, that pretty much ended his political career as a presidential candidate. on the other hand, he continued to run for office and hold office in alabama as governor and, of course, i think after that shooting and after he was paralyzed for so long, you maybe going to get to that
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later on, i think that's where he really got his i call it the political conversion. i will hold that for the middle of the menu. >> we will get into that. governor wallace served as governor of alabama from 1963 to 1967, 1971 to 1979 and finally, from 1983 to 1987. dan carter, george wallace went ahead and ran in the 1976 campaign. how long did that last? >> well, he made it through several of the early primaries. the problem was not only the difficulty of campaigning from a wheelchair but there was another southerner in the campaign, jimmy carter. carter didn't have some of the baggage that governor wallace had. moreover, he was running in the aftermath of watergate. this is when religion really
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gets into the campaigning. he ran as this highly moral person who was going to restore moral integrity to the white house. i'll never lie to you, jimmy carter. in so many different ways with his own progressive record as a governor of georgia, he proved a better candidate than governor wallace. the big example was, the big primary in florida where governor wallace lost to jimmy carter. that pretty much finished him. >> pensacola, florida, terry, thanks for holding. you are on the contenders. george wallace is the topic this week. >> i remember as a ten-year-old boy when george wallace got shot, it was a very devastating day that day to me as a youngster. >> my question is, when governor wallace was running for president there in the'70s, who were his endorsements? you know how these presidential people have their money backers. how did he raise his money to run for office? the other question i have, i know he has a son that is in
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political offices. does he have any endeavors of running for governor at all? i'll listen to you. >> the money, i will say there was some big money. by and large, george wallace, you can like him or dislike him but he was an extraordinarily successful fund-raiser of small contributions. he got millions of dollars from people in small $10, $25, $50. he was never backed by the big money individuals. i will let dr. reed talk about george wallace jr. there. >> who is george wallace iv or george wallace jr.? >> yes. he ran for -- >> he is the son, right? >> he is the son. he ran for state treasurer
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twice. the alabama democratic conference endorsed the son. he later on switched to the republican party and then we opposed him. overall, he was a nice fellow. >> he is currently a republican. >> he is currently republican. >> and peggy wallace kennedy is honorary chairperson of the democratic party, is that correct, here? >> she probably is, because her husband is chair of the democratic party of the state of alabama. he has done a good job. that uphill fight, like all of us, the democrats have in the state of alabama now. but, the bottom line is that george wallace jr. >> did run for the state treasurer. in fact, the day we endorsed him, george wallace sr. came to the alabama democratic conference convention. the rest is history. >> we want to show you one more ad from our one more piece of
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video from 1968. this is an ad that george wallace was running. >> why are more and more millions of americans turning to governor wallace. follow as your children are bussed across town. >> as president, i shall within the law turn back the absolute control of the public school systems to the people of the respective >> states. >> why are more and more millions of americans turning to governor wallace? open a little business and see what might happen. >> as president, i will stand up for your local police and firemen in protecting your safety and property. >> why are more and more millions of americans turning to governor wallace. watch your hard-earned tax dollars sail away to anti-american countries. >> as president, i will halt the giveaway of your american dollars in products to those nations that aid our enemies. >> wallace has the courage to stand up for america. give him your support.
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>> our next call comes from tony in pleasantville, new york. tony, you are on the contenders. hi. yes, peter. i was 21 years old in 1968, just out of the navy. looking back on'65 now. over the years, i supported george wallace, ross perot, ralph nader and currently a ron paul supporter. i learned, i went to a rally in 1968 in madison square garden. george wallace and his vice presidential candidate, curtis lemay. 21-minutes standing ovation by a sellout crowd. during the presentation, there were some hecklers way up in the far-reaching seats, about six or seven of them. you could see the lights from the cameras. when the event was over, the local news, we only had three channels in those days, the only thing they reported was
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the hecklers that were heckling george wallace outside madison square garden were about 50-mounted police and motorcycle men expecting riots. it was very peaceful. what i have learned at this rally and over the ensuing years is how unfairly the media treats third-party candidates. c-span wasn't around in 1968 but if c-span was around in'68, george wallace would have done even better and i think in'72, if he wasn't shot, he had a good shot at winning. >> tony, let's leave it there. dan carter, that was, of course, the american independent party that george wallace was running on. the role of the media in 1968? >> congratulations. you are the first person i ever talked to even over television who was at that rally, which was a pretty remarkable rally. there is a lot of film footage from it. we were able to use in a
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documentary we did on governor wallace. although i think you are right, most of the time the media does tend to dismiss third-party candidates. part of it is they like confrontation. there actually were about 20. i have looked at the film very closely, about 20 demonstrators shouting and giving the hitler salute and with the swastika. that's colorful news. that's often what news media like. where as the speeches themselves, they obviously weren't going to give a 21-minute ovation. you are exactly right. he received a 20-minute ovation. >> dr. reed, did you want to add something? >> not to that. >> we will move on to our next call from surf city, north carolina. john, good evening. >> i had a question about george wallace's prelegislative activity before he got involved with the legislature of alabama,
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wasn't he a lawyer for some of the people that were involved in the assassination of torn general john patterson and some of the phoenix city gambling interests and things of that nature. >> he would know better. >> does that ring any bells? >> that doesn't ring any bells at all. >> dr. reed, if george wallace were alive today, would he be a republican in alabama or a democrat? >> i think he would still be a democrat, i really do. i think that -- i don't think he liked the republicans. out of all his running, he was always a democrat in alabama. even when he was running other places, he was a democrat in alabama. i think he would have stayed a democrat. i don't think he would have changed. >> i don't know, i think it is clear that his heart in some ways are with the policies of the democratic party,
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particularly the economic policies of the democratic party. on the other hand, he was pretty hostile toward the national government and its activities and it's possible that may have led him, certainly if he was running for office in alabama, lived a long time, he would be running as a republican. that's the way you are going to get elected. >> joe reed, george wallace was elected in 1970 and in 1974 to the gubernatorial office here in alabama. he ran for president in'72. in'76, and in'82, he said, i've been wrong about the race issue. what happened? >> i think that after he was shot, i think george wallace's entire political career until the last few years was based, embedded, sanctioned and guided by race period. i don't think he lost the race to john patterson, because he
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was -- the "n" word was used too much. i don't think that. i think john patterson would have defeated george wallace anyway, for one reason. that was that john patterson's daddy was shot for trying to clean up phoenix city. i think that john -- governor wallace was not going to beat him either way. i think john patterson was a prosecutor. he knew how to go after things. i don't think governor wallace would. >> back to 1982, your request he was whether or not -- >> george wallace said he was wrong about the race issue. >> i think he meant that. i think he meant it because he felt he was being punished. i think he felt that he being in a wheelchair over a quarter century, if you are a christian,
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and he said he was, you would have to look back and say, why am i here? why am i going through this? i really believe that he read through this conversion. george wallace was one of the few politicians who had run on a segregation platform that publicly, publicly repudiated segregation and said, i was wrong. >> so in 1982 after that, did you vote for him for governor? >> i vote for the straight democratic ticket, straight out. >> so george wallace was on that ticket? >> he was on that ticket. the alabama democratic conference did not endorse george wallace. we did not. we supported george mcmillan. george mcmillan lost. george mcmillan lost in the primary. wallace was on the train anyway. there were blacks running for county commission, blacks running for the legislature, blacks running for everything. as always, we were told blacks
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were on the straight democratic ticket because we didn't have -- there was no republican out there and he was running as the republican opponent. i will tell you right now, if somebody raised the question, saying both of them are racism. i said, it maybe. if so, one is a rising son and one is a setting sun. that's what happened. alabama democratic conference never endorsed wallace. >> we are out in front of the governor's mansion where george wallace lived for 16 years. don in claremont, california, good evening. >> you are on c-span's contenders program. thank you. it is a great honor. i love how you handled the tony morrison quote on envy of the world. priceless. i went in the marine corps in 1970, left ear re, pennsylvania, got down to the south and i was amazed how the southerners were treating everybody i thought
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the movie "help" which i thought was a picture shot of what the south was like and the way that the blacks were subjugated. . it was phenomenal, terrific movie. another movie that really has to be mentioned is "waiting for superman. " you hear that, about how the unions or the teacher's unions are giving this idea of what's happening. i teach out here as a substitute teacher in california. i try to bring up what the democrats were in control of the south and caused all this. mississippi, the complete destruction of society i look at detroit. i look at all over. joe reed, i would like to joe reed, i would like to ask, how much of this retirement after 47 years as a teacher. you look at what the teacher's
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unions have done to this country and how they don't do one thing for. >> you are getting a little off topic. we appreciate your call and we will get an answer for you very quickly. speak about the education association and respond to his comment but very quickly. >> >> alabama education have been merged. we have had a lot of successes. some of those being bringing in the janitors into our organization, protecting tenure, defending our member's rights in court. we suffered from setbacks in the last election but we were still fighting for the rights of teachers. alabama is considered one of the most effective associations, the aea, in the country. >> i can tell you one thing, if george wallace was still active in politics, he wouldn't be attacking the teachers union.
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for one thing, politically he thought they were important. i think it is a reflection of how there are many similarities between the kind of conservatism that george wallace helped create and the way it has become today. suddenly, teachers who really aren't paid that much, who really don't get vast pensions, suddenly become another one of the scapegoats of society. governor wallace wouldn't have done that. >> that caller also mentioned the movie "the help." did you see the movie "the help "? >> yes. >> yes, i did. >> what was your impression of it? >> i am from the south and read the book. >> from the south, it is a recreation of what it was like in this world in which black and white, particularly middle class, upper middle class white southerners, often had connections to blacks but it was always in this subordinate position a the help. the film has been criticized by some but i think it does a good job of explaining the unfairness of that relationship. >> the city of montgomery,
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alabama, is full of history. the jefferson davis white house from the confederacy is here, rosa parks began her bus boycott here as well, dr. martin luther king preached at the dexter avenue king memorial baptist church where is one block from the state capital where george wallace announced on january 14th, 1963, segregation today, segregation, tomorrow, segregation forever. it is laid out. you can see a lot of the exits in the city. the next call for our two guests, comes from poughkeepsie, new york. you are on the contenders. nick, you are on the contenders. we are going to move on from nick. we will get rid of nick and we will move south to kennesaw, georgia. john, you are on "the contenders." please go ahead with your question about george wallace.
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>> my question is for mr. carter. getting back to the'72 election and his choice of curtis lemay as his running mate. i was curious as to what motivated him to make that selection. what their relationship was. thank you very much. >> that was in'68, correct? >> i mean, he thought that general lemay would bring in a lot of veterans voters. in the 1960s, there was still a huge number of vets from world war ii and from korea and even vietnam. he thought putting a respectable general like lemay on the ticket would help him draw a lot of these voters in and also the hard-liners that wanted to press on the war in vietnam even though governor wallace was sometimes a little ambivalent. i think that was the main reason. it turned out to be a disaster. >> in'72 and'76, he didn't get close enough to pick a vice presidential candidate. >> also, consider the governor
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of kentucky, happy chandler and some of his folk opposed chandler, because chandler had welcomed at least went along with bringing jackie robinson into baseball, because chandler was the commissioner of baseball. so if he brought jackie robinson in, chandler was with it. some of wallace's supporters did not want chandler on the ticket because of that. he was out of kentucky. >> do you remember your last conversation with daughter, peggy wallace kennedy, joining us from inside the mansion.
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mrs. kennedy, you have been listening to our conversation for the last hour and a half. what have you heard? >> well, i have heard a lot about my father. >> i'm sorry. we are not able to hear peggy wallace kennedy at this moment. we will in just a moment. mrs. kennedy? >> yes. >> okay. go ahead. now, we can hear you. >> i have heard a lot about my father and i've enjoyed reminiscing a little bit. my father, to me, in my heart, he was not a racist. he was a politician. he is the man that i want to remember and that i want my children to remember is that this is a man that in his later years, he reached out for forgiveness and he received that forgiveness. >> do you think that he did have some racist tendencies in the'60s? in my heart, i don't think that. i think he was just a
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politician. that does not make it right, what he did. so, like i said, the man i want to remember is the one that reached out for forgiveness and received that forgiveness. >> mrs. kennedy, can you tell us about the day your father was shot, where were you, et cetera? >> yes. i was in college, attended troy university. i was sitting in a classroom and i remember looking up at the clock. i was in the classroom alone waiting for a class to start. just remember looking at that particular time and then when the class was over, one of my friends came to me and she felt like that maybe i had already heard that my father had been shot and that he was okay but she said, well, your father is okay. he has been shot so he must be okay. i said, well, no, i didn't know
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that. so i was brought here to the mansion and then flown straight to maryland. >> now, we just want to be clear, because we were talking about you a little bit earlier here. you are the honorary chair of the alabama democratic party, correct? >> no. my husband is the chairman of the alabama democratic party. i just sort of stand by him and help him when i can. i do make some speeches at the alabama democratic party functions. >> your brother is now a republican, correct? >> yes, he is. but i still love him very much. >> the same question to you that we asked dr. reed and dr. carter. if your father were alive today, would he be a democrat or a republican? >> i think he would be a democrat. >> if your father were alive today, who would he have voted for in 2008? >> well, i think possibly could have voted for president obama.
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>> i know that he would have been proud that i endorsed president obama. i think he would have been very proud that i marched across the edmond pettis bridge in 2009. >> with john lewis? >> absolutely, with congressman john lewis. >> peggy wallace kennedy wrote a piece for cnn the day after the election, november 3rd, 2008. if you are interested, you can go to cnn and read it. it is about her visiting her father's grave and having an obama bumper sticker on her car. albany, georgia, tim, you are on the contenders, george wallace is the topic. >> hi, tim. albany, georgia, go ahead. >> caller: just a couple things. number one, selma is only about 40, 50 miles from montgomery. i grew up in selma at the time of the march. my question is for mr. carter.
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at the time of the march, rumors were running rampant. a woman by the name of iola luoza was giving marchers a ride back in her car when she was ambushed. it was rumored for many, many years that one of the marchers she was giving a ride was an undercover fbi agent. have you ever heard of this rumor? >> it wasn't her passenger. it was one of the individuals in the car that did the shooting, was an undercover agent. it was his testimony that made it possible for the immediate arrest of the people that did the shooting, even though, as usual, nothing much came of it. that was the situation. the person she was taking back. >> i'm embarrassed to say i've forgotten his name, faked being shot.
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he fell under her when she was shot and the car wrecked. she fell on top of him. he was covered in blood. she stopped and realized she was dead and thought he was too. >> now, dr. carter, in your book, "the politics of rage. " the 1972 shooting, arthur bremer, there is quite a discussion about potential conspiracy with the nixon campaign to have shot governor wallace. jack nelson, former bureau chief of the "l.a. times, " pulitzer prize winner, came down, investigated it. what's your conclusion? >> i don't think so. i just do not believe that richard nixon and his entourage tried to exploit the shooting. arthur bremer, we have an awful lot of information, including his diaries, all of the diaries he wrote during this period. it is clear that this was a very mentally disturbed young man. >> peggy wallace kennedy, after your father was shot, what was his life like as governor and his personal life?
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>> well, of course, he slowed down quite a bit. i think that even though that was such a tragedy for him, i do think that it helped him in a lot of ways, to stop, and look around and appreciate his family more and appreciate what he had more. unfortunately, it had to happen in that way. >> your father was married twice after your mother died, correct, to cornelia and also to a lisa taylor? >> right. >> and divorced from both? >> right. one thing i do want to point out is that here at the governor's mansion, here in montgomery, alabama, in the back is a pool. i guess it was put in as a gift to governor wallace after he was paralyzed, because swimming would be good for him and it is in the shape of the state of
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alabama. dr. reed, did you remember your last conversation with george wallace? >> no. i was trying to. i just do remember one of the final statements we had with him. that was, he was saying that -- he said to me segregation, we were all taught that way, he said, but i was wrong and, therefore, he came to folks for forgiveness. so i accepted his decision and accepted his statement that he was wrong, because he was one of the few southern politicians every to repudiate that. i was invited to come to his funeral. i did go to the church where his funeral was. i think as a christian, he should have been forgiven and was forgiven. >> peggy wallace kennedy, where are your parents buried?
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they are buried at lake memory cemetery and they are together. >> is that here in montgomery? >> it is here in montgomery, >> yes. >> finally, dr. >> dan carter, how did george wallace change the national conversation? well, he certainly identified this mood that was in its very early stages of conservatism. >> it was made possible not only by his great skills but over circumstances which he had great control, which he was able to >> exploit. to me, the great tragedy is here was a person of enormous ability but was caught in the time warp that he was. "the politics of rage" is the name of dan carter's book. he has been our guest for the last two hours, as is joe reed, chairman of the alabama democratic conference as well
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as the executive secretary. >> associate executive secretary. >> associate executive secretary of the alabama educational and we are very happy to have joined us peggy wallace kennedy, the >> daughter of george wallace. we thank you all very much. we also want to thank governor robert bentley for opening up his temporary home here for us to broadcast from out front. it is a beautiful night in montgomery. it has been wonderful. thank you, governor bentley, the current governor of alabama. we also want to thank from the governor's mansion staff, james camp and heather hanna and thanks to everybody at the alabama state capitol building for all their help in setting up this contenders and we are going to leave you with governor wallace in 1976, his last the address to the alabama governor legislature. >> i feel i must say i have climbed my last political mountain. there are still some personal hills that i must climb. but for now, i must pass the
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rope to another climber and >> >> say, climb on. climb on to high heights. climb on to reach the very peak. then, look back and wave at me. i too will still be climbing. my fellow alabamans, i bid you a fond and affectionate farewell. [applause] >> >
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