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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  October 16, 2011 2:00pm-4:06pm EDT

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he started out somewhere in the back, you said. >> way in the back. seat 143, i think it was. he said he used to get confused with the bystanders and the visitors. that was before they got microphones. for years, he never spoke, which is hard to believe. then he sat in two seats. this gentleman with the beard and this one in the time. >> that was in 1911. smith became majority leader when the democrats took over. in 1912, they went into the minority. in 1913, he wound up being the speaker. >> right behind this is the speaker's chair.
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maybe 20 steps from where we are sitting is the speaker's office that al smith used. the current speaker, sidney sheldon -- sheldon silver, i am so sorry about that. and there is a portrait of al smith. >> the came from the same district. they both are democrats. they both were speakers of the assembly. it is interesting when you talk about -- it is almost 100 years ago that smith was speaker. 100 years later we have a speaker from the same district and political party. the neighborhood is still a very diverse neighborhood. smith became speaker on a fluke. new york state reapportionment was so heavily weighted in favor of republicans, that his democrats rarely held in this chamber. he was here 12 years and was only in the majority twice. it only became democratic once
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in the 1930's. they had to go to the 1960's before the democrats took over. i think smith would be proud that they finally got equal representation. they changed the system to make it one-man, one-vote. you could then allow new york city to send its proper amount of legislators to new york and has resulted in another manhattan speaker. >> we talked with speaker sheldon silver about al smith. here is what he had to say. >> i think he was a man ahead of his time. his reaction to that triangle shirtwaist fire, putting in legislation to deal with child labor, with labor generally. providing rights. we today commemorate that triangle factory fire. we commemorated the 100 anniversary of it. all of the legislation protecting workers are things
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that we in the assembly do today. al smith when he was the governor of the state, he talked about having the wealthier pay a little bit more. he had some great hopes about it. i remember i wrote one down because it was as appropriate today as it was in 1930. he said, what do we say about our colleagues who reject an income tax amendment? what do they say? they reject it. why? they are unwilling to say that the fortunate ought to share its share of the burden of government. they are unwilling to subscribe to the indisputable principle that he who benefits the most should pay the most. that was al smith in 1930 and that debate is taking place
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again today. >> that portrait or that photograph of al smith that is in the office, when was that taken? >> that was probably taken when he was the speaker. he was a very young man. he was elected to the assembly when he was only about 30 years old. he would probably be in that picture, mid 30's or so. he might be close to 35 or 36. that might have been one of his official portraits as an assembly man. it might very well have been his portrait as the speaker. >> how powerful was the speaker of the new york assembly, and how does that compare with the power today? >> the speaker is always the most powerful person. i would say it is most comparable. back then when smith was just starting out. he did not even meet the speaker, fred nixon, until three days before the session
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adjourned. the speaker back that was almost regal. today, there are more chairman. the power is more diffuse. it is not as arbitrary as it used to be. the speaker has tremendous control over the bills that come to the floor, over the chairmen who are made chairman, what the program will be. it still is a key job. one of the three most powerful people in the state. the senate leader, the assembly leader, and the governor. >> beverly gage, state politics in the new york in the teens and today. >> as i said, new york is a key state nationally but it has its own political culture. i think it reflects the same things we see today. the difference between your urban core, your new york at that time largely dominated by a tammany machine, but not exclusively. upstate new york ,you have cultural differences, political
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differences there. because you had all of these differences, it was always a question of, what kind of issues you were actually going to deal with at the state level. one of the things that al smith ends up doing as governor, he tries to make it possible for the governor to do more than he has been able to do. it is not a particularly strong post at that point. for tammany hall, your power is concentrated in new york city. al smith is an ambassador for the city to the rest of the state in certain ways. he is trying to make it possible in this progressive impulse to actually make more things possible, to consolidate a little executive power in albany in ways he had not seen before. >> we will alk about his career as four term governor after we take this call. from fort lauderdale -- hi,
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neil. you are on "the contenders." >> first of all, a commentary and then a question. your forum is incredibly stimulating. i don't have the credentials you do. i fancy myself an armchair historian. as far as mr. smith is concerned, the catholicism should not enter into the picture. he was clearly a proponent of the middle-class and pro-labor. genuinely a well intended individual. i am wondering that if today, if we had a candidate running for the president of the united states, what candidate would mr. smith's mindset be able to pull off? despite that, thank you so much. i enjoy watching. >> beverly gage. >> i think that is an interesting question. smith goes through a very weird
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political transition in the 1930's. after he lost the election, he does slip on a lot of what he stood for up to that point. i know we will get to talking about that a little later in the show. he was a populist of sorts. he is not an absolute populist. he was certainly not a william jennings bryan populist. if anything, he really did not like bryan around cultural issues. he was an urban populist. i think it is true that he is an advocate of the middle class. he is a figure that embodies and advertises that he embodies the kind of "working your way up to the american system from a childhood of poverty" success. would a candidate today who had that kind of populist message, or least pseudo-populist, would they be successful?
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i think it is hard to say. smith was not particularly successful in his day on the national stage. i think populism has had a kind of a mixed history in the united states. >> is there a politician today you would compare to al smith? >> i don't know. today he might be more of the technocrat. i will explain that. populism itself that smith embodied was almost like a compassionate technocrat, he wanted to do the new deal prior to the new deal. roosevelt once said, i don't know why al smith is complaining. i am just doing in washington, d.c. what he did in new york. with the way the economy is today and the debates over government, smith would probably lick his lips and say i would love to go to washington, d.c. and figure this out.
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that is what he did in albany. and he did it in a republican state with a republican legislature. even discussions now with the bipartisan gridlock, smith had that in new york. he would probably sell himself very well today by saying, i have done this in new york. i have battled the legislature that is hostile. i know how to get government under control. i know how to get the economy moving again. i think he would be seen as a technocrat. he was not flashy, but some of that would be a braintrust kind of guy. >> james in dayton, ohio. good evening. >> i was wondering -- in 1929 wall street collapsed, initiating the great depression. i was wondering if he had any party platform that might have avoided any of the abuses by the moneyed classes on wall street that led to the collapse
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and ultimately the depression. if he had been elected in 1928, would he have done anything that might have possibly avoided or diminished the effects of the depression that followed? >> thank you, james. beverly gage. >> i would like to be able to say, yes, if al smith had been elected, none of the depression would ever have happened. i don't think that is true. i don't think of economic issues by 1928, the 1920's turned out to be a relatively conservative decade on things like labor policy. smith himself is not running an anti-wall street campaign in 1928. the real progressive candidates had been four years earlier. that had a much more vocal anti-wall street sentiment.
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it had a much more strict set of regulations and had more focus on economic issues. unfortunately, i don't think that smith would have done a whole lot significantly different. i am not sure that any president was really in a position to see what was coming or really had the tools at that point to prevent it from happening. >> that is kind of what hoover at the end with his ideas of experimentation with government intervention -- i heard somebody say once that if smith had run and won in 1928, hoover would have been the obvious candidate in 1932. they would say, we need a businessman.
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we need somebody who is a model of getting the economy going. no matter who won, they would have been unprepared to stop the avalanche of financial ruin. >> let's take it back to 1918. al smith is elected governor of new york for the first time. how? >> the accidental governor. it took al smith until 1925 or 1926 to get into the minds of the republican party that he was not going to lose. so he ran against charles whitman -- 1918. charles whitman, the d.a. of manhattan had come up and becomes governor of new york state. he runs twice and gets elected. he starts to look at the white house in 1920. we like to look back and say what if. maybe it would not have been harding. maybe it would have been charles whitman.
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smith unseats this governor largely because there is a flu epidemic. he campaigns around upstate new york. he turns out the new york city vote. he wins by a very slight margin. he get in there. in 1920, the legislature crosses its arms and says we will not do any of these things. >> the republican legislature? >> the republican assembly and senate. smith starts the campaign by saying, we will have a reconstruction commission capitalizing on the transition from a wartime economy to the private sector economy. he starts saying he is going to strengthen -- we are going to bond so we can have capital improvement spread out for many years instead of the infrastructure starts to crumble. he has a lot of these great ideas. the legislature says this guy will never win in 1920.
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that will be the presidential year. back then, new york governors ran at the same time the president ran. smith gets reelected in 1920. he has very little to show -- he loses in 1920. he has very little to show what he goes up in 1920. they run a very conservative, upstate republican who wins. sure enough, al smith goes away. people thought he would never come back. he did run again in 1922, 1924, and 1926. he starts to avalanche his success. >> at the same time, all of his elections are pretty close. >> they are close until the last two. they have a very close election which is 15,000 votes in 1918. he loses a close election in 1920. the national democratic ticket goes down by over 1 million votes. smith only loses by 75,000. that is what they said, it is like swimming up niagara falls. you can the closest anybody did. he comes back in 1922 and was a
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squeaker. in 1924 he starts to add to his totals and he went against teddy roosevelt, jr. it was only in the 1920's with his third, it starts to come to fruition. before then, he was seen as the accidental governor. >> 1920, women get to vote. does that make a difference in al smith's career? >> he is interesting because as john indicated before, he actually staffed a lot of his inner circle with women at the moment when not many speakers are doing that. -- not many reformers are doing that. francis perkins, who becomes fdr's secretary of labor, is a close ally of smith. pell moskowitz is his make it happen woman up in albany.
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he actually has a fairly progressive outlook of women in government. the advent of the women's vote does not have a huge impact on national politics. it ultimately begins to build. it does not have the impact many people are predicting. in terms of new york politicians, john would know this better than i, i don't have perspective it really transforms -- >> not at first. at first, he was not in favor of women's suffrage. his mother said, i would never vote. there is no need for me to vote. but she does. she cast her first ballot for her son for governor. smith's hook is he gets a lot of these people involved. he starts to realize these are the voters. -- new voters.he says, how do i talk to these people?
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he says talk to them as you talk to a chamber of commerce or anyone else in the campaign. he starts to realize women's suffrage is a good idea. i can enlighten these people. i can get them to vote democratic. that is where he gets the braintrust for many of these people who will work for him, who becomes sturdy supporters of the democratic party. smith capitalizes on that. >> a few blocks from here is the governor's mansion. what was life like for all smith at the governor's mansion? >> hectic. >> when he walked up here? >> he would walk up there. when i worked for an assemblyman in his 80s, he would tell me the stories and he remembers the governor walking over from the governor's mansion of the capital, and saying, did you go to school with my son, yes. the governor would joke with him. he was very much, i guess you could say, a neighborhood guy.
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he had five children, his own zoo, -- no, he brought them all with him. a lot of things were given to him. he had a bear, he had deer, he had elk. at one point someone gave him an alligator. smith always loved animals. when he was a kid, he used to collect dogs. down on the seaport, people would come in -- sailors would come in with exotic animals. they would give him monkeys and goats and he would take them home and put them in his attic. he would have in his backyard. he never had less than two dogs, he used to say. when he came here for its first term, he brought with him his great dane and the great dane jumped up on charles whitman and smith joked in his good sense of humor, it is the tammany tiger coming to take over.
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that was his love of animals. with all these children and animals, it was always a hectic place. it was a very friendly kind of atmosphere. >> i could add on the animal front we all owe smith a debt for his love of animals because one of his great allies first in city government and then state park was robert moses, the commissioner of parks of new york, who made new york in many ways. he and smith remained very, very affectionate well into the 1930's after smith was out of political life. and he insists that there be a zoo in central park so that al smith can come and visit the animals. he's living up town at that point. there are poignant stories about smith at the end of his life, he literally had a key to the zoo and he would sometimes
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go down there in the middle of the night and hang out at the central park zoo. he would take his grandchildren down there. in many ways it's a tribute to al smith and his love of animals. >> honorary night superintendent was al smith at the zoo. >> we've had a very, very patient audience here and in just a minute we're going to start taking questions from you as well. but we have a very patient tony from pleasantville, new york, who has been holding. you're on c-span and "the contenders." >> thank you for this series and c-span. i've been watching for over 20 years and i think if more people would watch c-span we would have better presidential candidates. but you beat me to the punch. i wanted to ask you about belle moskowitz. i wonder if they could expand on belle moskowitz's role and the
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job she had for governor smith. and also earlier you mentioned al smith didn't speak for two years. eighth grade education. didn't speak in the assembly, intimidated by all the other lawyers there. can you tell us what al smith did at night while the others went down on state street to booze it up and carouse? how did he educate himself to become majority leader and speaker? >> we're going get john to answer those questions. but i know you are a new yorker. is that the reason for your interest in al smith and your knowledge? >> i read a great book called empire statesman. i worked in albany for a while and i knew the al smith building was there, the tallest building in the state before the empire state building, i believe. but i read the book called
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"empire statesman." >> all right. thanks for calling in tonight. what else about belle moskowitz and what he did to educate himself? >> belle was the unofficial gate keeper. she would serve as his advisor and it was probably the best way to describe it as she was the person who would pass through all of these labor programs, all these reconstruction commissions. in fact the reconstruction of new york state, which eventually led to the reforming of the state constitution and the establishment of a strong chief executive, was done with the reconstruction commission. that was belle moskowitz's brain child. she recruited bob moses into the commission. in fact, tammany hall became very jealous of moskowitz and moses and prochnauer. they joked that's the brains of
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tammany hall. they weren't irish, they were jewish. the interesting thing about him not speaking in the assembly, smith sat so far back and he was so intimidated and so lost that he went back to new york after his second term and told tom foley, the tammany boss of his district, "i think i might be in over my head." he told him, "i might be able to find you a job, maybe superintendent of buildings in new york city, if you really can't hack it." that appealed to smith's ability to fight. he said i'm not going to admit i can't handle something. so he went back with a mission. he took all the bills every night and read them, every bill introduced, so he could understand the legislature. he didn't have a high school or college degree. he wasn't a lawyer. the assembly at the time was prominently the legal field. smith made sure that he could do that.
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also since he didn't have any money, he lived on the $1,500 a year plus traveling expenses, he didn't have anything else to do. he didn't go out partying at night. he didn't do bad things. he missed his family. he would go back to his room at his hotel and read. and when he wasn't there he would be in the legislative library reading the bills and what they affected. >> about 300 pages long? >> yeah, they could save a lot of trees by having them done electronically. smith used to read the appropriations bill cover to cover and he said not more than 10 people could explain the appropriations bill. thick, massive, he read that line by line.
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and it helped him as governor because he had an understanding of the budget system. >> i have a question from our audience. this is dave petrusa. he is an author. did not know he was going to be here tonight. he was a new book coming out about the 1948 election. go ahead. >> thank you. and your guests are doing a great job tonight. there are is constance in al smith's career. there is tammany hall, frankly roosevelt. and another fellow, william randolph hearst. specifically what can you say about that relationship, specifically the gubernatorial races and the 1922 presidential nomination process? >> let's start with beverly gage. >> hearst is one of the towering figures of this moment and he turns into one of smith's great critics and he's sort of the man around which smith learns how to deal with the press in many ways. i know you, we were talking
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earlier and you said you had been writing about this in great detail, the milk issue and hearst's attacks on smith. >> oh, god. yeah. great question. glad dave brought this up because william randolph hearst was probably one of the most controversial government figures or quasi-government figures in new york history. he was a two-term congressman from new york. he basically bought the seat. he tried to get the nomination in 1904 for president of the united states. he lost that. he runs for governor in 1906 against charles evans hughes and loses. he runs for new york city mayor and loses. many by has control of the two newspapers, the evening journal and the new york american, and he churns out really the basest appeal to people and to try to tell them that i know better, i'm a reformer, i want municipal utilities that will lower your rates.
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i want transparent government, you can get that if you back me. in 1918 he wants the nomination for governor and they try to figure out who is going to get this. they settle on smith. smith goes and gets elected. in 1919, immediately william randolph hearst starts to poke at smith's programs. there's a milk strike in new york city. the upstate dairies can't get milk into new york city. they then have a milk strike upstate where the producers won't ship it to new york city. well, none of this is within the purview of the governor's powers. the governor tries to get his departments of farms and markets to act. they won't because many they don't report to the governor. hearst won't take this answer and he also says you are moving too slow on municipal ownership. we want the utilities in new york to be owned. you are the governor, you should make them do that.
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they won't. smith goes head-to-head with him. he takes the stage at carnegie hall to debate hearst. hearst won't show up for the debate. he goes to san simeon and starts buying more art work. smith loses control, screams and yells, red in the face, about this man and unmasks hearst. hearst then ironically comes out and backs smith for re- election. smith want nothing to do with him. 1922, hearst wants the nomination. smith says i won't run on the ticket if he's going to be on it. he said i'll be gone. he said i won't run on a ticket with hearst at all. smith was one of those guys that was just, well, he's honest. to he said i'm not going change my mind left and right and be as despicable as hearst and deal in character assassination. smith wins.
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and an ally, one of hearst's allies, he replaces him with jimmy walker and takes over the party. but smith gets the last laugh because in 1932 hearst uses his power to throw on the fifth ballot the nomination from the f.d.r.-smith battle. he takes his votes under california under mcadoo and give them to roosevelt, knocks smith out and he loses the nomination because of hearst's behind the scenes. >> well, there were three he was active in. 1920, 1924 and 1932. here is a newsreel about the elections.
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>> then the great political battle of 1924 where with alfred e. smith and john davis, he stood out as a leader. there never was a political convention to match the democratic national gathering of 1924 in new york for drama and color. mcadoo against al smith. day after day, terrific storms of passion shaking the delegates. the high note of all, franklin d. roosevelt's presentation of alfred e. smith with the deathless phrase, "the happy warrior." ♪ the democratic convention attendees from the lone star state and once more franklin roosevelt took the stage to praise as only he could do the man for whom he has always had such affection and respect, naming him again, his friend, al smith, the happy warrior, the governor of new york.
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al smith will always have his own place in the hearts of the american people, but events were moving fast. he wanted a good man to run for governor of new york. he persuaded franklin roosevelt to make the race. although smith lost by a narrow vote, roosevelt was elected to his first term as governor. already roosevelt was the leading favorite for the nomination. the leading opponent, none other than his old friend al smith. >> franklin d. roosevelt, having received more than 2/3 of all the delegates, i proclaim him the nominee of this convention for president of the united states. [applause] >> you have nominated me and i know it and i am here to thank you for the honor. [applause]
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i pledge myself to a new deal for the american people. >> and back live in the new york constituent assembly chamber. beverly gage, how did we get from 1928 f.d.r. calling al smith the happy warrior and nominating him to the 1932 election? >> well, they had been allies before, both coming up through the same new york democratic party. a couple of things happened between 1928 and 1932, some of which are very personal and some of which are on a grand scale. the most important thing that happened is of course that we entered the depression so her better hoover begins in 1929 as president. he gets stock market crash that year and by 1932 you are really in the deepest, darkest moments
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of the depression. so that is bad news. but for the democratic nominee for president that's actually really good news. so in 1932 al smith wants to be the candidate again. in fact he's put forth as a possibility. but there's a lot of controversy about whether or not this is going to be a good idea. there are a lot of people who do not want to introduce into what looks like it's going to be a smashing democratic year all of the issues that you had seen in 1928, issues about catholicism, about prejudice, about prohibition. all these sorts of things. now franklin roosevelt has a little bit to say about these things, but when he's a candidate in 1932 he's kind of being as even keel about all this as you possibly can be. so smith is gunning for this and there is a lot of pushback about that and it's not clear either that smith is a huge fan of roosevelt's.
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they've had a very, very cooperative relationship, but it's always been smith through the elder statesman with roosevelt the supportive, younger man. and it seems at this moment and we should acknowledge like a lot of people in the united states in 1932 he views franklin roosevelt kind of as a dilettante, someone who is not willing to come out and take hard stands on things, he's come from a life of leisure. here's smith who worked his way up. so you have this personal drama playing out at the same time you have the political drama playing out and you know who wins that in 1932, and it doesn't take very long for smith to begin to attack roosevelt personally as well as politically. i think it's easier to understand his personal animosity toward roosevelt as it begins to develop. i've always found it a little bit more puzzling to understand how by 1936 he's actually
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endorsing the republican presidential candidate and is embracing a kind of politics he really hadn't embraced before. is it because he is heartbroken? because he doesn't like roosevelt? is it because he has actually changed his mind ease sees roosevelt enak the new deal? these are all sort of open questions about their relationship. >> now back to your calls on "the contenders." sheridan, arkansas. >> yes, my grandfather albert godwin was a county democrat chairman, a state senator and supporter of al smith. compare al smith's campaign for president and dewey's campaigns for president. >> well, let's ask the former new york state assembly historian if he could do that in just a few minutes.
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>> oh, sure! dewey will be the subject of a future contenders i think in two weeks. >> there really is no comparison with dewey, the personalities couldn't be more different. they really couldn't be. first of all if smith is a democrat, dewey is a republican. smith is a progressive, pre-new deal campaigner. dewey takes over the reins in new york state after he beats the hand-picked successor of f.d.r. and al smith and he runs new york state during the new deal, and he is by all accounts somebody that implements his programs. so he's not a rock-ribbed republican in the sense of a conservative. kind of like a nelson rockefeller republican. dewey wanted to be president.
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think there were rumors he was going to run for president when he was still i think new york district attorney. he had it in the cards that he wanted to do this for a long time. smith's campaign in 1928 had always been troubled from the start. he did get the nomination and did his whirlwind campaign from july onwards. dewey had more of the modern campaign. in fact f.d.r. did this in 1932. he knew he would run early on and traveled the country getting his delegates in order. i think the biggest difference is that dewey was out there with this campaign and preparation a lot more than al smith ever was. we have a question here in our audience. if you would, if you feel comfortable, tell us who you are and where you are from. >> thank you. amy standard from clifton park, new york besides the zoo that al smith brought to the governor's mansion, what was his most notable achievement for new york and the country? >> i think if i were to rattle
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them off it would be kind of impressive but we don't have, like, three hours. probably smith's biggest achievements were to bring progressivism into the modern age. smith was that pre-new deal type of person. smith had the modern labor code, he had parks and recreation, he had new york state vote on bonds, hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds to improve roads, bridges, railroad crossings, parks, hospitals, prisons. he was ahead of his time when it came to criminal justice. ofth's whole movement government was not to downsize government but to use government as a tool to provide people with services instead of it used to be more conservative where government was simply there. the federal government would deliver the mail. it had the military.
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in new york state it really wasn't that much different. it did certain functions, but it didn't go out there and regulate industry. didn't go out there and regulate utilities. it didn't provide parks and recreation. didn't have the interaction with people that really needed it. so i think smith's overall accomplishment in new york state was to launch us on a social welfare state in the best positive sense of the word. we're here in the beautiful old state capitol building. finished in 1894. surrounded by state office buildings, many built in the 1960's, 1970's, etc. would al smith -- what would he think about the growth of state government in new york? >> i think he would be ok with state government as it is. when smith was governor, it was 10 million, 10.5 million people.
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he realized state government needed to be housed. he said you've got to get all these agencies not only coordinated but he used to joke that we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year renting little offices. can't we build state offices? can't we centralize the work force? smith really believed that using the government to organize the people and to deliver services, that's the proper role of government. he stood with that his whole life. he thought the new deal just went too far. >> beverly gage? >> i just wanted to add i think on the national stage he plays a very different but equally important role in the sense that smith's candidacy in 1928 comes after a decade when we sort of had already issues about immigration, about race. immigration reform paused in the early 1920's, in part targeting people from places like italy, russia. people considered ethnically different. the other great social phenomenon of that decade was
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the rise of the ku klux klan. the klan in the 1920's is a mass organization. it's not kind of the southern targeted klan we see in the 1950's and 1960's. it's a mass organization with millions of members. its stronghold is really in indiana, a lot of midwestern states. a lot of urban centers even in the east have large klans too which are targeting catholics and jews. these are the main issues driving the klan. and smith as a candidate, though he loses, is a person who stands up on the national stage and says no to all of that. he says no, that's not what the united states is supposed to stand for. all those people you are talking about restricting, talking about pushing out, who you are describing as foreign, those are my people, we are all americans, and he stands for that very powerfully on the national stage, even though he's rejected as the president. >> in just a minute we're going to ask our guests what they think al smith's biggest
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failures were. but helen, in cape may, new jersey, you are on "the contenders." >> i was so excited to hear that you are going to have al smith on. my grandfather was part of the irish catholic republican bear machine. they did split ranks in 1920 and vote for al smith. my question is after the election al smith had really harsh words to say both about president roosevelt and the new deal and the democratic party. you you -- do you think it's because he feared the democratic party was edging too close to socialism and away from true progressivism? >> john? >> i think that his initial responses in 1928 were more of a emotional response, basically saying, and he admitted it, saying i'm done, i'm not going to run again. ironically he comes back in 1932 and says i changed my mind.
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but he wanted to set the record straight and say i think i could do a good job on this. his split with roosevelt is hard to explain. a lot of historians have really struggled with this. he alternately says it's gone too far but in certain things he says that's ok. he supports preparation for the war in the 1930's but then won't support roosevelt on the war. kind of hard to pin him down at the end except that he thinks the federal government is growing too big the he blames alphabet agencies or how the government has gotten off track and he hides a little bit behind the states' rights issue. thecan't through constitution correct or control people's individual behavior, and often he said it's a state's issue when it comes to the democratic party but he stretched it with the new deal
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saying states' rights when he realized a lot of these things were things he implemented in new york state as well. >> we've heard from the former new york state historian and from a history professor at yale university about the f.d.r.-al smith relationship. alf landon he supported in 1936 and wendell wilkie in 1940 over f.d.r. in fact here is al smith on the radio talking about his support for wendell wilkie. >> i'd just like to make a little observation. i'd like to wonder what could be going through the mind of the 16 million men that are in the draft. i wonder if they're not saying to themselves, if this becomes serious, if it becomes necessary that we have to face an enemy, who, upon the record, would you sooner be behind?
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the third-time candidate or a wilkie? [applause] in my opinion the only hope for the people is the election of wendell wilkie, who believes -- [applause] who believes in the constitution of the united states and the principles upon which it was founded. when he is chosen to guide this nation, then and then only will the stars and stripes again wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave. [applause] >> beverly gage, what's your reaction to hearing that? >> well, it's really remarkable how quickly and how viciously al smith ends up going after
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the people who had once been his greatest supporters. i was trying to think if there has ever been another major party presidential candidate who in less than a decade after he had run on his party's platform is actually endorsing actively the candidate of the other party -- >> joe lieberman? >> i guess so. joe lieberman is sort of hard to read. was he ever really a democrat? i don't know. but, so going around and actually doing these endorsements in 1936 and 1940 and i think in this way that is incredibly outspoken and vicious, i mean he makes this speech in 1936 where he's accusing the new deal and f.d.r. themselves, as i mentioned earlier, of being communists, socialists. he picks up the most vitriolic new deal language. -- anti-new deal language.
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he calls roosevelt a tyrant, says he's abusing the constitution and becomes one of the standard-bearers of the liberty league, basically a business funded -- really funded by the dupont family, a group founded in the 1930's to attempt to push back the new deal. it really is a puzzling, puzzling moment in his career. people who have tried to trace, well, he always had these platforms, he believed in state power, not federal power, or he had a more limited view of government, but i just don't think that those are answers. i think he went through something personally at that point and his circle in new york as he becomes head of the empire state building and begins to solidify these relationships with businessmen, that really becomes his world in the 1930's. and we're going to talk about that part of his life in just a minute. but we have another questioner in the new york state assembly. tell us who you are and what
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you're doing. >> good evening. i'm a professor at schenectady community college and i teach administrative law. as my students are talking about government and how government is getting larger we discuss state agencies and we talk a lot about immigration reform as it relates to department of homeland security. so as we're talking about al smith and his background, having come from new york city, south street seaport, being raised amongst a lot of ethnically diverse groups, i wonder what an immigration policy would look like for today for a governor al smith? what would he think in terms of, one, the ethnicities of those coming in are vastly different than what he grew up with and also we're looking for policies in today's immigration platform that would deal with labor issues, you know, whether or not people that have been here illegally should have the trite -- right to work after
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having been in the country for a number of years. so i wonder where would al smith stand on that type of issue, immigration as it relates to labor and also racism as you talked about. you know, we don't really see much in terms of the ku klux klan any more but do you see a lot of internal racism in agencies as it relates to immigration? >> i think al smith would be very understanding of loose immigration, probably because of where he grew up. smith was exposed to all kinds of ethnicities, all kinds of immigrants. his mother was the daughter of immigrants. his father was a son of immigrants. he worked in an area with people from all over the world. he joked one time that even
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representatives from chinatown came up for one of the marriages of his daughters. so i would say he would be more understanding of open immigration or more widely construed immigration just because that's what he grew up with. >> beverly gage, you want to add significant one thing i remember as a student was compare and contrast, immigration then and immigration now. >> right, i think that's really at the core of who al smith presented himself to be to the world. this question of immigration and labor was one of the hot issues, so immigration law when it was being, immigration restriction which is passed in the 1920's, you had decades of debate about the relationship between wages and labor and immigration and in fact during al smith's day immigration policy was actually under the department of labor. and so these things were really intimately tied then.
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as i said, when he ran in 1928 it was really in the wake of a wave of nativist sentiment. if he stood for anything it was a pushback against this reactive nativism. now, if he had actually been elected president, would he have been able in his day to push back immigration restriction? it seems unlikely. this period in the 1920's is really very intense around immigration. it lasts for 40 years. during al smith's childhood there had been almost no restrictions on immigration. that wasn't reopened until the 1960's when as you said you begin to get very different groups of immigrants coming in. >> about 25 minutes left in our program on al smith. howie, you're on the air. >> yes, good evening, i wanted to shed some light on prohibition and how president
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hardy did not force prohibition on states that did not do the job themselves. it was 1926, around may when al smith actually signed the repeal of the prohibition act. can you also shed some light on kansas politics leading to the 1936 election where al smith blew the whistle on the new deal? >> i think prohibition is something heavily identified with al smith. he never favored prohibition. it was not an issue he championed. he didn't like how new york state ratified it anyway. they did it by simple resolution through the legislature. he thought it should be a referendum. i believe it was 1924 they had a referendum in new york state, what do you think about prohibition? should you change the percentage of alcohol? i think it was, they wanted beer and light wines to be allowed.
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it passed overwhelmingly but it didn't mean anything. smith himself was elected the president of the convention in new york state in 1933 to repeal the prohibition amendment officially in this chamber. the 150 delegates that gathered overwhelmingly voted, and they overwhelmingly voted for al smith to be president. so he got the last laugh on that. they brought out 88-year-old elihu root to come out and second the nomination and pat him on the back. but it shaped him in that it was almost ridiculous to say that you could use the constitution to control human behavior. it actually took a right away from people in the bill of rights giving rights to people. and he also thought it was hypocritical. he used to say he saw more people who would come out there who said they were dries and
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more wets trying to repeal the prohibition so he thought it was ridiculous. >> and it was very intimately tied to all these questions about immigration and rural versus urban america. a lot of the imagery to promote prohibition was about the german saloon and immigrants running wild in the city. they took issue with that and with the kind of institutions mobilized to get prohibition passed. >> beverly gage, was prohibition a christian right issue in the 1920's kind of like abortion or gay marriage today? >> i think it's certainly a cultural issue that mobilized
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certain sections of the population, but i wouldn't necessarily call it a right wing issue in its day. it got a lot of its base of support from protestant groups, certainly from protestant fundamentalists during that day, this again being of the great issues of the 1920's, with the scopes trial and questions about fundamentalism really also at the forefront of american political debate but you also had a lot of progressive reformers, particularly women who had been suffragettes, who had been progressive on any number of other issues who were also supporters of prohibition. partly the feminist issue, saving you from your drunken husband. it's a complicated issue and i think it doesn't line up very neatly on this left-right spectrum. >> john evers, in between his presidential runs, 1922 and 1930, what happens to al smith in 1930?
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>> al smith after he retires from the governorship here in new york actually as a little bit of a side note he believes and a lot of people attribute this to him that he's going to help f.d.r. out, f.d.r. is going to need help. he's going to draft the budget for him, to hold his hand. that turns out not to be the case. f.d.r. wants to stand on his own and doesn't want anything to do with smith the smith goes back to new york city and gets the job to run the empire state building. it's going to be built they were knocking down the waldorf astoria and were going to break ground for this right around the time the stock market crashes. but they continue through. the dupont family and all the moneyed interests that wanted this built, this huge building that goes up just as the depression happens, just as the rents are, everybody is leaving their leases and nobody wants
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to rent anything. it's dubbed the empty state building and smith who is making $50,000 a year as the president of the corporation -- >> a large amount? >> large amount but he's running like $1 million deficit as a year because nobody is renting the he goes to f.d.r. and says could you put some people in there? he goes hat in hand, by the way, could you put someone in the empire state building? of course the economy changes and he does recover, but at first it was a very difficult job to have, trying to rent space in new york city. >> one of his failures is really bad timing. he ends up as democratic candidate in 1928. if it had been 1932 he would have been a shoe-in. he ends up taking over this building that breaks ground on this building in 1929.
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he had a timing problem in the early 1930's. >> we had another question from the audience. >> hi. i'm a junior political science major at suny-albany. i just have a question. when andrew cuomo first came to office as governor he said he wanted to emulate some of the qualities of alfred smith. and earlier in the program we talked about how at one point the governor's office was a very weak political office. can you just, if anything, go over what he did to make the office of governor stronger and what example did he leave behind for others to follow? >> thank you, sir. that is probably one of the lasting legacies of alfred e. smith, and when governor cuomo entered office he put smith's portrait behind the rostrum so that all the press conferences will see al smith and he
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replaced teddy roosevelt, who was there for the last three governors. governor cuomo also instituted a sage commission which wouldgod a sage commission which would investigate government and try to make it more efficient, which is also like smith's reconstruction commission. the point that smith is probably being emulated most for is efficiency in government. smith took 187 massive rolling bureaus, boards, commissions, departments, and rolled them ofo the 20 department os government and had the legislature pass the constitutional amendments, and then they were ratified by the people to make the governor a strong governor, and this is prior to f.d.r. reforming the executive office of the presidency in d.c. smith is wanted to make sure that if i appoint a commissioner i want him answerable to me. prior to smith's reforms, commissioners' terms overlapped. the health care commissioner had a six-year term. certainly commissioners could
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be appointed by the previous governor, like the insurance commissioner. so the governor can't remove him. certain departments like ag and others were appointed. smith reformed government. the point about smith is he right-sized it. he made it responsive to the executive, who in turn is responsive to the people. that's his most lasting legacy. that has been emulated by lot of states. and had a little bit of the template taken to d.c. when f.d.r. reformed the office of the presidency. >> albany, new york. mark, we're here in your home town. what's your question on al smith? >> well, my question is this. by the way i do work for state government. i'm an internal audit director for a public authority and i teach a two-day class to state employees about the state
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budget process. one of the things i teach them and as a understand it, al smith also reformed how budgeting is done in new york. prior to him, the budgeting wasn't done very well and the budget may have been put forth by the legislature and now we have a very strong executive being put forth by the governor and that's another legacy that exists to this day for al smith. in my opinion that's one of his real strong contributions to the whole structure of government in upstate new york. wonder if you would comment on that. >> yeah, prior to smith, budgeting was done by the legislature. all ofould get together you al the estimates of what it would take to run government. very inefficient. you had executive agencies reporting to the legislature to say this is what i need whereas
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they technically reported to the governor. smith used to joke about it and say when the initial been bill was presented it was then added to by the legislature so that the original budget bill could then be almost unrecognizable. they would laden it down with pork. in one constitutional convention they claimed that a clerk passing the bill from one house to the next actually added his own item in there. the inefficiency was so bad that smith said let the governor submit the budget to the legislature based on estimates from his own executive departments that the legislature can then act on. that made budgeting much more responsive to one individual, the governor of new york, and that's how it is today. >> beverly, we began this program with a little video from the al smith dinner. -- the annual al smith dinner for catholic charities.
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what is the al smith dinner and how did it come about? >> it's most famous as a place the presidential candidates show up every four years. they show up, democrats and republicans. it's really a memorial dinner for smith, and at this thing, i think that if anyone's heard al smith's name at this point in time that that's where you probably heard about al smith, unless you hang around these hallowed halls. in general it's probably his most lasting public legacy, the place where his name gets out. it's held every year, not just every four years. you have prominent figures coming in. it's a memorial dinner. it's a catholic charity dinner and a place where people get together and try to assess the legacy of al smith and presidential candidates always try to crack good jokes about each other. >> and they show up together most times.
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they show up, both the democrat and republican nominees show up together. we want to show you some of the past al smith dinners. >> might i ask if monsignor clark might come up here because either the president of the united states or i am without a seat and i have no intension of -- intention of standing. >> i must say traveled the banquet circuit for many years and never quite understood the logistics of dinners like this and how the absence of one individual could cause three of us to not have seats. >> mr. vice president, i'm glad to see you here tonight. you said many, many times in this campaign that you want to give america back to the little guy. mr. vice president, i am that man. [laughter] >> as i looked out at all the white ties and tails this evening, i realized i haven't seen so many people so well dressed since i went to a come as you are party in kennebunkport. >> we just had really good news out of yugoslavia. especially pleased that mr.
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milosevic has stepped down. that's one less polysyllabic name for me to remember. [laughter] [applause] you know what this world really needs? it really needs more world leaders named al smith. [laughter] >> it is an honor to share the dais with the descendants of the great al smith. al, your great, great grand father was my favorite kind of governor. the kind who ran for president and lost. [laughter] >> about 15 minutes left. glen in freeland, michigan, you are on the contenders. please go ahead. >> thank you very much. the question i have is with all the anti-roman catholic racism
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and his being the first major american presidential party candidate that was roman catholic and everything, how much international attention did this get? specifically, did the pope at the time ever weigh in or comment on any of the campaign he ran or anything like that? thank you very much. >> thank you, glen. beverly gage, if you want to start? >> right, well, in terms of polls you didn't really have the same kind of polling mechanisms you have today so these things are a little bit harder to gauge in the 1920's. you know, which percentage cares about war and the electorate. it's tough for historians, actually not knowing that much about the electorate. on the international question it's really interesting
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because, yes, there was a lot of attention paid to this and it came in the wake of two trials as well that really raised these questions about america's national character. the first was the scopes trial in 1925, and the second, the trial had happened earlier but the second was the execution of sacco and venzetti, two italian immigrants, italian anarchists, that happened in 1927. so these questions of what the united states' presentation to the world in terms of race, in terms of immigration policy, in terms of its attitudes towards radicalism and political tolerance, all these were really out there already by the time smith became the candidate. so his candidacy then on the world stage becomes another moment to ask those questions and call the questions. >> well, after the election and
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he loses he does eventually go to europe at one time. he does meet the pope and he recounts on a few occasions that on many of his travels around italy they thought he was the president because they knew he had run. he goes to the house of commons. he had a very good relationship with winston churchill. it certainly did catapult him to the world stage. so in that sense he was a famous also-ran around the world as well. >> catholicism, 1928. 2008, serious woman contender, potential mormon in 2012. is it a fair comparison? >> i think it is a fair comparison in certain ways. in that sense al smith was absolutely, he was a trail blazer on this front and i think in many ways it's hard for people today to understand the depth of anti-catholicism in the united states at that moment. when al smith was on the
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campaign trail particularly in places like oklahoma, places he had never been before and he didn't know much about, his train would pull into town and there would be crosses burning. he faced physical danger around these sorts of questions and he also faced all sorts of conspiracy theories about what his role was going to be, if he was going to be taking orders from the pope or were they building secret tunnels from the vatican. all these kind of really intense conspiracy theories that are hard to remember although we've seen other conspiracy theories come up in recent years. but the intensity of the anti- catholic sentiment he faced is hard to remember. >> another member of our studio audience has a question. >> hello, i'm kathy and i'm a junior american studies major at lauderdale college in seneca, new york. how has al smith's legacy been reflected?
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>> who wants to start? >> i went to siena. so very good. one of the things that's a great parallel between the two is working with a legislature that is seen as hostile, that is seen as the two-party, the partisanship. smith faced that every year that he was in office here in albany. he only had control of the senate for two years and that was by a single vote. the other eight years it was eight years of republican dominance here in this chamber and in the other house he only had the one term. so i would think that the problem of dealing with the other party is something that smith had to battle with and undertake. that's something that the current president has a problem with as well. the other thing that he has is
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his remarkable the sense of humor. president obama has a very good sense of humor and handled press conferences very well. al smith was the same way. he knew he could be funny on occasions but not all the time because then people wouldn't take you seriously so he could really play a very good statesman with a sense of humor, which is another good parallel. >> beverly? >> the only thing i might add is i'm not sure barack obama has quite learned how al smith learned how to make it all happen. not sure he's learned his lessons for dealing with a hostile legislature. >> next call from houston, texas. joe. good evening to you. please go ahead. >> oh, thanks for taking my call. my first question, i know smith lost new york in 1928 to hoover. how well did he do in the five boroughs? i also wanted to know, was anti-catholicism vote more prevalent in the southern states
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as compared to like the midwest, say kansas, nebraska, etc.? and i also wanted to know, he had a fallout with f.d.r., i was surprised to hear he endorsed wendell wilkie in 1940, but i'd like to know how did he feel about social security? >> all right. thank you. >> he did well in new york. he always did well in new york city. he did extraordinarily well in his own district. but he just couldn't make it up over the whole state. the other question, what was the other? >> well, did he win new york city? do you know off hand if he won in 1928? >> oh, i don't recall. i don't think he did. >> not even new york city? >> new york city also had outer boroughs that had republican dominance, which is stilt case -- still the case in staten island. but in but in pockets of queens
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as well. >> social security? >> the issue on social security is something that smith had tried to implement in new york state when it came to widows and orphans' pensions. he tried to experiment with health insurance for industrial workers and also tried to do all kinds of social security issues when it came to trying to support those that were downtrodden, make-work projects were something that he had experimented with and it might have been one of those programs he would have carried into the new deal had he won. >> i just wanted to address one other aspect that came up, which is about the south. one of the strange things that emerges, so was anti- catholicism more powerful in the south than in the midwest? that's a hard question to answer. but we've been talking about democrats versus republicans here. one of the things that were very difficult for smith were the divisions in the national party. the whole south at this point is still a democratic south with smith as their national
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candidate, so you had real tensions within the democratic party between this kind of urban core smith was coming to represent and the more southern wing as well as other wings of the democratic party as well so those inter partying tensions were as important as these tensions between republicans and democrats. >> hoover, 444 electoral votes. al smith 87. herbert hoover won 40 states. smith won eight. louisiana, alabama, mississippi, south carolina, massachusetts, and rhode island. another question? >> if you were to grade him as governor, what letter would you assign? and as the first catholic president candidate, did he view -- he help how the cuontry
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-- country viewed religion? >> i would give governor smith an a because he faced a tremendously uphill battle. new york was a republican state at the time and as i mentioned he had a very tough time dealing with the legislature which was overwhelmingly republican. in 1920 when they expelled the socialists i never understood why because they had 110 republicans out of 150 seats and it didn't really matter when if came to the votes. but i would give smith an a. he created so many things, the budget, the short ballot, to stop voting for six or seven statewide offices and have some appointed. are and the port authority in new york and new jersey was one of his authorities, bi-state authority. he had a lot of interesting things. >> john evers? biggest failure of smith?
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>> some of it might be that he overthought things. i think from a political science point of view public authorities were something he wanted to deal with. he created those and now there's debates over public authorities. and bonding. governor smith was a huge proponent of bonding. that has created a propensity for dependence on bonding. >> what difference did he make in national politics? >> i think al smith called certain questions and faced them down. his candidacy raised questions that had been percolating in various ways throughout the 1920's. these questions that we've been talking about, immigration, nativism, all these sorts of
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issues and he really calls the question. he takes a very sort of powerful stand about who is going to be an american, who ought to be included as an american, and becomes a great symbol for that. i think within the democratic are party he's also a very powerful figure in sort of consolidating what we now talk about as the roosevelt coalitioni, but it begins with al smith bringing this urban core into the party. >> beverly gage and john evers, thank you so much for being on the contenders. we also want to make sure to thank speaker sheldon silver and the people here at the new york state assembly for allowing us to broadcast live. we want to thank our studio audience and our cable partner up here in albany, time-warner. we're going to leave you with a few of al smith's own words on his career and life. >> i was elected to my first public office in 1903. i remained in the assembly for 12 years. then i was elected sheriff of new york county. then i was elected president of the board of aldermen. in fact, i ran for office 22 times. i was elected 20 times and defeated twice.
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i've worked for the county, i've worked for the city. i have worked for the state. and you will probably remember that i tried to get a job down in washington but something happened to me at that time. [laughter] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> because i am a businessman, of which, incidentally, i am very proud, and was formerly connected with a large company, they have attempted to picture me as the opponent of liberalism. but i was a liberal before many of those of them heard the word. i fought for the reforms of theodore roosevelt and woodrow wilson before another roosevelt adopted and distorted the word "liberal." >> he was a member of the democratic party for over 20 years. although he lost the election, he left his mark in political history, speaking out for civil- rights and becoming the for an ambassador for his former opponent, franklin roosevelt -- foreign ambassador for his former. c
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friday 8:00 p.m. eastern. >> i am the first one to admit every day -- i have to get up in the morning and tell myself i can do this. there is no one better to do this than i am. >> kroon laude, harvard medical school, president -- cum laude, harvard medical school, a johns hopkins university, homeless illegal migrant farm worker -- >> i have to believe that every time i go into the arena, into the operating room, i have someone's life and my hands, and i am fully capable of getting this patient in and out of the operating room, because that is the trust that these patients have in me. and i walk that fine line between competence and arrogance. >> dr. quinones-hinojosa shares his life story tonight on c-span's "q&a." >> tomorrow on "washington
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journal" -- a conversation with james cooper, jennifer duffy, and ben geman, live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> next, a dedication ceremony for the martin luther king, jr., national memorial. before that, a look at president obama and his family. later, remarks from the president. first statement from the sister and children of dr. king. also speeches from civil-rights leaders, jesse jackson and rev. al sharpton. this morning's dedication will also feature performances by aretha franklin. this is a little over three hours.
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>> thank you, king family, alpha phi alpha fraternity, and the martin luther king dedication staff, friends, and all of you assembled here today. i stand before you today as the person who knew martin luther king, jr., longer than anyone now live -- alive. [no audio] [applause] in fact, i was there in our home the day that he was born on january 15, 1929.
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he was my little brother. i watched him grow and develop into a man who was destined for a very special kind of greatness. it has been quite a journey from that cold january day more than 82 years ago on down to today, when i first laid my eyes on my baby brother. now i'm standing here alongside an african-american president at the dedication of the martin luther king, jr., a memorial on the national mall. [applause] during my life, i've witnessed a baby become a great hero to humanity, who provides hope and inspiration to the freedom- loving people everywhere.
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so, i just want to say to all of the young people coming up, great dreams can come true and america it is a place where you can make it happen. and i know that our president will agree with me on this. it was not far from here where my brother, martin, told america about his great dreams for our country, on this day 48 years ago. the dream of justice, equality, and brotherhood, he shared with us on that sweltering august afternoon. it is really the heart and soul of the american dream. it is what this country must always be about, so we can like the way forward to a -- light
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the way forward to a new era of peace and prosperity for all people in all nations. and i remember another lovely afternoon in 1983, when another president of the united states signed into law a bill to name my brother's birthday a federal holiday. did that, too, was a day of hope -- that, too, was a day of hope and healing. i do not think my brother's legacy could get much larger, but i was wrong. but does here i am overjoyed and humbled to see this great day when my brother martin takes his symbolic place on the national mall. [applause]
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it is near america's greatest presidents, including abraham lincoln, thomas jefferson, and franklin roosevelt. this is just overwhelming. my brother was never one to seek great honors. in fact, he was self-effacing. he was amazed and humbled to receive the nobel prize for peace back in 1964. i want to thank the alpha phi alpha fraternity for having the vision, commitment and dedication to -- vision, commitment, and determination
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to conceive of this project and see it through by honoring dr. martin luther king, jr., with such a wonderful statute on the national mall. you have insured that his legacy -- ensured that his legacy will provide a source of inspiration for people all over the world for generations to come. my brother was an alpha himself. he was deeply proud of his fraternity brothers when they came to the aid of our non- violent freedom struggle again and again with urgently needed contributions and volunteer support. now against all odds, you have built this beautiful monument which brings honor to our country and hope for coming generations.
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in closing, i want to thank each of you for joining us today. your presence is also an affirmation of my brother's legacy and the great blessings of liberty in america. -- of diversity in america. let this wonderful day mark another step towards the fulfillment of the dream. let all hearts be joined together as we move forward into the future united and determined to create the beloved community in america and throughout the world. i thank you. [cheers and applause]
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>> please welcome rev. bernice king. ice king and. [applause] [applause] >> i thank god for the presence of our aunt. mrs. christine king farris. good morning. thank you for joining us today as we dedicate this monument to a man inspiring vision and -- a man of inspiring vision and transformative action, father,
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-- my father dr. martin luther king, jr. it has been a long time coming. the vision of my father's fraternity to build the monument. an act of congress, 10 years of fund-raising, and a lot of hard work, an earthquake, and a hurricane. but today, we are here. thank god we are here. it is a great time of celebration. the entire king family is proud to witness this day. i am especially proud to stand here as one of the four children to whom my father referred to as he spoke of the american dream -- resounded the american dream that someday we will live in a nation where we are not judged by the color of our skin but by the content of our character. today represents another milestone in the life of
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america. this is a day that all americans can be proud of. may i remind you that this is not just a celebration for african-americans, but for americans and citizens around the world. no doubt, today the world celebrates with us. today, our nation acknowledges its growth again, that this memorial represents a stairstep beyond segregation. it symbolizes thata preacher from the south effected a social change that helped to redeem the soul of america. i want to express my gratitude to each person, organization, corporation, entity that contributed to what we see here today, from its conception to its realization. however, we would be remiss if
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we did not also recognize and honor the life and legacy of my mother, mrs. coretta scott king. [cheers and applause] after the assassination of my father, she raised the four of us children and raised the nation in our father's teachings and values. it was vitally important for her that his life, words, and principles become institutionalized. so, she spearheaded the effort , even as a grieving widow, to establish the king center in
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atlanta as the official living memorial to dr. martin luther king, jr., and then went on to champion a national holiday commemorating our father's birthday and a host of other efforts. in many respects, she paved the way and made it possible for a man who was the most hated man in america in 1968 to now be one of the most loved men in the -- most revered and loved men in the world so that we would be able to build a memorial in his honor. thank you, mama, for your dedication and sacrifice. we're proud we were able to share our parents with the world so that we are able to be in a better place. [cheers and applause] she did not just institutionalize his words and principles so that we would only remember him, but also so that we would be compelled into -- propelled into action
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utilizing his philosophy and strategy of non-violence. it is no accident that the official dedication could not occur on august 28, the anniversary of the "i have a dream" speech. although fully powerful, prophetic, and passionate, one of the most well known speeches around the world. could it be that the speech not -- dedication not taking place on the anniversary is indicative of god wanting us to move forward? to look at the rest of king? as we survey the current events and the global cries for the alleviation of poverty, we ar ad economic oppression, we are being pulled from the familiar and comfortable place toof "i have a dream" to focus on
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another aspect of dr. king's life. perhaps the postponement was a divine interruption to remind us of the king and move us beyond -- king that moved us beyond the dream of racial justice to the actions and work of economic justice. perhaps god wanted to remind us that 43 years ago when our father was taken from us that he was in the midst of starting a poor people's campaign. he was galvanizing poor people from all walks of life to converge on this capital, stay here, and occupy this place until there was a change in the economic system and a better distribution of wealth. perhaps god wanted us to move beyond the dream into action. maybe we were not able to
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dedicate this monument on august 28 just because of that. he said to us that it was time to readjust. in fact, over 43 years ago, he told us that we must become maladjusted to certain social ills. we should never unjust to 1% -- adjust to the 1% controlling more than 40% of the world. -- wealth. we should never adjust to a high number of people unemployed. we should never adjust to any person being without health care because they cannot afford it. we should never adjust to an increase in people moving into poverty. we should never adjust to violence of any form -- bullying, practices that profile -- bullying or being bullied. we should never adjust to practices that profile people
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because of their color, ethnicity, or nation of origin. we should never adjust to a judicial system that allows us to take a life while guilt is still in question. [applause] and so, as we dedicate this monument, i can hear my father say that oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. the yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. as we dedicate this monument, i hear my father saying that what we're seeing all across the streets of america and the world is a freedom explosion. the deep rumbling of discontent we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses rising from the dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom. i hear my father saying, as we
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protest, we must conduct ourselves on a higher plane of dignity and discipline. i hear my father saying we must have a radical revolution of values and a reordering of our priorities in this nation. i hear my father saying that as we dedicate this monument, we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. i hear my father say that one of the great liabilities of our history is that too many people fail to remain awake in great times of social change. every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternity of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. today, he says our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, adjust to new
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ideas, remain vigilant, and face the challenges of change. these words are dripping with truth and conviction as much now as when originally spoken. we can allow them to propel us into action that response to the discontent of the disinherited, -- responds to the discontent of the disinherited, conveying that we stand together in seeking a distributed inheritance for all. the action reflects our commitment to not allowing a focus on gaining things to deter us from compassionately engaging people, action that reverberates with the common desire for the manifestation of freedom, action that resonates with the discontented masses supporting social change, and demonstrating that we are awake
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at this time of revolution. and so i say in closing, let us walk together, children, and not get weary. let us work together and not get weary. let us struggle together and not get weary. let us hold on together and not get weary. let us bus and fight to get over -- fuss, fight, but get over it together and not get weary. most of all, we must pray together or we will get weary. one day, we will all be able to say, "free at last, thank gofret last, thank god almighty, we are all free at last." god bless you. [cheers and applause] >> please welcome martin luther king, iii. accompanied by andrea king and
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yolanda renee king. >> first, let me thank god for the opportity to be here on this day that many in our nation would say is the sabbath day. to each and every dignitary here, and i would say that everybody, but to especially brother harry johnson and his staff for the tireless work to
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make this memorial a reality, we say thank you. also to the martin luther king foundation board and chairs, every contributor, every corporation, but perhaps most of all to the masses of americans who chose to contribute to this effort that would not be here but by the contributions of men, women, and families. we think each of you -- we thank each and everyone of you. on behalf of my wife and daughter, we say thank you. today we have come to participate in this unveiling ceremony to my fathe and to celebrate his legacy. let us not forget that he paid
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the ultimate price for our civil rights. he was a champion of civil rights and social justice for all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality. we must stand up for social and economic justice. 48 years ago, our father stood in this facility in the shadows of the lincoln memorial and gave a speech that was to resonate around the world. he said that he had a dream that with faith in ourselves and our country we would be able to hew out a mountain of hope. with faith, we would be able to transform the discord of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood and sisterhood. with faith, we would be able to workogether, stand up for
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freedom together knowing that one day we would all be free. i repeat his words because i believe it is important to emphasize that while it is great to have this memorial to his memory, a national holiday, streets, schools, and hospitals named in his honor all over our nation and worldit is also important to not place too much emphasis on martin luther king, the idol, without enough emphasis on the ideals of martin luther king, jr. while we commemorate his memory with this great memorial, lets not confuse or forget what he stood for and died for. young people around this nation organizing is interesting. let us not forget the ideals he
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gave his life up for, love, peace, equality, jobs, education, non-filers, decent housing, and then in the -- and an end to war. the young people of the occupy movement are seeking justice and jobs. they want justice for working- class people barely making it, middle-class folks who are not able to pay their mortgages, justice for elders terrified that they are losing the value of their savings in health care. justice for the young people who graduate from college and are unemployed and burdened by its to lows they cannot replace -- repay. justice for everyone who are simply asking the wealthy and
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corporations to pay their fair share. sometimes we get caught up in the brand of my father, but we forget to focus on the beliefs of my father. we must stand up for economic justice. we have lost our love force, our true force. you could make the argument that we have ultimately lost our souls. we have lost our souls when i see james craig anderson was brutally murdered in june of 2011. we have lost our souls when i see children bullying others and young teenagers killing each other. we have lost our souls when prisons are a growth industry. there are more black and brown folks in prison than in college.
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that must change. whave lost our souls when the united states supreme court decided in brown to strike down a state law that regulates the sale of violent video games to children. we have lost our souls when 30 years of failed public policies -- taxes forx break the rich while breaking the backs of the poor. it has sent this country in the world into an economic crisis. we lost our souls when we continue to fight two wars that cost us $3 trillion and thousands of american lives, iraqi lives, afghanist lives, ad others. we're here to commemorate my father.
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we need to live like him, love like him, and care like him. yes, my father had a dream that was deeply embedded in the american dream. the problem is that the american ago has turnedars was into a nightmare for millions of americans. there is no house because they have no job. they cannot give their kids the proper tools to prepare them for a better life than they had. i submit we need a new american dream of connectedness, mutual purpose, caring, and being responsible for each other. we nd to live up to the promise of the statue of america that says, give me your
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tired, huddled masses yearning to break free. we need to understand that none of us are free until all of us can be free. we need to have a new spirit of cooperation in this country based on love, respect, and a sensitivity to the least of these among us. that is what my father wanted for this country. i am proud of this great memorial to my father and hope it will serve as a catalyst for us to adopt his ideals and beliefs. a renewal of decency, sensitivity, and love. love, he so often talk about. we must stand up for justice because now is the time for all humankind. america, this is our chance and opportunity to show theorld our greatness, to throw off the shackles of all of the conservative policies that
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exclude masses of people. we must finally get rid of racism. today of this great moment in our collective history, join with me to stand up for justice.
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let us meet the challenge to finally embrace and become what we know we must become. that is a beloved community. no matter how far we have to go, and we probably do have a long way to go, it may get worse before it gets better, do not get tired, because we have truly come much too far from where we started. you see, nobody ever told any of us that our roads would be easy, but i know our god, our god, our god will never leave us. thank you so much. god bless each and every one of you always. [applause] e]
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[cheers and applause] [applause] >> from their grammy-award- winning album, mary mary performs "can't give it up now." >> it is an honor and privilege to be part of this ceremony. we know that we did not get your loan. god did not bring us this far to
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the boss -- to leave us. and that is not our track. [laughter] it was lovely, though. [laughter] if we need to, we can sing this a capella. ♪ out here not bring me to leave me lonely even when i cannot see clearly, i know that you are with me. i cannot give up now.
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i have come too far from where i started. nobody told me that this road would be so hard. i cannot givup now. i can'tive up now. i have come too far from where i started. it is not going to be easy, but i do not believe that god has brought me this far to leave me.
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i have come too far. nobody ever told me it would be easy. it has been a little rough. i cannot give up now. i have come too far from where i started from. no one said it would be easy. nobody said the road would be easy. i do not believe he has brought me this far to leave me. ♪
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♪ i do not believe that god has brought me this far to leave me ♪ god bless you. >> another hand for mary mary. [applause] it's like being in church even though you're not there, we get it passed today, right? yes, we do. to continue our celebration of the dream, we turn to reflections of those who marched with and were inspired by dr. kent. it is might distinct pleasure to welcome former cbs news anchor dan rather who covered the civil rights movement and those who walked beside dr. king and have
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lived his legacy in the years since, the rev. jesse jackson, congressman john lewis, ambassador andrew young, and our elder statesman, reverend joseph lowery who turned 90 years old, 90 years young just last week. welcome. [applause] dan -- >> thank you very much. i'm humbled to be here. heroes are honored in their time. gends live through the ages. whe considering dr. king's legacy, an obscure poem called "lifters and leaners" comes to mi. dr. king was a world class lifter. others leaned on him, i never
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saw his shoulders give way or his backbend. he was as great a man as i have ever seen. the historical weight of this long overdue monent reminds us that we must be lifters' now. in the 1960's as today, divisiveness was based on fear and prejudice and misinformation. now with the cost and 24 hour news cycle, the power of misinformation has increased. we must remind ourselves that intelligence drums in ignorance every time -- trumps ignorance every time. when given the facts, people make good decisions. that leads to a problem dr. king faced 50 years ago, one that is worse today and that is the court for visitation, the politicization and the trivialization of the news.
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dr. king once spoke candidly with me about the news coverage of the civil rights movement. nationwide especially in cities like jackson. there was a little news coverage at all anywhere. he was also concerned that southern affiliate's stations would persuade the networks to tone down if not eliminate coverage that went out to the rest of the country. at the time, frankly, i did not feel his concerns were warranted. the than owners of my network in my bosses in new york work rock -ribbed when it came to reporting the news. and yet, in retrospect, i can't ignore that the cbs affilie at that time in atlanta, dr. king's home town, refused to carry some cbs news reports about the movement in 1962.
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they censored them. today, different owners and many big money special interests are more closely intertwined with more colluding with big political special interests than ever for their own, not the people's purposes. [applause] in dr. king's time, his main battle was against racial injustice, a battle for from over. now added to that is the fight against agreed and for economic justice. this time we judge people not on the content of their character but on the color of their money. once again, once again we have americans outside looking in. this time, many people of all races and creeds feel stuck in a
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rickety, rudderless boat of economic injustice and are struggling to make their voices heard. many in white america supported desegregation but did not support the demonstrations and passive resistance that dr. king had learned from perrault and gandhi. --thoreau this creates ambivalence on the part of white americans. it gave local government the opportunity to skew the news and crushed coverage their way. does this not sound familiar? the lifters such as . king must have felt the weight of a million in justices but hewn like this strong -- storm like this, he was able to carry the weight. for ery lifter there are hundreds of leaners but on this dastanding in front of the
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statue of american hero,icon, and legend, we are reminded that we must all be lifter's now. we cannot wait for otherto carry our message is and lift our share of the load. although dr. king's legacy can never be summed up in a few minutes, let me leave you with this -- there is heavy lifting to be done again and in the spirit of dr. king's lasting legacy, we need to start n. thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> i pause to honor the living
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monument of martin luther king jr.. i want to be a part of this ceremony as we edge in stone the memories of dr. king. want to thank congressman john conyers who three days after the assassination put forth to the bill and it was popularized in song, ronald reagan signed the bill to help erect a monument. to all of them, we owe a very special round of applause. put your hands together, wl you? [applause] i was glad to be a part of his core of disciples to work, organized a march and parade with him. here are today, one of the 32 miles from jamestown where the slave ships when the 432 miles.
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i remembered my last birthday with dr. king, january 15, 1968. he was planning a march on washington. it was a poor people's campaign to occupy the mall. were willing to engage in civil disobedience to do whatever was necessary in the nation's capital to get the attention of the government to shift the war in vietnam to a war on poverty at home. in his last sunday morning sermon delivered at the washington national cathedral, four days before his assassination, dr. king said we're coming to washington to demand that the government addressed itself on the problem of poverty. the rhetorical question of what was necessary -- dr. king declared is our experience that the nation does not move around questions or genuine equality for the poor and black people but for the
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confrontation massively in terms of direct action. the image of confrontational king may not be pleasing to those who want to wash the blood stains from history but is useful to those who value the truth of kings' lead more than the myth of the man. dr. king argued that racial injustice is not enough of a burning house when you're living with recycled poverty and paid. we should be appreciative


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