tv Q A CSPAN February 6, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am EST
later we'll chat with robert drarpe about his article on afghanistan's opium wars. that's live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this week, "q&a" features a documentary about hurebt humphrey and traces his life from mayor to senator to vice president to presidential candidate. >> mick caouette, when did you think of doing a documentary on hubert humphrey? >> in the late fall of 1999. i was working at the minnesota historical society and i ran across the humphrey collection which is just enormous. there is 1,200 large manuscript boxes, 10,000 films, 10,000
photographs, 5,000 audiotapes and i had started in -- i started documentary work earlier, maybe three years earlier, and i thought why hand anyone ever done this? it was a gold mine of material. i learned more about him. i grew up in minneapolis. he was part of my childhood but didn't know much about him and he's really kind of forgotten even in minnesota. but all this material thrilled me so that's how it started, really. as i dug into it, it was wonderful. >> who was he? >> i think he was more of a humanitarian than a politician, frankly. i think he used politics as a religion. us his mother wanted him to be a preacher and thought he had -- felt it was a better vehicle than church and how he used politics. >> 25 years in the senate? >> i believe it was 25, yes, maybe 30. closer to 30 because he had five terms. it would be 25. >> and four years as vice president. how many years was he mayor of minneapolis? >> it actually only turned out
to be three. he was elected to a second term that would have been but then he became senator. >> how well did you know him personally? >> i didn't know him at all. never met him. just about everybody i know met him but i haven't. >> jump ahead, how long did it take you to do the documentary and where did it air first? >> it took a long time. i started actually first hamlin university gave me seed money in 2000 and all the way to 2010 and it was a long process, not so much of making the film but of raising money and finding a venue and all that sort of thing and finding the old film. we interviewed 52 people in 10 cities and we had 120 hours of interviews. it was a long process. and i had another little short stint at another pbs station that didn't go well, lasted two years, i said forget it and went home and bought a mac and did the film myself with another guy. >> you edited this film on a mac.
>> with joe palo, a great editor from minneapolis. >> let's show something of the documentary. where did you name it and where did you get the name? >> the name came from what humphries believed and he thought with politics anything could happen within our system. >> the happy warrior. >> the happy warrior, yes. >> let's watch a couple minutes and continue. >> sounds good. >> humphrey and his supporters arrived in the hall in the early afternoon of the final day of the convention. he had been up all night writing his speech. he lost 15 pounds in two weeks. he was exhausted yet determined, as his growing commitment to human rights was crystallizing in this moment. he knew the risk. if he pushed the southerners too far they would deliver on their threats to leave the convention and split the party in two. the final day dragged on. with no air conditioning, the inside temperatures soared into the 90's, but before the weary delegates could vote, they would have to sit through more
than an hour of speeches condemning the civil rights complaint. >> you shall not crucify the south on this cross of civil rights. >> as the philadelphia police patrolled the aisles, humphrey anxiously awaited his turn. he was only 37 years old and about to confront the most powerful forces in american politics. with his own future and that of the democratic party hanging in the balance. as his moment finally arrived, the heat near the platform became unbearable. >> mr. chairman, fellow democrats, fellow americans, i realize that in speaking in behalf of the minority report on civil rights that i'm dealing with a charged issue with an issue
which has been confused by emotionalism on all sides of the fence. i feel i must rise at this time to support the minority report, a report that spells out our democracy, a report that the people of this country can and will understand and a report that they will enthusiastically acclaim on the great issue of civil rights. to those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, i say to them we are 172 years late. >> humphrey drew a line in the sand and his words reverberated throughout the country as 60 million people listened at home and work. >> the time has arrived in america for the democratic party for the democratic party to get out of the shadows of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of
human rights. [applause] >> after the speech, the applause lasted over 10 minutes. when the final vote was taken on the civil rights plank, humphrey and his supporters won a stunning victory. in the middle of the noisy crowd, birmingham police commissioner bull connor led the dixie-crats out of the hall and out of the democratic party. >> lot to ask you about. dixie-crats, who were they? >> a group of southerners who had sort of began to oppose truman because his earlier stand on civil rights, especially that year, and they were the southern segregationists. i believe there were something like 17 states, but they
were mississippi and the carolinas and alabama were some of the, you know, front people, and they were just -- they did not want any talk of civil rights and they wanted truman defeated and so they put up their own candidate. >> where did you get that -- i know you talked about all the video, where did you get that black and white video we just saw? >> almost entirely universal newsreels, which is a good collection at the national archive in college park, it's wonderful, it's public domain so it's a wonderful research. but there's also the shouts of him on the podium and some of the shots of the crowd, the minnesota crowd, came from a man from south minneapolis who had a 16 millimeter camera and he shot -- he must have run out of film
or something was a crank camera, i'm sure, and he shot a few seconds of him on the podium and a few other seconds and it was silent, so what we did was found the audio tape and synced it up to him speaking so you could see him speak with the silent films. >> here's a familiar face, it was a democrat at the time, strom thurmond. >> right. >> it's the effort on the part of this senator to dominate the country by force and to put into effect these uncalled for and these damnable proposals he has recommended under the guise of so-called civil rights and i tell the american people from one side to the other had better wake up and oppose such a program, and if they don't the next thing will be a totalitarian state in these united states. [applause] >> those people were bad people, and we spent our lives being powerless, you know. we'd spent our lives being powerless in the face of their power, their craftiness, and
their determination to keep us submerged in american life. >> so this was for us a morality play of the greatest dimension. oh, hubert was our knight in shining armor. >> you don't hear people say -- roger wilkins, who just said it, these were bad people. >> i know. >> did you ask him about why he said that? >> well, we had been talking about it, it was a long interview, a two-hour interview. he just thought at their heart they were segregationists and they were racists at their heart, a lot of them. he thought the people would never do anything good for african-americans, he just felt they were bad at the core in that way. morally, i guess. >> strom thurmond was he a governor of the state of south carolina?
>> governor then. he became senator. >> when did he switch parties, do you remember? >> after the civil rights bill and then you'll see him later on, of course, at the 1968 republican convention standing next to richard nixon, walking out with him. >> one of the things in that first clip that we saw was reference to 60 million people were listening. i know that was on television but very few people could even see that. >> right. >> how important was radio in those days? >> it was the medium. and the fact there were 60 million, maybe, i don't know, maybe 182 million in the country. that was a pretty good size -- when you consider it's a political convention, that's a pretty good group of people. and when i first read that early on i thought it must have been six million but i checked it more than once and there were 60 million people listening. the tv was on the east coast and sort of closed circuit and
was to a few stations and was in d.c. the president watched it on tv. a very little network on the east coast and that was it. other than that tv was really nowhere else so radio was it. >> which he was running for the senate, hubert humphrey then? >> yes. he declared -- >> in 1948. >> he declared in the spring. >> i must say this next clip will surprise a lot of people, in spite of how many times you heard what he was in his early days. let's run this and you'll see what i mean. >> the speech ignited his senate campaign and put him front and center on the national stage. >> first lady eleanor roosevelt remarked to the press that he has that spark of greatness. and he caught the attention of other prominent democrats. >> now to ronald reagan in hollywood. this is ronald reagan speaking to you from hollywood. >> you know me as a motion picture actor but tonight i'm just a citizen and more than a little impatient with the promises the republicans made before they got control of congress a couple years ago and this is why we
must have new faces in the congress of the united states, democratic faces. i take great pride in presenting my friend from minneapolis, mayor hubert h. humphrey, candidate for united states senator. >> in november of 1948, harry truman won a historic upset. and making history of his own, hubert h. humphrey became minnesota's first democratic senator. >> being a romantic and idealistic person when he went to washington in 1948, i think he probably felt this was going to be mr. smith goes to washington and this place of marble monuments that were waiting for him to come there and change the world and crusade and very quickly his dreams and idealism collided with reality. >> but reality was a senate dominated by the same dixie-crats humphrey angered with his civil rights speech the summer
before, and they would not go easy on hubert humphrey. >> after all i had been the destroyer of the democratic party, the enemy of the south. hubert humphrey, the quote, end quote, nigger-lover. >> i never felt so lonesome and unwanted in all my life as i did in those first few weeks and months as united states senator. >> where did you find the ronald reagan clip? >> that was in the humphrey collection. it was actually a radio program. it was for the garment -- national ladies garment workers union, speaking for the union on a union program and was the screen actors guild president at that time. >> we knew he was a supporter of f.d.r. but never heard he was outwardly supporting hubert humphrey? did they know each other? >> oh, yeah, they were good friends, all through their lives.
in fact, ronald reagan had a dedication to humphrey when he was in the white house. i don't know if i can tell you the details of it but they had a nice dedication where they were really good friends, he stayed at the ranch all the time, humphrey did. they were close friends. >> according to the liner notes, the woman who is the announcer and narrator is mary easter. >> easter, yeah. >> who is she? >> a retired dance professor from carlton, minneapolis. she's really not done much of this. she's just a natural. what's remarkable about it is she read through the entire script one time without seeing the film. >> why did you pick her? >> i used her on another film earlier and we talked to richard dreyfus and we talked to a couple other people, garrison keeler and it occurred to me over the period of humphrey's life and if you see films about the 1960's, he's kind of a painting on the wall, he's always sort of nonexistent and of course he was right in the middle of things and all
the attention is always taken away from him and that was partly his fault because he gave things away but you'll hear about kennedy and johnson and you won't hear much about humphrey. i was afraid if i had a famous person their eight it would become about that person again and humphrey would get shadowed so i decided to use someone i liked and wasn't necessarily famous though she sounds like a number of people so people mistake her but she's got a wonderful voice. >> her name is mary easter? >> yep. >> still in minneapolis? >> yes. she's retired and grew up in richmond during jim crow so she knows, you know, she has a sensitivity to the history. >> did she know hubert humphrey? >> i don't think she did, no. she moved to minnesota quite late. >> 1948 he was elected to the senate and then he challenged j.f.k. to the presidency in 1959-1960. >> right. >> we've got some of your film here to look at. >> ok. >> vote for hubert >> in the spring of 1959 hubert entered the primaries against a young senator named john f.
kennedy. with more enthusiasm than money, he met the media at every opportunity. >> how do you think your race is going? >> like this roller coaster, it's been an uphill fight but i think we've about doing quite well. >> would you mind telling me what has been the most exciting part of the campaign so far? >> right now. i just had it. >> thank you, senator. >> i tell you, this is good fun. >> thank you, sir. >> and politics ought to be fun. >> yes, sir. >> vote for hubert hubert humphrey the president for you and me >> i love this nation. i think it ought to set a great example for the whole world. we need to cast a beacon of light and enlightenment and hope and peace of the entire nation and the president must speak for the nation, giving the philosophy and the fundamentals of our democracy and what we stand for and then he must be able to mobilize action and carry out these programs so that the
dream can be fulfilled. >> while it is generally believed that john kennedy and richard nixon held the first televised debate, humphrey and kennedy met months earlier. >> in 1960, i had the opportunity to expose america to a number of my ideas. i was determined that kennedy adopt as many of my proposals and policies as possible. >> this week i had the opportunity to debate with mr. nixon. i feel that i should reveal that i had a great advantage in that debate, and i'm not referring to anyone's makeup man. [applause] >> the advantage that i had had was that mr. nixon had just debated with kruschev and i debated with hubert humphrey and that gave me an edge.
[laughter] >> how close did he come to defeating j.f.k.? >> the primary, i think he probably lost by 10% in the primary and the west virginia and wisconsin primaries. i think wisconsin might have been worse. he didn't really have a chance but that's another whole story. kennedy's campaign was pretty well financed and humphrey didn't have a lot of money and he was really kind of -- considered bought out, i would have to say. there's stories of people being handed $5 and all kinds of things that went on during that campaign he really didn't campaign he really didn't have much of a chance. he was expected to win in that state and why you'll hear i think that he was expected to win. it isn't so much that he went after the non-catholic bullet but it was largely a protestant state and because of kennedy's catholicism they didn't think he would win there and something had to change.
and i think -- it's interesting because i think if he would have won that primary, i think it would have had a challenge from lyndon johnson. it would have been interesting. >> in the end where did you get your funding? >> all kinds of places. it started out with hamlin university early on. >> in st. paul? >> in st. paul. they gave me seed money and then from about 37 or 38 organizations, individuals received money over the years. the schuman senator for democracy. >> bill moyer is running that? >> he's the president, right. he gave me a large sum in the middle that helped. minnesota humanities commission, minnesota historical society, the south dakota humanities commission, afl-cio. the andreas foundation, the dwayne andreas foundation and his brother, all over the place. it ended up being about $600,000 and about $200,000 i would say in kind.
>> soon there was never a time when this wasn't going to be a positive look at hurebt humphrey? >> no. it started out otherwise but -- i started out really wanting to look for all sides of his personality, but we interviewed 52 people and couldn't find anyone who didn't like him. they were all in love with him and seemed like the closer they got to him the more they liked him. it was hard. it's hard to do a story about someone who is a good person. it's much easier if there's affairs and murders and all kind of other things, much more sensational. but i couldn't really find much. he had flaws and he made mistakes but he wasn't, you know, basically on the inside. i asked bill moyers that, did he do anything bad? he said, i can't say anything bad about him because he wasn't a bad person. >> bill moyers is quoted in your piece as saying he's one of the greatest legislators in american history. >> yeah. >> what does that come from? >> well, he had his hand one way
or another in a thousand bills over 10 years. so i believe i came up with one every three days or something it amounts to. and, you know, it affects pretty much everything in our life. i mean, everything that -- every piece of legislation that's now affecting our lives really came from somewhere hubert humphrey was involved in one place or another. he knew how to get things through. at the end of the film he says he set lofty ideals but like a plumber he could work the pipeline. he knew how to work the legislature and that's why is that he knew how to get these things done. he'd have an idea and he'd get it done. >> 1964 civil rights bill. let's watch and i'll ask you some questions about it. >> all right. >> i choose the ticket -- i'm refused a ticket? because of my race? >> no comment. >> i can't be admitted?
>> no, sir, you cannot be admitted. >> why? >> i'm not going to serve you. >> because of my race? >> i'm not going to serve you. >> because of my race? >> move on. >> the stage was set for the legislative battle of the century. if a bill was passed, equal access to employment, schools, and public places would become law. freedom >> mistrust in the government ran deep in the black community and failure to pass a meaningful bill could spark a second civil war. >> in the injustice that has been inflicted upon negros in this country by uncle sam is criminal. don't blame a cracker in georgia for your injustices. the government is responsible for the injustices. >> just keep the niggers, cool, you know. pass the civil rights bill. most negros who are aware of what went around have an awareness of what's going on politically in the country. they take the civil rights bill as a new method of placating
the negro. >> as the filibuster began, the battle lines in the senate were clearly drawn. >> negros have many rights in this country as other people. they're better housed and enjoy as many benefits as other people and have every opportunity in the world here. they have more opportunity here than in any nation in the world. i don't know of any place where they have as good housing, as many refrigerators, as many automobiles and dishwashers and washing machines as here in the united states. >> at last a congress must act because the congress represents the people and this means a civil rights program before congress and it will be here and i want to tell you now that we're going to carry through on this program if we have to stay here all year. >> how long will you debate this bill? >> until it's defeated. >> president johnson saw the senate as a battleground and victory would come only after a long, bitter fight.
but humphrey insisted on a new, softer strategy that would change the legislative game. >> to break a filibuster was almost an impossible task because he'd been majority leader of the senate and had attempted to break filibusters himself. >> to see how things get done in american politics you need to study very closely what hubert humphrey did in the senate in 1964 with that civil rights act. >> want to know, to see if -- >> he had regular strategy meetings. he organized a newsletter. he had people on watch all of the time. he enlisted one colleague in the city to focus on each title of the bill. he was brilliant in the way he organized his forces to challenge the filibuster and press the argument. >> a lot of video there, a lot of film. let's go over the first part. was it james farmer stepping up to buy the ticket?
>> right. >> and behind him jesse jackson? >> right. >> where did you find that? >> cbs, bbc had found old civil rights footage from the 1960's somewhere in their warehouse a couple years ago, and obviously it's a paid for footage and they sent me a screener and i found in those clips lots of material, probably three hours of material that i had. as soon as i saw it i knew it was something -- i'm a little surprised, you know, they have to give you permission for some of these things, i was a little surprised some of it that they did but i'm grateful they did. >> why were you surprised? >> for instance, the dixie-crat segment where the dixie-crats are blatant racists and called racists by roger mudd who is narrating and i thought it might be a problem for them to have that out there but they let me use it and i was glad.
>> you had malcolm x. >> uh-huh. >> and strom thurmond saying some things. where did that come from? >> malcolm x was from the cbs footage -- strom thurmond came from the -- it was a documentary on the 1963 march that was put out to u.s. aid. carl roan actually narrated it. and it was a hour long documentary on the march and it was in there, i think. >> what's your philosophy when you do -- by the way, how long is this? >> it's just under two hours, an hour and 52 minutes, i think. a pbs two hours and 52 minutes. >> what is your philosophy about i.d.ing these people? how much do you assume your audience knows? >> i assumed they knew nothing so we tried to i.d. them at least three times. and it depended how long they were off camera and we didn't have to i.d. president carter more than once. >> here's hubert humphrey and strom thurmond in debate. >> ok.
>> the showdown caught the public's attention but no cameras were allowed in the senate. is humphrey and thurmond agreed to take a piece of the debate to a television audience. >> and we know that fellow americans who happen to be negro have been denied equal access to places of public accommodation, denied in their travels the chance for a place to rest and to eat. it's not public accommodations, it's invasion of private property. this will lead to integration of private life. in the city of birmingham, alabama, up to 1963 there was an ordinance that said if you were going to have a restaurant and you were going to permit a negro to come in, you had to have a seven-fool wall down the middle of the restaurant
dividing the white from the colored. now, how foolish this is and isn't that an invasion of private property? >> senator, we live in a country of freedom. and under our constitution, a man has a right to use his own private property as he sees fit. we must remember that this bill creates no jobs. so, therefore, whose jobs are these negros and minority going to take? other negros jobs or white people's jobs? >> the main thing we ought to press on them is to get it. the delay is going to be disastrous. >> after two months humphrey was exhausted and worried, feeling pressure from both the president and civil rights leaders. finally, everett derksen broke his silence with 22 amendments. when civil rights leaders demanded a tougher stand, humphrey pleaded for patience and took derksen into a one-on-one closed door session. two weeks later, they surfaced with the bill intact and derksen in the spotlight. >> and i for one want to publicly express my respect
and admiration for you and my sincere thanks for what you call service beyond the call of duty and putting country ahead of every other consideration. >> i could say as much for you, my friend. >> thank you. >> my friend. >> thank you, everett. >> we have lost a battle, of course, but we're not yet ready to surrender in the opposition of this bill we feel is perversion of the american way of life and a great blow at the right of dominion over private property that has been the genesis of our greatness. >> you know, over the years i heard people say richard russell could have been president of the united states and always struck me as odd because he was basically a white separatist in all this and was very much a leader against this whole civil rights bill. why was he so respected? >> well, he had all kinds of other -- he'd done all kinds of other things. i know the food program for children's schools and all kinds of other -- in every other way
he was very much like humphrey. they agreed on most everything, it was just civil rights. he was a party person and not like strom thurmond who was going to split off from the party and wanted to stay in the democratic party. i think he became sort of the dixie-crat spokesman in the democratic party when others wanted to leave at times. >> what party was strom thurmond in in that debate and who saw that debate those days? >> he was a democratic senator at that point, i believe. and it was seen, i believe it was cbs. i think eric severide on that debate. this is one of the problems i had with the whole thing, i was trying to do a 15-minute segment on how the civil rights bill was passed and there's no cameras allowed in the senate so i had to do the whole thing without ever being in the room and the whole place took place in the room and it was a difficult thing to do. and one of the finds was this debate because basically they took it outside and people couldn't see what was going on. there was a clock running on tv showing how long the filibuster was running at times.
it really had public attention. and this debate was a way to bring the whole thing to the people on tv so it was on national tv. on one of the channels. >> i went in and looked at the vote totals and i think people might be surprised at how it came out in the house. the democratic party voted 61% for it and 39% against it. the republican party voted 80% for it and 20% against it and in the senate the democratic party voted 69% for it and 31% against it and the republican party voted 82% in favor and 18% against it. >> yeah. >> so it's so much different than it is today as far as the breakup of the party. >> yeah. >> why was the civil rights bill so important to your documentary? >> well, i think it's one of the most important pieces of legislation of the 20th century. besides that, humphrey thought it was his biggest accomplishment and i have to agree. >> in his life? >> in his career, yeah. he would consider his family his biggest accomplishment but
in his career it was. it is very much like the health care bill. it was the same kind of struggle. the same kind of maneuvering had to be done to get it done. and he just -- the republican party at that point had had a fairly good record on civil rights. they weren't -- the real problem was aunt the democratic party but the dixie-crats were the problem and he needed the republicans and derksen to get it passed. it wasn't so much the democratic party was against it, it was just that one segment. then other problem was they only needed 51% to get the bill passed and 67 votes to stop the filibuster and now i think it was 60 but it was 67 in those days and they knew if they got the 67 votes passing the bill wouldn't be difficult. >> why did it take you 11 years to get this done or 10 years or whatever it was?
>> we did 52 interviews in 10 cities, 120 hours, it took about four years in the beginning and then i got connected to another pbs station which will go unnamed and spent about two years with them and it wasn't working at all and got to be 2008 by this time and so i just left and i went home and bought myself a mac and started editing myself with another editor, joe palo and then we edited the film and then in 2009 sometime, bill grant from wnet got interested and, you know, the rest is a process of getting it on tv at that point. pbs wasn't interested, for some reason, they liked it but wouldn't do it for some reason that we've never really been told but american public television is of course another producing organization for public tv and was really excited about it so that is how it got done. to this day it's shown -- probably about 600 times in a couple hundred cities so it's had a wide -- >> each individual public station had to decide whether they wanted to put it on. >> that's right. it wasn't a required program. >> from your documentary, here is hubert humphrey around the 1964 period when he was
selected as vice president with lyndon johnson. >> we look to really kind of an equal partnership. in the first few days we thought it would be that way, we were going to be a part of everything. and of course then, it was intervened and dramatically humphrey's break with johnson in a cabinet meeting on vietnam. >> only days in the new administration, the vietcong attacked an american base and johnson called a cabinet meeting to sanction the bombing of north vietnam. >> johnson was not looking for advice but validation and it was actually johnson looking for ratification of what he'd already decided. he goes around the room asking all these people, his advisors to tell them what they think about this decision to launch these attacks and humphrey announces he thinks it's a mistake. >> johnson was furious with him. and the bombing of the north began. >> congress gave us this authority, and all this, 1964 to
do whatever may be necessary. that's pretty far-reaching. the sky's the limit. >> while there may have been no limits on johnson's expansion of the vietnam war, there would now be limits on his vice president. >> i knew him intentionally of those years of the 1960's and that was the most tortured period of his life, trying to be vice president, serving the president who was taking us to war in vietnam, even if he had misgivings as an independent thinker. >> after their public disagreement, humphrey was frozen out of all discussion of vietnam. johnson cut off his privileges, reduced his staff, censored his speeches, tapped his phones and p'se the united states.
how deep was that split and how far did the president go with his own president -- own vice president? >> you didn't want to be on johnson's bad side, as many people know. it was largely about vietnam but of course he expanded that behavior in the rest of his relationship with humphrey. he stillad a relationship with him because of the great society programs and all the rest but it was cold and he was shut far did the president go with his own president -- own vice president? >> you didn't want to be on johnson's bad side, as many people know. it was largely about vietnam but of course he expanded that behavior in the rest of his relationship with humphrey. he still had a relationship with him because of the great society programs and all the rest but it was cold and he was shut out of any discussion of vietnam and vietnam became the main issue of the johnson presidency at one point. he was pretty cold with him. he basically wanted him to know that it does not disagree with the president about anything. >> how outspoken was hubert humphrey at any time in his life about that split that those two had? >> humphrey was not someone who held grudges or really talked about anyone else. he would pretty much have said well, that's part of being
vice president. and i knew what i was getting into is what he would have said in fact he did say that at times. i don't think he would have talked openly about it. he and bill moyers interviewed him in 1976. on the d.v.d. there's a 15-minute conversation between moyers and humphrey on a cut from the bill moyers' journal and it's a bonus thing and he, you know, he just -- they talked about johnson and they both agreed he could be -- it was almost like abusive relationship with people. he would be very kind and loving and then you'd do something wrong and he'd shut you out for the next two months and then come back. so you never knew where you stood with him. >> by the way, if somebody wants this documentary can they buy it? >> shoppbs.org or 1-800-shop-pbs. >> shoppbs.org. and you can guy it. how much is it? >> $24.95. it can be bought other places. other retailers have it. it's pretty much everywhere. >> everybody knows, at least our
age, hubert humphrey ran for president in 1968 but here's this difficulty of going in and out of vietnam and what he sees from your documentary. >> position to the war and since humphrey was defending it, humphrey lost his credibility with not only his traditional liberal constituencies but many others as well. >> humphrey, remember, had positioned himself as the champion of the liberal wing of the democratic party. and it appeared to us that he'd traded that in for power. >> he seemed very quickly almost like a caricature of himself, given how he believed and how he was by nature of temperament and versus what people were seeing every night on their television screen.
>> 300 body bags coming back every week. things that i don't think johnson or humphrey anticipated. the endlessness of it. being lied to by the pentagon about a few more bombs will do the job. >> by the end of humphrey's first year as vice president, there were nearly 200,000 american troops on the ground in vietnam. but there was another war going on inside the country. and while humphrey was sent to the front lines, johnson slipped into his own private hell in the white house. >> the war was taking its toll upon the patience of the country. a war that no one understood and so many people were bitterly opposed to a war that was never really explained to the american people, but whatever the reasons for the upheaval
in american society, the fact is we were experiencing a veritable revolution. >> by december of 1967, there were nearly 400,000 american troops in southeast asia, and humphrey was sent on yet another trip to vietnam. but this time it would be different, as humphrey was determined to see the war close up. >> they gave us a dog and pony show with film and slide, just a holy -- you know, propaganda proposition. we went to the military hospital at denang. humphrey insisted on going in the intensive care ward and spend about an hour and a half with with the boys who were dying. and seeing on the ground what was happening to our kids and seeing how corrupt the vietnamese were and how quite
willing they were to let us stand there forever and do the fighting, he came back changed and we wrote a very, very strong report to johnson telling him that we got to get out of there. johnson called a cabinet meeting and asked humphrey to report on vietnam, and he gave humphrey a note which said, hubert, give short upbeat report, progress good, then sit down and shut up. lyndon. >> how long ago did you do the interview with ted van dyke? >> that would have been about 2003 or 2004, 2004. it's been a while. >> he was emotional about -- >> very emotional. >> did you ever ask him why? >> again, that was the longest interview we did i think was about 3 1/2 hours. he was emotional all the way through. he was emotional because he saw the suffering and he didn't -- he couldn't go in. he said, i couldn't go in the room where these people were dying. i saw people with arms missing and legs missing. and i think he for a long time
ted was against the war in the middle of that whole time so he just had a hard time with the suffering. >> was hubert humphrey ever dishonest with the american people about his feelings on the war? >> i don't think so. i really don't. i don't think that -- i think that he -- he said he would rather be wrong than a hypocrite. and i don't think -- i think he believed what he was saying. i think when he was for the war he was for the war. and, you know, like it or not and whether you agreed with him or not, he wasn't lying about ithe really was for it. when he became against it, it got a lot tougher and didn't speak out as much. i think he was careful about what he said. i don't he ever really lied directly. and i know that's hard for some . people, they believe he was lying all the time but that was part of the problem -- part of the reason for doing the documentary to show a another side of this because everyone just remembers humphrey just as someone who was licking lyndon johnson's boots the whole time and had no mind of his own and people didn't understand the
pressures he was under which runs through the vice-presidency into 1968. >> then when he ran in 1968 there was a plank in the platform that you talk about in your documentary. >> the anti-war convention delegates would be led by eugene mccarthy and senator george mcgovern of south dakota. to win the general election, humphrey needed their support. mcgovern was onboard but mccarthy hesitated. >> mccarthy told me in early august, prior to the convention, that he would be able to come out for me somewhere around the middle of september after eugene and myself had a rather long friendship and we were hoping that friendship could survive. >> time was running out and the only way that humphrey could avoid violence in chicago was to bring together johnson and
the anti-war democrats. with only days remaining until the convention, humphrey and nixon were invited to the l.b.j. ranch. while nixon's visit was well publicized, johnson forbid humphrey to tell the press. humphrey took the opportunity to present johnson with his own proposal to end the war and unite the party. >> i discussed with him the necessity of phasing out, reducing our commitments, reducing our forces, reducing our bombing, and leaving the struggle to the people of vietnam themselves and trying to negotiate our way out of it. he frankly was furious with me. i remember what he said, he said, you know, i have two son-in-laws over there and your proposal would leave them at the mercy of the enemy and he became very personal about it.
>> working against the clock, humphrey wrote a compromise peace plank that was agreed to by all sides, including the president's closest advisors. >> then hubert being vice president as well as the presidential candidate had declared with the white house the president squelched it. >> and he insisted that the resolution that we have replaced by a very pro-vietnam war resolution. >> by then we knew that hubert wanted a peace plank and the platform to end the war. and we knew that and we knew why it didn't happen. >> i don't like talking about it, it's so painful. >> that from walter mondale. >> the footage we saw at the ranch, you say that lyndon johnson didn't let him talk about the fact they had a meeting. why and where did that footage come from? >> that footage actually came
from the l.b.j. library. johnson had this -- he had a -- i guess for historians it actually turned out to be a nice thing to have. but he had someone follow him around all the time with a 60 millimeter camera and then at the end of the month they would have the president's month and they'd edit something and show it to him what happened the previous month. those were outtakes of the month he spent with the two of them. the news we can tell -- it's hard to get in the mind of lyndon johnson, it's hard to know. but he really was almost to the end of the election, was probably more interested in nixon becoming president than humphrey. and as near as we can tell the reason is, and michael has done a lot of research about this. he didn't want to be the president who lost the war and thought if humphrey got elected he would end the war and nixon might continue it or find a different end to it and keep his legacy intact, basically. and that wouldn't change until late -- when you see late in
the film where nixon did this thing with the government that johnson finally came around and he realized he might lose texas. >> here's some footage from your documentary that shows that the democrats themselves even heckled hubert humphrey and teddy kennedy. >> with a small group of advisors, humphrey returned to his home in rural minnesota to pick up the pieces and plan his campaign. >> i remember so well in september of 1968 after the convention, the whole environment of politics had come apart. i mean, it had become polluted and destroyed and violent. the president's popularity had a low point. the war in vietnam exceedingly unpopular. the democratic national committee, unable to function with rill little or no money. >> i was a loser.
i was 20 points behind in the polls. politicians were leaving me like he was a contagious disease. >> humphrey really suffered from that sense that things were out of control and he was in the administration that had lost control, and when it came to the issue of vietnam, he didn't have control of that. >> absolutely intense, awful pressure. there never was a day when you could relax. >> not war! not war! not war! not war! not war! not war! >> i believe that the republican candidate -- i believe the republican candidate owes it to the people to come out of the shadows. >> not war. not war.
>> if you one time had human excrement thrown at you by a protester, it makes every other protester a key enemy. >> how badly was he defeated in 1968 by richard nixon? >> well, he lost by one half of 1% of the popular vote but he lost the alectoral election by more because he had certain areas that he didn't carry, including illinois and a few others. but the popular vote was really close. it was really less than one half of 1%. >> during your documentary we hear hubert humphrey's voice a lot and don't see him. where does that come from? >> a lot of it came from when he did his autobiography he
sent cassette tapes at the time, he recorded on cassette tapes and sent them to norman sherman who worked for him and humphrey worked it into an autobiography. humphrey spoke more than he wrote. especially when -- he wrote inside the senate but he didn't really write outside the senate very much so he was better at speaking so he spoke into these tapes and sent them to norman sherman and. and the tapes are still around and that's what we used and we converted them to a digital format. >> here's how you treated his world after he was defeated. >> in 1969, humphrey was out of public office for the first time in nearly 25 years. he returned to minnesota to teach. but within two years he was returned to the senate by the largest majority of his political career. after an unsuccessful run for president in 1972, he began
his final battle, cancer. then in november of 1977, his colleagues gathered together in the first joint tribute to a single senator in u.s. history. >> hubert, old friend, we asked you here so we could tell you we love you. [applause] >> mr. speaker, knowing full well the dangers of what i'm about to do, i yield as much time as he wishes to consume to the senior senator from minnesota. [applause] >> and i know where i'm standing. i'm standing where the president of the united states gives
his state of the union address. my goodness, how i long for that opportunity. [applause] >> he was luminous in his optimistic belief, in the possibilities of reforming america. he loved people. there was just a palpable humanity in that man. >> at christmas, his family installed a toll-free 800 number in his home so he could call hundreds of friends and say goodbye. and on friday, january 13, 1978, hubert humphrey died peacefully at his lake home in minnesota.
as his body lie in state in washington, 60,000 average americans braved freezing cold temperatures to say goodbye. >> 66 years old? >> 66, right. >> lyndon johnson was 64 when he died, i think. >> it was earlier, right. >> how sick was he and how did he know -- i do remember -- well, i remember the speech and we weren't in business until a year later so we didn't televise it. was that televised at the time? >> yeah, that was a house camera they had. it was one of the robotic cameras. it's kind of rigid but it was inside the house, yeah. >> how sick was he? >> well, he died two months later and he had cancer for four or five years off and on. so he was sick. he had this remarkable spirit. that's one of the things i tried to get across in the film. he didn't take anything but tylenol right up to the end. he had a remarkable spirit. he wanted to live through his death and live through the
whole process, and he just kept his attitude up. i mean, he was in pain all the time and no one knew it. he was amazing, amazing spirit. one thing i should tell you about the funeral that's interesting, i couldn't really get into the film, richard nixon had been out since watergate, out of washington, had not been back. humphrey called him on christmas, he died january 13, he called nixon at christmas and said you're coming back to washington for my funeral and that's how you're getting back into washington. >> did he? >> and he said, no, and humphrey said look, i'm a dying man and this is a dying wish and you're going to come back, and he came back and he was at the funeral, you'll see at the end of the film. he said, no president, i don't care what he's done, needs to be -- should be banished from washington. you need to be here. and talk about forgiveness, you know. and he's dying. that's just says something to his spirit, too. >> i have one audio clip because it comes from the book, the recording where he did where he was talking about the way
lyndon johnson treated him and we're about out of time but let's just listen to this and then i'll ask you about it. >> all right. >> it would be appropriate for me to invite my friends from the twin cities out for a boat ride. so i told them, i gave them the instructions, told them to meet me at the marine dock at 5:00. then i put in my request for the boat. i was asked who was to be on it. we always had to file a manifest. and i filed the names of those that were to be on the boat with me. and including, of course, their profession or occupation. this was called for by the president. you didn't just take the boat out. you had to file a list of those who were there, what -- their names and addresses and occupation or a profession. well, about 4:30, i got a call from marvin watson of the white house, and he said that i couldn't have the boat. and i said, well, this is going
to be very embarrassing to me. he said, well, this is the order of the president. i was very -- i was most upset and thankfully damn mad. and i said, marvin, then i'm going to be embarrassed. these are people from minnesota, and they'll never understand how i could invite them on a boat trip like this and all at once have to cancel it. he said, well, there's not a thing i can do about it. the president has said no boat. >> and also there's another story that he tells about how he was only allowed to use prop planes in the united states and he could use jet planes if he went overseas. >> it was a whole set of rules. and johnson, you know, you have to wonder because it's almost as if he allowed him to plan this whole thing and then pulled the plug at the last minute to make it more difficult for him. but it's really hard to tell. but he -- he never allowed him to come to camp david. he never was allowed in camp david, never was on air force i. one of the things president carter did in humphrey's
last few months was he invited him to camp david and sent air force one to minneapolis to pick him up and they spent a weekend together just talking at camp david when president carter learned who he was because they had been political adversaries before then. he wasn't treated as a vice president basically. i have to say, i think publicly anybody who would have been lyndon johnson's vice president would have had to deal with it. and people told me mccarthy become vice president, he was the second choice, gene mccarthy, that he would have just been basically would have murdered him and it would have been awful. >> where were you born? >> north minneapolis. >> where did you go to school? >> in north minneapolis high school and then i went to the -- i left -- maybe a month after high school i left with a road band, went on the road with a rock 'n' roll band for seven years. >> what were you doing? >> playing bass and traveled a lot and played music all my life and did a lot of other things and then
went back in the 1990's, in my 40's to college and went through a masters program at hamlin. i decided to go back. the kids were getting older. >> how many documentaries have you produced in your life? >> i worked on two for court tv in 1996, i was an associate producer to another producer. then i did -- i co-produced one for hgtv which was called restore america with bob vila and he went around to different states and did restoration projects. the first two for hgtv was the capture and trial of adolf eichman and the scotsboro boys and i got a good initiation. in 1999 i started my first independent film called "the heart of basset place" a settlement in minneapolis. fabulous story. i did that while starting the humphrey film and years later i did one on gene mccarthy and then i did museum installations and pieces for president clinton and vice president mondale,
presentations for their speeches and done other consulting work along the way but mostly it's been humphrey for the last 10 years. >> so again, if somebody wants to see the two-hour documentary, the part of compromise, hubert humphrey, where do they get it? >> www.shoppbs.org or 1-800-shop-pbs. phone. >> mick caouette, we're out of time. thank you. >> thank you very much. i really enjoyed it. >> for a d.v.d. copy of this program, call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments about this program, visit us at q&a.org. "q&a" programs are available as c-span podcasts.
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