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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  November 22, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PST

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ur immune system. now there's new glucerna advance with three benefits in one. [ male announcer ] new glucerna advance. from the brand doctors recommend most. >> and november 22nd, 1963, 50 years ago today, at this very hour president kennedy and mrs. kennedy just touched down at love field. they were greet bid a friendly crowd. as their motorcade reached dountown dallas, things changed
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in an instant. it was a tragedy that shook america to its core as america lost its innocence. >> the hospital has been asked to stand by for a severe gunshot wound, a shooting in the motorcade in the downtown area. >> a flash from dallas. two priests who were with president kennedy say he is dead. >> president john f. kennedy died at approximately 1:00 central standard time today here in dallas. he died of a gunshot wound in the brain. i have no other details regarding the assassination of the president. >> from dallas, texas, the flash, apparently official, president kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. central standard time, 2:00
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eastern standard time, some 38 minutes ago. >> and good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. at this hour, all eyes are on dallas where today that city remembers the faithful day with a solemn ceremony. we'll bring all that to you live. fifty years ago today president and mrs. kennedy had just arrived in that city. at a historion wrote as they were heading to dallas the last of the clouds cleared. it was what aides on the plane called kennedy weather. wrote, seemed as if it was going to be a kennedy day. as the president and first lady were greeting the expectant crowd along the fence line, they could not know the fate that was awaiting them only 10 miles away. >> the white house press secretary has just announced
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that president kennedy died at approximately 1:00 central standard time, which was about 35 minutes ago. >> after being shot at. >> after being shot. >> but an unknown assailant. >> by an unknown assailant. >> during a motorcade drive through downtown dallas. >> during a motorcade drive through downtown dallas. joining me is historian robert carro, author of the boo. great to see you. thank you for being with us on this important day. lets talk about that day and the decisions that were made, which you have analyzed so deeply in the passage of the power. the decision to go back to love field and have the swearing in of lbj. talk about that and what was motivating johnson and fateful phone calls, to bobby kennedy,
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which you write lbj said he thought was to console him but also to ask him for his blessing, really, for the swearing in and which kennedy took so badly. it really was part of the blood feud that was then to infect politics for years to come. >> johnson is in the hospital. he's just learned that president kennedy is dead. the secret service says we must get you back to the plane, take off immediately, get back to washington. we don't know if it's conspiracy. the safest place for you is in the white house. johnson says, no. i'm waiting for mrs. kennedy. they say she won't leave the hospital without her husband's body. johnson says i'll go to the plane and wait for her and the body there. i'm not taking off without her. of course he wants her in the picture with him to show continuity and stability between the two administrations. there's also the telephone call
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which you talk about, which is one -- it shows a lot of conflicting things about lyndon johnson's character. you know, andrea, hatred is not too strong a word to describe the feeling between robert kennedy and lyndon johnson. for the first three years of kennedy's presidency, three years of kennedy's presidency, robert kennedy did everything he could to humiliate lyndon johnson. johnson couldn't use a plane unless robert kennedy's aides signed off on it. johnson calls robert kennedy from the president's bedroom on "air force one." robert kennedy that just learned a few minutes before that his brother died. he was sitting by at a swimming pool -- he lived at this house in mclane, virginia, old house. >> hickory hill. >> hickory hill, andrea,
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correct. long lawn sloping down to a swimming pool. robert kennedy is having lunch there with his wife ethel and robert morgenthor. he said two things happened simultaneously. he looked up at the house where painters. one has a transister. he has a lock of shock, grabs it and runs down the lawn. at the same time the telephone rings at the other side of the pool. ethel goes to answer it and tells robert it's j. edgar hoover. hoover is saying to robert kennedy, your brother has been shot and perhaps killed. just a few minutes later, the
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man robert kennedy hates, lyndon johnson is asking him for the wording of the oath of office and whether he should be sworn in in dallas or not. the people who heard that call thought he could have asked more than 100 government physicians. he calls robert kennedy and has a secretary on the line to take down the wording of the oath. robert kennedy patches his deputy into the call to actually give the wording of the oath. i asked what were their voices like. she said his voice was like steel. robert kennedy's wasn't. i kept thinking he shouldn't be doing this. but you say why did lyndon johnson make that call. he could have called any one of 100 government officials. the wording of the oath is in the constitution. he would have called me.
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but johnson didn't. he called robert kennedy. another episode in really one of the greatest blood feuds of american history. >> i was fascinated by what you wrote in the passage of power about that phone call, the exchange. here you've got this sunny day, sitting at the swimming pool at hickory hill. he gets the call, the shock on bobby kennedy's face. either the call from j. edgar hoover at the fbi and around 1:25 east coast time. then it's only 20 or 30 mince later he gets this phone call from lbj. so little time had transpired. the fact that lyndon johnson, whom you studied now in four volumes, that lyndon johnson didn't -- he was focused on the continuity of government, the possibility of conspiracy, on big things but he also did not realize how that call would be received by bobby kennedy.
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his focus was so much on his own relationship with kennedye empathizing with what bobby kennedy would be feeling only a half hour after his brother had been killed. >> you don't really know what the human motives are that impelled lyndon johnson to make the call to robert kennedy. we don't really know what's in a man's mind. we only know this was a relationship where each man tried over and over to humiliate the other. when jack kennedy picks lyndon johnson as his vice presidential nominee three times that day robert kennedy comes down from the kennedy suite, which is 9333 in the biltmore hotel in los angeles to johnson's suite which is 7333. he comes down the back stairs three times to try to get lyndon johnson to withdraw from the
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ticket. it's the most humiliating -- it's a day of utter humiliation for lyndon johnson. he never forgot it. there are other incidents where you say each of these men were trying as hard as they could to get some sort of psychological advantage over the other. it really never stops until robert kennedy is assassinated in 1968. when he is, lyndon johnson calls clark clifford, who is the secretary of defense, and therefore is in charge of arlington national cemetery. he knows the kennedys want robert kennedy buried there near his brother. johnson asked clifford if there's any way in which he can deny robert kennedy to be buried at arlington. this feud never stopped. >> i wanted to play some of lady bird's auto diary from that day. here you have finally the widow, newly widowed jacqueline kennedy comes to the plane.
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apparently according to "passage of power" people around jackie kennedy thought lyndon johnson had possibly even left already to go back to washington on air force two. instead he's on "air force one." she opens the door to the bedroom, the state room, and there is lyndon johnson either sitting on the bed or just gotten up from the bed. that was a shock. also lady bird trying to reach out to jacqueline kennedy. lets listen. suddenly i found myself face-to-face with jackie in a small hall. i think it was right outside the operating room. you always think of her, or somebody like her, as being insulated, protected, sort of on olympus. she was quite alone. i don't think i ever saw anybody
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so much alone in my life. i went up to her, put my arms around her and said something i'm sure it was quite banal like, god help us all, because my feelings for her were too tumultuous to put into words. >> so much packed into that. lady bird johnson and the extraordinary role that she played also. as you wrote in "the passage of power," she knew how important it was that john conley had also been shot, the texas figure had been shot, because texas was going to be -- this was going to be a day of infamy for texas. she actually said, bob, i wish it would have been me. that would have completely immunized lbj from any of the conspiracy theorists for
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political blame. >> i know for me that's a supreme example. people asked how did lady bird really feel about lyndon johnson. that remark, that i wish i had a bullet for me tells me the truth about how she felt. the other thing, you read the diary entry. there's another diary entry about when she goes to jackie kennedy on the plane, she says her gloves, white gloves, she says i could never wear white gloves. she was always the most immaculate. the most horrible thing for me was to see these white gloves covered with blood, her skirt covered with blood, this immaculate lady. >> robert caro, thank you so much. >> pleasure. >> your reporting on this and 'n' the passage of power" is profoundly detailed, all of the elements of that day. >> thank you. >> thank you again. for anyone -- it's always a
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pleasure to talk to you, especially today. for anyone who was alive on november 22nd, 1963, there is no forgetting the moment when each of us heard that the president had been shot. shortly afterwards the horrifying news that he had died. for those in boston symphony hall attending a performance by the boston symphony orchestra that afternoon, they got the news from the conductor, music director. what was intended to be a routine matinee performance turned into an impromptu memorial. he broke the tragic news to the audience. just listen. >> ladies and gentlemen, we have a press report over the wires. we hope -- it's unconfirmed but the president of the united states has been the victim of an assassination.
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we will play the funeral march from beethoven's third symphony. as we continue our special coverage of the anniversary of the kennedy assassination, those old enough to remember know exactly where we are when we heard the news. in his new documentary airing tonight on nbc, nbc correspondent tom brokaw got some powerful answers. >> where were you when you heard john f. kennedy had been assassinated?
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>> just even the question still -- >> it was almost like a frozen frame in time. everybody on the campus, instead of people running and saying, did you hear? there were quiet groups of people saying, can that be true? people in the corner, we sat in the car, people in the hallway. it was almost like if you said it out loud he was going to die. >> i remember just completely disconnecting from the game. it was just a shock. everybody felt what are we doing? we're playing a soccer game and the president has just been shot. >> i went outside on a private porch and cried for a while. i think it was the first time i had really wept for more than 10 years. the last time i wept before that
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was when my father died. >> tom brokaw joins me now from new york. tom, lets talk about your documentary and some of these powerful testimonies. you wrote something in today's "new york times" i had not heard you say before. you talked about being a young reporter in omaha. tell me about the reaction of one of the senior colleagues when you first got the word. >> i got the word, i was a young reporter in the omaha newsroom. i heard the morning "today" show, noon news. i had been on the job for a year at that point, married to meredith for a year. we were crucial in the '50s, thought life would be about john f. kennedy and all the possibilities as described. bells went off on the machine and i went over there and it was going crazy. appear p and upi dictating on the run, shots were fired at the presidential motorcade today. the president perhaps was fatally wounded.
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i was in disbelief. i was of two minds. this doesn't happen in america and what will this do to us, how will it change us. it it on the air. the network gave an hour back to the local stations. raced around to strategic air command headquarters to see if they were on alert, couldn't get near the blass. downtown omaha, midwestern governors were meeting. deeffecto spokesman was george romney from michigan, father of mitt romney. like everyone else he was very appropriate. there were no political lines on that day. he just was very apathetic. when my cameraman at the end of the interview put down his camera and looked at the governor and said i just feel so terrible about this, governor, i remember george romney putting his arms around this stranger, this cameraman, son, we all feel terrible but we'll have to get through it together. the rest of the weekend was a blur. neb was a conservative state. they were not big kennedy people. they insisted on playing university of nebraska oklahoma
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football game the next day. i think if they had to go back and revisit that they might have some second thoughts. they did play. nebraska won. big eight championship at stake. i went to cover that. i remember nebraska fans cheering wildly. it seemed inappropriate on a day of morning. bud wilson, the coach, new kennedy. he was pacing up and down the sideline. he was not involved in the game at all. there were all these conflicting emotions and events going on, andrea. >> tom, as a young journalist, young television journalist, television became sort of the binding narrative for the nation. i remember being in school, in the dormitory, we all huddled around this little black and white set. it was the first television moment. there had been others. this was nonstop for days and days through the funeral and on that the nation was brought
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together by all the people reporting on it. >> i don't think you can understate the importance of the arrival on television first in john f. kennedy's presidency, perfectly cast for the role, charismatic, looked great on the screen. a lot of people who saw him in person were stunned by how tanned he was. they had only seen him in black and white television. we didn't realize that weekend because all of us were working and also keeping our eye on a television set as viewers. so it came to us later it was the electronic hearth, the place where everyone gathered. for the first time in history, not just assassination, the majesty, sad majesty of funeral procession, it could be shared. whether you were in a television control room in new york or remote bar in butte, montana, wherever you were, you had access to it. >> tom brokaw, thank you so much. of course the program, tom's
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program, will be on nbc tonight. stay with us on msnbc as we continue special coverage of the 50th anniversary, the death of a president. >> this is edwin newman, nbc newsrooms in new york. in dallas, president kennedy was given last holy rites at the catholic church, that's after he was shot down by a would be assassin while riding in a caravan through downtown dallas. no one could have left this much money here. whoo-hoo-hoo! yet many seniors who compare medicare d plans realize they can save hundreds of dollars. cvs/pharmacy wants to help you save on medicare expenses. talk to your cvs pharmacist, call, or go to to get your free, personalized plan comparison today. call, go online, or visit your local store today. i have a big meeting when we land, but i am so stuffed up, i can't rest.
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[ male announcer ] nyquil cold and flu liquid gels don't unstuff your nose. they don't? alka seltzer plus night fights your worst cold symptoms, plus has a decongestant. [ inhales deeply ] oh. what a relief it is. as we continue our live coverage of dallas, the mayor of
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dallas. >> we praise a writer who profiled true courage and modelled it himself. we applaud a visionary who created a corps of young americans to promote peace around the globe. we stand in you a of a dreamer who challenged us to literally reach for the moon, though he himself would not live to see us achieve that goal. other goals were even tougher, have taken longer to reach. we, the united states, still struggle towards some even as we speak, as do we here in dallas. but we're fortified by the knowledge that we have always had big goals and big aspirations in this city set by our founding fathers like john nealy brian and george dealey, the namesake of this plaza, reenergized by eric johnson, the
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mayor who led dallas in the post assassination years. these five decades have seen us turn civic heartbreak into hard work. they have seen us go from youthfyouth ful invincibility. the one-year anniversary of the assassination, the late rabbi from temple emanuel, one of our city's greatest spiritual leaders gave voice to dallas's communal pain unleashed on that day. rabbi olin said then, quote, contrary to the impassioned judgment of that horrible moment, the city is not guilty of the crime. but in those awesome days following the assassination, the most powerful searchlight man
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possesses was focused on this city. every flaw, every raw spot, every wrinkle and every uncleanness was put under a microscope and shown to the world. he continued, the city of rich palaces and tall towers of commerce were set amid slums and hovels as a powerful light shone upon it. the he captured the heartbreak and stated how the city felt, stated plainly the failings laid bare before the entire world. but most important, he called for dallas to use this tragedy to seek a true transformation. look around today. i believe we have heeded that
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call. the people of the city had been filled with a sense of industry driven by tragedy driven to improve the substance of dallas, not just the image of it. today because of the hard work of many people, dallas is a different city. i believe the new frontier did not end that day on our texas frontier. and i hope that president kennedy would be pleased with our humble efforts towards fulfilling our country's highest calling, that of providing the opportunity for all citizens to exercise those in alienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. the city of dallas will continue on that course. the man we remembered today gave us a gift that will not be squandered. he in our city will forever be linked. in tragedy, yes.
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but out of that tragedy an opportunity was granted to us. the chance to learn how to face the future when it's the darkest and the most uncertain, how to hold high the torch even when the flame flickers and threatens to go out. as the people of dallas did then, each of us will meet our on coming challenges head on with courage, honoring but not living in the past. and never, never flinching from the truth. we will meet the future with the same vigor, optimism and unfailing sense of duty that our young president embodied. president kennedy brought us that message. in his pocket, down that street,
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on november 22nd, 1963. that message was to be delivered a few miles away at a speech to dallas leaders following his parade. it was a speech he never got to make. but those unspoken words resonate far beyond the life of the man to commemorate that day and those words, we are unveiling a memorial right here in this historic plaza. it is inscribed with the last lines of his undelivered speech and will serve as a reminder and a permanent monument to president kennedy's memory. i leave you with those resonant words. we in this country, in this generation, are by destiny,
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rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. we ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and our responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, good will toward men. that must always be our goal. the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. for as was written long ago, except the lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. ladies and gentlemen, would you join me in a moment of silence
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in honor of the life of john fitzgerald kennedy. ♪
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america america ♪ ♪ god shed his grace on me ♪ o beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain ♪ ♪ for purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains ♪ ♪ america america ♪ god shed his grace on me and crown thy good with brotherhood ♪ ♪ from sea to shining sea ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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>> ladies and gentlemen, mr. david mccullough. [ applause ] >> and joining me now, that was the navy choir, as we continue our coverage of the anniversary of the assassination of john f. kennedy, nbc news historian. michael, you have studied this so intensively. this day, this hour, the president had been shot, now taken to parkland hospital. already lbj was being rushed back to love field. those relationships as we're discussing with robert caro were so intricate and so complex, the call at this hour to bobby kennedy and tollup call of lbj. >> 50 years later it seems almost impossible, andrea, 50 years this moment the midnight blue limousine rushing from dealey plaza, as we have seen that scene in dallas today, to parkland hospital. we've seen these scenes so many
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times. remember what this was. john kennedy had been mortaly wounded. he fell into her arms. she bent over them as they sped to the hospital. it was such an enormous shock to her, she did not remember anything between the shots at dealey plaza and the moment the car screeched up to the door of the hospital, which would be 50 years ago in about one or two minutes. from that on she remembered. you have these scenes we've seen so much of the president being brought in, finally being brought out. mrs. kennedy goes to love field. the new president, lyndon johnson, sworn in on that plane. we've seen it so many times it's part of our whole mental scrapbook but it's impossible to overestimate how shocking this was to everyone who lived through it at the time. >> and coming up, there will be the moment of 1:36 eastern. it was 12:36 p.m. in dallas. just about this time 50 years
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ago, the president arrived at parkland hospital, as you said. you can see a chaotic scene outside. so much unknown, very few answers. it was one minute from now. >> the unbelievable scene the car pulls up, mrs. kennedy did not want him to be brought in. she felt there was probably nothing that could be done for him. there were reporters crowding around. she did not want her husband-to-be seen in this undignified situation. clint hill, who had been the agent who tried to defend the president and mrs. kennedy, had been spread eagled over that car for five minutes took his jacket off and put it over the president's head so that finally she would let him be brought into the hospital to see if there was anything possibly the doctors and nurses could do. >> and the president was brought into the hospital.
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he was given his last rites by two priests, correct? >> two priests who came in. mrs. kennedy, this was not known until fairly recently, asked that the official moment of death be 1:00 central time, 2:00 eastern. and the reason for that was she wanted it to be assumed that the president had passed after he had been given the last rites by that priest, but every doctor who was in that trauma room one in parkland hospital knew there was almost nothing that could be done. >> so at 12:36 p.m. exactly at this hour, the announcement had not come yet but the president was declared dead? >> right. the doctors were working feverishly. they later said if it was anyone but the president of the united states, we wouldn't have even tried. you've got the doctors working on the president, the governor of texas badly wounded in an adjacent room. at the same time lyndon johnson,
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the vice president, taken to what they hoped would be a secure room in parkland hospital didn't know what the president's fate was going to be or his own. only after an interval of time did someone come to him and say, mr. president, an announcement has to be made about the death of president kennedy. that was the first time he had been addressed that way. >> the other part of robert caro's reporting and your reporting as well is how much lbj felt is lated on the plane. once jacqueline kennedy arrived and when they finally arrived back at andrews air force base, bobby kennedy arrived and rushed through the plane, the 707, rushed back, where is jackie, where is jackie, rushed by the coffin and didn't even acknowledge the new president, lbj, didn't say hello, whether he was in a daze or shock. he just wanted to embrace jackie. the two of them came down on the forklift with the coffin at the
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rear door from "air force one." >> at andrews air force base. >> leaving lady bird and the new president with no stairs because the forklift had carried down the coffin. so they were left standing at the rear door waiting for the stairs. this was all live coverage. all the networks carrying this return to andrews air force base live. it was just another moment when lyndon johnson felt isolated, shunned, dismissed, and not properly respected. >> that's right. this is a relationship fated not to be good, even earlier 50 years ago during the hour we're about to enter, lyndon johnson called up bobby kennedy at his home in mclane, virginia, and said my people are saying i should take the oath down here, presidential oath in dallas because they are worried there might be a conspiracy. bobby kennedy's point of view was it sentimentally would have been nice to allow president
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kennedy, his remains to come back to washington as president, and the beginning of the tension between them after the worst had happened in dallas was bobby kennedy saying why is lbj in such a hurry. of course from president johnson's point of view, i think rightly, he said here we were in dallas. it was the depth of the cold war. as soon as i saw what had happened, my next question was when will the missiles be coming. if the soviet's wanted a confrontation with us that would go nuclear, the way to begin was by decaptiating the head of government. all sorts of misunderstandings that were inevitable. >> cokie roberts our colleague from nbc was reporting on "morning joe." you can't underestimate the people feel there was a conspiracy. she was in college, people were huddled around thinking she with
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her father and leeadership in congress would know something but didn't. her mother called and said secret service agents and security had surrounded the leaders, her late husband, then the majority leader, had surrounded them because they didn't know how widely it spread. like the lincoln assassination. they didn't know if it spread to the cabinet and leadership. >> absolutely. this was only a year after the cuban missile crisis showdown. that was not an irrational judgment. you have lbj brought to "air force one" at love field because that was the place secret service detail felt they could make him secure. but johnson says i will not leave dallas without the president. in other words, without president kennedy's remains. so jackie kennedy took a little while to get from the hospital to love field with the president's coffin. so you've got a new president there on this plane. his secret service agents are
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wondering if this is a conspiracy, there might be killers at love field who might go after him. all these things happening at once. lbj you have to give an awful lot of empathy in this situation as you did all the main actors in this drama but ultimately realizing his duty as the new president was to make sure the country was secure. >> at 1:41, at this exact moment eastern time, this is the bulletin, first bulletin, we have copy of one of our producers nancy nathan, this ap bulletin, quotes an ap photographer who said he saw blood on the president's head and heard two shots, thought someone was shooting fireworks until he saw blood on the president. he saw no one with a gun of an extraordinary piece of history saved by dan button, executive editor for the albany times union. i have this original here. i have it here in plastic to preserve it. but that was scanned, the
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original ap people, michael. >> compared to the way we get and disseminate news nowadays, it's almost like holding up stone tablets because it's so different from 50 years ago. as you well know i'm sitting here nbc news headquarters 30 rock, in those days it took them a while to get on the air. it wasn't easy to instantly get on the air. that was the moment that really began the process by which americans turned in a very big way to television news rather than print news. >> michael, we're going to continue with our coverage this day in history. say with us, join us here on msnbc as we continue special coverage of the 50th anniversary of the death of president i don't know f. kennedy. >> absolutely shocked, stunned. we have the same birthday and
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i'm just crazy about him. >> right now i just don't know what to do. i don't know where to go, what to say. >> i was riding in a taxicab when i heard about it and found the news absolutely in comprehensible. we went out and asked people a simple question: how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed much is the official retirement age. ♪ the question is how do you make sure you have the money you need
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♪ ♪ >> dallas dealey plaza 50 years later. bob was a radio reporter covering the passage of president kennedy's motorcade as he drove through the streets of dallas. a young reporter for krld, on the air when it happened. he was steps away from jack ruby
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when he shot lee harvey oswald. he joins me now, and presidential news historian still with us. tell me, what did you hear the first you realized that the president had been shot. >> i had just broadcast the motorcade live from downtown. i got back to my newsroom and was told immediate ly what had happened. i took us in our krld mobile unit as quick as i could to parkland. they had just cordoned it off, the entire hospital complex and were allowing no traffic in. i drove around their barricades and managed to jump the car over curbs all the way until i was within about 150 feet of the emergency room opening. it was a sad scene there. >> days later when jack rubeny
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killed lee harvey oswald live on american television, you were right there. i wanted to play a little of that, nbc's tom petit standing right by his side. >> there is lee oswald. he's been shot. he's been shot. lee oswald has been shot. there's a man with a gun. it's absolute panic, absolute panic here in the basement of the dallas police headquarters. detectives have their guns drawn. oswald has been shot. >> bob, describe that scene, the chaos. we all experienced it watching it that is, of course, what has led to the fever of conspiracy for all these generations, the fact there was never a trial of lee harvey oswald. >> that's right, and that's a
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shame, andrea, because there will never be an end to the conspiracy theories i'm quite sure. the scene in the basement was chaotic. it was already very crowded in dallas police headquarters. the police were trying to be as cooperative as possible with the press, particularly those from out of town who feared that perhaps dallas police were the same sort of law enforcement officer they had scene across the american south miss treating peaceful demonstrators during the civil rights demonstrations of that time. and so the police made every effort to be cooperative in making the oswald transfer a public one and allowing the press to film it, to broadcast it live. and as fate would have it, i with cbs and tom petit with nbc were the only two who were live
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that time with oswald. it was a wrestling match down in the basement. one detective picked me up and threw me off my feet and i had to finally regain my footing and begin the report as best i could what was happening there in the police basement. ruby had gotten in by just a very strange quirk of fate. he had timestamped a telegram only three or four minutes before, before he fired and killed oswald. so he had gotten into the basement, although the security that morning had been very seriously strengthened and i had gotten all of us reporters out of the basement and show our i.d.s as we came back in. i was impressed that morning by the fact that the security at
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dallas police headquarters was good. so when ruby shot oswald, however, it was sort of a fulfillment of prophecy. we knew oswald was the most hated criminal suspect in american history and there had been all sorts of crank telephone calls, bomb threats, and yes, ma'am. >> and as we see there, the colors are being retired at the ceremony in dallas. as dallas is commemorating this moment in time. let's listen. ♪
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♪ >> michael, as the ceremony is concluding in dallas, the fact that this still is the most searing memory for certainly a whole boomer generation and also fascinating to those who follow because this was the beginning of a very violent era in our contemporary history. >> a very different time. really the dividing line. before 1963 americans tended to assume unpredictable things did not happen to america. you could trust your leaders for the most part and that life would unfold in a fairly unpredictable way. after 1963 things seemed to go off the rails. one other thing, i'm so impressed that dallas is doing the ceremony today for years
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after the assassination, leaders in dallas and many people in dallas wanted to forget about the assassination. there was a huge move to try to tear down the texas school book depository because it was too much of a reminder. what this shows how far they've come in asimulating this into their own history but doing it in a way that is really world class. >> michael, it's only recently, i think in advance of this anniversary that they removed that white mark, the cross on road, which is exactly where the limousine was when the president was shot? >> i think that probably would be progress. the sixth floor museum is there in the book depository, it's an excellent museum on the history of the kennedy assassination and odds against that being so good and so balanced without taking a side one way or the over what caused that day were very great.
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hats off to dallas in that one respect 50 years later. >> michael, thanks to you and bob and tom brokaw and i know michael, you'll be back with us on monday as we continue to commemorate the events of 50 years ago, monday, of course the anniversary of the president's funeral and burial. on this 50th anniversary of the death of president john f. kennedy, tamron hall picks up coverage in new york. >> thank you, andrea. we're now just minutes away from the moment doctors pronounced president kennedy dead 50 years ago. the world would learn shocking news just 30 minutes later. we'll play the announcement as it happened. plus, how dallas and ft. worth are still struggling to balance its place in history. >> lee harvey oswald was not from dallas or of dallas, but the perception proved hard to shake. >> and a new generation inspired by kennedy's legacy. we'll talk with two young people who live in texas, one a
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musician and one a writer, honoring a president who lived decades before they were ever born. it's all coming up next on "news nation." i started part-time, now i'm a manager.n. my employer matches my charitable giving. really. i get bonuses even working part-time. where i work, over 400 people are promoted every day. healthcare starting under $40 a month. i got education benefits. i work at walmart. i'm a pharmacist. sales associate. i manage produce. i work in logistics. there's more to walmart than you think. vo: opportunity. that's the real walmart. [ male announcer ] experience new febreze sleep serenity and let the soothing scent of moonlit lavender lull you to sleep. an official product of the national sleep foundation. breathe happy. sleep happy. a man who doesn't stand still. but jim has afib, atrial fibrillation --
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it's very real... david rivera. rivera, david. [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. . hi, everyone, i'm tamron hall. 50 years ago doctors pronounced john f. kennedy dead. it would be another half hour before acting white house press secretary made the official announcement of the president's passing. and it would be at 2:50 eastern time when lee harvey oswald was arrested at the texas theater after a struggle. 50 years later the tragic events were called in a ceremony just concluding in dealey plaza. the president was shot as