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tv   Reel America The Nixon Answer Southern Town Hall - 1968  CSPAN  October 27, 2018 8:01am-9:00am EDT

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next on "reel america" from october 3, 1968, the nixon answer, southern town hall. in this hour-long broadcast from atlanta, richard nixon answers questions from citizens in georgia including a minister, a farmer and the owner of a grocery store. the democratic nominee that year was hubert humphrey, and george wallace ran as an independent. nixon went on to win the election. [applause] announcer: tonight from atlanta, live and in color, the nixon answer. tonight richard nixon, in person, is going to face a panel of citizens asking the questions they want answered. the panel members are reg murphy, editor of the editorial page of the "atlanta constitution." adron harden, a farmer from zebulon. john kinnett jr., a businessman from columbus. reverend roland smith, a minister from atlanta. mrs. zilphia cato, a textile
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worker from moultrie. morgan stanford, a laywer from atlanta. charles kinsman, a grocery store owner from columbus. that's our panel for tonight. and here is your moderator, bud wilkinson. [applause] mr. wilkinson: thank you, and good evening. i'm pleased to play a part in this unusual television event, richard nixon in a live telecast, answering qustions put to him by a panel of georgia citizens. i'd like to stress the point that the program is live. no one has any idea what questions will be asked. mr. nixon cannot possibly know. his answers must be immediate and direct. and our panel is representative. it includes a dairy operator, an editor, a farmer, a grocer, a lawyer, a minister, and a garment textile worker. some are democrats, some republicans, and some supporters
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of the third party. and now, it is my pleasure to introduce a man that i've known, respected, and admired for many years, richard nixon. [applause] mr. nixon: how are you? hi. how are you? [applause] thank you. thank you very much. thank you. [applause] hi. [laughter] how are you? thank you. well, thank you very much, bud wilkinson, and thank all of you in the studio audience for your warm welcome. and can i express, through the medium of this television broadcast, my appreciation to all of the people who welcomed us so graciously, and in such a warm way, to atlanta today? i know that this broadcast is being carried through the whole, a number of southern states, but certainly, coming to atlanta was a wonderful experience, and we're delighted to finish the day with this broadcast originating from an atlanta
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station. before we go to the questions, and i know there will be many, i think you'd like to know something about our moderator. of course, all of you who are sports fans will know bud wilkinson. i know him so well that i don't think he needs introduction, but as you recall, he was the great coach at the university of oklahoma, one of the winningest coaches of all, and i'm just trying to getting the winning habit from bud. that's right. [laughter] [applause] in addition to helping us in our campaign, bud now, as you know, does the commentating for the college football games, and so you football fans can now see a real celebrity here in a political context. and then over on the other side of the room here, we have some other visitors to atlanta today. my wife, the best campaigner in the family, mrs. nixon. [applause] and an old friend, one who is also in atlanta, here visiting
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his crusade office today, billy graham and mrs. graham, right next to mrs. nixon. [applause] when i attended a billy graham crusade up in pittsburgh, billy was remarking about the fact that we had met on the golf course several times. and this gives me a change to chance to get back at him a little about my golf. [laughter] the other day, you know, you see a lot of interesting signs when you campaign. people carry them. some are against you, some are for you. i know both, i can assure you. [laughter] but in any event, i saw one up in pittsburgh the other day, i mean in philadelphia, an old lady sitting in a wheelchair. i found out later she was 85 years of age. was carrying a great, big sign that said, "sock it to 'em, dick." >> [laughter] mr. nixon: and in chattanooga, a college girl was holding a sign said, "putt nixon in the white house." p-u-t-t. i just hope my campaigning is
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better than my putting. i would also like to introduce some in the back row there, in the next row, my daughter patricia and my daughter julie. [applause] sitting between them, a great baseball fan, david eisenhower. [applause] david is lucky. they got to see that first game of the world series. i have not seen anything on televison. i understand now it is a split and they are going back to st. louis. that is the one question from members of the panel i will not comment on. i have been to st. louis. i've been to detroit. and i will not take a position as to which one should win the world series. >> [laughter] mr. nixon: and so we will start over on the side with mr. murphy of atlanta. mr. murphy: mr. nixon, curtis lemay became george wallace's
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running mate today, and said he would use a nuclear bomb to end of the war in vietnam. how do you feel about the use of nuclear weapons in vietnam or elsewhere? mr. nixon: i don't think nuclear bombs or nuclear weapons should be used in vietnam. i don't think they are necessary to be used in vietnam. and i think nuclear weapons should be reserved only for what we hope will never come, and i think great diplomacy could avoid, and that is a confrontation with a nuclear power. whenever you use the ultimate weapon in a small war like this, you inevitably run the risk of its being escalated into a major war with either communist china, which now has some nuclear capability, or the soviet union, being involved. so under the circumstances, to bring this war to a conclusion, what we should do in terms of our military power and it means not only military power but diplomatic and economic and other things that can be used as well, but in terms of military
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power, we should limit our efforts to the use of conventional weapons. that is all that is needed. and we should not risk a nuclear war in vietnam by any matter of the means. i disagree with curtis lemay completely on this point. [applause] i would like to say, mr. murphy, when i say i disagree, i have great respect for curtis lemay, when he was the general, the air force general, he was chief of staff, but this reaction shows why i think it is so important that in the white house you have a man who recognizes that you must have civilian control over the military. the military's solutions are not always the right solutions for those who are seeking peace, and peace without surrender. that's the point i'm trying to make. mr. kennett. john: mr. nixon, businessmen and individuals are concerned about the people in this country
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living in poverty, yet we have reservations that the so-called poverty program isn't a solution. what are your thoughts about the best ways to help the so-called, hard-core unemployed? mr. nixon: mr. kennett, the reason i think it has failed and failed in most instances in the cities in which it has been tried is it has resorted to the solutions of the 30's with problems that are not relevant to the 1930's. they are relevant today. we have poured millions of dollars into big government programs for federal housing and for federal jobs and for federal welfare. and the result is that not only by using those programs and in overpromising that we have reaped the frustration. we have reaped not a solution of poverty but we have reaped the riots that have torrent cities 300 apart, some with 200 dead and several hundred injured throughout this country.
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what is the answer? the answer it seems to me is to move from the federal government approach. rather than pouring more money into those big federal programs, which hubert humphrey says he will do, the answer is to move to that area of the american economy which has always been best for training the unemployed, for building our cities. and what is it? the government didn't build the cities of america. the government didn't train the best skilled labor force that the world has ever seen in america. private enterprise did. that is why my programs will provide tax credits to private enterprise to train the unemployed, tax credits for private enterprise to build housing in the hard-core cities that people can own rather than live in as tenants basically of the government. let me tell you this. when a person owns his house, he owns his apartment, he has the dignity and pride he is going to stand up for. i think we ought to have tax and
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-- have tax credits which will bring private enterprise into our core cities for the purpose of providing the new jobs and the opportunity for people in those cities to become owners and managers, rather than just workers. and add one other ingredient. you used the term cities. i should point out that there is more poverty today and more unemployment, and underemployment in rural america than there is in urban america. i don't think rural america has received the attention it should receive, and i'm not talking about the appalachian region. i mean the whole of america, 50 million people that live in rural america. so i would apply these programs of using government tax credits and government financing to bring private enterprise, also, to bring the new business to rural america, that will raise the quality of life there. that is the kind of a solution i want. in other words, we have tried the big government way, now let's try the private enterprise people way in order to get progress for america. that is my solution. [applause]
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mrs. cato, i understand you are very successul in private enterprise, so i'm glad to come to you next. zilphia: mr. nixon, how do you feel about a change in the federal taxation laws, which would bring revnues from the religous organizations and the labor organizations under the same tax structure as the corporations with which they are competing? i don't mean churches or buildings in which religious services are held or where union members meet for their meetings. mr. nixon: well, i think what you may be referring to is the question of cooperatives, organizations or foundations and cooperatives and others that are financed by tax-free organizations, and that then compete with what are called private organizations that pay taxes. my general attitude on that is that we have to be very careful to draw the line that you indicated in the last part of your question.
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i do not want to have any kind of a proposal at this time in the united states that will do anything to weaken our religious organizations. frankly to be perfectly frank with you, if a church, a religious organization, is able to make some money out of a legitimate private-enterprise activity, i'm for it, because the churches need money. i want to see religion grow in this country, and i don't want to tax it in any way that we possibly can. if on the other hand we have a situation where it is strictly a case of some organization other than a religious organization competing with a private enterprise and having a special status, a tax, a tax advantage, then you ought to have legislation which will balance that off. i have studied this over a period of years and i think the tax reform we will have in the next administration will look at these situations and remove the inequities. but when it comes to religious organizations, i feel very strongly would be a step in the
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wrong direction to move over here and make it impossible for religious organizations to get the funds necessary for them to expand their missionary and other works. mr. kinsman. charles: mr. nixon, what would you do as president to bring law and order back to america, and what is your definition of law and order? mr. nixon: let me start with the definition first. by law and order, i mean law and order for everybody. let me lay one thing on the line at the beginning. i know it has been suggested law and order is a code word for racism. i don't buy that at all. let's understand that as far as law and order is concerned, black americans have just as much a stake in law and order as white americans have. fear stocks the ghettos as well as it stocks the suburbs. and when we think of organized crime, for example, it preys on the poor, the poor people for example.
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they are the victims of the narcotics and they are the victims of the numbers and all the other things organized crime engages in. so when we see crime going up nine times faster than the population as it has in these last eight years, three times faster than the eisenhower years, when we see, and this is the critical point, that if we don't have a change, a new policy by a new attorney general and a new attitude toward the enforcement of law and order, new laws and new strengthening of the peace forces in this country, if the trend continues, crime in the united states will double in the next four years. by the end of the next term of the next president. i think we can stop the rise in crime, and what we have to recognize is that law and order is something everybody wants, but if you are going to have law and order, it must be just. it must apply justly to everybody as i said in my acceptance speech in miami. we have got to have respect for law, but laws must deserve respect. we go third to the point that if you are going to have law and order, you must also have, among people who do not have a chance,
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you have got to have the hope that they can go up. you know, it is very easy to say, "well, if we can just put enough police in the cities to control these things, and if we pay them enough and give them enough authority, we will have law and order." not over the long haul. because if you have people who have no hope, they will actually -- eventually explode. and if they explode, you would have what i call the warfare which nobody in america wants. you don't need to have that. that is why the question asked earlier by mr. kennett that is related to that. the reason we have got to move on these problems of poverty, these problems of unemployment, these problems of hopelessness that will exist in america is that only if we move on those problems do we pull some of the fire away from those who would destroy america, those who would burn it. remember is to they all go together. having spoken of the problem, let me tell you some things that need to be done. first, with got to look at decisions handed down by our
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courts. let me make my position very clear. i'm a lawyer. i have argued a case before the supreme court on two different occasions. i respect the supreme court as an institution. i respect the men on it. on the other hand, i disagree with some of the decisions. as i look over the decisions in recent years, i have reached the decision that some of our courts, in their decisions, and it's only the decisions i'm criticizing, but some of our courts in their decisions have gone too far in weakening the peace forces against the criminal forces. and we have to address that in balance in the united states. [applause] let me give you an example. [applause] let me give you an example. i was just in philadelphia the other day. i think we have to use examples to prove these points. i was in philadelphia the other day. i found that as a result of one supreme court decision i have criticized, and a decision that will be rectified provided the law that congress gets the constitutional approval that it
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will need. but looking at that particular decision, as a result of that one decision, these three things happened. a cab driver was brutally murdered. the man who confessed was set free because of that decision. an elderly man had been brutally murdered and robbed, and the man who confessed it while he was on a spending spree in las vegas, he was set free. and then an elderly woman was brutally murdered, and she was robbed and clubbed to death, and the man who was guilty of that crime was set free. now i think that when you have a situation where your courts, because of technical factors involved, have gone that far, what we need to recognize is that the balance between peace forces and the criminal forces has gone too far this way, and we have to put it back that way. we have got to remember that the innocent in america deserve protection as well as those who are charged with crime. [applause] i would also -- [applause] if i can -- [applause] and then going further than
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that, it's a question too of new policies. i would set up a national council on law enforcement, in which we bring together at the federal level top cabinet officers and others who can adopt programs across the board, stopping for example the flow of narcotics into this country because narcotics as you know is a major feeder of crime in our big cities. a national council for law enforcement. i would have, in addition to that, a national body which would have as its purpose to be a clearinghouse for all kinds of activities across this country, so that we could find ways to inform people across the country, local communities, as to how we can improve our law and order facilities. and finally i think it is vitally important that leadership at the very top, from the president on down and the attorney general on down, make very clear that this is a nation which has gotten where it has by recognizing that there is a way to change those things we don't
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like through peaceful means. and in my view, in a system which does provide a method to change what you don't like peacefully, there is no cause to justify breaking the law and engaging in violence. that is what i think needs to be laid down from the very top. [applause] mr. stanford. morgan: mr. nixon, the issues of this campaign could be best presented to the american people through face-to-face debate between you and hubert humphrey, where you could state your position, mr. humphrey could state his position, then you could question each other. would you be willing to meet with hubert humphrey and debate the issues, the same manner in which you did with john kennedy in 1960? [laughter] mr. nixon: not the same manner. it wouldn't come out the same. [laughter] [applause]
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mr. stanford, i suppose the first answer i would have to that question is, which hubert humphrey do you want me to debate? [laughter] morgan: the one that's running for office of the president. mr. nixon: and which position, i suppose. this is really the problem, but being quite direct, i will repeat again what i have said on many programs. i debated in 1960. i would be willing to debate the nominee of the other party in 1968. however i would not participate in what i would call a three-ring circus. you can't have a debate between three people because then you are going to have a gang fight, with two against one or one against three, or whatever the case might be depending on how it has turned out. but if the congress can work out the law in such a way that the equal-time provisions can be amended or suspended so that there can be a two-man debate, i have indicated i would debate mr. humphrey, yes. morgan: of course in 1960 you had more than two candidates offering for the presidency, and you and mr. kennedy were able to debate at that time. why could you not do it now?
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mr. nixon: the difference, and that's just the point that's in the congress today. in 1960, you see, congress passed the law, the other candidates were so minor in character, the congress passed a law directly allowing the networks to allow the two major-party candidates to debate and allowing the networks -- providing the networks would not have to give equal time to anybody else. this time the congress is debating whether it will also allow a third-party candidate, mr. wallace, to have time. now if you put three men on a stage to debate, it just isn't going to work. i think anybody would agree with that. morgan: with three main candidates, you wouldn't want to debate with mr. wallace? mr. nixon: and take on three? i will take on any one, but i'm not going to take on two. [applause] reverend smith. roland: vice president nixon, what would you propose or do you
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propose to help to develop a bill, negro business in the black communities in the united states? mr. nixon: i'm aware of the fact that you are, you are highly aware of what can be done in this area. if i look at atlanta, and as i see negro insurance companies, as i see negro supermarkets and as i see with the negro community has done, and as i travel across the country, whether they're white americans, or people who may be not negro but other minority groups like mexican-americans, just like the black americans, what everybody wants is an equal chance not just to be a worker but a chance to be an owner or manager, to
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have a piece of the action, to have a stake in private enterprise. and that is why six months ago i broke some new ground in this field with two speeches in which i called registering human dignity. instead of taking the approach of big government, the approach billions of dollars for more people on welfare and more people in government jobs, i took the approach in these speeches that we had to do was find a way as i put it to bring private enterprise into the ghettos, and also to bring the residents of the ghettos into private enterprise, as owners and managers, and not just workers. now how do you do that? being a businessman, first you have got to find credit. the small business administration for example can be greatly expanded, and not only providing credit incidentally for black businessmen, but also mexican-americans and other groups so they can all have a stake in the action. second, you have to provide
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training. you can't just give a man a business or grocery store and say run it. unless he has been trained. that's why my approach would provide a method through which tax credits would be provided to those industries or businesses that would train the people who were qualified so that they could be owners and managers. and finally, you have to provide to the greatest extent you can the incentives. you have got to provide the motivation, and here is where education in the broadest sense comes in. i'm not referring to education that just teaches people to read and write and hold a job, but the kind of education that will let all americans, black americans, white americans, that they can understand that if they do their best, they have a chance to go up. i think with that kind of a program, it will make a breakthrough. it will make a breakthrough that will be very exciting. it isn't going to happen overnight, because you know that you don't become a manager, an owner overnight. some of the people coming out of
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college these days think they can. that they will become the manager of a corporation. it doesn't work that way. it doesn't work that way with white people, it doesn't work that way with black people. i say the time to start is now so all over america, black americans will have a stake in private enterprise, and they would be defending it instead of attacking it, in my view. that is what i think is going to happen. [applause] mr. harden. adron: mr. nixon, we in georgia and other southern states have thousands of peanut, cotton and tobacco farmers who would find themselves bankrupt if present farm programs or other farm programs and acreage allotment should cease to exist. what is your position on farm programs? mr. nixon: let me make one thing very clear. under no circumstances should the present farm programs suddenly cease to exist. it isn't just the case you are talking about.
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i am quite familiar with the products all over the country. when you travel around the country, you not only know about the cotton program, the peanut program and the others which affect southern crops, tobacco, but then you have the wheat programs in the central plains states. in these cases, there isn't any question that many farmers would like to move toward greater freedom. they would like freer markets, but on the other hand, you can't have a move toward greater freedom and freedom markets and -- in a precipitous fashion. you have to see to it that there is a period in which the farmer is protected, protected because he has an investment in land, an investment in machinery. therefore, the price supports must be maintained. looking at the farmers of america today, you have to maintain the price support program at its present level until we find something better for the farmer, something better, something that will make it better.
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this is the other point i'd like to make. you point out a lot of farmers would be bad off if these programs were knocked off. but i think you would agree with me that in these past four years the farmer has been getting the short end of the stick in the united states of america. i will tell you what happened, and you probably know what happened better than i do. taxes have gone up for the farmer 76% in the last eight years. his farm labor has gone up 46%. the cost of farm equipment, machinery has gone up 30%. and yet the prices the farmer is receiving for his commodities in america has gone down. that is why farm income has gone down a net of $2 billion. i think we ought to stop the inflation which has been responsible for the farmer getting that squeeze and also at a time the farmer is getting a short end of the stick, you can be sure i'm not for any program that is going to make the farmer worse off. i will only be for any changes in our farm program that will give the farmer more control over his own program. that's why i want a secretary of
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agriculture that speaks for the farmer to the white house, rather than one that speaks to the farmer for the white house like we have right now. [applause] >> mr. nixon, the senate now has blocked the nomination of abe fortas to the supreme court. who do you plan to nominate if you are elected? [laughter] mr. nixon: without even knowing, and i didn't know because i read the panel earlier, i would know that is a newspaper man. a very good question. mr. murphy, as i am sure you will recognize, when i get questions as to who i will appoint to the cabinet, and many
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people already applied to my cabinet. i don't have to do it. >> [laughter] mr. nixon: as for the supreme court, it would be presumptuous for me to say that until i first win the election, which i hope to do. but i will indicate the kind of man i want, i think that would be fair. you can get an indication of who it might be. my view about what a judge on the supreme court should be does not relate to whether he is a liberal or a conservative. many people confuse what judges really have as a role. what i am concerned about when i look at a judge is also not whether he is a democrat or republican. the question is, what kind of lawyer is he first? and second, what is his attitude toward the constitution? now if i find a man, whether he is a democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, who recognizes it is the role of the court to interpret the law, and leave it to congress to writing
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the law, that is the kind of man i want on the court. i do not want the court -- [applause] i think, i think some of our judges, and i respect these men as men, but some of our judges have gone too far in assuming unto themselves and -- a mandate which is not theirs, and that is to put their social or economic ideas into their decisions. the congress is elected, the house and the senate, to write the laws of this land. the court is not selected for that purpose. the court should interpret it. i want men who will interpret the constitution strictly and fairly and objectively, and that is the kind of a man i intend to appoint. go ahead. mr. murray: is there anybody in the court at the moment who would make an acceptable chief justice? mr. nixon: yes. yes.
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[laughter] that leaves me plenty of running room. i will say yes. [applause] let me put it this way. basically, the decisions i have quarreled with, and many lawyers have quarreled with them on this, are the 5-4 decisions. and i look at three of those left that are in that minority, some of those are strict constructionists. and therefore would fit my idea as to who might be a judge for the supreme court and may be a chief justice. but don't let them know that in washington. i don't want them writing any letters. [laughter] over here, mr. stanford. morgan: vietnam is a very perplexing and troublesome problem for the american people. there doesn't seem to be any dispute that we made a terrible mistake by getting involved there. now i'm glad to see personally mr. humphrey has moved away from the administration's position
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and has advocated that the halt of bombing of north vietnam. and i was just wondering, sir, what is your position on vietnam at this time? mr. nixon: i don't agree with mr. humphrey if he says that is what his opinion is. [applause] i want to make very clear, mr. stanford, that my position on vietnam has been probably that of being one of the most persistent critics over the past four years of anybody in america. i have criticized the military conduct. i think we have wasted military power by using it ineffectively. i have criticized that we have failed to recognize the true character of the war, that it's primarily a war that is not military in character. it is a war for people rather in character, and we have failed. i have also criticized and i still criticize the administration for failing to recognize that when you get to this kind of war, our goal must
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be to help them fight the war, not fight the war for them. we didn't train the south vietnamese, just the same mistake we made in korea. it is only when van fleet corrected that mistake in korea that we were of it able to develop the power there, one of the factors there that was one of the factors that brought the power balance that we were able to end the war. finally on vietnam, i think we failed to arm the vietnamese people with the truth. i think the administration, if they told us why we were there and how much it was going to cost and didn't take us up and down the hill, i think this war would have had greater support than it has had. but that's all in the past. let's look where we are right now. negotiations are going on in paris. i do not know how those negotiations will come out. they do not appear to be too hopeful. but there is apparently some chance, some chance that they might succeed. now as a potential president, and mr. humphrey is in exactly the same class, as a potential president, if i say these negotiations fail, i will do this or that. that makes sure that those
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negotiations are going to fail. and so consequently, i'm not going to state a position as to what i would do if the negotiations fail. i have made it clear to president johnson, i made it clear to the country. we can only have one president at a time. and if president johnson can bring this war to a conclusion before this election, more power to him. let's get the killing of american boys to stop. but if it doesn't, i believe the country will want new leadership. now the question is, are you going to turn to mr. humphrey on one side, or are you going to turn to nixon on the other side? and here, i'm a little prejudiced. i'm prejudiced for this reason. >> [laughter] mr. nixon: mr. humphrey has been a consistent supporter of the administration's policy. he has never criticized it publicly. he has articulated his defense all over this nation, and until very recently he has indicated he took the same position i did about not saying anything to avoid jeopardizing the paris peace talks. but now he has said apparently
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-- i say apparently because there have been two stories. he's been on both sides of this issue. he has now said he would stop the bombing in vietnam. that was the first story. maybe you didn't see the second one. that was a 6:00 p.m. story. by 9:00 p.m. story, the second lead was humphrey did really mean that, what he really meant he would stop the bombing in vietnam provided certain conditions were met with regard to the demilitarized zone. that's a very different thing. now let me tell you my attitude regarding the bombing. first, i don't want to bomb anybody if it's not necessary to save american lives. as far as i am concerned, the question is not whether we stop the bombing. the question is whether we stop the war. and when we look to paris, let us remember that the business of what we are doing there, that is going on, that that negotiation, the trump card and virtually the only trump card our negotiators have is the bombing. if they stop the bombing, we ought to get something for it. that is why president johnson i think has been right that we
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won't stop the bombing during these negotiations unless they quit shelling the cities of south vietnam or unless they reduce their attacks against our men in the demilitarized zone, or unless they agree to negotiate with the governor north vietnam. these are agreeable and leads to ending the war. i would say one further thing. i noticed mr. humphrey said as president, he would take the risk of stopping the bombing. i don't look at it that way at all. he isn't taking the risk. he's risking the lives of american boys over there. [applause] i want to -- [applause] i just want to make one thing clear. if i'm elected to this office, i'm going to use all the diplomatic and economic and military and other power we have, in an effective way to bring the war to an honorable conclusion as quickly as possible.
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as far as the bombing is concerned, that is only one strings in the bowl. we will stop the bombing when i'm convinced by what the other side tells me or what it does, that stopping the bombing will mean that we will lose less american lives rather than costing us american lives. that is what we ought to do in terms of stopping the bombing. if it is going to cost us american lives -- [applause] >> mr. nixon, recently i had the pleasure to listen to reverend billy graham. he said it seems the youth today are lost. they have nowhere to go. i think he spoke of the parachuting students. i myself was born and raised to believe in god and country. that was my bringing up. i got a little scared, i'm going to tell you. mr. nixon: i have been scared too. >> that is the whole reason i found that out. as president, what would you do and what can we do as parents to bring the children of today back
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to our country and know that this is their country and give them that belief back in our country again? where they collect there are lost now. what can we do and what would you do as president for these youth? the hippies and so on like that. mr. nixon: well, first, i think you put the question very well when you point out the president has a responsibility, but also the parent has a responsibility. this is a problem that primarily must be handled in the home and at the school and in the church. it must be adopted as a top national objective of this country, the objective of letting american youth know what the background of this country really is, recognize the great principles that brought us where we are get away from this , attitude that anything goes, make it fashionable again may i say to be patriotic. [applause] make it fashionable.
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and when i say make it fashionable -- [applause] when i say make it fashionable again to go to church. these are some of the things we need. billy graham has spoken eloquently on this point. certainly i think a religious revival in this country directed at this particular point could be most helpful. and i have found in talking to young americans, what they are searching for is a, something to believe in, something to be for. when you talk to the yippies and the hippies and the rest, and i've seen them carrying their signs and yelling, and sometimes i've engaged them in conversations. they are just against everything. they are not for anything. and so there is our opportunity. we need to give them something for, something to believe in. i talked about the home and the church and the school. a little more training in civics might be better. what we used to call civics. that wouldn't be bad. basic principles of what this country is about.
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but then you have got the president of the united states. what can he do? that's why i have set up in this campaign, not just for the purposes of helping in the campaign, and it may help there, but beyond that, what i call a youth coalition. and we are going to go out in this country after the election when we go in there in january, and we are going to set up listening centers. all over america in 19 key cities. we are going to try to find out from american youth, those with college years, some in high school and just beyond college, what they are thinking, what they think they want, what kind of contribution they could make, the kind of country they want this country to be. we have got to listen to young people. if we listen to them more rather than just talking to them, when -- we may find that that they have a sense of participation. what i find with most young people think we have this great big system, and they can't do anything to change it, so they just get out, and they are against it. and so i think we can open a dialogue, open communication, start listening, that we are going to find that american
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youth has a lot more good in it than we ever realized. and one final point i would make. we talk about yippies and the hippies and the rest, they are very much in evidence. if you watch mr. humphrey's rallies and mine, you think those are the only people there. don't you believe it. speaking for my own rallies, for every one of these there are 100 good kids out there too. i mean high school, looking at the young people today, you can look at those that have gotten off the track, those that are gone to pot, and gone to pot literally, incidentally you can , look at all of those. but for every one of those, this generation of americans is the best educated generation of americans we have ever had, it is the best motivated in terms of wanting to do something other than just have a job and make money. they want to do something for, you know, for the neighborhoods or for their fellow men for the country, they just feel deeply motivated. they know more about politics and the world than 30 years ago when i did coming out of school. i think the youth, instead of a liability, could be the greatest asset that we have given the
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leadership. i hope to be that leader. [applause] could i ask, could i ask bud to comment on that? you work with these young people. do you agree on my evaluation? bud: very much. yes sir. i feel that the sense of purpose you were talking about is primarily what they need. giving a sense of purpose and feeling needed on the two key things, and if you will just listen to them and hear what they are saying, the programs can be devised where they feel of service to our nation. which is what they want to be. mr. nixon: i saw a poll that said 75% of american youth today are more interested in doing something that serves as opposed to something that might provide an income or a profit. it is a service motivated group. this is a potential powerful good. >> mr. nixon, on the same subject, my wife and i as the parents of six children, have real concerns for the tremendous
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increase in obscenity in movies, novels, magazines and other areas of life. first, do you share this concern, and what can you do about it if elected president? mr. nixon: i share the concern. and what i can do if elected president is to conduct a very thorough investigation. this is one of the things i will have done under the department of justice through the attorney general, a thorough investigation, first how the mails are being used. a lot of this stuff comes through the mails. i got a letter the other day, a letter the other day -- it was a very sad letter from a woman who was the daughter of a minister. and she was pointing out she had a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old, and she enclosed in her letter two pieces of pornographic literature that she said had been mailed each week. she said she sent one back and then she sent the other. she said, what can we do to stop this? certainly when we are talking about the use of the united states mail, the federal
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government can do something about it. when we get into a course over the area of what we would call action which would suppress freedom of speech and freedom of the press, that's when you get into constitutional problems. some of those great battles in the supreme court have been waged about that. but i have said in my acceptance speech this kind of filth in literature and pornography that has now disseminated across this country, across state lines, through the mails, we can do something about it. i am going to have a study made, and we will do it within the constitutional limits we have been provided. [applause] zilphia: what is your position on the federal open housing law passed in 1967? mr. nixon: i supported the 1967 bill, just as i supported the 1964 civil rights bill. my personal view on open housing
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prior to the passage of that bill often expressed is that i feel open housing is best handled at the state and local level, rather than the federal level. but that bill, which did have an open housing provision in it, it seemed to me was the bill that should be passed in that year, having in mind it also covered a number of other items that were vitally important including an anti-riot provision, and the crossing of state lines, those going to create a riot, and i felt that failing to pass, failing to pass the civil rights bill including the open housing division in 1967 would have reaped the whirlwind in terms of what why would call the -- what i would call the moderate negro leadership that are trying, trying to prove to the extremists, those that simply do not want to go through the law, that you can get action by going through the congress rather than
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going to the streets. so under those circumstances, i favor that. mr. smith. roland: i have a question, mr. president -- mr. vice president. it is your ambition to be president. i shall not express my worst night on that. i wrote you eight years ago. but what is your goal or aim for the united states of america if you became president of the most powerful nation in the world, as to its moral leadership in the world? for it seems that that leadership is being lost, or is about lost, in the world today. [applause]
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mr. nixon: when you make that statement, i'm reminded of the fact that respect for a nation is the most important factor it can have if it is going to be a great power. and respect for the united states of america has fallen to the lowest point in its history. it is true all over the world. polls show it, and if you go abroad, you find it. we see how that respect has gone down. so you look back on the history of america. and we all remember when we were a young country, 190 years ago, we were not very strong then. we were very weak militarily and we were very poor economically. there were only 13 million of us. -- there were only 3 million of us and 13 states. but america was respected all over the world. why? because our president stood firm for america whenever anybody affronted it around the world. and let's make sure that in the next administration, the american flag doesn't become a doormat for anybody, any place around the world. [applause]
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and second, because america then stood for something other than simply military might and economic wealth, which other nations of europe and other parts of the world have. we stood for opportunity. we stood for a new idea, a new vision, and a new purpose in the world. we had, we basically had what you have described as a moral position and a purpose that somehow caught the imagination of the world. it was the spirit of 1776. now how do we restore america's moral position? well, it is going to take a number of things. first it is going to take a strong foreign policy. we have to strengthen the united states and stand firmly but not belligerently around the world. second it will take in addition to that primarily however , recognizing that if you can't keep the peace at home. if you don't have respect at home, you are not going to be trusted to keep the peace abroad. that is why i often said in my
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speeches, when we talk about these problems around the world, in vietnam and in czechoslovakia and south america, there is no ground more important than the ground we stand on at home. we have got to deal with our problems at home. we have to reestablish respect for law, respect for order. we have got to like the -- light the lamp of hope in many homes where there is no hope. if we do that, the america we have always been and still are, i want to say this is still the greatest country, let's make no mistake about it, but that america will then stand before the world as an america that is worthy of leading the world in this last third of a century. and one final point. one of the reasons that it is vital that the u.s. reestablish its moral position and respect for america is that, if peace is to survive and freedom are to survive in the last third of this century, they will only survive if the united states
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meets its role in the world. i would not have said that in the first third of the century, or the second third. then what happened in paris and london and berlin or tokyo determined war came. no it has all changed, except for the communist world there is , no nation that has power. here we are here we stand as we , enter the last third of the century, and whether america meets that challenge will not only determine the fate of our children and grandchildren, it's something we care so much about. it's going to determine the fate of 3 billion people on this earth. that's why this election is so important. let me say this. i don't have personal animosity against hubert humphrey and those that have, that have been taking me on. for example, i noticed a comment by mr. ball the other day. as a matter of fact, i didn't answer it. i was rather happy to see him resign his job. i was going to change him anyway. >> [laughter] [applause]
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mr. nixon: america has great problems, but never have we had the chance. we've got the power, with got -- we have got a wonderfully motivated people. we have got the wealth. and if we can pull ourselves together and reestablish faith in our great traditions and respect for law, and then america will be able to lead the free world along the paths of peace. and that will convince the communist world that war is not a path they will choose. i think it is possible, and that is what i'm dedicating my campaign to, and my election if we win the election. [applause] >> mr. nixon, we have a pest in georgia and florida and west of these two states that came through the louisiana, the imported fire ant.
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in previous years states have , attacked the problem individually. we haven't been able to eradicate this past. would you support a federal program to eradicate this pest? it is dangerous to human beings and animals, and we need to be rid of it. mr. nixon: i've had every other question in these panels, but it's the first time i've heard of the fire ant. >> it is a big problem here. mr. nixon: i can assure you, mr. harden, let me make one thing very clear about the federal-state relationship. for 40 years we have seen power flow from the local governments and from the states to washington, d.c. too much power has gone to washington. i want to be in an administration where power comes back from washington to states. i begin with that promise. [applause] however, i want to make one thing also clear. i am an activist. if a problem can't be handled at at the state or local level, if it is necessary to have a
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coordinated approach, if you have to have a big stroke of the federal government in order to handle a particular problem like that, like what you call the building of the tva or the central valley project or the other great development of our natural resources, dealing with the problem like this, then i as president of the united states will say if it can't be done at the state or federal level -- local level, if it needs a federal program, let's have it. the main thing, let's have the thing done. but if it can be done at the state level, i don't want the federal government messing around in it. [applause] >> vice president humphrey has said governor wallace is the apostle of hate and racism. agree or disagree? mr. nixon: vice president humphrey has said so much about me, and i'm not going to engage in, in questioning the motives, the intentions of governor
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wallace, or of vice president humphrey. i will, i will express my disagreements with their policy, as i strongly expressed my disagreements with curtis lemay's views about the use of nuclear bombs. i look at mr. wallace's candidacy. i would express the difference simply in this way. as i look at his candidacy, he is against a lot of things the american people are frustrated about. he is against the rise in crime. he is against the conduct of our foreign lessee, what has happened to american respect around the world. i'm against a lot of those things. the difference is, i am for a lot of things. that is what we need now. we need a policy that will deal with things, give us new leadership in foreign policy, reestablish our alliance with europe, that will get at trouble spots and avoid future wars. we need policies at home that go beyond simply saying that, if somebody lies down in front of my presidential limousine, it will be the last one he lies down in front of.
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now look here, no president of the united states is going to do that, and anybody who says that shouldn't be president of the united states in my view. [applause] bud: ok, i have to interrupt, but i'd like to thank the panel very much for your penetrating questions that have given so much information to our audience. before we close, mr. nixon, i would like to ask a question, if i may. i've been around a lot of athletic teams where you know everybody is trying to the best of their ability, but somehow it doesn't seem to fit together and then some spark sort of kindles the effort, and immediately you have that unity, the teamwork. you move it. i feel the country is in somewhat that first disorganized state. how do you expect to spark this nation? mr. nixon: i am glad it isn't an
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athletic team. i sat on the bench for four years at whittier college, but learned a lot about football at least. it's really question of leadership that we have been talking about so much tonight. and i begin with this proposition. i've said a lot of things tonight about what is wrong with america, but i wouldn't want this television audience ever to turn off this set without my saying what i say that every speech, and that is when you travel all over the world as i have, and come back to america, you realize that this is the place. the traffic is all one way. anybody that has a right to choose, they are coming this way. they are not going anyplace else. there are things that are wrong. when you look at this country, there is more opportunity, more wealth equally shared than any nation in the world. and there is so much good in this country. there are so many people that are motivated, that want to help. all we have to do is to mobilize them, to bring them together, to inspire them. and you must believe. theodore roosevelt used to say the presidency was a bully pulpit.
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i don't suppose i could ever qualify as a good preacher, although my mother used to think when i was youngster thought that that perhaps is what i might be. at the present time, as much as more programs and more money for this and that and the other thing here and around the world, what america needs is idealistic leadership. and i believe as president of the united states, if we can just take the american people on the mountaintop, and let them see how good this country, how great it is, how fine our young people are, what we do in the selection will determine peace and freedom for the next third of this century. if the american people feel that, believe me, we are going to go forward, and i hope to be leading that charge. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] in early september 1968,
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democratic presidential nominee and vice president hubert humphrey was polling well behind republican nominee richard nixon. independent third-party candidate george wallace was drawing large crowds to rallies. anti-vietnam war and civil rights activists were protesting in the streets. next on "reel america," hubert humphrey outlines his accomplishments, qualifications, and campaign strategy and -- in remarks at the democratic national convention in chicago. >> we now know that governor dewey will carry new york state by at least 50,000 votes. and that he will be the next president of the united states. [applause] ♪ >> on election night 1948, herbert brownell and a legion of newsmen continued to cite public opinion of polls thaid

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