Eugene McCarthy

Eugene McCarthy



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1968 Presidential Race Democrats


Paul Newman, one of many notable Hollywood stars who became active on behalf of presidential candidates during 1968's primary & general elections. Life magazine, May 10, 1968.

Yet in the 1960s, the caldron of social issues and political unrest throughout the country, coupled in 1967-68 with an offering of hopeful candidates — especially on the Democratic side — brought both older and newer Hollywood celebrities into the political process like never before. “In no other election,” observed Time magazine in late May 1968, “have so many actors, singers, writers, poets, artists, professional athletes and assorted other celebrities signed up, given out and turned on for the candidates.”

A war was then raging in Vietnam and a military draft was taking the nation’s young to fight it. President Lyndon Johnson had raised U.S. troop strength in Vietnam to 486,000 by the end of 1967. Protests had erupted at a number of colleges and universities. In late October 1967, tens of thousands of demonstrators came to the Pentagon calling for an end to the war. In addition, a growing civil rights movement had pointed up injustice and racism throughout America. Three summers of urban unrest had occurred. Riots in 1967 alone had taken more than 80 lives. In the larger society, a counter culture in music, fashion and values — brought on by the young — was also pushing hard on convention. And all of this, from Vietnam battle scenes to federal troops patrolling U.S. cities, was seen on television as never before. Society seemed to be losing its moorings. And more was yet to come, as further events — some traumatic and others unexpected — would fire the nation to the boiling point. There was little standing on the sidelines people from all walks of life were taking sides.


From left, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte & Charlton Heston at 1963 Civil Rights march.

Hollywood and the arts community had a long history of political involvement and activism on behalf of presidential candidates, dating at least to the 1920s. Even in the dark days of the 1950s there had been a sizeable swath of Hollywood backing Democrat Adlai Stevenson for his Presidential bids of 1952 and 1956. And in the 1960 election of Jack Kennedy, there was notable support from Frank Sinatra and friends, as well as Kennedy family connections to Hollywood. Others, like singer Pete Seeger, had never stopped their activism, even in the face of political pressure.

By the early 1960s, with the civil rights movement in particular, a new wave actors and singers such as Joan Baez, Harry Belefonte, Marlon Brando, Bob Dylan, Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and others were becoming involved in one way or another. Some lent their name or provided financial support others joined marches and demonstrations.

By the mid-1960s, however, the Vietnam War became a goading factor for many in Hollywood. And among the first to speak out and oppose the war was an actor named Robert Vaughn.

The Man from UNCLE

Robert Vaughn was the star of a popular primetime TV spy series called The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which ran from September 1964 to mid-January 1968. Vaughn was among the first to criticize President Lyndon B. Johnson on the Vietnam war — and he did so very publicly in a January 1966 speech. In Indianapolis, at a dinner given to support Johnson’s re-election, Vaughn spoke out against the war and LBJ’s policy there. “Everyone at the front table had hands over their eyes,” Vaughn later explained when asked about the reaction. Vaughn became worried about the Vietnam War after immersing himself in all the documents, books and articles he could find on the subject. “I can talk for six hours about the mistakes we have made,” he told one reporter in 1966. “We have absolutely no reason to be in Vietnam-legal, political or moral.”

In late March 1966, Vaughn went to Washington to meet with politicians. He lunched with Senator Frank Church (D-ID) and also had a lengthy meeting with Senator Wayne Morse (D-OR) to discuss the war. He told the press then “the Hollywood community is very much against” the Vietnam War. “[T]he Hollywood com- munity is very much against” the Vietnam War.
– Robert Vaughn, March 1966. But wasn’t it risky for a star to be so outspoken, he was asked? “I’ve had nothing but encouragement from my friends in the industry, from the studio, even the network,” he said. On his visit to Washington that weekend Vaughn was a house guest of Bobby Kennedy’s at Hickory Hill in nearby Virginia. He continued to be visible in the Vietnam debate, appearing as a guest on William F. Buckley’s TV talk show, Firing Line. He also engaged in impromptu debate with Vice President Hubert Humphrey on a live Minneapolis talk show. At the peak of Vaughn’s popularity, he was asked by the California Democratic Party to oppose fellow actor, Republican Ronald Reagan, then running for California governor in the 1966 election. Vaughn, however, supported Democrat Edmund G. Brown, who lost in a landslide to Reagan.

Vaughn would continue to oppose the war, leading a group called Dissenting Democrats. By early 1968, Vaughn supported the emerging anti-war presidential candidate Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), then running for his party’s nomination. (Vaughn had later planned to switch to Robert Kennedy, a close friend, if Kennedy won the June 1968 California primary).


McCarthy at 1968 campaign rally in Wisconsin.

Gene McCarthy had announced his candidacy for the White House on November 30, 1967. Opposing the war was the main issue for McCarthy, who had been prodded to run by anti-war activists. On the Republican side, former vice President Richard Nixon announced his candidacy in January 1968. And on February 8th, Alabama’s Democratic Governor George Wallace — the segregationist who in June 1963 had stood at the doors of the University of Alabama to block integration — entered the presidential race as an Independent.

McCarthy attracted some of the more liberal Democrats in Hollywood, including those who had been for Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. “…[H]e’s the man who expresses discontent with dignity,” actor Eli Wallach would say of McCarthy in 1968. Wallach had won a Tony Award in 1951 for his role in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo and also became famous for his role as Tuco the “ugly” in the 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Wallach liked the fact that McCarthy had taken “a firm position on the war in Vietnam.” Wallach and his wife Anne Jackson, a stage actress, were among those who held fundraisers and poetry readings for McCarthy. Actress Myrna Loy was another McCarthy supporter. She had played opposite William Powell, Clark Gable, Melvyn Douglas, and Tryone Power in films of the 1930s and 1940s. Loy was a lifelong activist who had supported Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956. In 1968, she became a stalwart for McCarthy, making personal campaign appearances for him and hosting fundraisers. But perhaps the most important Hollywood star to come out for McCarthy was Paul Newman.

Paul Newman Factor


Paul Newman at 1968 fundraiser.


Campaigning by Newman at a McCarthy rally in Menominee Falls, Wisconsin, 1968.

Newman made campaign appearances in New Hampshire during February and March 1968, some with wife Joanne Woodward. Tony Randall and Rod Serling also made appearances for McCarthy in New Hampshire. But it was Newman who drew the crowds and notice by the press. In March 1968, Newman went to Claremont, New Hampshire to campaign for McCarthy. Tony Podesta, then a young MIT student, was Newman’s campaign contact. Podesta worried that day that only a few people might show up to hear Newman. Some credit Paul Newman with raising McCarthy’s visibility in New Hamp- shire, enabling his strong showing there. Instead, more than 2,000 people came out to mob Newman. “I didn’t come here to help Gene McCarthy,” Newman would say to his listeners that day. “I need McCarthy’s help.”

“Until that point,” said Podesta, “McCarthy was some sort of a quack not too many people knew about, but as soon as Paul Newman came to speak for him, he immediately became a national figure.” In New Hampshire, the Manchester Union Leader newspaper published a political cartoon showing Newman being followed by McCarthy with the caption: “Who’s the guy with Paul Newman?” Author Darcy Richardson would later write in A Nation Divided: The Presidential Election of 1968, that Newman’s visit to the state “caused a great stir and drew considerable attention to McCarthy’s candidacy.” New Republic columnist Richard Stout, attributing honesty and conviction to Newman’s New Hampshire campaigning, wrote that the actor “had the star power McCarthy lacked, and imperceptibly was transferring it to the candidate.” Barbara Handman, who ran The Arts & Letters Committee for McCarthy, would later put it more plainly: “Paul turned the tide for McCarthy. . . Paul put him on the map — he [ McCarthy] started getting national coverage by the press. He started being taken seriously.”

New Hampshire Earthquake

On March 12, 1964, McCarthy won 42 percent of the vote in New Hampshire to Lyndon Johnson’s 49 percent, a very strong showing for McCarthy and an embarrassment for Johnson. McCarthy’s campaign now had a new legitimacy and momentum that would have a cascading effect on decisions that both Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy would make. Paul Newman, meanwhile, continued to campaign for McCarthy beyond New Hampshire and throughout the election year.


March 22, 1968 edition of Time magazine, reporting on McCarthy’s surprising showing in New Hampshire & the emerging Democratic fight.
Bobby Kennedy, 1968.

Kennedy In, LBJ Out

On March 16th, four days after the New Hampshire primary showed Lyndon Johnson to be vulnerable and McCarthy viable, Bobby Kennedy jumped into the race, angering many McCarthy supporters. Kennedy had agonized over whether to enter the race for months, and in fact, McCarthy and supporters had gone to Kennedy in 1967 to urge him to run. McCarthy then decided to enter the race after it appeared Kennedy was not going to run. But once Kennedy entered the race, he and McCarthy engaged in an increasingly heated and sometimes bitter contest for the nomination.

In 1968, however, party leaders still had a great deal of influence in the nominating process and the selection of delegates. Primaries then were less important and fewer in number than they are today. Still, a strong showing in certain primaries could create a bandwagon effect and show the party establishment that a particular candidate was viable. In 1960, John Kennedy helped get the party’s attention when he defeated Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia primary. Now in 1968, Gene McCarthy had the party’s attention.


Lyndon Johnson's surprise announcement of March 31, 1968 made headlines across the country.
King shot, April 4, 1968.

On April 4th, 1968, several days after LBJ’s bombshell, the nation was ripped apart by news that civil rights leader Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis, TN. In the next few days, dozens of American cities erupted.


RFK making famous speech in Indianapolis the evening Martin Luther King died. AP Photo/Leroy Patton, Indianapolis News. Click for PBS DVD.

By the end of April, the nation was boiling on other fronts, too. Student protesters at Columbia University in New York City took over the administration building on April 23rd and shut down the campus. On the campaign trail, McCarthy won the April 23rd Pennsylvania primary, and a few days later, on April 27th, Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President, former Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey, formally announced he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination.


Vice President Hubert Humphrey enters the race for the Democratic nomination, April 1968.

Instead, Humphrey planned to use the “party machine” to gather his delegates and was the favored establishment candidate.

Lyndon Johnson would also help Humphrey, but mostly from behind the scenes since Johnson was regarded a liability for any candidate given his Vietnam record.

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, a showdown of sorts was brewing between Kennedy and McCarthy as the May 7th Indiana primary approached.

Celebs for McCarthy

In April and early May of 1968, there was a lot of campaigning in Indiana, and star power was again at work with celebrities helping McCarthy. In April, Paul Newman was drawing large crowds in the state for McCarthy, where he made 15 appearances. At one of those stops, Newman explained from a tailgate of station wagon: “I am not a public speaker. I am not a politician. I’m not here because I’m an actor. I’m here because I’ve got six kids. I don’t want it written on my gravestone, ‘He was not part of his times.’ Also making appearances for McCarthy in Indiana were Simon & Garfunkel, Dustin Hoffman, Myrna Loy, and Gary Moore. The times are too critical to be dissenting in your own bathroom.” Newman continued campaigning for McCarthy through May 7 and was then still drawing crowds, with his own motorcade sometimes followed by cars of adoring fans.

Also making appearances for McCarthy in Indiana were actor Dustin Hoffman, singing duo Simon & Garfunkel, Myrna Loy, and TV host Gary Moore. Simon & Garfunkel sang at a McCarthy fundraiser at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in May 1968, where Dustin Hoffman introduced them. Hoffman’s popular film at the time, The Graduate — filled with a Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack — was then still in theaters. This celebrity support for McCarthy, as Newman had shown in New Hampshire, was important for McCarthy. “When you have a candidate who is not as well known, and there’s no money so that you can’t by television time,” explained Barbara Handman, head of the Arts and Letters Committee for McCarthy, “these people [celebs] become more and more effective for us. They’re well-known drawing cards…” Handman had previously headed up similar committees for Jack Kennedy in 1960, and Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Her husband, Wynn Handman, was co-founder of the American Palace Theater. Both were well connected in Hollywood.

Celebs for Kennedy


Andy Williams, Robert Kennedy, Perry Como, Ted Kennedy, Eddie Fisher at unspecified 1968 fundraising telethon, Lisner Auditorium, G.W. University, Wash., D.C. (photo, GW University).


Bobby Kennedy campaigning in Indianapolis, May 1968. Behind Kennedy to the right, are NFL football stars Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier and Deacon Jones. Photo by Bill Eppridge from his book, 'A Time It Was'. Click for book.

Lesley Gore, a pop singer who by then had several Top 40 hits — including “It’s My Party” (1963), “You Don’t Own Me” (1964), “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows” (1965), and “California Nights” (1967) — also became a Kennedy supporter. At 21 years old, and about to graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, Gore became head of Kennedy’s effort to get young voters, called “First Voters for Kennedy.” She volunteered after she heard that Kennedy needed someone to attract young voters. “I understand there are 13 million first-time voters this year,” she told a New York Times reporter in early April 1968. “After my graduation next month I intend to give more of my time to visiting colleges and universities around the country.” In this effort, Gore would be traveling with actresses Candice Bergen and Patty Duke, and also the rock group, Jefferson Airplane.

Andy Williams, a friend and skiing companion to Kennedy, was also a key supporter. “I’m doing it because I think it important,” Williams told a New York Times reporter. “I am worried about the image of America. People don’t think Nixon is swell, and they don’t think Humphrey is swell. Bobby has star quality.” Williams would refurbish his guest house for use by the Kennedy family when Bobby campaigned in California.

Sinatra for Humphrey


Frank Sinatra & Hubert Humphrey, Washington, D.C., May 1968.

During his campaign, Humphrey would gather additional Hollywood and celebrity supporters beyond Sinatra. Among these were some of the older and more established Hollywood names, sports stars, and other leading names, including actress Tallulah Bankhead, opera star Roberta Peters, jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, former heavyweight boxing champ Jack Dempsey, writer and naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch, and fashion designer Mollie Parnis.

Indiana & Beyond


A Gene McCarthy campaign celebration, 1968.

Both candidates campaigned vigorously throughout California, a winner-take-all contest with a large pot of delegates. McCarthy stumped the state’s colleges and universities, where he was recognized for being the first candidate to oppose the war. Kennedy campaigned in the ghettos and barrios of the state’s larger cities, where he was mobbed by enthusiastic supporters. A few days before the election, Kennedy and McCarthy also engaged in a televised debate — considered a draw.

On the east coast, meanwhile, and in New York city in particular, there was a star-studded celebrity fundraising rally for McCarthy in New York’s Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1968. One Canadian blogger, who as a teenager happened to be in New York city that weekend with a friend, recently wrote the following “forty-years-ago” remembrance of the event:

. . .Rob and I did many crazy things that weekend. . . .We learned that McCarthy was having a rally at Madison Square Garden on the Sunday night so along we went figuring we’d meet some more chicks. That event was awe inspiring.

All sorts of famous people spoke or performed that night. Paul Newman, Phil Ochs, Mary Tyler Moore to name a few. A new, young actor said a few words to the crowd on behalf of the candidate. We recognized him as the star of the ‘adult’ movie we had seen the night before. The movie was The Graduate and he was a very young Dustin Hoffman.

Celebrities walked thru the arena imploring people to donate to the campaign. Tony Randall came up our aisle and we gave him a couple of bucks. Stewart Mott (General Motors rich kid) stood up and donated $125,000 right there on the spot. The crowd was delirious. Sen. McCarthy spoke to the crowd and promised to take his fight against Sen. Kennedy all the way to the Chicago convention in August. It was pretty heady stuff for a 17 year-old from Toronto….


RFK campaigning in California.
Robert Kennedy campaigning.

RFK Assassinated!

Four hours after the polls closed in California, Kennedy claimed victory as he addressed his campaign supporters just past midnight in the Ambassador Hotel. On his way through the kitchen to exit the hotel, he was mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan. His death became yet another of 1968’s convulsing events. Seen as an emerging beacon of hope in a dismal time, many had pinned their hopes on Kennedy and took his loss very personally. The Democratic party went into a tailspin as a stunned nation grieved. Thousands lined the tracks as Kennedy’s funeral train moved from New York City to Washington D.C. Millions watched his funeral on television. At the request of Bobby’s wife, Ethel, Andy Williams sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at Kennedy’s funeral.


New York Times headlines, June 5, 1968.

Historians and journalists have disagreed about Kennedy’s chances for the nomination had he not been assassinated. Michael Beschloss believes it unlikely that Kennedy could have secured the nomination since most of the delegates were then uncommitted and yet to be chosen at the Democratic convention. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and author Jules Witcover have argued that Kennedy’s broad appeal and charisma would have given him the nomination at the convention. And still others add that Kennedy’s experience in his brother’s presidential campaign, plus a potential alliance with Chicago mayor Richard Daley at the Democratic Convention, might have helped him secure the nomination.

Dems Realign

Leading up to Democratic convention in Chicago, former Kennedy supporters tried to sort out what had happened and whether and how they would line up with other candidates. George Plimpton, a well known New Yorker and journalist who authored the 1963 book Paper Lion, had been a Kennedy supporter. He was with Kennedy the night he was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen, walking in front of him. In New York, on August 14, 1968, Plimpton sponsored a party at the Cheetah nightclub on behalf of McCarthy supporters, along with co-sponsor William Styron, author of the The Confessions of Nat Turner. Henry Fonda was scheduled to host a McCarthy rally in Houston. “I started out with Senator Kennedy,” explained Fonda to a New York Times reporter, “Now I think McCarthy is the best choice on the horizon.” McCarthy supporters had other rallies and fundraisers scheduled in 24 other cities for mid-August ahead of the Chicago convention, including one at New York’s Madison Square Garden that included conductor Leonard Bernstein and singer Harry Belafonte. Hubert Humphrey’s campaign also had fundraisers, including one in early August at Detroit’s Cobo Hall with performances by Frank Sinatra, Trini Lopez, and comedian Pat Henry.


Humphrey campaign poster.

By mid-August 1968, “Entertainers for Humphrey” included Hollywood names such as Bill Dana, Victor Borge, Alan King, and George Jessel. There were also more than 80 other luminaries in a somewhat less well-known “arts & letters” group including: classical pianist Eugene Istomin, author and scholar Ralph Ellison, violin virtuoso Isaac Stern, manager/impresario Sol Hurok, playwright Sidney Kingsley, opera singer Robert Merrill, authors John Steinbeck, James T. Farrel, and Herman Wouk, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. Humphrey had also picked up some former supporters of Republican Nelson Rockefeller, including architect Philip Johnson and dancer Maria Tallchief. But Humphrey’s biggest challenges were directly ahead at the Democratic National Convention.


1968: National Guardsmen at the Conrad Hilton Hotel at DNC in Chicago.

Turmoil in Chicago

As the 1968 Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago on August 26, 1968, there was a fractured party and little agreement on the main platform issue, the Vietnam War. In addition to the formal business of the presidential nomination inside the convention hall, there was a huge focus on the convention location as a protest venue for the Vietnam War. Thousands of young activists had come to Chicago. But Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley — also the political boss running the convention — had prepared for anything, and had the Chicago police and the National Guard ready for action. Tensions soon came to a head.


Convention floor, 1968.

At the convention itself, Chicago mayor Richard Daley was blamed for the police clubbings in the streets. Daley at one point was seen on television angrily cursing Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, who had made a speech denouncing the excesses of the Chicago police (this scene shown later below on book cover in Sources). Inside the hall, CBS News reporter Dan Rather was attacked on the floor of the convention while covering the proceedings.

Haynes Johnson, a veteran political reporter who covered the convention for the Washington Post, would write some year later in Smithsonian magazine:

“The 1968 Chicago convention became a lacerating event, a distillation of a year of heartbreak, assassinations, riots and a breakdown in law and order that made it seem as if the country were coming apart. In its psychic impact, and its long-term political consequences, it eclipsed any other such convention in American history, destroying faith in politicians, in the political system, in the country and in its institutions. No one who was there, or who watched it on television, could escape the memory of what took place before their eyes.”


1968: Paul Newman & Arthur Miller on the convention floor.

ABC News of August 28, 1968, for example, included short interviews with Paul Newman, Tony Randall, Gore Vidal, and Shirley MacLaine. Sonny Bono — of the famed “Sonny & Cher” rock star duo — had come to Chicago to propose a plank in the Democratic platform for a commission to look into the generation gap, or as he saw it, the potential problem of “duel society.” Bono, then 28, would become a Republican Congressman in the 1990s. Dinah Shore made a brief convention appearance for McCarthy, singing her famous “See The USA in Your Chevrolet” anthem, adapting it as, “Save The USA, the McCarthy Way, America is the Greatest Land of All,” throwing her trademarked big kiss at the end.

The Nomination


Humphrey supporters, 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Humphrey, for his part, attempted to reach out to Hollywood celebrities, as California would be a crucial state in the general election. Humphrey met with a number of celebrities during and after the convention, one of whom was Warren Beatty. Beatty in 1967 had directed and starred in the movie Bonnie & Clyde, a huge box office hit. Beatty had appeared in a number of earlier films as well, from Splendor in the Grass (1961) to Kaleidoscope (1966). Beatty reportedly offered to make a campaign film for Humphrey if he would agree to denounce the war in Vietnam, which Humphrey would not do. During September and October 1968, a number of Hollywood’s stars and celebrities came around to support Humphrey, with gala events and/or rallies such as one at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York in late September, and another at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in late October.


Hollywood actor E.G. Marshall narrated a political ad for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 that pointedly raised doubts about opponents Nixon and Wallace. Click to view video.
New York Times, 7 Nov 1968.

On November 5th in one of the closest elections in U.S. history, Nixon beat Humphrey by a slim margin. Although Nixon took 302 electoral votes to Humphrey’s 191, the popular vote was extremely close: Nixon at 31,375,000 to 31,125,000 for Humphrey, or 43.4 percent to 43.1 percent.

Third party candidate George Wallace was a key factor in the race, taking more votes from Humphrey than Nixon, especially in the south and among union and working class voters in the north. Nearly 10 million votes were cast for Wallace, some 13.5 percent of the popular vote. He won five southern states and took 45 electoral votes. Democrats did retain control of the House and Senate, but the country was now headed in a more conservative direction.

In the wake of their loss, the Democrats also reformed their presidential nominating process. As Kennedy and McCarthy supporters gained more power within the party, changes were adopted for the 1972 convention making the nominating process more democratic and raising the role of primary elections. Hubert Humphrey would become the last nominee of either major party to win the nomination without having to compete directly in primary elections.


Warren Beatty, who worked for Bobby Kennedy in 1968, continued his activism & political film making, flirting with White House bid himself in 1999. Click for DVD.

Celebrity Postscript

Many of the celebrities who worked for Democratic candidates in 1968 did not throw in the towel after that election. They came back in subsequent presidential election cycles to work for and support other Democrats ranging from George McGovern and Jimmy Carter to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And some of 1968’s activists, and their successors, also continued to use Hollywood film-making to probe American politics as film subject. Among some of the post-1968 films that explored politics, for example, were: The Candidate (1972, with Robert Redford, screenplay by Jeremy Larner, a Gene McCarthy speechwriter) All the President’s Men (1976, with Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford) Wag The Dog, (1997, with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro), Bullworth (1998, produced & directed by Warren Beatty who also plays the central character), and others.

And certainly by 1968, if not before, it had become clear that Hollywood and politics were intersecting in an increasing number of ways, especially in the packaging of candidates. Hollywood experience, in fact, was becoming a political asset for those who decided to run for office. By the mid-1960s, Hollywood actors and TV personalities like Ronald Reagan and George Murphy were winning elections — Murphy taking a U.S. Senate seat as a California Republican in 1964, and Reagan elected in 1966 as California’s Republican Governor. Certainly by 1968, if not before, it had become clear that Hollywood and politics were intersecting in an increasing number of ways. Reagan, of course, would become president in 1980, and others from Hollywood, such as Warren Beatty, would also consider running for the White House in later years.

Today, celebrities and Hollywood stars remain sought-after participants in elections and political causes of all kinds. Their money and endorsements are key factors as well. Yet polling experts and political pundits continue to debate the impact of celebrities on election outcomes, and many doubt their ability to sway voters. Still, in 1968, celebrity involvement was a factor and did affect the course of events, as every political candidate at that time sought the help of Hollywood stars and other famous names to advance their respective campaigns.

See also at this website the related story on the Republicans and Richard Nixon in 1968, and also other politics stories, including: “Barack & Bruce” (Bruce Springsteen & others campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008 & 2012) “The Jack Pack” (Frank Sinatra & his Rat Pack in John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign) “I’m A Dole Man”( popular music in Bob Dole’s 1996 Presidential campaign) and generally, the “Politics & Culture” category page. Thanks for visiting – and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. — Jack Doyle

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Date Posted: 14 August 2008
Last Update: 16 March 2020
Comments to: [email protected]

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, � Presidential Race, Democrats,”
PopHistoryDig.com, August 14, 2008.

Sources, Links & Additional Information


Charles River, eds. “The 1968 Democratic Convention: The History of America’s Most Controversial Political Convention” (Mayor Daley shown shouting). Click for book.


Frank Kusch’s book, “Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention.” Click for copy.


“The Passage of Power,” best-selling book from Robert Caro’s multi-volume series on the life and career of Lyndon B. Johnson. Click for copy.

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Associated Press, AP Photos @ www.daylife .com.

Ray E. Boomhower, “When Indiana Mattered – Book Examines Robert Kennedy’s Historic 1968 Primary Victory,” The Journal-Gazette, March 30, 2008.

“Forty Years Ago This Weekend – May, 1968….,”BlogChrisGillett.ca, Sunday, May 18, 2008.

Haynes Johnson, � Democratic Convention: The Bosses Strike Back,” Smithsonian magazine and Smithsonian.com, August 2008.

See also, “The 1968 Exhibit,” a traveling and online exhibit organized by the Minnesota History Center partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.


The Faith of Eugene McCarthy

December 13, 2005

A little more than a year ago one of the Senate’s dissenters told The Nation that Eugene McCarthy had remarked to a small group of his colleagues, “We must do something to stop this madman” (referring, of course, to President Johnson). If Senator McCarthy did in fact make such a remark privately, he took pains to cover his feelings from the public. Even in off-the-record conferences with newsmen at that time, he sounded discouraged to the point of inaction. He told a reporter for The Nation in the spring of 1966: “The commitment [in Vietnam] is now so extensive, not even the mildest dissent is to the point.” In the same interview he said that he did not really look upon the Senate dissenters’ advocacy of the Kennan-Gavin enclave theory as a true alternative to the President’s course of action, but merely as a way of saying “we would support him in a modification” of his war program.

Pessimism, hesitancy, cynicism, some constitutional conservatism and a lot of lone-wolfism have heretofore muted Senator McCarthy’s part in the Congressional dissent. He took not the slightest interest, for example, in the move to nullify the Tonkin Gulf resolution. He said that it had given the President no powers he did not have before, so why withdraw an empty gesture? He signed letters to the President urging de-escalation, but would not join with Senators Morse and Gruening in voting against the Pentagon appropriation bill nor would he line up with Morse and Nelson against the Vietnam supplemental appropriation Similarly, he refused to join the larger group of dissenters who supported Senator McGovern’s amendment last year–a retribution amendment–to cut the military aid bill by the same amount the Senate had cut the Development Loan Fund. Parting from men like Church, Clark, Gruening, the Kennedys, McGovern, Morse and Nelson, McCarthy voted with the majority and for the Administration.

In such matters, McCarthy is faithful to a philosophy, which is that the Senate should adopt a policy positively rather than cut appropriations in a negative attempt to force policy upon the government. And because of that position McCarthy was, at least until recently, rated by the Administration among the “responsible dissenters.” Up to last February he was still being invited to formal dinners at the White House.

The fact that he has now climbed over the trenches to challenge Johnson much more personally and dramatically than any other member of Congress not only has thrown the White House into a dither but, oddly enough, has knocked some of the press rather cockeyed-though none quite so cockeyed as William S, White, President Johnson’s intimate friend and favorite leaker, who became hysterical to the point of mixing metaphors about McCarthy’s proposed candidacy: “What meat, then, is feeding this improbable Caesar, Eugene McCarthy? Sincere belief, no doubt, but beyond that a fierce fire of ambition fanned by the hot, fanatic thirst that now grips the throats of the American peacenik movement.” Could Lincoln, writing in the Washington Star, likened McCarthy’s efforts to those of Wallace as a “spoiler” of LBJ’s chances (although by now everybody who knows anything about Wallace’s venture realizes he will undercut the Republicans, not the Democrats). And David Broder, of The Washington Post, denounced McCarthy as a turncoat on the ground that he had supported Johnson in 1964.

But in fact there is nothing surprising about McCarthy’s leap with the approach of a Presidential race, he-like Stassen-is always socked by a special load of adrenalin. It shows up in numerous ways, including his propensity to write books. Thus we were given Frontiers in American Democracy in 1960 and A Liberal Answer to a Conservative Challenge in 1964 this time he jumped the gun with The Limits of Power, published in October.

Every four years, McCarthy becomes hyperactive, either as a front man for another candidate or running for himself. Except in 1952, when he was too busy at home exterminating a Republican opponent who was trying to smear him as “soft on communism,” McCarthy has been in the thick of every national election since he was elected to Congress in 1948. In 1956 he handled Hubert Humphrey’s campaign for the Vice Presidential nomination, in 1960 he stumped first for Humphrey as the Presidential candidate then, when Hubert faltered, switched to Lyndon Johnson, and finally, in a burst of supreme drama, gave the only strong appeal at the convention for the consideration of Adlai Stevenson (“do not reject this man…do not. I say, leave this prophet without honor in his own party”). It was never clear whether his plea that the delegates withhold final decision past the first balloting was meant to help the candidacy of Stevenson or Johnson, but in any event he was unsuccessful in getting the convention to listen to him–as he had been unsuccessful in each of his previous forays into national politics, and was again to be unsuccessful in 1964 when he sought to become Johnson’s Vice Presidential running-mate. Total failure, in fact, has attended McCarthy’s efforts to place himself or a friend on the Democratic national ticket. But, unlike Stassen, McCarthy has never seemed to be much handicapped by his reverses. If he has fallen short of the nation’s approval, he has also escaped its pity, and thus his present candidacy comes with a freshness despite the experiences of 1956, 1960 and 1964.

His candidacy is also fresh because this time he is not motivated by personal ambition. He knows he cannot, by working through a scattering of primaries, unhorse Johnson at the national convention and get the nomination himself. But by inviting participatory criticism of the President in a few primaries, he can increase the momentum that could unseat Johnson in the general election, unless Johnson squashes the Pentagon and obtains peace. “The McCarthy candidacy is likely to fade sadly if the outlook in Vietnam visibly improves greatly,” Joseph Alsop observes in one of his oddest quibbles. “That is the real weakness in the Senator’s program.” It is a weakness that McCarthy prizes.

McCarthy doesn’t want in, not now. He just wants an unrepentant Johnson out. He doesn’t like what the man stands for. And the best way to tick off his LBJ dislikes, in scale of importance, is to recall why McCarthy once called Adlai Stevenson “the purest politician of our times.” He still feels that way about Stevenson because his career, by McCarthy’s reckoning, embodied these three principles:

“First, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind in world affairs.” (It is not necessary to remind anyone of LBJ’s total disregard for the world’s opinion of his activities in Vietnam.)

“Second, a willingness to accept the judgment of the majority and popular will in domestic politics, as manifest in party conventions or in general elections.” (The will of the majority in 1964, disregarded by LBJ, was clearly not to escalate the war in Vietnam.)

“And third, by unselfish surrender of his own personal reputation and image for the good of the common effort if, in his judgment, that surrender would advance the cause of justice and order and civility.”

This third principle is what will bring McCarthy, if anything does, into the Presidential campaign. It is a principle (not unlike a willingness to be martyred) that would concern a moralist more than a politician, and McCarthy is indeed a moralist, as he has sometimes shown when debating issues.

Always the Senate’s foremost crusader for improving the working conditions of migrant laborers, and for prohibiting the importation of Mexican braceros, McCarthy once told the Senate: “The moral problem should be of more concern than the problem of whether we are to have cheap tomatoes or pickles.” One of McCarthy’s often repeated wisecracks was his suggestion that he deserved the nomination in 1960 because “I’m more liberal than Hubert and more Catholic than Kennedy.” He is right on both scores.

After a year as a novice in a Benedictine monastery, McCarthy gave up the idea of entering the priesthood but did not cut himself away from religion. When the Supreme Court handed down its school prayer decision in 1962, McCarthy worried about it as being another sign “that ours could be not only a secularized government but a secularized society.” He once said, “In practice, church and state can never be completely separated.” He likes to quote G.K. Chesterton to the effect that the Declaration of Independence is a ”creed set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity.” National interest, he says, “cannot in every case override considerations of right or wrong.” Having braided morality and politics so tightly, he goes on to say that the one thing hampering the effectiveness of most Christians is that they give advice and point the direction “without the support of example.”

It may seem a bit unusual, but McCarthy’s candidacy cannot be put in proper perspective without considering it as a gesture of faith he has privately preached the necessity of stopping the children of darkness in the White House, and now he will publicly give the leadership. This is not to say that McCarthy is heavy-handedly pious (at least, predominantly Lutheran Minnesota doesn’t seem to think so). Indeed, his alliances among Catholics would probably be strongest with the unregimented Populists, even with back-to-the-soil anarchists such as Dorothy Day and the staff of The Catholic Worker. When much of the Catholic world, lay and cleric (as well as much of the Protestant), was carried away by the anti-communism of the early 1950s, McCarthy was not. In 1952, a vintage year of hysteria when LBJ’s pal, Congressman Homer Thornberry (since appointed to the federal bench), was pushing a bill to permit Washington officials to fire “security risks without having to go to the Civil Service Commission and go through a lot of red tape on appeals,” McCarthy, then in the House, tried to amend the bill in such a way that security risks could stay in non-sensitive government jobs. In those days that as a dangerous position.

It’s true, McCarthy has said that Johnson has used the Supreme Court as a public relations purification medium for the Kennedy assassination investigation, and has turned the Democratic National Committee into a boot-polishing machine, and the Senate into a rubber stamp for foreign policy faits accomplis. But much more important than these particular dislikes is his fear that the power balance within government is being destroyed.

McCarthy has always been a close student of power relationships. Although he was something of a big shot in the House, having put together “McCarthy Marauders” (more formally known as the Democratic Study Group), McCarthy chose to risk his ten-year-old seat to challenge Republican Edward Thye. He was prepared to gamble for a seat in the upper chamber, he explained at the time, because of “the changing relationship of power between the House and the Senate. While upper or second legislative bodies in other democratic countries have declined in power in the course of the last century, some disappearing entirely and others remaining as little more than symbols, the Senate of the United States has grown in power and authority.”

Since reaching the Senate in 1958, he has been among those most jealous of the Senate’s powers, and both John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson have offended him by denigrating the Senate’s role, especially in foreign affairs. In 1961 he said, only half jocularly, “We used to be asked to approve a thing before it was done. Now we’re asked after it’s done. It’s the New Frontier.” McCarthy has been one of the real fighters (futilely) to give the Senate more supervision of the CIA, because he looks upon this agency as one of the Executive’s most insidious routes for by-passing Senate supervision of foreign policies. The fact that a few Senators (such as Richard Russell) have access to some of the CIA’S secrets does not appease McCarthy. “lf we were to permit the Executive branch to decide which members of Congress to confide in, the next step,” he said, “would be to ask, why not let the Secretary of State name the members of the Committee on Foreign Relations, or the Secretary of Defense the members of the Armed Services Committee?”

Shaken by the Kennedy-CIA trickery at the Bay of Pigs and by Johnson’s bungling of the Dominican Republic crisis, McCarthy saw our Latin American policy as hanging solely by Executive whim, and harangued his colleagues. “Our function in the Senate is not merely to find out what the Administration policy is and then to say yes or no to it-oftentimes too late. We have a definite responsibility to develop policy ourselves.”

He said that in 1965. He has been saying it ever since. So have other Senators, and most of the headlines have gone to them. Especially to Senator Fulbright, but McCarthy is used to being overlooked. When Robert Kennedy proposed letting the Vietcong have a “share and responsibility” in the South Vietnamese government, the Administration denounced the Kennedy proposal and the fuss stayed in the headlines for several days. In the midst of this, McCarthy noted, somewhat plaintively, that he had made a similar suggestion two weeks earlier and nobody had paid any attention.

Fulbright’s conflicts with the generals have also received much more public attention than have McCarthy’s, although the latter has been much more open In his distrust of the military mind.

Aside from the ideological reasons pushing McCarthy into this campaign, there are the lower impulses, such as revenge. Not only will McCarthy be bearding Johnson, he will also be challenging Robert Kennedy, who thinks he has a franchise on the role of official dissenter. McCarthy has been sorely embarrassed by both camps.

Most infamous, of course, was the use Johnson made of him in 1964 to inject a little drama into what was otherwise obviously going to be a dull, cut-and-dried convention. Johnson teased McCarthy into pushing himself for the Vice President’s spot. Whether or not his action can be traced to this ambition, McCarthy early in 1964 voted to protect the oil-depletion allowance which on three earlier occasions during his Senate career he had voted to cut, The “competition” between McCarthy and Humphrey reached its low point on a Meet the Press television show just before the convention opened the two Minnesota friends tried to outdo each other in promoting the Johnsonian way of life, and Johnson phoned both men to say he had enjoyed their toadying. “We got a passing grade,” Humphrey giggled. Maybe that was the last straw, or maybe McCarthy finally realized he was being toyed with anyway, a few hours after the show he wired the White House that he was pulling out of the contest.

As it turned out, McCarthy is glad he didn’t get the job. He believes a Vice President should “stay healthy and quiet,” and doubts that working for LBJ would have permitted him to stay either. As for the Kennedy brand of politics, McCarthy has not forgotten the way big brother Jack treated him in 1961. McCarthy thought for sure he had the strength to pass legislation for suspending the bracero farm labor program that year. But on the afternoon before it was to be brought up on the floor he got a call from President Kennedy saying, sorry, but he was withdrawing his support. “That’s going to be embarrassing.” McCarthy replied. “Yes, I know,” said Kennedy, “so I suggest you get out of town.”

That’s establishment politics. McCarthy never has learned how to play it very well. Which is one reason why so many non-Establishment voters across the country welcome his proposed candidacy.

Robert Sherrill Robert Sherrill, a frequent and longtime contributor to The Nation, was formerly a reporter for the Washington Post. He has authored numerous books on politics and society, including The Drugstore Liberal (1968), Military Justice Is To Justice as Military Music Is To Music (1970), The Saturday Night Special (1973), The Last Kennedy (1976) and The Oil Follies of 1970-1980: How the Petroleum Industry Stole the Show (And Much More Besides) (1983).


When Gene McCarthy Met Che Guevara

Former Sen. Eugene McCarthy changed the course of history when he challenged President Johnson's conduct of the Vietnam War in 1968. But few people know that he came close to doing the same thing in another part of the world four years earlier.

In an intriguing and little-known episode worthy of a Cold War spy novel, the late Minnesota Democrat held a secret meeting with Cuban revolutionary leader Che Guevara in New York in 1964, which could have paved the way for repairing the half century-old rupture of U.S.-Cuban relations that continues to this day.

Not even McCarthy's Senate colleagues or even most of his aides knew of his clandestine meeting with Guevara, then the Cuban Minister of Industry and Fidel Castro's closest confidant. The meeting took place on Dec. 16, 1964, in the Park Avenue apartment of Lisa Howard, a TV journalist with close ties to the Cuban dictator.

The only account of the meeting, which set off alarm bells in the White House, is contained in a secret memorandum in the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, which was uncovered by Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archives, a Washington-based public policy research center.

McCarthy's role in the effort to restore normal relations with Cuba drew little attention, even after Kornbluh briefly referred to it in a lengthy article in the October, 1999 issue of Cigar Aficianado magazine, in which he revealed behind-the-scenes efforts by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations to restore relations with Castro's government.

The meeting was arranged by Ms. Howard, an ABC television correspondent at the United Nations, who had interviewed Castro in April, 1963, and relayed a message to President Kennedy that the Cuban dictator was anxious to talk about restoring ties to the U.S. that were cut off after the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

Kennedy was reportedly moving towards a rapproachment with Cuba at the time of his assassination, and Howard continued her efforts in the Johnson administration, but got nowhere because President Johnson feared it would damage his election prospects in 1964. But after Johnson won a landslide victory over Barry Goldwater, his aides resumed efforts to explore closer Cuban ties.

McCarthy gave a detailed account of his encounter with the charismatic Cuban revolutionary the next day when he met at the State Department with Under Secretary of State George Ball and Thomas C. Mann, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs.

McCarthy reported that Guevara's purpose was 'to express Cuban interest in trade with the U.S. and U.S. recognition of the Cuban regime,' a Ball aide wrote. "Mr. Ball agreed this was plausible, saying that because of the state of the Cuban economy, the Cuban Regime was interested in reviving its trade relations with the U.S. to obtain convertible currency. Further, he felt that Guevara probably recognized that any dealings with the U.S. would add respectability to the regime in the eyes of other Latin American States."

"Guevara did not attempt to conceal the subversive activities which Cuba was undertaking," McCarthy said, according to the Ball memo. "He explicitly admitted that they were training revolutionaries and would continue to do so. He felt that this was a necessary mission for the Cuban government since revolution offered the only hope of progress for Latin America."

McCarthy apparently asked Guevara about relations between the Castro government and the Catholic Church. "Guevara said they were good but that [Communist] Party members could not belong to the Church. He mentioned in passing that they had more problems with Protestants than with Catholics."

However, McCarthy's involvement never had any appreciable effect as Johnson's aides warned him that the meeting had to remain secret because it might damage relations with other countries in Latin America. Ball said there "was suspicion throughout Latin America that the U.S. might make a deal with Cuba behind the backs of the other American states. This could provide a propaganda line useful to the Communists."

"Mr. Ball asked that McCarthy get in touch with him if any further contacts with Guevara were contemplated. Meanwhile, it was essential that nothing be publicly said about the McCarthy-Guevara meeting, although there was the danger that Guevara himself might leak it."

McCarthy apparently agreed, as he never publicly discussed his meeting with Guevara, or attempted to follow up on it, as far as can be determined. The Senate Library told me it can find no mention by McCarthy of the meeting in any official Senate documents or the Congressional Record.

"With that," Kornbluh concluded, "the U.S.-Cuba contacts begun under the Kennedy administration came to an anticlimactic end."

The next day after McCarthy's meeting with Ball and Mann, Gordon Chase, an aide to Johnson's national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, wrote a memo to his boss downplaying the importance of the McCarthy-Guevara meeting, which he described as generated by Ms Howard, who was later fired by ABC and reportedly committed suicide in 1965 -- although conspiracy theorists claim she was murdered by the CIA.

Chase said the State Department felt that "Che really had nothing to tell us," and advised Bundy that if the meeting did become public, "it could cause us some problems." He suggested that the official line should be that "the Senator did not ask for our recommendation before he had his talk with Guevara."

He concluded, "About the only plus from the McCarthy-Che meeting is that it was probably an eye-opener for McCarthy."


Eugene McCarthy: 1916-2005

Mr. Wiener, a columnist for the Nation, teaches history at the University of California, Irvine his latest book is Historians in Trouble: Plagiarism, Fraud and Politics in the Ivory Tower (The New Press, 2005).

When I read that Gene McCarthy died on December 10, I remembered how he had called me last year after I wrote about him in The Nation . I had said he was"a mysterious and frustrating figure," and that"nothing he did before 1968 hinted that he would become the liberals' antiwar leader. and nothing he did after 1968 accomplished much of anything." (The piece was a review of a biography by Dominic Sandbrook,"No Success Like Failure," which was published May 3, 2004.)

McCarthy made history in 1968 when he became the only Democrat with the courage to mount an antiwar challenge to LBJ's reelection. His victory in the New Hampshire primary in February 1968 was the brightest moment of a campaign that soon turned dark, with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in June and the police riot at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.

But I couldn't forget the critique of the 1968 McCarthy campaign made by my father, a good Minnesota Democrat. Look at how the 1968 campaign ended, he said: McCarthy split the Democrats, Nixon won in November, and he kept the war going for another five years. Fifteen thousand more Americans were killed, and--we might add--Americans killed something like a million more Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians.

I replied that Humphrey was to blame for failing to adopt an antiwar position and thereby losing the election.

The mystery of Gene McCarthy was that before 1968 he had never been a maverick, a rebel or a peacenik. Throughout his career in the House and Senate before 1968, he had been a conventional cold war liberal, a fierce anti-Communist. His transformation into the standard-bearer of the liberal antiwar movement is one of the great stories in American politics.

The other great mystery is what happened to him after 1968, when McCarthy began a long downhill slide into what Sandbrook called"irrelevance and obscurity." He ran for President again and again, getting fewer votes each time. He fought in the courts to get independent candidates on the ballot, and his success paved the way for Ross Perot and then Ralph Nader in 2000. It was not a happy picture.

Garry Wills said it best:"Eugene McCarthy spent a good deal of his time trying to prove that he was too good for politics. What use was that? Most of us are too good for politics but we do not make a career of demonstrating it."

I ended my piece with that quote. A few days after it appeared, I got a voice mail:"Jon, this is Senator McCarthy in Washington. I'd like to talk to you about your piece in The Nation. "

When I called him back, he said,"Your piece was pretty good. I appreciated your taking it up. This Sandbrook says I'm guilty of every capital sin except avarice. Who am I going to get to defend me? Most of them are dead. Sandbrook says even my poetry is no good. Should I reply that some poets thought some of it is okay?"

We chatted about friends of my family in St. Paul who had worked with him in the old days then it was time to go."If you don't mind," he said,"I'll send you a copy of the testimonials from when I left the Senate. Twelve or fifteen people there said I was a pretty decent guy."

But in New Hampshire in February 1968, he was more than a decent guy--he was a true hero of the antiwar movement. That's the Gene McCarthy I want to remember today.

Reprinted with permission from the Nation . For subscription information call 1-800-333-8536. Portions of each week's Nation magazine can be accessed at http://www.thenation.com.


Eugene McCarthy - HISTORY

American politician Eugene McCarthy was born in Watkins, Minnesota, and later taught at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul in his home state. He entered politics as a Democrat, serving five terms in the US House of Representatives between 1949 and 1959.

After becoming a Senator in 1959, he developed a reputation as a liberal, soft-spoken intellectual. In 1966, McCarthy articulated his opposition to President Johnson's policy in Vietnam. The next year, he became a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination, supporting a negotiated peace in Vietnam.

With the backing of large numbers of college students, McCarthy achieved great success in the early primaries, contributing to Johnson's decision to withdraw from the Presidential race in 1968.

McCarthy lost the nomination to Hubert Humphrey, retired from the Senate in 1971 and returned to teaching. Attempting to reenter politics, he ran independently for President in 1976 and ran in a Senate primary in 1982, but was unsuccessful in both attempts.


Eugene McCarthy (1916&ndash2005): The Legacy of the Former Senator and Anti-War Presidential Candidate

We look at the life of former anti-war presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy. Hundreds gathered for his memorial service this weekend. We speak with a reporter who covered him for decades and SDS founder Tom Hayden. [includes rush transcript]

We look at the lives of two individuals whose actions in the late 1960s shaped how this country viewed the Vietnam War.

One was named Hugh Thompson. He was an Army helicopter pilot who helped stop the My Lai Massacre when U.S. troops slaughtered hundreds of innocent Vietnamese villagers. He died earlier this month at the age of 62. Later in the show we will speak with former Army Specialist Lawrence Colburn who helped Thompson end the massacre.

But first we are going to look at the life of Eugene McCarthy, the former Minnesota Senator and presidential candidate. He died in December at the age of 89. On Saturday some 800 people filled the National Cathedral in Washington for a memorial service.

McCarthy and the Vietnam War will be forever linked.

It was in 1968 when the Democratic Senator from Minnesota broke party ranks and decided to challenge President Lyndon Johnson for the party’s presidential nomination.

McCarthy ran on a platform opposing the Vietnam War. By 1968 the war had already taken thousands of American lives as U.S. involvement escalated under Johnson.

In March 1968, voters in New Hampshire responded to McCarthy’s anti- war sentiments. He shocked the nation by receiving 42 percent of the primary vote. Johnson &mdash the sitting president&ndashended up wining the New Hampshire primary but his political future changed overnight.

Within days, Senator Robert Kennedy jumped into the race. And then to the amazement of the country, Johnson announced within weeks that he was dropping out and not seeking re-election.

1968 would prove to be a painful year in many ways.

On April 4, Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee. Then on June 6, Robert Kennedy was shot dead shortly after delivering a victory speech in Los Angeles after winning the California primary.

For many Eugene McCarthy’s run for president marked a bright spot in a tragic year.

But McCarthy’s run for the presidency stopped in Chicago during the infamous 1968 Democratic convention when the delegates nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey who would then go on to lose to Richard Nixon in November.

But the effects of McCarthy’s run for office were felt for years.

On Saturday, at McCarthy’s memorial service President Clinton gave the eulogy for the late Senator and said McCarthy was instrumental in building opposition to the Vietnam War.

Clinton said, “It all began with Gene McCarthy’s willingness to stand alone and turn the tide of history.”

We go now back to 1968 to listen to an anti-Vietnam War campaign radio spot that McCarthy ran ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

We speak with are joined by two guests:

  • Albert Eisele, co-founder and editor at large of the Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C. He is the author of a dual biography of Hubert Humphrey and former Sen. Eugene McCarthy called “Almost to the Presidency” written in 1979. He was a Washington correspondent for the St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press and Knight-Ridder before becoming press secretary to Vice President Walter Mondale.
  • Tom Hayden, former California State Senator. He lead the demonstrations at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. Hayden and others were charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot in the famous trial known as the trial of the “Chicago Seven.”

And we play excerpts of Eugene McCarthy in his own words:

  • Anti-Vietnam War campaign radio spot.
  • Excerpt of 1968 campaign speech.
  • Interview on Minnesota Public Radio, March 25, 2003, just after the launch of the Iraq invasion.
  • Discussing the corporate media, the war department and on getting old, excerpts of the documentary “I’m Sorry I Was Right,” courtesy of the Center for International Education.

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Transcript

AMY GOODMAN : We go back now to 1968 to listen to an anti-Vietnam War campaign radio spot that McCarthy ran ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

RADIO SPOT : Four years ago America had 3,000 men in Vietnam, and we were told we were winning the war. Three years ago we had 16,000 men in Vietnam, and we were told we were winning the war. Two years ago we had 100,000 men in Vietnam, and we were told we were winning the war. A year ago, we had 250,000 men in Vietnam, and we were told we were winning the war. Today, we have 550,000 men in Vietnam with over 100,000 boys killed and wounded, and we’re told we’re winning the war. There’s got to be a better way than death, double talk and taxes. On March 12, stand up with McCarthy and say so.

AMY GOODMAN : A campaign radio spot that Eugene McCarthy ran ahead of the New Hampshire primary in 1968. This is an excerpt of a campaign speech by McCarthy.

EUGENE McCARTHY: And it fits into our whole campaign thrust, namely of protecting people’s rights and beyond that of setting them free. We’ll go on in great things and also in small things to demonstrate our continued belief that there is a certain power in human reason, which is really the only instrument we have with which we can give some direction to life and history.

AMY GOODMAN : That was Eugene McCarthy, as we turn now to our guests. On the phone with us from California is Tom Hayden, former California state senator, led the demonstrations at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention. Hayden and others were charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot in the famous trial known as “Chicago Seven.” And in our studio in Washington, D.C., we’re joined by Albert Eisele, he is co-founder and editor-at-large of the Hill newspaper in Washington, D.C. He’s the author of a dual biography of Hubert Humphrey and former senator Eugene McCarthy called Almost to the Presidency, written in 1979. He was Washington correspondent for the St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press and Knight-Ridder before becoming Press Secretary to Vice President Walter Mondale. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Albert Eisele, can you talk about when you first met Eugene McCarthy?

ALBERT EISELE : Yes, I can. I came to Washington in 1965 as a reporter for newspapers in Duluth and St. Paul, and obviously he was in the Senate. And I covered him and other members of the Minnesota delegation. I had known him somewhat, because I happened to have graduated from the same university in Minnesota that he did, St. John’s University, so he was obviously well known there, but I really got to know him in the period from 1965 on, when I covered him as a senator.

AMY GOODMAN : When did you start to talk to him about his desire to run for president against the sitting Democratic president?

ALBERT EISELE : Well, it was becoming evident in 1967 that he was seriously considering it. As you recall, there were a number of other senators who were critical of the war and who had been asked by anti-war activists to run, and none of them wanted to. I believe I wrote the first story that he was actually seriously considering challenging Lyndon Johnson. This was in late 1967. And in November or maybe December 1, first part of December of 1967, he gave a speech in Chicago, in which he basically said that he was challenging Johnson. Of course, he announced his candidacy later. It was &mdash when you look back on it, it’s hard to understand just how courageous, if you will, and maybe foolhardy it was for a senator of the Democratic Party to challenge a Democratic president, one of the most powerful presidents ever. It was akin to political suicide. But as it turned out, it certainly wasn’t.

AMY GOODMAN : Tom Hayden, when Eugene McCarthy announced he would run for president, where were you, if you can remember?

TOM HAYDEN : Well, that would have been towards the end of 1967. I would have been on the East Coast in Newark, New Jersey. The country was coming apart in the town where I was working, Newark. There had been several days of rioting and people killed. The same in Detroit. The Tet Offensive had not occurred yet in Vietnam. But it was clear that the war was being lost or had become a quagmire. And there was a huge movement, I mean, a really huge movement, and an element of it wanted to find a candidate to challenge President Johnson. Wonder about the parallels with today.

And McCarthy came forward after a lot of thought. I remember seeing him in the scruffy headquarters of the national mobilization committee, coming by to say hello to people. And I was very young. And he was very elegant. He had on a black coat, suit and tie. And a lot of people rallied to him. I was not one of them. I was involved with the anti-war movement. And come what may, we wanted to have demonstrations in the streets. But there probably was an electoral strategy, I thought.

And looking back, you know, I have to say that he was the man. He really did &mdash President Clinton is right. He did take it on all alone at a time when a lot of the counsel was that it was suicidal. And he generated a movement that toppled a president and brought into politics the whole generation of activists that included people like the young Bill Clinton, who I think was his campaign manager in Texas.

AMY GOODMAN : Can you talk about why, Albert Eisele, Robert Kennedy entered the race and what this meant for Eugene McCarthy, the man you were covering?

ALBERT EISELE : Well, it certainly caused a huge upheaval in the Democratic Party. You recall that Robert Kennedy had been implored by others to run and refused to do it before New Hampshire and before Johnson announced that he was dropping out. And immediately afterwards, Robert Kennedy announced that he was getting in, which alienated many of his supporters and certainly McCarthy’s supporters, as well. And then, of course, that led to the series of tragic events, which you referred to earlier, his assassination in California, when he won the primary. But he didn’t win it by that much. Just the week before that, McCarthy had won the Oregon primary, so it was a real race going into California.

And then that touched off a whole series of catalytic events, culminating with the violent Chicago convention and then Hubert Humphrey’s defeat by Richard Nixon. Many of McCarthy’s critics blame him for Humphrey’s defeat. But I don’t think that’s right. I think the biggest reason that Humphrey lost that election was that he could not get the albatross of Vietnam off of his back. And I think that he &mdash McCarthy reached out to him at various times and asked him to make some concessions, which he wouldn’t. And for that reason I think that he lost the election, by a very slim margin, obviously.

AMY GOODMAN : We’re talking to Albert Eisele and to Tom Hayden about Eugene McCarthy, a memorial service held for him this week in Washington. Over 800 people attended.

AMY GOODMAN : We are talking to Albert Eisele, who is the founder of the Hill newspaper, also covered Eugene McCarthy for decades. And we’re joined on the phone by Tom Hayden, well known 1960s activist, also became a California state senator, has written a number of books. We’re going to turn now to an interview that Eugene McCarthy did with Minnesota Public Radio on March 25, 2003, just after the U.S. invaded Iraq.

EUGENE McCARTHY: The Bush administration is sort of like an intruder. He doesn’t care whether what he does is legal or traditional or not. He just goes ahead and does it. And there’s nothing you can do about it unless you call out the Air Force or the Army, and they’re busy. And I don’t know, half a dozen of our institutions have been not destroyed, but undercut. The Supreme Court has been corrupted. The Army has been corrupted. The Vice Presidential office has been corrupted. And Bush almost said, 'Well, what are you going to do about it? You know, what are you going to do to me? Put me in jail?'

AMY GOODMAN : Eugene McCarthy, speaking just after the U.S. invaded Iraq. Albert Eisele, you followed Eugene McCarthy. You wrote a book about Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey. What happened to him after 1968, after his run for the presidency? What about his career?

ALBERT EISELE : That’s a good question. He spent almost 35 years as a very public private citizen after he left office in 1970, after he left the Senate. He remained very much a public figure. He ran for president three or four more times, including twice as an independent. But I think, as his comments in the Minnesota Public Radio interview indicated, it was consistent with his feeling that Congress needed to put limits on presidential power. He opposed the personalization of the office of the presidency. He felt that there should be more congressional oversight in the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., and so forth. And he spoke out, and he wrote almost 20 books. He spoke out on those issues and others throughout the rest of his career.

AMY GOODMAN : We’re going to go now to another clip of Eugene McCarthy, talking about the corporate media.

EUGENE McCARTHY: And I think after 1992, when the control over what was really communicated was left in the hands of corporately controlled television &mdash

INTERVIEWER : Are you saying that Saddam Hussein &mdash

EUGENE McCARTHY: And the projection then becomes one of the corporate morality and corporate mentality. So you’re backed up to where the kind of ultimate controlling at the beginning is whatever is in the corporate mind, and it feeds out through the whole society until we’re sort of all coopted. And I don’t know how you fight your way out of it.

AMY GOODMAN : Eugene McCarthy in the documentary made about him called I’m Sorry I Was Right. Tom Hayden, your response?

TOM HAYDEN : Well, I think it’s well worth remembering that he was a forerunner on what became the issue of campaign reform, political reform. He represented a kind of an independent third force in politics that now and then surfaces in the Democratic Party in presidential primaries and third party candidates.

But his &mdash I think his chief contribution was this poetic notion &mdash he prided himself on being more interested in poetry than politics &mdash this poetic notion that the young people of this country, being drafted, resisting the draft, being dragged off to Vietnam, needed a voice, a voice in the wilderness. And one wonders what it takes to have that kind of character, that kind of whimsical approach to politics, in a sense. He made space for a whole movement that upset a presidency and was ultimately successful in challenging a war, and nobody can take that from him.

AMY GOODMAN : Again, Eugene McCarthy.

EUGENE McCARTHY: Eisenhower’s final warning was about the military-industrial complex. And what he didn’t say, you know, is that it developed while he was president.

The first sign that something was happening was about 1947. It was after the war. It was before I went to Congress. But it was an appropriation bill with a new name. They didn’t &mdash they called it the Department of Defense. The war had been fought under the direction of the War Department. But somewhere after the war, somebody &mdash and I tried find out from the Pentagon, I said, “Where did that &mdash how did that word change come in?” They just said, 'Oh, it just came up in that appropriation.' I said, “Well, things don’t happen that way. I’ve been on committees, and somebody had to say, ’Let’s change the name.’” And they would never admit who had done it and how it had happened.

So, since that time, we never conduct wars now. It’s just national defense. And if you have a War Department , some person might say, 'Where is the war?' And they say, 'Well, we don't have one.’ 'Well, are you planning one?' 'No, we're not planning one.’ But if you have a defense department, you say, 'Defense? There's a threat. Or if it isn’t real now, it will be.’ So it’s a covering title for unlimited defense. There is no limit to &mdash it’s kind of Kafka, like you can always here a scratching sound. And when they finally got us so defended on earth, in the Reagan administration they said, ’It’s out there.’ Space defense. So it goes to infinity. You can never have enough defense. You can always hear a scratching sound. It’s internal, external, inner space, outer space, on earth, wherever it comes from.

AMY GOODMAN : Eugene McCarthy. I want to thank our guests Albert Eisele, who covered Eugene McCarthy for decades. You’re going out to Minnesota to deliver a eulogy?

ALBERT EISELE : I am, at Senator McCarthy’s alma mater, St. John’s University. And there will be another one the next day at St. Thomas College in St. Paul, where he taught.

AMY GOODMAN : And Tom Hayden, I want to thank you, as well, former California state senator at the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention on the outside. And today, we’ll end the segment on Eugene McCarthy with Eugene McCarthy’s own words.

EUGENE McCARTHY: I wrote a book, a poem on “Courage After Sixty.” And I keep, you know, it carries on. It gets &mdash you get more courage after 70, and so on.

And it says:
Now it’s certain.
There is no magic stone to be found.
No secrets.
One must go
With the mind’s winnowed learning.
No more than a child’s handhold
On a willow bending over the lake,
Or a sumac root at the edge of the cliff.
All ignorance is checked,
All betrayals scratched.
The coat has been hung on the peg,
The cigar laid on the beveled table’s edge,
The cue chosen and chalked,
The balls racked for the final break.
All cards have been drawn,
All bets called.
The dice, warm as blood in the hand,
Shaken for the final cast.
The glove has been thrown on the ground,
The last choice of weapons made.

A book for one poem.
A poem for one line.
A line for one word.
“Broken things are powerful.”
But things about to break are stronger still.
The last shot from the brittle bow is the truest.

AMY GOODMAN : Eugene McCarthy, from the film I’m Sorry I Was Right.


Eugene McCarthy

Why Famous: Eugene McCarthy was a prominent American politician best known for his part in the 1968 US presidential race.

McCarthy was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1948 and to the US Senate in 1958.

In 1968 with sentiment strong against the war in Vietnam, McCarthy agreed to run against the incumbent Lyndon Johnson to on an anti-war platform. In a surprise result, McCarthy almost defeated Johnson in the early New Hampshire Primary, forcing Johnson to withdraw from the race.

Thereafter McCarthy's main rival was Robert Kennedy until he was assassinated after winning the California primary. McCarthy's campaign then fell away and the Democratic nomination was eventually secured by Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

McCarthy was again a Presidential candidate in 1972 and 1976, the latter as an independent.

Born: March 29, 1916
Birthplace: Watkins, Minnesota, USA

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Dragon
Star Sign: Aries

Died: December 10, 2005 (aged 89)
Cause of Death: Parkinsons


David Greenberg: Gene McCarthy's response to RFK's death crippled the Dems

Forty years ago, Robert F. Kennedy was murdered on the very night he defeated his fellow anti-war insurgent Eugene McCarthy in the California Democratic presidential primary. This week the news media are full of remembrances of RFK, rehearsing how his assassination, echoing his brother's five years earlier, dashed a generation's hopes for a new era of liberalism. But in a political season that resembles 1968, another aspect of the assassination is also worth considering, especially with the Democratic Party now seeking to unify its ranks. For in 1968, the persistence of intra-party divisions—which helped usher in the presidency of Richard M. Nixon—stemmed not just from the tragedy of Kennedy's murder but also from McCarthy's own subsequent failure of leadership. McCarthy's refusal to extend a hand to disoriented Kennedy supporters after June 6 left the party sundered, directionless, and ripe for defeat.

Eugene McCarthy never liked the Kennedys. At least since 1960, when he had placed Adlai Stevenson's name in nomination at the Democratic convention that chose JFK for president, the high-minded Minnesota senator had resented the hardball style and political success of the whole family. Understandably, he begrudged RFK's entry into the 1968 race. After all, back in November 1967, McCarthy had courageously challenged Lyndon B. Johnson, a sitting president, for the Democratic nomination, arguing that it was time to bring home the half-million Americans fighting in Vietnam. McCarthy's close second-place finish in the March 12 New Hampshire primary exposed Johnson's profound vulnerabilities. Only then did Kennedy—after some perfunctory soundings about a joint anti-war effort with McCarthy—throw his hat in the ring, quickly earning him treatment as a more plausible pretender to the nomination. McCarthy, who later claimed RFK had promised him he wouldn't run, was livid.

Two weeks later, LBJ forswore a second term. Anti-war Democrats rushed to align with one insurgent or the other. McCarthy won the intellectuals, the professionals, and the young, who, distancing themselves from their long-haired contemporaries, vowed to get "Clean for Gene." Kennedy attracted blue-collar, Hispanic, and black support. He complained that McCarthy got the "A" students, and he got the "B" students.

The primary battles were brutal, producing at least as much bad feeling as this year's. Against a backdrop of violent campus protests and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., McCarthy and Kennedy squared off in Indiana, Nebraska, Oregon, and California. (Not until 1972 did primaries become the dominant method of delegate selection.) Playing to his upscale base, McCarthy blasted Kennedy for having wiretapped King while attorney general. RFK, for his part, catered to the concerns of his new base—stressing, for example, his former credentials as "the chief law enforcement officer of the United States" in front of audiences worried about rising crime and urban riots. He also assailed McCarthy's previous opposition to a minimum-wage law and his allegedly weak civil rights record—enduring charges of being "ruthless" and dishonest in distorting his rival's record.

Even as McCarthy styled himself the clean politician, however, he dished it out, too. He mocked Kennedy and his supporters. A major gaffe occurred in Oregon, when McCarthy sniffed that Kennedy supporters were "less intelligent" than his own and belittled Indiana (which had by then gone for Kennedy) for lacking a poet of the stature of Robert Lowell—a friend of McCarthy's who often traveled with him. McCarthy also took swipes at Kennedy for chasing after black and white working-class votes.

More negativity infused a debate before the California primary. McCarthy made two ill-considered statements: that he would accept a coalition government that included Communists in Saigon and that only the relocation of inner-city blacks would solve the urban problem. Kennedy pounced, portraying the former idea as soft on communism and the latter diagnosis as a scheme to bus tens of thousands of ghetto residents into white, conservative Orange County. Angered at these characterizations, McCarthy resolved not to support Kennedy if he became the nominee.

By the time of Kennedy's murder, there was no love lost between the two men. Still, McCarthy's reaction to the assassination was singularly hardhearted. One aide recalled him sneering about his fallen rival, "Demagoguing to the last." Another heard him say that Kennedy "brought it on himself"—implying, by perverse logic, that because Kennedy had promised military support to the state of Israel, he had somehow provoked Sirhan Sirhan, the Arab-American gunman who killed him. (In fact, Sirhan had long planned to commit the murder on the first anniversary of the Six-Day War.)

Kennedy's death, of course, did not leave McCarthy alone in the race. All along, many party regulars had preferred Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who announced his candidacy in April but sat out the primaries, instead building his delegate base in states without primaries—which back then constituted a majority. Indeed, with Kennedy's assassination, many observers thought that front-runner status had devolved not to McCarthy but to Humphrey. Yet while McCarthy formally suspended his campaign in recognition of Kennedy's death, and although he proceeded to engage in various acts of willful self-sabotage, he nonetheless won a big victory in the June 18 New York primary and swept around the country in search of uncommitted delegates. Yet, stubbornly, he refused to make any gestures of reconciliation toward Kennedy's inner circle or his millions of supporters.
A few key Kennedy aides soon prevailed on McGovern to join the race as a kind of placeholder at the upcoming Chicago convention—a possible nominee but also a candidate for Kennedy's delegates to rally behind until a deal could be struck. The move, of course, also made clear to McCarthy that they hadn't forgiven his various digs at RFK during the primary season. Meanwhile, others started an informal "Draft Ted" movement to get the youngest Kennedy brother, then 36, to pick up the standard. Both ploys reflected a recognition that Humphrey, for all his delegates, still wasn't the inevitable nominee and that McCarthy's cache of several hundred delegates, when coupled with Kennedy's, might still produce an anti-war nominee.

For a moment it looked possible. In Chicago, Richard Goodwin—the former JFK aide who'd gone to work for McCarthy, switched to RFK, then returned to the McCarthy camp after the assassination—sent word to friends in the Kennedy camp that McCarthy wanted to talk. Privately, the senator told Kennedy in-law Steve Smith that he would be willing to step aside in favor of Ted. But even in concession, McCarthy couldn't be gracious. He told Smith that he would take such a step for Ted, but he wouldn't have done it for Bobby. The gratuitous jab killed any prospect of a deal. In his conversations with Humphrey, meanwhile, McCarthy insisted that he not choose Ted Kennedy as his running mate.

McCarthy made almost no efforts on his own behalf at the convention. In a debate with Humphrey and McGovern before the California delegation, he refused to state his position on the war, saying, "The people know my position." He didn't even speak during the convention's debate over what the platform would say about Vietnam. But when Humphrey got the nod, McCarthy suggested that, as the winner of the most primary votes, he had been robbed of the nomination. He didn't endorse Humphrey until Oct. 29, and even then he took swipes at the vice president for his stands on the war and the draft. Humphrey lost to Nixon by 0.7 percent of the popular vote, although Nixon took 301 electoral votes to Humphrey's 191.

Whether Robert Kennedy could have beaten Humphrey for the nomination is impossible to say. Certainly, it would have been hard. But following Kennedy's death, Gene McCarthy's willful aloofness and inability to bring unity to a party cleaved during a hard-fought primary season amounted to a second tragedy for the Democrats.


1968 Presidential Race Democrats


Paul Newman, one of many notable Hollywood stars who became active on behalf of presidential candidates during 1968's primary & general elections. Life magazine, May 10, 1968.

Yet in the 1960s, the caldron of social issues and political unrest throughout the country, coupled in 1967-68 with an offering of hopeful candidates — especially on the Democratic side — brought both older and newer Hollywood celebrities into the political process like never before. “In no other election,” observed Time magazine in late May 1968, “have so many actors, singers, writers, poets, artists, professional athletes and assorted other celebrities signed up, given out and turned on for the candidates.”

A war was then raging in Vietnam and a military draft was taking the nation’s young to fight it. President Lyndon Johnson had raised U.S. troop strength in Vietnam to 486,000 by the end of 1967. Protests had erupted at a number of colleges and universities. In late October 1967, tens of thousands of demonstrators came to the Pentagon calling for an end to the war. In addition, a growing civil rights movement had pointed up injustice and racism throughout America. Three summers of urban unrest had occurred. Riots in 1967 alone had taken more than 80 lives. In the larger society, a counter culture in music, fashion and values — brought on by the young — was also pushing hard on convention. And all of this, from Vietnam battle scenes to federal troops patrolling U.S. cities, was seen on television as never before. Society seemed to be losing its moorings. And more was yet to come, as further events — some traumatic and others unexpected — would fire the nation to the boiling point. There was little standing on the sidelines people from all walks of life were taking sides.


From left, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte & Charlton Heston at 1963 Civil Rights march.

Hollywood and the arts community had a long history of political involvement and activism on behalf of presidential candidates, dating at least to the 1920s. Even in the dark days of the 1950s there had been a sizeable swath of Hollywood backing Democrat Adlai Stevenson for his Presidential bids of 1952 and 1956. And in the 1960 election of Jack Kennedy, there was notable support from Frank Sinatra and friends, as well as Kennedy family connections to Hollywood. Others, like singer Pete Seeger, had never stopped their activism, even in the face of political pressure.

By the early 1960s, with the civil rights movement in particular, a new wave actors and singers such as Joan Baez, Harry Belefonte, Marlon Brando, Bob Dylan, Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and others were becoming involved in one way or another. Some lent their name or provided financial support others joined marches and demonstrations.

By the mid-1960s, however, the Vietnam War became a goading factor for many in Hollywood. And among the first to speak out and oppose the war was an actor named Robert Vaughn.

The Man from UNCLE

Robert Vaughn was the star of a popular primetime TV spy series called The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which ran from September 1964 to mid-January 1968. Vaughn was among the first to criticize President Lyndon B. Johnson on the Vietnam war — and he did so very publicly in a January 1966 speech. In Indianapolis, at a dinner given to support Johnson’s re-election, Vaughn spoke out against the war and LBJ’s policy there. “Everyone at the front table had hands over their eyes,” Vaughn later explained when asked about the reaction. Vaughn became worried about the Vietnam War after immersing himself in all the documents, books and articles he could find on the subject. “I can talk for six hours about the mistakes we have made,” he told one reporter in 1966. “We have absolutely no reason to be in Vietnam-legal, political or moral.”

In late March 1966, Vaughn went to Washington to meet with politicians. He lunched with Senator Frank Church (D-ID) and also had a lengthy meeting with Senator Wayne Morse (D-OR) to discuss the war. He told the press then “the Hollywood community is very much against” the Vietnam War. “[T]he Hollywood com- munity is very much against” the Vietnam War.
– Robert Vaughn, March 1966. But wasn’t it risky for a star to be so outspoken, he was asked? “I’ve had nothing but encouragement from my friends in the industry, from the studio, even the network,” he said. On his visit to Washington that weekend Vaughn was a house guest of Bobby Kennedy’s at Hickory Hill in nearby Virginia. He continued to be visible in the Vietnam debate, appearing as a guest on William F. Buckley’s TV talk show, Firing Line. He also engaged in impromptu debate with Vice President Hubert Humphrey on a live Minneapolis talk show. At the peak of Vaughn’s popularity, he was asked by the California Democratic Party to oppose fellow actor, Republican Ronald Reagan, then running for California governor in the 1966 election. Vaughn, however, supported Democrat Edmund G. Brown, who lost in a landslide to Reagan.

Vaughn would continue to oppose the war, leading a group called Dissenting Democrats. By early 1968, Vaughn supported the emerging anti-war presidential candidate Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), then running for his party’s nomination. (Vaughn had later planned to switch to Robert Kennedy, a close friend, if Kennedy won the June 1968 California primary).


McCarthy at 1968 campaign rally in Wisconsin.

Gene McCarthy had announced his candidacy for the White House on November 30, 1967. Opposing the war was the main issue for McCarthy, who had been prodded to run by anti-war activists. On the Republican side, former vice President Richard Nixon announced his candidacy in January 1968. And on February 8th, Alabama’s Democratic Governor George Wallace — the segregationist who in June 1963 had stood at the doors of the University of Alabama to block integration — entered the presidential race as an Independent.

McCarthy attracted some of the more liberal Democrats in Hollywood, including those who had been for Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. “…[H]e’s the man who expresses discontent with dignity,” actor Eli Wallach would say of McCarthy in 1968. Wallach had won a Tony Award in 1951 for his role in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo and also became famous for his role as Tuco the “ugly” in the 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Wallach liked the fact that McCarthy had taken “a firm position on the war in Vietnam.” Wallach and his wife Anne Jackson, a stage actress, were among those who held fundraisers and poetry readings for McCarthy. Actress Myrna Loy was another McCarthy supporter. She had played opposite William Powell, Clark Gable, Melvyn Douglas, and Tryone Power in films of the 1930s and 1940s. Loy was a lifelong activist who had supported Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956. In 1968, she became a stalwart for McCarthy, making personal campaign appearances for him and hosting fundraisers. But perhaps the most important Hollywood star to come out for McCarthy was Paul Newman.

Paul Newman Factor


Paul Newman at 1968 fundraiser.


Campaigning by Newman at a McCarthy rally in Menominee Falls, Wisconsin, 1968.

Newman made campaign appearances in New Hampshire during February and March 1968, some with wife Joanne Woodward. Tony Randall and Rod Serling also made appearances for McCarthy in New Hampshire. But it was Newman who drew the crowds and notice by the press. In March 1968, Newman went to Claremont, New Hampshire to campaign for McCarthy. Tony Podesta, then a young MIT student, was Newman’s campaign contact. Podesta worried that day that only a few people might show up to hear Newman. Some credit Paul Newman with raising McCarthy’s visibility in New Hamp- shire, enabling his strong showing there. Instead, more than 2,000 people came out to mob Newman. “I didn’t come here to help Gene McCarthy,” Newman would say to his listeners that day. “I need McCarthy’s help.”

“Until that point,” said Podesta, “McCarthy was some sort of a quack not too many people knew about, but as soon as Paul Newman came to speak for him, he immediately became a national figure.” In New Hampshire, the Manchester Union Leader newspaper published a political cartoon showing Newman being followed by McCarthy with the caption: “Who’s the guy with Paul Newman?” Author Darcy Richardson would later write in A Nation Divided: The Presidential Election of 1968, that Newman’s visit to the state “caused a great stir and drew considerable attention to McCarthy’s candidacy.” New Republic columnist Richard Stout, attributing honesty and conviction to Newman’s New Hampshire campaigning, wrote that the actor “had the star power McCarthy lacked, and imperceptibly was transferring it to the candidate.” Barbara Handman, who ran The Arts & Letters Committee for McCarthy, would later put it more plainly: “Paul turned the tide for McCarthy. . . Paul put him on the map — he [ McCarthy] started getting national coverage by the press. He started being taken seriously.”

New Hampshire Earthquake

On March 12, 1964, McCarthy won 42 percent of the vote in New Hampshire to Lyndon Johnson’s 49 percent, a very strong showing for McCarthy and an embarrassment for Johnson. McCarthy’s campaign now had a new legitimacy and momentum that would have a cascading effect on decisions that both Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy would make. Paul Newman, meanwhile, continued to campaign for McCarthy beyond New Hampshire and throughout the election year.


March 22, 1968 edition of Time magazine, reporting on McCarthy’s surprising showing in New Hampshire & the emerging Democratic fight.
Bobby Kennedy, 1968.

Kennedy In, LBJ Out

On March 16th, four days after the New Hampshire primary showed Lyndon Johnson to be vulnerable and McCarthy viable, Bobby Kennedy jumped into the race, angering many McCarthy supporters. Kennedy had agonized over whether to enter the race for months, and in fact, McCarthy and supporters had gone to Kennedy in 1967 to urge him to run. McCarthy then decided to enter the race after it appeared Kennedy was not going to run. But once Kennedy entered the race, he and McCarthy engaged in an increasingly heated and sometimes bitter contest for the nomination.

In 1968, however, party leaders still had a great deal of influence in the nominating process and the selection of delegates. Primaries then were less important and fewer in number than they are today. Still, a strong showing in certain primaries could create a bandwagon effect and show the party establishment that a particular candidate was viable. In 1960, John Kennedy helped get the party’s attention when he defeated Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia primary. Now in 1968, Gene McCarthy had the party’s attention.


Lyndon Johnson's surprise announcement of March 31, 1968 made headlines across the country.
King shot, April 4, 1968.

On April 4th, 1968, several days after LBJ’s bombshell, the nation was ripped apart by news that civil rights leader Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis, TN. In the next few days, dozens of American cities erupted.


RFK making famous speech in Indianapolis the evening Martin Luther King died. AP Photo/Leroy Patton, Indianapolis News. Click for PBS DVD.

By the end of April, the nation was boiling on other fronts, too. Student protesters at Columbia University in New York City took over the administration building on April 23rd and shut down the campus. On the campaign trail, McCarthy won the April 23rd Pennsylvania primary, and a few days later, on April 27th, Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President, former Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey, formally announced he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination.


Vice President Hubert Humphrey enters the race for the Democratic nomination, April 1968.

Instead, Humphrey planned to use the “party machine” to gather his delegates and was the favored establishment candidate.

Lyndon Johnson would also help Humphrey, but mostly from behind the scenes since Johnson was regarded a liability for any candidate given his Vietnam record.

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, a showdown of sorts was brewing between Kennedy and McCarthy as the May 7th Indiana primary approached.

Celebs for McCarthy

In April and early May of 1968, there was a lot of campaigning in Indiana, and star power was again at work with celebrities helping McCarthy. In April, Paul Newman was drawing large crowds in the state for McCarthy, where he made 15 appearances. At one of those stops, Newman explained from a tailgate of station wagon: “I am not a public speaker. I am not a politician. I’m not here because I’m an actor. I’m here because I’ve got six kids. I don’t want it written on my gravestone, ‘He was not part of his times.’ Also making appearances for McCarthy in Indiana were Simon & Garfunkel, Dustin Hoffman, Myrna Loy, and Gary Moore. The times are too critical to be dissenting in your own bathroom.” Newman continued campaigning for McCarthy through May 7 and was then still drawing crowds, with his own motorcade sometimes followed by cars of adoring fans.

Also making appearances for McCarthy in Indiana were actor Dustin Hoffman, singing duo Simon & Garfunkel, Myrna Loy, and TV host Gary Moore. Simon & Garfunkel sang at a McCarthy fundraiser at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in May 1968, where Dustin Hoffman introduced them. Hoffman’s popular film at the time, The Graduate — filled with a Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack — was then still in theaters. This celebrity support for McCarthy, as Newman had shown in New Hampshire, was important for McCarthy. “When you have a candidate who is not as well known, and there’s no money so that you can’t by television time,” explained Barbara Handman, head of the Arts and Letters Committee for McCarthy, “these people [celebs] become more and more effective for us. They’re well-known drawing cards…” Handman had previously headed up similar committees for Jack Kennedy in 1960, and Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Her husband, Wynn Handman, was co-founder of the American Palace Theater. Both were well connected in Hollywood.

Celebs for Kennedy


Andy Williams, Robert Kennedy, Perry Como, Ted Kennedy, Eddie Fisher at unspecified 1968 fundraising telethon, Lisner Auditorium, G.W. University, Wash., D.C. (photo, GW University).


Bobby Kennedy campaigning in Indianapolis, May 1968. Behind Kennedy to the right, are NFL football stars Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier and Deacon Jones. Photo by Bill Eppridge from his book, 'A Time It Was'. Click for book.

Lesley Gore, a pop singer who by then had several Top 40 hits — including “It’s My Party” (1963), “You Don’t Own Me” (1964), “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows” (1965), and “California Nights” (1967) — also became a Kennedy supporter. At 21 years old, and about to graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, Gore became head of Kennedy’s effort to get young voters, called “First Voters for Kennedy.” She volunteered after she heard that Kennedy needed someone to attract young voters. “I understand there are 13 million first-time voters this year,” she told a New York Times reporter in early April 1968. “After my graduation next month I intend to give more of my time to visiting colleges and universities around the country.” In this effort, Gore would be traveling with actresses Candice Bergen and Patty Duke, and also the rock group, Jefferson Airplane.

Andy Williams, a friend and skiing companion to Kennedy, was also a key supporter. “I’m doing it because I think it important,” Williams told a New York Times reporter. “I am worried about the image of America. People don’t think Nixon is swell, and they don’t think Humphrey is swell. Bobby has star quality.” Williams would refurbish his guest house for use by the Kennedy family when Bobby campaigned in California.

Sinatra for Humphrey


Frank Sinatra & Hubert Humphrey, Washington, D.C., May 1968.

During his campaign, Humphrey would gather additional Hollywood and celebrity supporters beyond Sinatra. Among these were some of the older and more established Hollywood names, sports stars, and other leading names, including actress Tallulah Bankhead, opera star Roberta Peters, jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, former heavyweight boxing champ Jack Dempsey, writer and naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch, and fashion designer Mollie Parnis.

Indiana & Beyond


A Gene McCarthy campaign celebration, 1968.

Both candidates campaigned vigorously throughout California, a winner-take-all contest with a large pot of delegates. McCarthy stumped the state’s colleges and universities, where he was recognized for being the first candidate to oppose the war. Kennedy campaigned in the ghettos and barrios of the state’s larger cities, where he was mobbed by enthusiastic supporters. A few days before the election, Kennedy and McCarthy also engaged in a televised debate — considered a draw.

On the east coast, meanwhile, and in New York city in particular, there was a star-studded celebrity fundraising rally for McCarthy in New York’s Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1968. One Canadian blogger, who as a teenager happened to be in New York city that weekend with a friend, recently wrote the following “forty-years-ago” remembrance of the event:

. . .Rob and I did many crazy things that weekend. . . .We learned that McCarthy was having a rally at Madison Square Garden on the Sunday night so along we went figuring we’d meet some more chicks. That event was awe inspiring.

All sorts of famous people spoke or performed that night. Paul Newman, Phil Ochs, Mary Tyler Moore to name a few. A new, young actor said a few words to the crowd on behalf of the candidate. We recognized him as the star of the ‘adult’ movie we had seen the night before. The movie was The Graduate and he was a very young Dustin Hoffman.

Celebrities walked thru the arena imploring people to donate to the campaign. Tony Randall came up our aisle and we gave him a couple of bucks. Stewart Mott (General Motors rich kid) stood up and donated $125,000 right there on the spot. The crowd was delirious. Sen. McCarthy spoke to the crowd and promised to take his fight against Sen. Kennedy all the way to the Chicago convention in August. It was pretty heady stuff for a 17 year-old from Toronto….


RFK campaigning in California.
Robert Kennedy campaigning.

RFK Assassinated!

Four hours after the polls closed in California, Kennedy claimed victory as he addressed his campaign supporters just past midnight in the Ambassador Hotel. On his way through the kitchen to exit the hotel, he was mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan. His death became yet another of 1968’s convulsing events. Seen as an emerging beacon of hope in a dismal time, many had pinned their hopes on Kennedy and took his loss very personally. The Democratic party went into a tailspin as a stunned nation grieved. Thousands lined the tracks as Kennedy’s funeral train moved from New York City to Washington D.C. Millions watched his funeral on television. At the request of Bobby’s wife, Ethel, Andy Williams sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at Kennedy’s funeral.


New York Times headlines, June 5, 1968.

Historians and journalists have disagreed about Kennedy’s chances for the nomination had he not been assassinated. Michael Beschloss believes it unlikely that Kennedy could have secured the nomination since most of the delegates were then uncommitted and yet to be chosen at the Democratic convention. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and author Jules Witcover have argued that Kennedy’s broad appeal and charisma would have given him the nomination at the convention. And still others add that Kennedy’s experience in his brother’s presidential campaign, plus a potential alliance with Chicago mayor Richard Daley at the Democratic Convention, might have helped him secure the nomination.

Dems Realign

Leading up to Democratic convention in Chicago, former Kennedy supporters tried to sort out what had happened and whether and how they would line up with other candidates. George Plimpton, a well known New Yorker and journalist who authored the 1963 book Paper Lion, had been a Kennedy supporter. He was with Kennedy the night he was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen, walking in front of him. In New York, on August 14, 1968, Plimpton sponsored a party at the Cheetah nightclub on behalf of McCarthy supporters, along with co-sponsor William Styron, author of the The Confessions of Nat Turner. Henry Fonda was scheduled to host a McCarthy rally in Houston. “I started out with Senator Kennedy,” explained Fonda to a New York Times reporter, “Now I think McCarthy is the best choice on the horizon.” McCarthy supporters had other rallies and fundraisers scheduled in 24 other cities for mid-August ahead of the Chicago convention, including one at New York’s Madison Square Garden that included conductor Leonard Bernstein and singer Harry Belafonte. Hubert Humphrey’s campaign also had fundraisers, including one in early August at Detroit’s Cobo Hall with performances by Frank Sinatra, Trini Lopez, and comedian Pat Henry.


Humphrey campaign poster.

By mid-August 1968, “Entertainers for Humphrey” included Hollywood names such as Bill Dana, Victor Borge, Alan King, and George Jessel. There were also more than 80 other luminaries in a somewhat less well-known “arts & letters” group including: classical pianist Eugene Istomin, author and scholar Ralph Ellison, violin virtuoso Isaac Stern, manager/impresario Sol Hurok, playwright Sidney Kingsley, opera singer Robert Merrill, authors John Steinbeck, James T. Farrel, and Herman Wouk, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. Humphrey had also picked up some former supporters of Republican Nelson Rockefeller, including architect Philip Johnson and dancer Maria Tallchief. But Humphrey’s biggest challenges were directly ahead at the Democratic National Convention.


1968: National Guardsmen at the Conrad Hilton Hotel at DNC in Chicago.

Turmoil in Chicago

As the 1968 Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago on August 26, 1968, there was a fractured party and little agreement on the main platform issue, the Vietnam War. In addition to the formal business of the presidential nomination inside the convention hall, there was a huge focus on the convention location as a protest venue for the Vietnam War. Thousands of young activists had come to Chicago. But Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley — also the political boss running the convention — had prepared for anything, and had the Chicago police and the National Guard ready for action. Tensions soon came to a head.


Convention floor, 1968.

At the convention itself, Chicago mayor Richard Daley was blamed for the police clubbings in the streets. Daley at one point was seen on television angrily cursing Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, who had made a speech denouncing the excesses of the Chicago police (this scene shown later below on book cover in Sources). Inside the hall, CBS News reporter Dan Rather was attacked on the floor of the convention while covering the proceedings.

Haynes Johnson, a veteran political reporter who covered the convention for the Washington Post, would write some year later in Smithsonian magazine:

“The 1968 Chicago convention became a lacerating event, a distillation of a year of heartbreak, assassinations, riots and a breakdown in law and order that made it seem as if the country were coming apart. In its psychic impact, and its long-term political consequences, it eclipsed any other such convention in American history, destroying faith in politicians, in the political system, in the country and in its institutions. No one who was there, or who watched it on television, could escape the memory of what took place before their eyes.”


1968: Paul Newman & Arthur Miller on the convention floor.

ABC News of August 28, 1968, for example, included short interviews with Paul Newman, Tony Randall, Gore Vidal, and Shirley MacLaine. Sonny Bono — of the famed “Sonny & Cher” rock star duo — had come to Chicago to propose a plank in the Democratic platform for a commission to look into the generation gap, or as he saw it, the potential problem of “duel society.” Bono, then 28, would become a Republican Congressman in the 1990s. Dinah Shore made a brief convention appearance for McCarthy, singing her famous “See The USA in Your Chevrolet” anthem, adapting it as, “Save The USA, the McCarthy Way, America is the Greatest Land of All,” throwing her trademarked big kiss at the end.

The Nomination


Humphrey supporters, 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Humphrey, for his part, attempted to reach out to Hollywood celebrities, as California would be a crucial state in the general election. Humphrey met with a number of celebrities during and after the convention, one of whom was Warren Beatty. Beatty in 1967 had directed and starred in the movie Bonnie & Clyde, a huge box office hit. Beatty had appeared in a number of earlier films as well, from Splendor in the Grass (1961) to Kaleidoscope (1966). Beatty reportedly offered to make a campaign film for Humphrey if he would agree to denounce the war in Vietnam, which Humphrey would not do. During September and October 1968, a number of Hollywood’s stars and celebrities came around to support Humphrey, with gala events and/or rallies such as one at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York in late September, and another at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in late October.


Hollywood actor E.G. Marshall narrated a political ad for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 that pointedly raised doubts about opponents Nixon and Wallace. Click to view video.
New York Times, 7 Nov 1968.

On November 5th in one of the closest elections in U.S. history, Nixon beat Humphrey by a slim margin. Although Nixon took 302 electoral votes to Humphrey’s 191, the popular vote was extremely close: Nixon at 31,375,000 to 31,125,000 for Humphrey, or 43.4 percent to 43.1 percent.

Third party candidate George Wallace was a key factor in the race, taking more votes from Humphrey than Nixon, especially in the south and among union and working class voters in the north. Nearly 10 million votes were cast for Wallace, some 13.5 percent of the popular vote. He won five southern states and took 45 electoral votes. Democrats did retain control of the House and Senate, but the country was now headed in a more conservative direction.

In the wake of their loss, the Democrats also reformed their presidential nominating process. As Kennedy and McCarthy supporters gained more power within the party, changes were adopted for the 1972 convention making the nominating process more democratic and raising the role of primary elections. Hubert Humphrey would become the last nominee of either major party to win the nomination without having to compete directly in primary elections.


Warren Beatty, who worked for Bobby Kennedy in 1968, continued his activism & political film making, flirting with White House bid himself in 1999. Click for DVD.

Celebrity Postscript

Many of the celebrities who worked for Democratic candidates in 1968 did not throw in the towel after that election. They came back in subsequent presidential election cycles to work for and support other Democrats ranging from George McGovern and Jimmy Carter to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And some of 1968’s activists, and their successors, also continued to use Hollywood film-making to probe American politics as film subject. Among some of the post-1968 films that explored politics, for example, were: The Candidate (1972, with Robert Redford, screenplay by Jeremy Larner, a Gene McCarthy speechwriter) All the President’s Men (1976, with Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford) Wag The Dog, (1997, with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro), Bullworth (1998, produced & directed by Warren Beatty who also plays the central character), and others.

And certainly by 1968, if not before, it had become clear that Hollywood and politics were intersecting in an increasing number of ways, especially in the packaging of candidates. Hollywood experience, in fact, was becoming a political asset for those who decided to run for office. By the mid-1960s, Hollywood actors and TV personalities like Ronald Reagan and George Murphy were winning elections — Murphy taking a U.S. Senate seat as a California Republican in 1964, and Reagan elected in 1966 as California’s Republican Governor. Certainly by 1968, if not before, it had become clear that Hollywood and politics were intersecting in an increasing number of ways. Reagan, of course, would become president in 1980, and others from Hollywood, such as Warren Beatty, would also consider running for the White House in later years.

Today, celebrities and Hollywood stars remain sought-after participants in elections and political causes of all kinds. Their money and endorsements are key factors as well. Yet polling experts and political pundits continue to debate the impact of celebrities on election outcomes, and many doubt their ability to sway voters. Still, in 1968, celebrity involvement was a factor and did affect the course of events, as every political candidate at that time sought the help of Hollywood stars and other famous names to advance their respective campaigns.

See also at this website the related story on the Republicans and Richard Nixon in 1968, and also other politics stories, including: “Barack & Bruce” (Bruce Springsteen & others campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008 & 2012) “The Jack Pack” (Frank Sinatra & his Rat Pack in John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign) “I’m A Dole Man”( popular music in Bob Dole’s 1996 Presidential campaign) and generally, the “Politics & Culture” category page. Thanks for visiting – and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. — Jack Doyle

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Date Posted: 14 August 2008
Last Update: 16 March 2020
Comments to: [email protected]

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, � Presidential Race, Democrats,”
PopHistoryDig.com, August 14, 2008.

Sources, Links & Additional Information


Charles River, eds. “The 1968 Democratic Convention: The History of America’s Most Controversial Political Convention” (Mayor Daley shown shouting). Click for book.


Frank Kusch’s book, “Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention.” Click for copy.


“The Passage of Power,” best-selling book from Robert Caro’s multi-volume series on the life and career of Lyndon B. Johnson. Click for copy.

“The D.O.V.E. from U.N.C.L.E.,” Time, Friday, April 1, 1966.

Peter Bart, “Vaughn: The Vietnik from U.N.C.L.E.,” New York Times, May 29, 1966, p. D-9.

Satan’s Little Helper ipod Warren Weaver, “M’Carthy Gets About 40%, Johnson and Nixon on Top in New Hampshire Voting Rockefeller Lags,” The New York Times, Wednesday, March 13, 1968, p. 1.

“Unforeseen Eugene,” Time, Friday, March. 22, 1968.

‘The Hustler’ Is on Cue for McCarthy,” Washington Post-Times Herald, March 23, 1968, p. A-2.

E. W. Kenworthy, “Paul Newman Drawing Crowds In McCarthy Indiana Campaign,” New York Times, Monday, April 22, 1968, p.19

Louis Calta, “Entertainers Join Cast of Political Hopefuls They Get Into Act to Back 3 Candidates for the Presidency,” New York Times, Saturday, April 6, 1968, p. 42.

Associated Press, “Celebrities Endorse Candidates,” Daily Collegian (State College, PA), May 5, 1968.

Lawrence E. Davies, “Sinatra Supports Slate Competing With Kennedy’s,” New York Times, Sunday, May 5, 1968, p. 42

“The Stars Leap Into Politics,” Life, May 10, 1968.

Leroy F. Aarons, “Poetry’s Popular At Club Eugene,” The Washington Post, Times Herald, May 16, 1968, p. A-20.

“The Pulchritude-Intellect Input,” Time, Friday, May 31, 1968.

“Newman and Miller Named Delegates to Convention,” New York Times, Wednesday July 10, 1968, p. 43.

“HHH Office Unit Opens, With Sinatra,” Washington Post, Times Herald, August 2, 1968, p. A-2.

Richard F. Shepard, “Stage and Literary Names Enlist for Candidates Plimpton Giving a Party in Night Club to Further McCarthy’s Cause,” New York Times, Wednesday, August 14, 1968, p.40.

Florabel Muir, “Trini Goes All Out for HHH,” The Washington Post, Times Herald, August 15, 1968, p. D-21.

Dave Smith, “Singer to Tell Democrats of Youth’s Views,” Los Angeles Times, Aug 23, 1968, p. 27.

Victor S. Navasky, “Report on The Candidate Named Humphrey,” New York Times Magazine, Sunday August 25, 1968, p. 22.

“Guests Flock to Week-Long Party Given by Playboy…” New York Times, August 29, 1968.

Jack Gould, ” TV: A Chilling Spectacle in Chicago Delegates See Tapes of Clashes in the Streets,” New York Times, Thursday August 29, 1968, p. 71.

Tom Wicker, “Humphrey Nominated on the First Ballot After His Plank on Vietnam is Approved Police Battle Demonstrators in Streets,”New York Times, August 30, 1968.

David S. Broder, “Hangover in Chicago – Democrats Awake to a Party in Ruins,”The Washington Post, Times Herald, August 30, 1968 p. A-1.

“Dementia in the Second City,” Time, Friday, September 6, 1968.

“The Man Who Would Recapture Youth,” Friday, Time, September 6, 1968.

“Dissidents’ Dilemma,” Time, Friday, September 20, 1968.

Richard L. Coe, “Candidates By Starlight,” The Washington Post, Times Herald, November 3, 1968, p. K-1.

E.G. Marshall, 1968 T.V. ad for Humphrey Campaign, “Nixon vs. Humphrey vs. Wallace,” @ The Living Room Candidate.org.

Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President, New York: Trident Press, 1969.

Pope Brock, “Myrna Loy: So Perfect in Her Way, it Almost Seems We Imagined Her,” People, April 4, 1988, p. 47.

Charles Kaiser, 1968 In America: Music, Politics, Chaos, Counterculture, New York: Grove Press, 1997, 336pp.

Ted Johnson (managing editor, Variety magazine), “Paul Newman: Bush is America’s ‘Biggest Internal Threat’,”Wilshire & Washington.com, June 26, 2007.

Ted Johnson, “Flashback to 1968,” Wilshire & Washington.com, April 25, 2008 (also ran in Variety magazine Ted Johnson is managing editor).

Darcy G. Richardson, A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign, iUniverse, Inc., 2002, 532pp.

Tom Brokaw, Boom! Voice of the 1960s: Personal Reflections on the ‘60s and Today, New York: Random House, 2007, 662 pp.

Ron Brownstein, The Power and The Glitter, New York: Knopf Publishing Group, December 1990 448 pp.

Joseph A. Palermo, In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, New York: Columbia, 2001.

Associated Press, AP Photos @ www.daylife .com.

Ray E. Boomhower, “When Indiana Mattered – Book Examines Robert Kennedy’s Historic 1968 Primary Victory,” The Journal-Gazette, March 30, 2008.

“Forty Years Ago This Weekend – May, 1968….,”BlogChrisGillett.ca, Sunday, May 18, 2008.

Haynes Johnson, � Democratic Convention: The Bosses Strike Back,” Smithsonian magazine and Smithsonian.com, August 2008.

See also, “The 1968 Exhibit,” a traveling and online exhibit organized by the Minnesota History Center partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.


Watch the video: 1968: The New Hampshire presidential primary