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EYEWITNESS TO HISTORY


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#1 Greg Burnham

Greg Burnham

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Posted 03 November 2016 - 11:39 AM

EYEWITNESS TO HISTORY

 

     "Campaign Climax" as broadcast over the CBS Television Network, Friday, November 4, 1960, 10:30-11 p.m., e.s.t. With Charles Kuralt, CBS news correspondent, New York; Ernest Leiser, CBS news correspondent, New York; Howard K. Smith, CBS news correspondent, Washington. Produced by special program unit, CBS News, studio 41, New York.

(Music)

     KURALT. The campaign bands at full blast, the party bandwagons at top speed. Republicans and Democrats pulling out all stops, mustering their all-star casts. Celebrities for Kennedy - Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh, Milton Berle. And celebrities for Nixon too - Ethel Merman, and backing her up on the platform, Rosalind Russell and Cesar Romero. 
     Republican ticker tape on Broadway. [Music.] And Democratic torchlights on Main Street. Traditions of election politics were at their liveliest this week as the 1960 campaign reached its climax. 
     ANNOUNCER. The CBS Television Network presents "Eyewitness to History." The event: Campaign Climax, Charles Kuralt reporting. 
     KURALT. From here on in the only question is: Who's going to win? In this last, climactic week of the presidential election campaign every device of political showmanship has been put into operation, all the party troops have been mustered and all the arguments have been thrown into the contest. 
     But both presidential candidates were still at it full force today. Mr. Nixon called Mr. Kennedy's promises of expanded economic programs, "the cruelest hoax any politician ever tried to foist on the American people." Senator Kennedy defended his programs as fiscally sound, and he blamed the Republican administration today for Communist advances during the last 8 years. 
     Mr. Kennedy delivered his message in Virginia, Ohio and Illinois, all in this single day. Mr. Nixon covered a grueling trail from Texas, to Wyoming, the State of Washington and California. On both sides a standard day in a week of furious travel and always, always the airport welcome, always the smiles and the reaching hands that must be shaken. This week Nixon shook the hands of Amish plain people in Pennsylvania and sophisticated New York businessmen and the hands of Democrats for Nixon in South Carolina and the hands of cowboy campaigners in Casper, Wyo. [Music.] As for Kennedy he sustained so many wrenches and scratches to his right hand that today it was swollen and infected. Among the other penalties for popularity he paid this week - almost choking on confetti in Los Angeles, getting jammed into a phone booth while making a call today in Roanoke, Va. The police had to clear a way through the crowd so he could get out. 
     But the cheers and the reaching hands this week weren't all for the candidates themselves. The old campaigners shared the glory - Harry Truman stumping for Kennedy and, making a late entrance, President Eisenhower in what the Republicans hoped would be a last-minute blitz in New York. 
     LEISER. Ernest Leiser reporting from 34th and Broadway, New York's Herald Square, where the Republicans are, in their own words, bringing out their first team, President Eisenhower himself campaigning all out for the first time. His purpose is simple and direct. He wants to transfer his own political magic to Dick Nixon in an effort to win this campaign in its final days. [Crowd cheering.] 
     For the Republican first team a tumultuous welcome as the motorcade under a snow of ticker tape made its way up Broadway to Herald Square, a team performance with the President taking a back seat to Mr. Nixon. A reception that neutral observers, hard to find in this campaign-happy city, say is about the same size as the one that Senator Kennedy got when he came through the Wall Street district just 2 weeks before, a lot more ticker tape and confetti, a little less wild enthusiasm. 
     Then into Herald Square where some 50,000 people on their lunch hour have been waiting to hear Mr. Eisenhower back up his man. [Crowd cheering.] 
     EISENHOWER. It has always been my feeling the Government of America is truly a team when it properly represents the people of the United States. You, each of you, is a member of the team as I am and as are these people. It happens that the two men we're talking about today happen to be the captains of the team. They have to create the atmosphere on which you can exercise your rights, in which you can live in liberty, prosperity and with the certainty that you're respected as a nation abroad and you as an individual here at home. [Applause, cheering.] 
     They are the first team in the sense that they can and will do this. They will make you prouder of America because they will represent properly the ideals and aspirations of our great country. They will see that its strength, its spiritual, its economic and its military strength will never be weakened. They will guide during their tenure of office this great country to such heights that your pride may be greater and your chests pushed out a little further and your chins a little higher. [Cheering.] 
     LEISER. At the President's major appearance for Mr. Nixon in the Coliseum later, the crowds did go wild. [Cheering, applause.] 
     EISENHOWER. A nation needs leaders who have been immersed. in the hard facts of public affairs in a great variety of situations, men of character who are able to take the long range view and hold long range goals, leaders who do not mistake minor setbacks for major disasters and leaders * * * [Crowd cheering and applauding.] And we need leaders who by their own records have demonstrated a capacity to get on with the job. We want men of inexhaustible strength and inexhaustible faith. This is what * * * [cheering, applause] * * * this is why I am so wholeheartedly in back of Richard Nixon and Cabot Lodge. [Cheering, applause.] 
     LEISER. Another man who has worn the mantle of the Presidency is out on the campaign trail in the New York area as this preelection week approaches its climax. Harry S. Truman, old campaigner extraordinary, doing what comes naturally. Today, during his tour of the northern suburbs of New York, he's been invading rockribbed Republican territory and having himself a whale of a time. Tonight Mr. Truman's in one small pocket of Democratic strength, Haverstraw, the hometown of the man on his left, Jim Farley, who had his political start here. This is real old-fashioned campaigning, a torchlight parade down the main streets of Haverstraw. Not exactly the dimensions of the ticker tape parade down Broadway for President Eisenhower today, but for this little town in Rockland County a big event and, they say, the biggest rally in the Haverstraw High School that the town has ever seen. [Cheering, applause.] 
     TRUMAN. We've had great Presidents in this country and Franklin Roosevelt was one of the greatest of the great. I knew him as well as anybody in this audience. I was associated with him for more than, well let's see, nearly 18 years and I became very well acquainted with him and he insisted that I take a job I didn't want and that was Vice President. Got myself into more trouble than any man in the United States * * * [laughter]. I want to say to you that while I was in all that trouble I was working at the job, trying to get it done and * * * [applause] * * * I don't know whether did or not. You can't tell anything about whether a President is great or small or what he is until he's been dead about 50 years and then if he's been any account at all they may name him a statesman. Well I'm a living politician and that's what I want to stay. I have no desire to be a statesman. [Cheering, applause.] Boy, I wish I could live another 50 years and see what takes place. If we have the right leadership my friends, we'll have the greatest age that the world has ever seen. Its we have no leadership, no telling what'll happen to us. I ask you to vote for John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. These are men you can trust. These are men who will give us the leadership we so greatly need and I also urge you to vote the Democratic ticket from top to bottom and you'll make no mistake for the country or for yourselves. [Applause, cheering.] 
     KURALT. Tonight, the two old hands, Truman and Eisenhower, made their pitch in the same territory. Both appeared in Pittsburgh in an attempt to swing Pennsylvania's hefty share of the electoral vote. 
     Both parties are clearly hoping their old campaigners will be able to transfer their popularity to this year's candidate but history suggests that the stuff doesn't rub off easily. A couple of examples come to mind for whatever they're worth. Teddy Roosevelt stumped the country for Charles Evans Hughes against Wilson in 1916 but couldn't swing it for him. Mr. Truman couldn't do it for Adlai Stevenson in 1952. 
     It's pretty clear that the most important thing a candidate has working for him is himself, the impression he makes on the voters in his own right, his own personality, his presentation of the issues. The issues by now have crystallized about as well as they can at a time when the range of choice seems narrow and the answers few on most of the big questions facing this country. 
     In the last full week of the campaign the leading issues were pursued at full tilt by the candidates, a kind of fifth-debate-in-spite-of-themselves, conducted at long-range from separate platforms. 
     First, the question of leadership, Mr. Nixon's claim to experience in dealing with national problems and Mr. Kennedy's challenge to those claims. 
     NIXON. [Cheering, applause] * * * in the White House and when he decides something it's for keeps. He can't take it back because once he does it then the decision rocks around the world and I have seen decisions like that made. I was there the morning the decision on Lebanon was made. I was there when Trieste was decided. I was there when the decisions on Iran, all these others, that have kept the peace and kept it without surrender. And my friends, this I know, that America at this time cannot afford to use the White House as a training ground to give experience to somebody at the expense of the United States of America. [Cheering, applause.] 
     KENNEDY. What Mr. Nixon doesn't understand is the President of the United States, Mr. Eisenhower, is not the candidate. You've seen those elephants in the circus with ivory in their heads - you know how they travel around the circus by grabbing the tail of the elephant in front of them [laughter, applause]. That was all right in 1952 and 1956. Mr. Nixon hung on tight. But now Mr. Nixon meets the people. The choice is not President Eisenhower, the choice is whether the people of this country want the leadership of Mr. Nixon and the Republican Party who've never stood for progress [cheering]. To show how desperate, to show how desperate and despicable this campaign has become, they're handing outside defense plants a poster which says, "Jack Kennedy is after your job." I'm after Mr. Eisenhower's job [applause, cheering]. 
     KURALT. The sharpest differences between the candidates have been on domestic matters, jobs and prosperity, the so-called pocketbook issues: Senator Kennedy saying the economy is heading for trouble and urging programs like medical care for the aged and aid to education; Mr. Nixon saying the economy is in good shape and claiming that the Kennedy program would hurt the consumer and taxpayer. 
     KENNEDY. [Applause, cheering]. I have a higher opinion of the people of this United States and their intelligence than to think they're going to buy Mr. Nixon and the Republican Party in 1960, a party which has stood for 25 years against progress. Here in this community of San Diego you have twice as much unemployment as a year ago. You are building 30 percent less homes than a year ago. You have 6,000 homes unsold. What happens to a worker who is thrown out of work? What does he do? How does he pay his bills? How does he feed his family? What are his chances? Who does he sell his house to in San Diego? This administration has stood still and junk like this isn't going to convince the people of San. Diego that Mr. Nixon or the Republican Party care because they don t care [applause cheering]. 
     NIXON. My friends, this, the most current point, and I use now the adjectives that I'm going to use after thorough consideration, advisedly, I want to say that I don't think of anything more despicable or irresponsible than my opponent's reference in the last few days of this campaign * * * [applause] * * * wait'll you hear what I'm going to say - to his reference to his prediction that the United States faces a slump or a recession. Listen, I was in Detroit the other day. I picked up a copy of the Detroit Free Press. There was an eight-column head in that paper that said, "Kennedy predicts slum." You know what that means? Do you know what that does to millions of people in this country? It strikes fear into their hearts. And it's that kind of talk that could bring the very slump that nobody wants. Well, do you know what was in that same headline, right above it, 
an eight-column head, "New car sales for the last week the biggest in the history of the United States" [applause]. Now * * * applause]. Now * * * [applause] * * * Now, my friends Now, my friends, somebody's wrong here. It's either the millions of people that are buying new cars who have faith in America and that's an indication they don't think there's a slump, or Senator Kennedy's wrong. I think the people are right and he's wrong [applause, cheering]. 
     KURALT. The question of our national prestige: Has our influence among the peoples of the world gone up or down under the present administration; and its corollary question, have the foreign policies of the administration been effective? 
     KENNEDY. [Applause, cheering]. Some may feel that their life is wholly unaffected by this decision, that their job is secure, that their rent is paid, that their taxes are paid, and are all likely to be the same, whichever man and whichever candidate holds this high office. But I want to make it clear that every American is affected by what happens. Our prestige abroad, what other people think of us is not of importance only to those Americans who work abroad. The sign "Yankee Go Home" does not apply only to our diplomats and our soldiers. The great struggle in the world today is not one of popularity, but one of power. And our power, in considerable measure, depends upon our ability to influence other nations, to identify ourselves with them, upon their willingness to associate with us, upon their willingness to follow our leadership. When Mr. Nixon says our prestige has never been higher, I say he's either misinformed or misled [applause, cheering]. 
     NIXON. I am getting sick and tired of hearing this constant whimpering and yammering and wringing of the towel with regard to "the poor United States." "Oh, under Eisenhower," they say, "everything's gone to pot. Our education is now second. Our science is second. We're second in space. We're running down in our economy and are going to be second there. Our military strength is frittered away and over across the way the great Soviet Union," as Mr. Stevenson said recently, and I quote from Pravda which quoted him, "and over across the way we find the Communist world looking more dynamic than the American world." Listen, my friends, I have been to Russia and I've seen it. I've been to the United States and I've seen it. And there is no need for a second-rate psychology on the part of any American, including the President of the United States [applause, cheering]. 
     SMITH. I'm Howard K. Smith. The big, spoken issues of the campaign are those you just listened to, experienced leadership, pocket book questions, America's prestige in the world. However, there are unspoken issues the candidates rarely mention and there is evidence these may be affecting voters even more. One is religion and the other is personality. 
     Regarding religion the New York Times last week asked its 21 campaign reporters which questions people seemed most concerned about and most put religion ahead of U.S. prestige abroad, and far ahead of pocketbook concerns. 
     We at CBS News have consulted some learned studies of how Americans have voted in all the elections from 1900 until the last election, 1956. The evidence supports a truth that few like to admit. It is that we pride our Nation on being a melting pot for the nationalities and creeds of Europe and the races of other continents, but, in fact, on election day we tend to unmelt, to crystallize and vote for interests of race or creed or national origin. 
     In the nations of Europe economic status is still the main determinant of how people vote but in the United States race, creed, and national origin are still more powerful and that is thought to be especially so when a candidate himself is from a distinct minority. 
     The effect of religion on the vote is hard to measure because people won't admit that it affects them. The effect of the other unspoken issue, personality, is hard to measure because it's simply too hard to define. 
     A lady of no political learning but of very powerful intuition recently described to a reporter how she applied the measure of personality. Just before every election, she said, she would imagine the pictures of all past Presidents in a long row of oval frames with the last frame left empty. Then she would in her imagination try the picture of each of the current candidates in the empty frame. One always looked righter than the other so she would vote for him. Using that method in the past nine elections, she said, she had never once failed to pick the winner; but which of the present two candidates better fits the oval frame she wouldn't say. 
     KURALT. Whoever finally fills the frame it will be because most people could see him there, could imagine him President. The parties, the issues, the temper of the times, the record of the past and the promises for the future - all these cross the consciousness of the electorate but when you make the X in the little box it's for a man you're voting, and these men appear to be a little different than the ones they were when their struggle for votes began. One of the notable, measurable things about the 1960 campaign is the way the image of both candidates has changed. The campaign has transformed the campaigners. 
     Here's a view of Mr. Nixon during this climactic week of the campaign. His main effort, of course, has been to project an image of calm, of maturity, the dignity of the experienced statesman. But lately, a strong note of anger, a grim note, has interrupted this theme [cheering, applause]. That's Mrs Nixon of course, sharing this welcome in Rochester, N.Y. The Vice President's speeches at first were full of homey stories about his family, anecdotes about his own boyhood experiences working in a general store, a toy train his family couldn't afford at Christmas, all told in a quiet, chatty manner. 
     When Mr. Nixon launches into his speeches now the smile gives way after the brief one at the microphone; so does the chatty manner. Instead, there seems to be a fighting mood, full of indignation. 
     NIXON. Every town I have been in today, every city I have visited and I've been down in Pennsylvania and Lancaster and in Erie. I've been in Syracuse. I've come to Rochester. I had a report on the speeches that my opponent made while he was here and in those speeches over and over again there was the same refrain. He said, "Mr. Nixon and his party are against aid to education. They're against education. They're against medical care for the aged. They're against social security."' I'll read what he said about that. He said, "The Republican Party has been inconsistent on many issues but on one issue it has been wholly consistent for a quarter of a century. It has attempted to wreck social security. I believe Mr. Nixon has led the wrecking crew and has not merely been a member of it." Now, he has said that not once; he has said it not four times in the cities that I have mentioned; he has said it over and over again. He's saying it again in California. Now the first time you say something wrong like that it's a mistake. The second time you say it it's a bad mistake. The third time you say it when you know it's wrong, it's a falsehood or lie and that's what I call it tonight. [Applause, cheering.] 
     KURALT. The change in Kennedy has been the reverse of the change in Nixon. It is hard to recognize in the relaxed, smiling, and confident Kennedy who responded to this week's shouting, shoving crowds the man who accepted his party's nomination back in July, the serious man who then seemed all cold efficiency, all business. 
     Kennedy has been subjected to a lot of screaming and jumping from frenzied crowds in this campaign. He used to withdraw from all this and even ignore his audience in punching his speeches across. Now he seems to encourage his supporters - one might almost call them his fans. 
     The somber, impatient Kennedy who opened this campaign has given way to a candidate who can smile, who can even sometimes get a smile from his audience as he did this week in Los Angeles when his speech was interrupted by a small mix-up with a microphone. 
     KENNEDY. * * * Democrat, a President who has run for office and perhaps and won on a program which bears little recognition to the facts, which is my polite way of referring to Mr. Nixon and he refers to me impolitely, I think that our chances [laughter]. That never happens in the Vice President's campaign. I understand that everything's in perfect order all the time. [Laughter.] They don't get the votes but its well organized. [Cheering, applause.] I'm now going to have to give a new speech evidently. [Cheering, applause.] 
     You all know Pat Hillings, don't you? [Applause.] 
     KURALT. Pat Hillings, as Senator Kennedy and his Los Angeles audience were well aware, is not an electrician but a Republican party leader in California. 
     Well, they'll be going on this way for another 3 days right down to the wire. In these last few days the candidates will keep right on traveling. Then Mr. Nixon will settle down in Los Angeles for election night. Senator Kennedy will go home to Hyannis Port, Mass., to catch the election returns. 
     CBS News will be bringing you those returns, of course, first, most complete, analyzed by our staff of correspondents starting at 7:30 p.m. eastern standard time next Tuesday evening, election night. I'll see you then and again next Friday evening on "Eyewitness to History." 
     This is Charles Kuralt. Good evening.

(Music)

     ANNOUNCER. Next Friday evening and every Friday evening at this same time for the drama of big events keep an eye on "Eyewitness to History."

(Music)

     Tonight you have seen and heard reports by CBS News correspondents Howard K. Smith, Ernest Leiser, and Charles Kuralt.

(Music)

     This program, live, film, and video tape, was produced under the supervision and control of CBS News. 
  
 


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Greg Burnham
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"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -- JFK

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