Double Tragedy: The Deaths of JFK & LBJ

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Double Tragedy: The Deaths of JFK & LBJ

November 21, 1963: Walter Cronkite looked and felt like a man who'd just been handed a death sentence. All morning he'd been praying that the bulletin out of Dallas would be wrong, that in those last few seconds before he went on the air some intern would breathlessly rush up to him to deliver the word that it had all been a mistake, that Air Force One had in fact safely reached Texas and President Kennedy's visit to Dallas would proceed as scheduled.​

But no such reprieve would be forthcoming, he realized now, and with a maximum effort at self-control he faced the camera to read the bulletin he knew would plunge an entire nation into grief: "We have received confirmation within the last few minutes that Air Force One, carrying President Kennedy and the First Family along with Vice-President and Mrs. Johnson, has crashed in the Gulf of Mexico... While the full details of the accident are still not yet known, it has already been verified that no one survived the impact."​

"Son of a bitch." whispered a shocked Barry Goldwater to no one in particular as he watched Cronkite's newscast on a black-and-white TV in his office. The idea of a sitting President dying before his term of office had ended was disturbing enough, but for one to be killed in a plane crash was unthinkable.​

A few doors down, Speaker of the House John McCormack wept not noticing or caring whether anybody heard him.​

At the Kremlin, Nikita Khrushchev gaped at the images on his television screen and wondered if the world were coming to an end. Never in a million years would it have occurred to him even in his wildest imagination that the President of the United States could perish in such a horrific fashion. Whatever one might think of the Americans' political philosophy, the CPSU First Secretary thought, one certainly had to admire their engineering skill; it simply wasn't possible this could have happened by mere chance. Either Kennedy's plane had been sabotaged in some fashion or it had been fired on.​

The First Term of President John McCormack


November 21, 1963: At 4PM, a Joint Session of Congress was convened in the House chamber where Chief Justice Earl Warren swore in John McCormack as the 36th President of the United States. McCormack was less than one month shy of his 72nd birthday and the oldest man ever to serve as president.​

In his first speech as President, McCormack expressed his sorrow over the deaths of Kennedy and Johnson, and vowed to live up to the great duty he had been called to undertake.​

“On the 20th day of January, in 1961, John F. Kennedy told his countrymen that our national work would not be finished "in the first thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But," he said, "let us begin."​

Today, in this moment of new resolve, I would say to all my fellow Americans, let us continue. I profoundly hope that the tragedy and the torment of these terrible days will bind us together in new fellowship, making us one people in our hour of sorrow. So let us here highly resolve that John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson did not live--or die--in vain. And this coming Thanksgiving, as we gather together to ask the Lord's blessing, and give Him our thanks, let us unite in those familiar and cherished words:​

America, America, God shed His grace on thee.
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.”​

November 25, 1963: A day after the funeral for Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson in Texas, John and Jacqueline Kennedy are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In a moment that becomes an emotional and iconic image of the 1960s, an orphaned three year old JFK, Jr. steps forward and renders a final salute as the flag-draped caskets holding his parents are carried out from St. Matthew's Cathedral. The photo, taken by UPI photographer Stan Stearns, would win the Pulitzer Prize. He and his sister Caroline will be raised by their uncle and aunt, Robert and Ethel Kennedy. Bobby eulogizes him with the words: "Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass through all the world."​

Kennedy concludes his eulogy, paraphrasing his deceased brother Robert by quoting George Bernard Shaw: "As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him, some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say, 'Why not?'"​

November 28, 1963: In his first Cabinet meeting, President McCormack announces that he will not seek a term of his own in 1964 but will serve out the remainder of his term until January 1965. He asks the Cabinet that he inherited from the Kennedy administration to stay on.​

After the meeting, RFK meets with President McCormack in the Oval Office to announce that he is resigning as Attorney General effective upon the confirmation of his successor. McCormack reluctantly accepts. By Christmas, the Senate confirms Nicholas Katzenbach as Attorney General while the Kennedy family will spend several months in seclusion at the family compound in Massachusetts.​

July 2, 1964: Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark piece of legislation that outlaws racial segregation in schools, public places and employment.​

July 3, 1964: On the eve of Independence Day, President McCormack signs the Civil Rights Act into law at the Rose Garden and gives pens to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Senator Hubert Humphrey and Robert Kennedy in his first public appearance since leaving the Cabinet.​

July 8, 1964: Both houses of Congress pass the 25th Amendment which is presented to the states for ratification. Section 2 of the amendment allows the President to nominate a Vice President if there is a vacancy in that office who will be confirmed by the House and Senate.​

July 16, 1964: Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona is officially nominated by the Republicans at their National Convention at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Goldwater selects Congressman William Miller as his running mate. Privately, Goldwater noted that Miller “drives McCormack nuts.”​

August 4, 1964: President McCormack is told by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that an incident took place in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. Apparently, two U.S. ships were fired upon by North Vietnamese ships. "Get confirmation on that," McCormack tells him. "If it's true, it means the situation in Southeast Asia has just become a war. But let's be sure it's true first.​

August 7, 1964: Secretary McNamara can now confirm it: There was no shooting on U.S. ships by North Vietnamese ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. "That was a close one," President McCormack tells him. "I didn't want to have to go to war and have Barry Goldwater criticize me for sending American boys to do what Asian boys should be doing for themselves."​

August 24, 1964: The Democratic National Convention opens at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Having clinched the majority of delegates, Senator Hubert Humphrey selects Governor Terry Sanford of North Carolina, a southern moderate, as his running mate.​

August 27, 1964: Governor John Conally of Texas introduces a short film in honor of the late Vice President Lyndon Johnson. This is followed by Robert Kennedy’s introduction of a short film in honor of his brother’s memory. Kennedy receives 22 minutes of uninterrupted applause,causing him to nearly break into tears. Speaking about JFK’s vision for the country, Kennedy famously quotes from Romeo and Juliet:​

[...] and when [he] shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.​

November 3, 1964: The election is a landslide for the Democrats as Hubert Humphrey is elected President of the United States.​


Hubert Humphrey/Terry Sanford (D) 61.3%, 486 EV
Barry Goldwater/Margaret Chase Smith (R) 38.0%, 52 EV

Humphrey’s coattails help Democrats increase their majorities in the House and Senate. In New York, Robert Kennedy defeats incumbent Senator Kenneth Keating despite moving to the state just before Labor Day. California Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown defeats Republican actor George Murphy for the Senate seat held by Clair Engle until his death earlier in the year.​

In Massachusetts, Governor Endicott Peabody is reelected by just 1 percent over former Governor John Volpe. Lieutenant Governor Francis Bellotti wanted to challenge him in the primary, but President McCormack intervened to put a stop to it.

The First Term of Hubert Horatio Humphrey


January 20, 1965: Hubert H. Humphrey is sworn in as the 37th President of the United States. In an Inaugural Address, HHH says, "It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

January 24, 1965: In a meeting with executives from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, President Humphrey tells them that America should accelerate its space program: "If we don't put a man on the Moon and return him safely to the Earth soon, the Soviets will get there first, and we don't want that." They tell HHH that a manned Moon landing is at least seven years away. "Not good enough," he tells them. "We might have a Red Moon by '72. You've already got two-man crews on Project Gemini. I know you're working on an escape-velocity rocket system. Can you put a man on the Moon by the end of the decade?" They say they will try.

August 14, 1965: In the wake of the Watts riots in Los Angeles, President Hubert Humphrey says, "This Administration declares an unconditional war on poverty. We can not allow the conditions that created the riot to continue."

November 8, 1965: President Hubert Humphrey signs a bill creating the Office of Economic Opportunity, legislation authored by Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

November 9, 1965: Much of the northeastern United States is hit with a blackout, the largest power failure in the nation's history. Despite the power loss, New York City, hit harder by the blackout than any other city, experiences the lowest number of total crimes committed on any night in its measured history.

November 10, 1965: Former Vice President Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee for President in 1960, attacks President Humphrey's "war on poverty." "It is not poverty that causes crime," Nixon says. "The blackout in New York yesterday proved that. A city with so many of the poor people the President claims to befriend had the fewest crimes in its history. What causes crime is criminal behavior. What this nation needs is more law and order."

January 29, 1966: President Hubert Humphrey delivers the State of the Union Address. In the face of criticism from conservative Republicans, who say that crime is caused by criminal behavior rather than poverty, and more law enforcement is needed, HHH says that he will expand the Equal Opportunity Act to aid minority hiring in urban police departments. "A young black man thinking of committing a crime might react with hatred for a white policeman threatening to arrest or shoot him," he says, "but he might react with more respect for a black policeman. The armed forces have integrated well. We should assist police departments with such an integration." Appointed to give the Republican response, Richard Nixon, now the front-runner for the 1968 Presidential nomination, talks about "big government" and "the situation in Vietnam," but not crime, poverty or racism.

March 18, 1966: Republican leaders in Congress ask President Humphey for a meeting at the White House. They tell him that the American military mission in Vietnam needs to be stepped up. "We've had five thousand men killed there," says Minority Leader Everett Dirksen. "What are they dying for? If we don't mount a major offensive, and soon, we might lose." HHH considers their recommendations, but later scoffs at them. He has his own ideas.

April 14, 1966: President Hubert Humphrey meets with Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev at Glassboro State College in southern New Jersey (now Rowan University). Brezhnev gives HHH what he wants: Assurance that the Soviet Union will not aid Arab nations should war break out between those nations and Israel; nor will the Soviets aid the Vietcong should the U.S. step up its role in Vietnam. In return, HHH agrees to withhold aid to anti-Communist dictators in Latin America and Africa, and to not attack Cuba during his Administration. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina calls this "appeasement" and "an American Munich."

January 27, 1967: During a "full up" rehearsal of the launch of Apollo 1, Mission Commander Gus Grissom gets fed up with communications problems and notes the smell of "foul milk" in the spacecraft's environmental system. Grissom's patience is exhausted and orders the test be cancelled. The launch pad team opens the hatches to Apollo 1 and Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee completes exiting the spacecraft at 6:24 pm. At 6:31pm as the Astronauts were preparing to leave the gantry, an electrical short causes a fire aboard Apollo 1. The Astronauts are evacuated and the fire is extinguished by the pad team. Due to the brief period of time of the fire, investigators are able to pinpoint the cause of the electrical short. The crews' narrow escape and terse comments at a press conference causes NASA to declare no Block 1 Apollo missions will be flown. The Block 2 Apollo spacecraft is ready in June 1968 and Grissom and his crew fly a flawless 14 day mission.

June 5, 1967: Israel launches pre-emptive attacks on its Arab neighbors, who had been massing troops on its borders. President Hubert Humphrey announces that he will not send aid to Israel as long as it is on the offensive, but will do so if Israel appears to be falling on the defensive. This proves unnecessary, as the Israelis win what becomes known as the Six-Day War.

October 2, 1967: Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President Hubert Humphrey to replace the retiring Justice Tom Clark.

January 27, 1968: President Hubert Humphrey is informed that a Vietcong attack is expected soon in Vietnam. He orders an attack on the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. "Let's end this thing for once and for all," he says. "We'll deal with the Russians and the Chinese if we have to later."

January 28, 1968: U.S. troops attack the North Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, two days before the scheduled offensive the Vietcong had planned for the Vietnamese New Year, or "Tet."

January 31, 1968: President Hubert Humphrey announces that the Vietnam War has been won. North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh has been shot and killed, and General Vo Nguyen Giap, in U.S. custody, has surrendered.

March 16, 1968: President Hubert Humphrey makes it official: He's running for re-election.

March 31, 1968: President Hubert Humphrey announces the signing of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Vietnam War. Reunification of a free Vietnam is scheduled for September 30.

April 4, 1968: Dr. Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis. President Hubert Humphrey gives an impassioned speech from the Oval Office, asking that anger over the killing be directed toward achieving King's goals rather than tearing down society.

Upon learning of King's death during a visit to a public school in Harlem, Senator Robert F. Kennedy gives a heartfelt, impromptu speech in which Kennedy called for reconciliation between the races.

“For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times...What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love--a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.”
The riots are few, and in New York City, there are no riots and no deaths are recorded, a fact many attribute to the effect of this speech.

June 5, 1968: After speaking to his supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in celebrating of his victory in the California Republican primary (and clinching the nomination for President), former Vice President Richard Nixon is shot as he is walking through the kitchen. Sirhan Sirhan is immediately caught by police. During questioning, Sirhan, a Jordanian Arab, claims he was taking revenge on Nixon for his pro-Israel, anti-Arab stance during last year's Six-Day War.

June 6, 1968: Doctors are unable to save Richard Nixon’s life as he succumbs to his injuries. He was 55.

Meanwhile, former Governor George Wallace of Alabama gives a campaign speech at the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi without mentioning the death of Nixon. He will be criticized in the press for it.

June 9, 1968: A state funeral is held in Washington for the assassinated former Vice President Richard Nixon. Eulogies are given at the National Cathedral by President Humphrey, Speaker of the House Carl Albert, House Minority Leader Gerald Ford, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield, Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen, Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Nixon’s former running mate Henry Cabot Lodge, and even Senator Robert F. Kennedy who was one of the pallbearers of Nixon’s coffin. Nixon’s body is then flown to Los Angeles where it is buried at his hometown of Whittier.

June 26, 1968: Chief Justice Earl Warren retires from the Supreme Court. President Humphrey promotes Associate Justice Byron White to be Chief Justice, and federal Appellate Judge and fellow Minnesotan Harry Blackmun to White’s seat as Associate Justice.

August 8, 1968: With the assassination of Richard Nixon throwing the Republican National Convention at Miami Beach open, several Republicans declare their candidacies hoping to win over Nixon’s delegates including Rep. John Ashbrook, Governor Ronald Reagan of California, and Governor George Romney of Michigan.

August 10, 1968: Governor Nelson Rockefeller clinches the Republican nomination for President on the third ballot. To win over support from the conservative and Southern delegates, Rockefeller reluctantly agrees to select John Ashbrook as his running mate. Rockefeller has his work cut out for him as he trails President Humphrey by 20 points.

August 29, 1968: The Democratic National Convention in Chicago goes off without incident as President Humphrey and Vice President Sanford are re-nominated by acclamation.

September 30, 1968: With President Hubert Humphrey and Secretary of State Dean Rusk in attendance, the Vietnam reunification ceremony is held in Saigon. Nguyen Van Thieu, President of South Vietnam, is now President of a united nation, at peace sine January 31.

November 5, 1968: President Hubert Humphrey is easily reelected to a second term as President of the United States.


Hubert Humphrey/Terry Sanford (D): 52%, 355 EV
Nelson Rockefeller/John Ashbrook (R): 33%, 130 EV
George Wallace/Curtis LeMay (AI): 14%, 53 EV

In the final analysis, it was evident that Americans voted to continue the peace and prosperity of the Humphrey administration. Rockefeller’s liberalism on civil rights and other social issues hurt the Republicans in the South and enabled George Wallace to win 6 states. While Rockefeller was able to win back some traditional Republican states, he lost his home state to Humphrey by 400 votes and could not even carry his running mate’s home state of Ohio.

The Democrats score modest gains in Congressional races. In Oregon, Senator Wayne Morse survives a strong challenge from state legislator Bob Packwood. In Pennsylvania, Senator Joseph Clark turns back a challenge from Congressman Richard Schweiker.

Newly elected Senators include Democrats Leroy Collins in Florida, James Allen in Alabama, Alan Cranston in California, Harold Hughes in Iowa; and Republicans William Saxbe in Ohio, Charles Matthias in Maryland, and Marlow Cook in Kentucky.

November 7, 1968: Dean Rusk announces that he will resign as Secretary of State at the end of the year. President Humphrey nominates UN Ambassador and former New York Governor Averell Harriman as Rusk’s successor. Humphrey also nominates Labor Secretary Daniel Patrick Moynihan as the new Ambassador to the United Nations.

The Second Term of Hubert Horatio Humphrey


January 20, 1969
: President Hubert Humphrey is sworn in for his second term in office.

March 24, 1969: Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower dies of a heart attack at the age of 78. President Hubert Humphrey, knowing that "Ike" was a football player at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and knowing that the federal government, through the Department of the Interior, runs the complex, signs an executive order renaming District of Columbia Stadium, home of baseball's Washington Senators and the NFL's Washington Redskins, "Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Stadium." Fans quickly begin to call it "Ike Stadium," though.

June 23, 1969: Associate Justice Hugo Black announces his retirement from the Supreme Court. President Humphrey nominates Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach as Black’s successor on the Supreme Court. To replace Katzenbach at the Justice Department, Humphrey nominates former Minnesota Governor Orville Freeman for Attorney General. Both nominees will be easily confirmed.

July 16, 1969: Apollo XI lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida -- later to be renamed the John F. Kennedy Space Center -- on its journey to the Moon.

July 20, 1969: President Hubert Humphrey picks up the phone and speaks to lunar astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. Always a fan of the space program, he cherishes this moment, and later recalls it as the highlight of his Administration. “I regret that Lyndon and Jack did not live to witness this moment,” said Humphrey to his wife Muriel.

July 24, 1969: Willy Brandt becomes Chancellor of West Germany. He is the first Social Democrat to hold such a position since the 1930s. The first to call and congratulate him is American president Hubert Humphrey, who knowing Brandt was the mayor of Berlin, ends the conversation with something that has been on his mind for a few years: “remember, always take pride in the words Ich Bin Ein Berliner.”

July 27, 1969: President Humphrey asks Congress to pass a new literacy bill.

October 20, 1969: Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis marries retired opera singer Maria Callas.

November 15, 1969: The Soviet submarine K-19 collides with the American submarine USS Gato in the Barents Sea; the incident is kept secret from the public, so as to not cause panic. The incident will later be revealed, but not until the 1990s, once the cold war is over.

November 25, 1969: The Occupational Safety & Health Act is passed, creating the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), a major piece of labor-related legislation.

December 1, 1969: Congress returns from Thanksgiving break. The Environmental Protection Act of 1969 is passed, and President Humphrey signs it into law. Before the week is out, the Congress will also pass an extension of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

December 15, 1969: Former actor Ronald Reagan announces his candidacy for Governor of California. In 1966, he came within 1,100 votes of defeating incumbent Democratic Governor Glenn Anderson. But with the state facing a minor recession, a budget deficit increasing as a result of the numerous highway construction projects started by Anderson's predecessor (now Senator) Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, and rising income taxes, Anderson decided not to seek reelection. Reagan is heavily favored to win next June's Republican primary against Lieutenant Governor Robert Finch, a protege of the late Vice President Richard Nixon. Among the Democrats, State Assembly Speaker Jess Unruh and Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty are running in that party's primary. Unruh and Yorty are sworn political enemies, and the primary contest is expected to be a negative one.

March 18, 1970: A movement to depose Prince Sihanouk as leader of Cambodia fails. With the American victory in the Vietnam War, Cambodia no longer needs to fear aggression from the Vietcong. The Khmer Rouge movement is doomed to failure.

May 4, 1970: It is a quiet day at Kent State University. A 14 year old runaway named Mary Ann Vecchio is arrested by on-campus police for trespassing. She will be returned to her hometown of Opa-locka, Florida in the custody of her parents. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Miller, a student at the university and graduate of John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview, New York, has just finished studying for final exams. He was recently accepted into the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and is planning to join his classmates Allison Krause and Sandra Lee Scheuer for dinner at the cafeteria on campus. Outside of Kent State, very few people will ever hear of Vecchio, Miller, Krause or Scheuer.

June 2, 1970: With conservative voters dominating the Republican primary in California, Ronald Reagan defeats Lt. Governor Robert Finch by a 57% to 41% margin. It is closer in the Democratic primary as Jess Unruh defeats Sam Yorty, 47% to 44%. Unruh's support and get out the vote efforts from African-American politicians, Berkley city councilor Ron Dellums, Congressman Augustus Hawkins, Assemblyman Willie Brown, Assemblywoman Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, and Los Angeles city councilor Tom Bradley contributed to his victory over the more conservative Los Angeles mayor.

October 10, 1970: Spiro Agnew resigns as Governor of Maryland following his conviction for income tax evasion. He had been running an uphill campaign for re-election against the Democratic nominee, Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law of the late President John F. Kennedy and former Ambassador to France. Shriver will be elected in a landslide, and be re-elected in 1974.

November 3, 1970: Republicans make small gains in the Congressional elections, but not enough to take either the House or Senate. In the Senate, Republicans gain the following seats: Rep Robert Roudebush defeats incumbent Vance Hartke in Indiana. Rep Glenn Beall defeats Joe Tydings in Maryland. In Texas, Rep George Bush defeats Senator Ralph Yarborough in a rematch of their 1964 contest. In Ohio, Governor James Rhodes defeats Howard Metzenbaum for the seat of retiring Democrat Stephen Young. In Florida, state legislator Lawton Chiles defeats Rep William Cramer to keep that Senate seat in Democratic hands. In Illinois, Secretary of State Adlai Stevenson II defeats appointed Senator Ralph Smith in a special election for the seat held by the late Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen. In Minnesota, Rep Donald Fraser is elected to the seat of retiring Senator Eugene McCarthy. In California, Ronald Reagan defeats State Assembly Speaker Jess Unruh to win his first term as Governor.

March 5, 1971: Vice Presidential Terry Sanford makes it official in a speech at Duke University in North Carolina. He is running for President. Although polls show Sanford as the frontrunner for the Democratic Party nomination, Senators Birch Bayh of Indiana, Henry “Scoop” Jackson of Washington, George McGovern of South Dakota, and Governor George Wallace of Alabama are expected to throw their hats in the ring.

By the end of this year, the following Republicans will announce their candidacies: former Governor George Romney of Michigan, Senators Howard Baker of Tennessee and Charles Percy of Illinois, and 1968 Vice Presidential nominee and Congressman John Ashbrook of Ohio.

March 8, 1971: In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, Governor Ronald Reagan of California announces that he will not be a candidate for President in 1972. “There is much work to be done in cutting the size of state government and taking on the big spending liberals in Sacramento.” What Reagan does not mention is that if he won the Presidency in 1972, he would be succeeded by Lt Governor John Tunney, a Democrat who defeated GOP Congressman Ed Reinecke in a close race in 1970. Tunney has expressed interest in running for Governor in 1974. So has California Secretary of State Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, son of Senator Pat Brown.

September 23, 1971: Justice John Marshall Harlan retires from the Supreme Court due to health reasons. He will die three months later. President Humphrey appoints former Solicitor General Archibald Cox Jr. He is easily confirmed.

November 20, 1971: On his 46th birthday, Senator Robert Kennedy announces that he will not be a candidate for President in 1972 and does not endorse any candidate. Privately, he tells his wife Ethel that he might have, if there were an obvious reason. "What if the Democrats hadn't pushed for Medicare," he says, "or the Voting Rights Act, or the War on Poverty? Suppose Lyndon became President and gotten us bogged down in a war somewhere and had tried to act all macho and Texan there. Imagine if Vietnam had fallen to the Communists, and had tried to spread communism throughout Asia. That might've gotten me into the race. But without something like that, running for President in 1972, especially against Terry would just be an exercise in vanity and everyone would know it."

January 4, 1972: President Humphrey announces that he will visit China in February 1972 in an effort to formally normalize relations with the Communist nation.

January 7, 1972: Lewis Powell, former President of the American Bar Association, is sworn in as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by President Humphrey to replace Justice Hugo Black.

January 24, 1972: In the Democratic caucus in Iowa, Vice President Terry Sanford is the winner with 35 percent of the vote. In a surprise, Senator Birch Bayh finishes second with 29 percent. Birch was helped by the fact that he was from a neighboring state and he had the endorsement of the state's Senator Harold Hughes. George McGovern, who headed a commission in reforming the Presidential selection process by apportioning delegates in each state, finished third with 25 percent. Scoop Jackson finished a poor fourth with only 8 percent.

George Romney wins the GOP contest with 41 percent of the vote. Romney appealed to farmers by promising to support the exploration of corn based alternative fuels. Senator Charles Percy takes 26 percent. John Ashbrook finishes third with 20 percent although he barely campaigned in the state. Ashbrook has spent much of his time in New Hampshire in the hope that his conservative message will resonate in a friendlier state.

February 21, 1972: President Humphrey lands in Beijing and is greeted by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. He is immediately summoned for a meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong, who had been ill nine days earlier but was at that point feeling strong enough to meet Humphrey. Secretary of State Averill Harriman is excluded from this meeting and the only other American present is National Security Council staffer Winston Lord. To avoid embarrassing Harriman, Lord was cropped out of all the official photographs of the meeting.

February 22, 1972: During a visit to the Great Wall of China with Premier Zhou, Humphrey huffs and puffs. “What’s the matter, Mister President?” asks Premier Zhou. “This Great Wall certainly gives you a great walk,” he responds, “The problem is that I haven’t been on a walk since I was a kid in Minnesota.”

February 28, 1972: As President Humphrey concludes his visit to China, the Americans and Chinese release a statement acknowledging the existence of one China. The statement enabled the U.S. and PRC to temporarily set aside the "crucial question obstructing the normalization of relations” concerning the political status of Taiwan and to open trade and other contacts. However, the United States will continue to maintain official relations with the government of the Republic of China in Taiwan. Back home, conservatives accuse the Humphrey administration of selling out Taiwan. In North Carolina, Republican Senate candidate Jesse Helms calls the visit an “American Munich.”

March 7, 1972: In the New Hampshire Primary, Congressman Ashbrook easily wins the Republican contest as Senator Percy and Governor Romney finished in a virtual tie for second place. Ashbrook, running with the endorsement of The Manchester Union Leader, was able to appeal to the anti-tax mood in the Granite State and even signed a no new taxes pledge. Romney and Percy refused to sign that same pledge and were criticized for it. In the Democratic contest, Vice President Sanford wins the primary but barely. Sanford takes 30 percent of the vote but in a surprise, George Wallace finished in second with 28 percent by focusing his campaign on the smaller towns and encouraging Republicans to cross over and vote for him in this open primary. Senators Bayh and McGovern each take 19 percent by appealing the youth and college age vote. Scoop Jackson finishes last but vows to remain in the race.

In analyzing the primary results, Governor Wallace appears to have the momentum as he campaigns in every county in Florida, a state he is favored to win and take all 45 delegates. In his stump speeches in the panhandle region of northern Florida, Wallace has accused Sanford of being a false southerner.

March 9, 1972: Vice President Sanford heads down to Florida to go all-out to win their primary. Instead of allowing Governor Wallace to frame the Democratic race as a referendum on busing and other issues that might appeal to white racists in the Southern State, he challenges Wallace's Democratic credentials, particularly in parts of the State with many elderly voters: "Governor Wallace said four years ago that there's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties. He's proving that there is. Is he a Democrat who will protect Social Security and Medicare? Is he a Democrat who will fight with organized labor to maintain job growth and good wages? Is he a Democrat who will work for the benefit of all the people? And is he a Democrat who will fight crime, whether committed by whites or blacks, against either whites or blacks? I am that kind of Democrat. Only he can say for himself whether he is."

March 14, 1972: Vice President Sanford shocks the political world with his victory in the Democratic primary in Florida and defeats Wallace 44 percent to 36 percent. While Wallace wins the counties in Dixiecrat leaning northern Florida, Sanford wins the rest. Sanford wins the African-American and Jewish vote in the southern parts of the state. Scoop Jackson does a little better with 17 percent by appealing to the military vote. John Ashbrook wins the Republican primary. His anti-communist credentials wins over the Cuban-American community in Miami.

March 21, 1972: Senator Charles Percy finally wins a primary. It is in his home state of Illinois. While Percy had the support of Governor Richard Ogilvie, Congressman John Anderson and the Republican establishment, Congressman Ashbrook had the endorsement of his House colleagues Philip Crane and Edwin Derwinski, and conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly. Vice President Sanford is the winner of the Democratic contest. He also had the endorsement of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley and his political machine. Birch Bayh finishes a distant second and does well in the downstate counties, especially those bordering Indiana. George Wallace’s law and order campaign fails to resonate as he finishes third.

March 30, 1972: George Romney and Vice President Sanford win their respective parties primaries in Wisconsin. Sanford appears headed for the Democratic nomination while it looks like Romney and Ashbrook will battle it out for the Republicans. This is also the day that Senator Charles Percy drops out of the race but does not endorse a candidate.

April 4, 1972: In a hard fought battle, George Romney barely defeats John Ashbrook in the Wisconsin primary. Romney had been able to utilize his home turf advantage in a very middle class state and the birthplace of the GOP. Sanford wins the Democratic primary.

April 22, 1972: It is primary day in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Romney wins both states for the Republicans. In Pennsylvania, Scoop Jackson finally wins a primary by campaigning in heavily blue collar counties and emphasizing his anti-busing and pro-defense credentials. Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo’s endorsement certainly did not hurt. Vice President Sanford is victorious in Massachusetts as he squeaks by Senators McGovern and Jackson. Sanford overcomes McGovern’s support in the college community and Jackson’s support in Boston where opposition to busing is strong.

McGovern’s failure to win in Massachusetts is a disappointment as he hoped to win in a very liberal state. But an article written by columnist Robert Novak in which he quoted an unnamed Senator that McGovern was the candidate of “acid, amnesty and abortion” hurt McGovern among Catholic voters in both states. In a 2007 interview with Meet The Press, Novak reveals that the unnamed Senator was the late Thomas Eagleton of Missouri.

May 2, 1972: Congressman Ashbrook wins the Republican primaries in his home state of Ohio and Indiana. Romney wins the District of Columbia primary. On the Democratic side, Birch Bayh wins his home state but Sanford takes the rest. With his campaign running out of money, Bayh announces his withdrawal from the race and endorses the Vice President.

May 4, 1972: Senator Howard Baker wins the primary in his home state of Tennessee. It will be his only win as he suspends his campaign. George Wallace squeaks to a 500 vote victory in the Democratic primary over Vice President Sanford.

May 6, 1972: It is an easy victory in the North Carolina Democratic primary for its favorite son Terry Sanford as he wins 85 percent of the votes and all the delegates. John Ashbrook wins the Republican contest and it appears that he is consolidated his support in the South as he is favored to win the remaining southern states which choose their delegations through state conventions instead of primaries. But that is expected to change in the future.

May 9, 1972: It is John Ashbrook that is receiving the momentum as he wins today’s primaries in West Virginia and Nebraska. Terry Sanford continues his winning streak in both states for the Democrats. George Wallace finishes a distant second in West Virginia but does poorly in Nebraska. He hopes to do better in Maryland.

May 15, 1972: While campaigning at a shopping center in Laurel, Maryland, George Wallace is shot by Arthur Bremer in an assassination attempt. Wallace will be paralyzed from the waist down and forced to end his campaign. Upon learning the news, Vice President Sanford remarks, “If they got the right man, and it looks like they did, they should lock him up forever. Governor Wallace deserved defeat, not death."

May 16, 1972: George Romney wins his home state of Michigan while John Ashbrook wins Maryland. Sanford wins both states for the Democrats. His path to the Democratic nomination is assured when Senator George McGovern announces his withdrawal from the campaign.

May 23, 1972: With the endorsements of Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon and former Rhode Island Governor John Chafee, Romney wins both states Republican primaries. However, Romney trails Ashbrook who appears headed to the GOP nomination.

July 14, 1972: The Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominates Vice President Terry Sanford for President. As his running mate, Sanford selects Senator Harold Hughes of Iowa. Hughes had served as Iowa's Governor (1963-1969) before his election to the Senate in 1968 and is a recovering alcoholic. In a convention that celebrates the accomplishments of the Humphrey administration, the Sanford-Hughes ticket leaves Miami Beach with a 15 point lead over Ashbrook.

August 23, 1972: John Ashbrook is officially nominated for President at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida. Needing to be competitive in the South, Ashbrook selects Senator John Tower of Texas as his Vice Presidential running mate. With the country at peace and prosperity, the Republicans have their work cut out from them.

September 2, 1972: While campaigning in Dearborn, Michigan during Labor Day weekend, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford introduces John Tower at a rally near the General Motors auto plant. Tower declares that, “I realize that the American auto industry is struggling. Competition from foreign companies is leading this great state into economic collapse, and some are calling Michigan and surrounding states the ‘Rust Belt’ because of the economic slowdown. These people are right; many of the jobs we have lost are not coming back.” Although Tower goes on to explain that by supporting John Ashbrook's offshore oil drilling plan new automotive jobs can be created, many in the press attack “Tower’s pessimism.” Michigan Governor William Milliken after hearing the speech tells Ford that Tower cost the Republicans the state.

“Senator Tower has shown he has a ‘can’t do’ attitude and John Ashbrook still does not understand the needs of the middle class,” Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) declares on The Today Show on NBC.

November 7, 1972: Terry Sanford is elected President of the United States in a comfortable, if not overwhelming, victory over John Ashbrook.


Terry Sanford/Harold Hughes (D), 55%, 389 EV
John Ashbrook/John Tower (R), 44%, 149 EV

The Democrats also add to their majorities in the House and Senate. Among the newly elected Democrats in the Senate: Richard Clark defeats Senator Jack Miller in Iowa, Floyd Haskell defeats Senator Gordon Allott in Colorado, Congressman James Abourezk is elected to the seat of retiring GOP Senator Karl Mundt in South Dakota, Sam Nunn is elected in Georgia to the Senate seat held by the later Senator Richard Russell. Walter Huddleston defeats former Governor Louie B. Nunn in Kentucky for the seat held by outgoing Republican John Sherman Cooper, and Congressman William Hathaway of Maine wins the seat of retiring Republican Margaret Chase Smith. In North Carolina, Terry Sanford's coattails enable Congressman Nick Galifianakis to squeak to a 600 vote victory over Republican Jesse Helms. And in a major upset, New Castle County councilman Joseph Biden, weeks shy of his 30th birthday, wins the contest to succeed retiring Senator Caleb Boggs.

Republicans are able to gain Senate seats in Oklahoma, where former Governor Dewey Bartlett defeats Congressman Ed Edmondson for the seat held by Fred Harris who did not seek reelection. In New Mexico, Pete Domenici wins the seat of retiring Senator Clinton Anderson. In Idaho, Congressman James McClure is elected to succeed outgoing Senator Len Jordan.

Although John Tower will not become Vice President, he is reelected to his Senate seat in Texas.

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The First Term of James Terry Sanford


January 20, 1973: Terry Sanford is sworn into office as President of the United States. “We have spent the first half of the 20th Century becoming the most powerful nation this world has ever known," he says in his Inaugural Address. "And so far, we have spent the second half of the Century to use that power for justice and peace, at home and abroad. I call on America to use this decade to create prosperity. As President, I declare total war on inequality and I intend to win this fight.”

January 21, 1973: The US Senate confirms the following Cabinet confirmations: J. William Fulbright as Secretary of State, Clark Clifford as Secretary of Defense, and Hawaii Governor John Burns as Secretary of the Interior. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is confirmed as Ambassador to the United Nations, which President Sanford elevates to cabinet level status.

January 22, 1973: By an 8-1 decision, the US Supreme Court upholds a woman’s right to an abortion and disallows several state and federal regulations on the matter. The decision under Roe v. Wade would prompt a national debate on abortion that continues to this day. In his radio commentary, Jesse Helms praises Byron White for being the only dissenting Supreme Court Justice.

February 5, 1973: President Sanford signs an executive order drafted by Labor Secretary Arthur Fletcher to require government contractors to meet certain goals for the hiring of African American employees by specific dates in order to combat institutionalized discrimination on the part of specific skilled building trades unions. The order, dubbed “The Philadelphia Plan” because it was targeted to contractors in Philadelphia, would quickly be extended to other cities. Many conservatives denounce the plan for setting racial quotas. Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo is also critical of the plan as the order covers city government contracts but promises to adhere to it for now.

February 21, 1973: Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 (Boeing 727) is shot down by Israeli fighter aircraft over the Sinai Desert, after the passenger plane is suspected of being an enemy military plane. Only 5 (1 crew member and 4 passengers) of 113 survive.

February 22, 1973: Libyan expatriates hold protests in front of the Israeli embassies in London, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam denouncing the Israelis for shooting down a passenger plane and demand international sanctions on Israel. Although Israel is censured by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations decides not to take any action against Israel. The United States does not accept the reasoning given by Israel, and condemned the incident.

April 4, 1973: The World Trade Center officially opens in New York City with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by President Sanford, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and New York City Mayor John Lindsay.

April 27, 1973: The Senate confirms L. Patrick Gray III as Director of the FBI. Gray had served as acting Director since the death of J. Edgar Hoover last May.

April 30, 1973: Harry Robbins Haldeman, a former Chief of Staff to Richard Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign, is promoted to Vice President of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Los Angeles. In Seattle, lawyer John Ehrlichman resigns from his private practice to become Deputy State Attorney General of Washington.

May 17, 1973: Congress goes about its usual business as there are no hearings of any major importance. The only major announcement comes from Senator Sam Ervin (Democrat of North Carolina) who announces that he will not seek reelection in 1974.

June 16, 1973: President Sanford meets with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in the White House. Sanford asks Brezhnev to sign the Helsinki Accords and ease restrictions on the Jewish community in the USSR. The Russians will sign on to the Helsinki Accords in 1975.

June 29, 1973: Chilean Colonel Roberto Souper surrounds the La Moneda presidential with his tank regiment and failed to depose the Government of President Salvador Allende. That failed coup d’état — known as the Tanquetazo tank putsch — organised by the nationalist Patria y Libertad paramilitary group, will be followed by a general strike at the end of July that includes the copper miners of El Teniente.

July 1, 1973: Congress passes legislation to merge the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), and other Federal offices into a single agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA will be under the authority of the Department of Justice. Senator James Rhodes (Republican of Ohio) had pushed for this act since he was elected to the Senate in 1970. At the White House signing ceremony, President Sanford gives the ceremonial pens to Senator Rhodes and Senate Judiciary Chairman James Eastland (Democrat of Mississippi).

July 2, 1973: In its last piece of business before the July 4th holiday break, Congress passes the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) mandating Special Education federally.

July 17, 1973: King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan is deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan while in Italy undergoing eye surgery. Daoud abolishes the monarchy and declares Afghanistan a republic and himself as President.

September 11, 1973: Chilean army officers attempt a coup to overthrow President Salvador Allende. Loyalist army officers arrest its ringleader, General Augusto Pinochet, and thwart an attempted kidnapping of Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. President Allende declares a state of emergency and imposes a dusk to dawn curfew in Santiago.

September 12, 1973: Mutinous army officers attack the prison where Pinochet is held and help him escape. It is clear that the Chilean military is divided. The Chilean civil war has begun.

October 6, 1973: Syrian and Egyptian military forces conduct a surprise joint attack on Israel at the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jews. The conflict will be known as the Yom Kippur War.

October 9, 1973: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Israeli Ambassador to the US Yitzhak Rabin meet with President Sanford in the White House and plead for American assistance in the face of IDF casualties in the Yom Kippur War. President Sanford is somewhat reluctant to contribute military assets to the conflict but Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford convinces the President that it is preferable to Soviet aid to the Arab countries and Israeli use of nuclear weapons (which it officially denies it has). Later that day, Ambassador Rabin meets with Congressman Edward Koch (Democrat of New York) and Senator Jacob Javits (Republican of New York) at the Capitol building.

October 12, 1973: President Sanford authorizes Operation Nickel Grass, an overt strategic airlift to deliver weapons and supplies to Israel, after the Soviet Union began sending arms to Syria and Egypt.

October 16, 1973: In response to American help to Israel in the Yom Kippur War, OPEC announces its decision to raise the price of oil by 70 percent, to $5.11 a barrel. The following day, Arab oil ministers endorse OPEC’s decision and cut production by 5 percent from September’s output. These moves trigger the 1973 oil crisis.

October 19, 1973: President Sanford requests Congress to appropriate $2.2 billion in emergency aid to Israel, including $1.5 billion in out-right grants. The next day, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the other Arab state follow suit and embargo all oil shipments to the United States.

October 24, 1973: In response to the events in the Middle East, the Dow Jones industrial average drops 45 percent. The Crash of ’73 becomes the worst stock drop off since 1929.

October 26, 1973: In a compromise brokered by Secretary of State J. William Fulbright and UN Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Egypt and Syria agree to cease fire terms with Israel officially ending the Yom Kippur War. Syria had hoped to take back the Golan Heights from Israel but the situation returns to the status quo antebellum.

October 27, 1973: During an official visit in Washington, a car bomb explodes in the limousine carrying Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. In an open market in Armagh, Northern Ireland, a bomb goes off killing almost a hundred civilians in what is suspected to be an IRA attack. In an airport terminal in Athens, gunmen from the Palestinian Revolutionary Front attack passengers waiting for El Al flights to Israel. Greek security forces engage the terrorists in a gun fight and succeed in killing every one of them. These events would be known as the Saturday Night Massacre.

November 6, 1973: GOP Governor William Cahill of New Jersey squeaks by reelection over former State Superior Court Judge Brendan Byrne. In Virginia, the Republicans hold the Governorship as Mills Godwin defeats Lt. Governor Henry Howell. Godwin had served as Governor of Virginia from 1966-1970 as a Democrat.

December 14, 1973: Prime Minister Golda Meir leads the newly formed Labor Party to victory in that country’s elections. Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin is elected to his first term in the Knesset.

December 18, 1973: Nelson Rockefeller announces his resignation as Governor of New York to become chairman of the Commission on Critical Choices for Americans, an organization he established last month. Many believe his resignation will free him to run for President in 1976. Malcolm Wilson, having served as Lieutenant Governor during Rockefeller’s 14 years as Governor, becomes the 50th Governor of the Empire State.

January 21, 1974: President Sanford gives his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress. He puts forth a vision of human rights in American oil policy, and also offers to mediate in the Chilean Civil War. “By the year 1990, this nation should no longer be dependent on oil from nations that refuse to govern their people in a democratic fashion. Their dictators will not dictate to us what we will spend on the energy we want to use!”

January 22, 1974: On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, Dr. James Dobson founds Focus on the Family, a pro-family, pro-Christian nonprofit group. Dobson will soon get his own radio show and espouse his traditionalist beliefs. Focus on the Family will one day grow into the largest Christian nonprofit group in the world.

April 11, 1974: Golda Meir resigns as Prime Minister of Israel. “Five years are sufficient. It is beyond my strength to continue carrying this burden.” The Labor Party will nominate Yitzhak Rabin as its party leader. In a reshuffling of the government, Prime Minister Rabin replaces Abba Eban as Foreign Minister with former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. Eban becomes Deputy Prime Minister. Rabin appoints rival Shimon Peres as Defense Minister.

May 28, 1974: After a shaky Friday, the stock market has had the long Memorial Day weekend to worry investors. Prices drop sharply but it is not steep as to be a “Crash of ’74,” and the market does bounce back the next day, but with inflation rising, including the highest gasoline prices ever as the summer begins, a drop in stock prices cannot be considered good news.

June 1, 1974: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library opens at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Senators Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and Bobby Kennedy of New York preside over the opening. At the entrance to the library is a quote from JFK’s inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Attending are current President Terry Sanford and former Presidents John McCormack and Hubert Humphrey. Also in attendance are Caroline and John F. Kennedy, Jr.; Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of the late Vice President Lyndon Johnson, and her husband Charles Robb; Governor John Volpe of Massachusetts; and John Conally, former Governor of Texas and close friend of LBJ.

June 4, 1974: It is primary day in California. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, California’s Secretary of State and son of Senator Pat Brown, wins the Democratic primary for Governor over San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, Congressman Jerome Waldie, and State Assembly Speaker Bob Moretti. Senator Alan Cranston easily wins his primary over former Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty by a 63 to 37 percent margin. On the Republican side, Governor Ronald Reagan and Lieutenant Governor Edwin Reinecke are unopposed. Former Lieutenant Governor Robert Finch is victorious in the Republican primary for Senator over conservative talk show host Bob Dornan and former Congressman John Schmitz.

July 12, 1974: Kopechne & Associates, a new law firm, is founded in Camden, New Jersey by Mary Jo Kopechne, a former member of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s staff. Kopechne passed the New York and New Jersey bars and served as an associate at other firms.

August 9, 1974: A bombshell erupts with an article in the Washington Post co-authored by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reveals that Spanish and Brazilian governments gave covert aid to the rebels in Chile seeking to overthrow the elected Allende government. Such aid included Spanish and Brazilian military advisors to the rebel army, when in reality they were combat troops fighting side by side with the Chilean rebels. The article also alleges that Spanish diplomats and former CIA agents provided the materials to create the bomb that killed Orlando Letelier last year. Some American conservatives are outraged. Jesse Helms, a candidate for the US Senate reamrks, “Woodward and Bernstein are not your typical garden variety liberals. They are militant socialistic apologists for the Allende regime who are out to smear God fearing patriots.” Governor Ronald Reagan of California would privately remark to his Chief of Staff Edwin Meese that Woodward and Bernstein were “Communist bums.”

August 11, 1974: The Spanish and Brazilian ambassadors to the United States are summoned to the State Department to receive an official protest from Secretary of State J. William Fulbright regarding the allegations addressed by the article in the Washington Post. The two ambassadors vehemently deny the charges.

August 12, 1974: In his capacity as President of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan calls an emergency meeting to address the allegations of Spanish and Brazilian aid to the rebels in Chile. The Security Council unanimously votes to bring a resolution to the full General Assembly.

August 13, 1974: In a blow to the rebels, pro-Government forces win back control of the city of Valparaiso and recapture army barracks formerly held by the rebels. The army takes into custody several wounded survivors among the military advisors who are found to Brazilian and Spanish soldiers. Surprisingly, two men taken into custody are Americans and they are paraded in a televised news conference in Santiago: G. Gordon Liddy, a former CIA agent and a campaign operative for the late Richard Nixon, and James Gordon “Bo” Gritz, a Vietnam War veteran and a Major in the United States Army Special Forces.

August 14, 1974: Despite a few abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly votes to unanimously impose economic sanctions on Brazil and Spain. Back in Washington, US Attorney General Robert Meyner officially asks the Chilean government to extradite Bo Gritz. President Allende agrees to turn Gritz over to the United States where he will be court martialled for going AWOL. Liddy will remain in Chilean custody and tried in its courts.

August 20, 1974: Having lost the assistance of the Spanish and Brazilian military advisors, the remaining rebel soldiers surrender to the Chilean government. However, Brazilian intelligence agents help Augusto Pinochet and a few officers cross the border into Argentina and then end up in Brazil. Pinochet will spend his exile in Spain as a personal guest of General Francisco Franco. The Chilean Civil War has come to an end.

November 5, 1974: The mid-term elections are a bloodbath for the Democrats. The Republicans gain 65 seats and take control of the Houses of Representatives. They also gain 9 seats and 54-46 control in the Senate. For the first time in American history, the nation is dealing with high unemployment and high inflation at the same time, and the public has lost confidence in President Terry Sanford. In Idaho, Rep Steve Symms defeats incumbent Senator Frank Church. Drug store magnate Jack Eckerd ousts Senator LeRoy Collins in Florida. In North Carolina, Jesse Helms wins a Senate seat on his second try as he succeeds Democrat Sam Ervin. Mayor Richard Lugar of Indianapolis defeats second term Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana. Former California Lt Governor Robert Finch defeats freshman Senator Alan Cranston. In South Dakota, Senator George McGovern loses reelection to Vietnam War veteran Leo Thorsness. Governor Walter Hickel of Alaska defeats Senator Mike Gravel in what is easily the nastiest race in the country. In the state of Washington, Attorney General Slade Gorton scores an upset win over 5-term Senator Warren Magnusson. In Iowa, former Lt Governor Rodger Jepsen defeated David Stanley, an appointee to Vice President Harold Hughes’ Senate seat, in the Republican primary and Democratic Rep John Culver in the general election.

Also elected to their first terms in the Senate are former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer who defeats Pittsburgh Mayor Pete Flaherty in the race to succeed Joseph Clark, Rep Louis Wyman in New Hampshire who succeeds Norris Cotton; Rep Richard Mallory who succeeds George Aiken in Vermont, Salt Lake City Mayor Jake Garn who succeeds Wallace Bennett in Utah, and former Governor Paul Laxalt of Nevada; he defeats Lt Governor Harry Reid for the seat of retiring Senator Alan Bible.

With Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, Rep Gerald Ford of Michigan realizes his dream of becoming Speaker of the House. Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania will become Majority Leader of the Senate.

Also of note is the reelection of California Governor Ronald Reagan. He defeats Jerry Brown by a 58 to 37 percent margin, and is regarded as the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 1976 against President Terry Sanford. In his victory celebration, there were a few Reagan for President signs in the audience.

January 3, 1975: Senator-elect Slade Gorton resigns as Attorney General of Washington. Governor Daniel Evans names Deputy Attorney General John Ehrlichman as interim Attorney General.

May 14, 1975: The container ship S.S. Mayaguez sails into Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, a nation which once had quite a bit of Communist guerilla activity, but that activity has noticable diminished since the end of the Vietnam War. The ship will leave Cambodian waters without incident.

August 28, 1975: Having been literally abandoned by its Portugese colonial rulers, the colonial legislature of East Timor unilaterally declares its independence and elects Francisco Xavier do Amaral as the new country's first President. In Jakarta, Indonesian President Suharto is not too pleased. The new country borders the Indonesian province of West Timor and Amaral's Fretilin party had been rumored to receiving covert assistance from China during its independence struggle against Portugal.

August 30, 1975: Upon hearing the news that Indonesian troops in West Timor began attacking the East Timorese, President Sanford arrives in Australia on an official visit. At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the two leaders warn Indonesia that in no uncertain terms that will the attempted invasion stand and threaten economic sanctions.

August 31, 1975: The United States, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, China and Canada officially recognize East Timor's independence. Prime Minister Whitlam orders Australian navy ships to the coast of East Timor.

September 1, 1975: Not wanting to risk a war with Australia, President Suharto of Indonesia orders the military to stand down and cancels the invasion of East Timor. Although humiliated, Suharto knows that there will be an election next year in America. He decides to make a personal phone call to a banker named Mochtar Riady.

September 5, 1975: On a visit to San Francisco, Governor Ronald Reagan addresses a group of conservative supporters at the St. Francis Hotel. “The expansion of Communist powers must be stopped,” he says. “Let us be aware that, while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its onipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world. So, in your discussions of relations with the Soviet Union, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride, the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggresive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong, and good and evil. For a nation still looking for leadership from Washington, we must commit to asserting our leadership in the community of nations. Therefore, it is with great pride that I declare my candidacy for President of the United States of America.”

November 9, 1975: Facing a deadlock with the Australian Senate over its refusal to pass the budget, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam asks Governor-General Sir John Kerr to dissolve Parliament and call for new elections.

November 20, 1975: Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco dies after 39 years of iron fisted rule. His designated successor, Crown Prince Juan Carlos, becomes King Juan Carlos I. For the first time in 44 years, the Spanish monarchy has been restored.

November 24, 1975: As Congress begins its Thanksgiving break, Vice President Harold Hughes announces that he will not seek reelection in 1976 and return home to Iowa after completing his term of office. This news is a blow to President Sanford's chances for reelection. The unemployment rate just went up to 9 percent and the price of oil has increased by 40 percent since Sanford took office as President. Now, Sanford will have to find a new running mate. 1976 will not be an easy year for the President.

November 26, 1975: After three years in the opposition, the Liberal Party defeats Labor in the Australian elections. Malcolm Fraser becomes the new Prime Minister of Australia.

December 2, 1975: Congressman John Anderson becomes the second Republican to officially announces his candidacy for President. He hopes to appeal to moderates wary of Ronald Reagan's ideological conservatism. Later in the month, former Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, and Senators Howard Baker of Tennessee and Robert Dole of Kansas will also throw their hats into the presidential ring. Most polls show Reagan as the frontunner for the Republican nomination ahead of Rockefeller with the other candidates in single digits.

December 19, 1975: Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas retires after serving a record 36 years on the Supreme Court. President Sanford nominates Judge Griffin Bell of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (and co-chairman of John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in Georgia) as Douglas' successor. Bell will be easily confirmed by the Senate.

January 5, 1976: As the Republican candidates for President campaign on the snow covered roads of Iowa and meet to debate at the Iowa State University campus, an announcement is made at a press conference in New York. Senator Robert F. Kennedy will not seek reelection this fall for a third term or seek any other office. His brother, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, is running for reelection in Massachusetts.

January 27, 1976: Senator Robert Dole of Kansas scores an upset victory in the Iowa Republican caucus with his appeal to the farm vote. Dole takes 32 percent of the vote, followed by Governor Ronald Reagan of California with 28 percent, Senator Howard Baker with 20 percent, Nelson Rockefeller with 14 percent, and Congressman John Anderson with 5 percent. It is now off to New Hampshire, as Senator George Bush of Texas remarks to his wife Barbara that it is Dole that has “the big mo.”

February 11, 1976: The Nashua Telegraph invites Ronald Reagan and Bob Dole to debate each other at a local high school without the participation of the other candidates. Nelson Rockefeller files a protest with the Federal Elections Commission that the debate was the equivalent of an illegal campaign contribution to Bush and Dole.

February 13, 1976: In a victory for Rockefeller, the FEC orders the Nashua Telegraph to allow all Republican candidates to the debate or cancel it altogether. Ronald Reagan offers to pay for the debate instead of the newspaper. That obviously means that the debate would go on as planned, just between Reagan and Dole.

February 21, 1976: All five Republican candidates show up at the debate but there are only two chairs available much to the dismay of Bob Dole. When the editor of the Nashua Telegraph orders Reagan’s microphone turned off, an angry Reagan responds that “I paid for this microphone!” His outburst becomes the turning point and Reagan is considered the winner of the debate. When President Sanford is asked about the debate on his way to spending the weekend at Camp David, he replies sarcastically: “I am not surprised. Governor Reagan did pay for the microphone.”

February 24, 1976: Ronald Reagan easily wins the New Hampshire Republican primary with 50 percent of the vote. Bob Dole finishes in second place with 19 percent, followed by Nelson Rockefeller with 16 percent, Howard Baker with 10 percent and John Anderson with 4 percent.

February 25, 1976: Congressman John Anderson drops out of the race for President but does not endorse a candidate.

March 2, 1976: Nelson Rockefeller finally wins a primary. In Massachusetts, Rocky wins with 60 percent of the vote while Reagan takes 31 percent, Dole 7 percent and Howard Baker just 1 percent. Rockefeller takes 72 percent of the votes to win Vermont.

March 9, 1976: With the endorsement of Senator Jack Eckerd, Ronald Reagan takes 54 percent to win the Florida primary. Nelson Rockefeller is runner-up with 26 percent while Dole and Baker split the rest.

March 16, 1976: Thanks to the endorsement of Senator Charles Percy, Bob Dole wins the Illinois primary in a close contest. Dole takes 34 percent, Reagan 31 percent and Rockefeller 29 percent (mostly in the Chicago suburbs). Howard Baker needs to win a primary or finish second in order to have a chance of winning the nomination.

March 23, 1976: Senator Jesse Helms’ political organization proves crucial to Reagan’s victory in North Carolina. Reagan takes 56 percent. Runner-up is Howard Baker with 30 percent followed by Dole with 11 percent and Rockefeller with 3 percent.

April 6, 1976: In the birthplace of the Grand Old Party, Ronald Reagan wins Wisconsin but it is close. He takes 36 percent and edges Nelson Rockefeller who had 33 percent. Bob Dole did well among farmers and took 25 percent. Howard Baker is dead last with 5 percent. Reagan is now the established frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

April 27, 1976: Nelson Rockefeller convinces voters in Pennsylvania that his business background and experience as a state governor is what is needed to create jobs. He wins the state with 47 percent. Ronald Reagan takes 39 percent.

May 4, 1976: After winning the Texas primary three days earlier, Ronald Reagan wins the Georgia and Indiana primaries. Reagan is cementing his lead in delegates.

May 11, 1976: Governor Reagan runs his winning streak to five with victories in the Nebraska and West Virginia primaries. Dole had hoped to do better in Nebraska since it is next door to Kansas. With very little money in his campaign, Senator Baker drops out but does not endorse a candidate.

May 18, 1976: Nelson Rockefeller stops Reagan’s momentum and wins the Maryland and Michigan primaries. The endorsements from Senator Charles Matthias of Maryland and Governor William Milliken of Michigan were helpful.

May 25, 1976: Six states hold primaries today. Reagan wins in Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Idaho and Nevada. Senator Mark Hatfield’s endorsement leads to a Rockefeller win in Oregon. With today’s wins, Ronald Reagan has officially clinched the Republican nomination.

June 1, 1976: After celebrating his victory in the South Dakota primary, Senator Robert Dole suspends his campaign. Reagan wins the Montana primary while Rockefeller wins Rhode Island.

June 8, 1976: The primary season ends today with three primaries. Ronald Reagan easily wins in Ohio and his home state of California. Nelson Rockefeller is the only candidate to appear on the New Jersey ballot.

At a speech to his supporters in New York City that is televised, Rockefeller announces that he is retiring from politics: "My fellow Americans, the events of the past year have shown me that I did not have the support of the Republicans to be President. I tried to have it both ways. I tried to be a candidate for President of the United States and to be Nelson Rockefeller at the same time. I discovered I couldn't do that. I apologize to you. And I am sorry for all the pain I have caused. I couldn't do right by you. I don't know what happened. I guess I just ran out of bull----." The American people are shocked to hear a former Governor utter a profanity on live television.

June 10, 1976: With the Republican National Convention two months away, the major newspaper compile a list of possible running mates for Ronald Reagan. The names include Robert Dole, Paul Laxalt, Speaker Gerald Ford, Governor Daniel Evans of Washington, and Governor Christopher “Kit” Bond of Missouri, the state hosting the convention.

July 12, 1976: The Democratic National Convention opens at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In his keynote speech, Senator Robert F. Kennedy concludes with this memorable line: “For me, in six months from now, my career in the Senate will come to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” In the ensuing wild applause and demonstrations from the delegates lasting over 30 minutes, there are some calls for President Sanford to name RFK as his running mate but Bobby will not seek any political office this year.

July 15, 1976: President Terry Sanford is re-nominated. His running mate is Senator Walter Mondale of Minnesota. Mondale was appointed to the Senate in 1964 when Hubert Humphrey was elected President. A Midwesterner and a champion of farmers and organized labor, Sanford hopes to win over the blue collar voters that have been courted by the Reagan campaign. It will be no easy task as Sanford trails Governor Reagan by 15 points in the polls.

August 19, 1976: The Republican Convention concludes in Kansas City. Surprising no one, Governor Ronald Reagan of California accepts the nomination for President: "Can anyone look at 16 years of Democratic domination of the White House, and say, 'Well done'? Can anyone look at the way they controlled Congress for almost a generation until 1974, and say, 'Let's bring that back'? Can anyone look at two generations of the liberal domination of our courts, and say, 'Let's have four more years of this'?" At the end of each question, the Delegates shout, "NO!" Reagan answers, "I think the American people will agree with you, and say, 'No, we've had enough!'" For a running mate, Reagan chooses Senator and former Governor Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma.

October 20, 1976: The one and only Presidential debate of this election is held. President Sanford tries to rebut Governor Reagan's claims. But he looks angry while doing it, and Reagan, benefit of a conservative backlash against Democratic liberalism, civil-rights legislation, recession and inflation, comes across as cheerfully derisive rather than angry.

Sanford tries to say that Reagan will eviscerate Social Security and Medicare. "There you go again," Reagan says with a laugh. Reagan concludes by asking, "Are you better off than you were 16 years ago?"

For millions of people who were poor, and/or under-educated in 1960, and millions who are black, the answer is "Yes." The Sanford campaign is hoping these people come out to vote in record numbers. But for millions of others, the answer seems to be "No." Reagan is counting on these voters being the ones that come out.

November 2, 1976: The election is a wipeout. Ronald Wilson Reagan, the Governor of California, is elected the 39th President of the United States.


Ronald Reagan/Henry Bellmon (R), 59%, 449 EV
Terry Sanford/Walter Mondale (D), 40%, 89 EV
Others, 1%, 0 EV

November 8, 1976: With the overnight results now in, it is seen that the Congressional elections also go the Republicans’ way. They gain another 24 seats in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, the GOP gains seven seats.

Former State Representative Bob Packwood defeats Betty Roberts, appointed to the Senate after the 1974 death of Wayne Morse, in Oregon. In Utah, lawyer Orrin Hatch defeats three-term Senator Frank Moss. Malcolm Wallop defeats Senator Gale McGee in Wyoming. Former Governor Edgar Whitcomb of Indiana defeats incumbent Senator Vance Hartke. Chic Hecht, minority leader of the Nevada State Senate, defeats incumbent Senator Howard Cannon. Former astronaut Harrison Schmitt defeats incumbent Senator Joseph Montoya. San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson is elected to the seat of retiring Senator Pat Brown. Congressman Bill Brock of Tennessee wins the race to succeed Senator Albert Gore Sr. Michigan Congressman Donald Riegle defeats former colleague Martha Griffiths to win the seat of outgoing Senator Philip Hart. Former Rhode Island Governor John Chafee is elected to the Senate seat held by John Pastore.

In Pennsylvania, Congressman John Heinz defeats Congressman William Green in a close race to succeed former Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott.

The Democrats gain Senate seats in Hawaii, Maryland and Arizona. In New York, Democrats retain Bobby Kennedy’s Senate seat as former Ambassador and Secretary of Labor Daniel Patrick Moynihan defeats Westchester County Legislator Andrew O’Rourke.

In 1966, the Senate count was 65-35 Democratic. Just before the 1974 election, it was still 55-45 Democratic. Now it is 61-39 Republican, and with Mississippi’s James Eastland and John Stennis usually voting with the Republicans, the GOP now has a 63-37 “filibuster-proof majority.” The U.S. Congress is more conservative than at any time since 1930 – 46 years ago (Senator Harry F. Byrd Jr., just reelected as an Independent will officially switch to the Republicans before Thanksgiving to increase the Republican majority to 62-38).

After 16 years of holding the executive and judicial branches, and having held the Congress for most of the last four decades, the Democratic Party is in shambles, due to a lousy economy, conservative backlash toward liberalism, and just plain growing stale in office. It is time to rebuild, and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.