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our day every time there's a national security council meeting of course i'm invited as the vice president the presidency that he sees to that i'm fully informed lewis poppy or his secretary of state the secretary of defense is director of central intelligence it's who is secretary to the national security council has special system on foreign affairs president has directed by each of these fine public officials to see to it that his vice president is calling for i must say that he's gone his way through this even more than one should their work have any right to expect but ai relationship more like a man in an unplanned and we discuss the many things to discuss the personalities than issues and programs and international crises the politics of the country and
i think it's fair to say that that the relationships are not maybe quite as the formal as someone would be led to believe by reading the textbooks remember your president and your vice president known each other for twenty years almost twenty years and there were about there are actually we've known each other for seventeen years this is a good friendship and we have been in many places together and done many things together well now the president of course has the tremendous responsibility of president and once a man becomes president he's no longer hide for some of them as he is a human being is a man with his his friends and his thoughts and his feelings and his emotions and a vice president has the same kind of man so that we do have a chance to discuss anything that worker we're hearing including that out of baseball teams coming and some of those are some of the little things and like
everything is not a matter of fact that would be the time we just have an opportunity to discuss some of the developments in the nation's capital and what is happening in terms of the cultural development of arc of our country the economic development of our country who's coming to the white house and what kind of people are they use every seat every conceivable subject the it's sort of thought in washington that president johnson as code ministration is following a policy of the idea of consensus politics do you think this is true and if so i would you define what what sort of approach to clinical constant is that when president johnson learned truly lives nearby his favorite passage of scripture from the book of isaiah come let us reason together this isn't just a place where president johnson between practices and he brings people together is a man that believes in trying to get a maximum amount
the agreement which lends itself of course to support he does not mean a class struggle and he does not believe that you want to get capital against labor or city against foreign or north against south or race against race i've listened to him and over the years this isn't something new he has always been one that tried to buying weapons trying to unite rather than to that by trying to bring together rather than split asunder and when he talks about the politics of consensus or as the president has said that he seeks a consensus he doesn't mean that they're that we insist that everybody agree that was on a particular issue he doesn't ask for unanimity but he asked for a degree of unity in which there are differences to be sure but that those differences are worked out the house and senate compromised out and then you get a wide enough basic acceptance and
understanding and support to make a public policy publicly acceptable now it's one thing to pass a law and it's another thing to get people to observe it's one thing for a president to sit in the white house and to say this is what i believe and this is what america should do and it's another thing to have the american people followed that leadership and president johnson not only now only is willing to take the risk of leadership saying this is what we ought to do but before he makes that statement he carefully surveys the the social and economic landscape to rain and he sees what can be done to bring forces together so that his leadership will be more than a statement of public policy but it would in fact become the fulfillment of public policy i guess that is it fair to say that consensus in a democracy like
ours in the system of government where there are where there is a division of responsibility and power in a nation in which there are fifty separate states or commonwealth in one nation and one united states a consensus in a country that has different races creeds and religions and different degrees of social and economic development what you mean by consensus is getting a broader base among tall and many forces the back doors so that you have roots in each area and looks beaten up and stronger so the policy which you announcer which is passed whether congress on which is laid out by the president isn't blown off the landscape with the first mobile wind of turbulence but it there i can stick and that this takes it takes time and it takes a tremendous amount of effort i watched the president worked at this on a long period of time i don't quite explain
that as well as i should be but many people would have you believe that consensus that can tolerate no difference isn't all right consensus means if you have a big enough majority so that the majority can withstand the attack and the gnawing away at the at the foundations of the majority in a majority or a minority support of a policy generally lens up ends up with the policy being either repudiated or ineffective a slim majority support for policy made high jump and if you can broaden that base of support so that it isn't just a democratic policy or isn't just the capital lahore and labor policy or of foreign policy but that you broaden the base of the tree high another glimpse of it it has some of the policy have greater
acceptance of greater understanding greater understanding then you have consensus what do you think the practical legislative matter in dealing with the congress is it possible to receive some of the very controversial measures the president has proposed to proceed in this base is all that common time your plane where we're actively out just a desperate struggle for you receiving that way or we didn't wake him in those cases no i don't think you should expect that day and every issue that you can have as bodies are broader consensus as you would like but you ought to see you ought not to wear go out of your way into a good possibilities of consensus and you can do that sometimes inadvertently they're thorough what we i mean as we say in politics is very important when we say that because what we're really doing is kind of going to heaven or to a climax
or an issue or a policy when there is public acceptance now you don't just follow the public need the public you educate even as you legislate so for example the president's program in the field of education and early education and he's come up with some novel adaptations years and some new it's a new idea that somehow we can really bring better educational opportunity to the underprivileged in particular how we can help cities and localities as well as states how we can help the knee the higher education as well as the elementary and secondary education act we've been looking at this for a long long time and groups all over america were set up to work on that he tied in the ideas of many so that when the presidential message on education because it wasn't just the view of president johnson even though he was the one that really it represented the view
of thousands of people of many different organizations had never before been able to agree you bought them together he has an uncanny ability of this this is a reading that this deal it's been seen in seconds and almost a scientific or ingenious way of doing it i've often said that some people who practiced the camel or fifty years and never become a truly great position and it's like in politics you can you can be in public life for fifty years and your well he well knew very well you couldn't do it credibly well richard not a master at the masters the true greatness of the man on politics is within him it's his own act his own past and his own ability and his own patch it's the difference between being a painter and an artist it's a difference between being able to play that can only a concert pianist and i think that president johnson as an actress when it comes to
the moline of public opinion and the design of public policy and i really believe that that there's never been anybody in in my lifetime at least the ever had this pass i don't like to make comparisons but a man like president truman was the call religiously tremendous man i am greatly admired but it's fair to say that it was able to make these very difficult decisions people in the field of foreign policy which the whole world's in the debt that insofar as been able to gain the consensus to support those policies he had less success how president johnson is also having to make great decisions at home and abroad and many are yet to come and in this decision making process it also find that he has feet the consensus making capacity to playing more and more people do to support this and this isn't often very glamorous it really isn't it requires a painstaking effort
to guinness detail constant attention to just little things in fact if you make too much of a splash about too much of the dramatic performance automobile failed because part of the success of gaining a consensus is to do it quietly not what my thinking about new unobtrusively seem to be doing and not necessarily seem to be doing it that is correct well with all these great great gifts is you just grab them our president johnson is attempting to know what he referred to as the great society has become almost a slogan of his end of his administration are i wonder if you could give us your views of what he means by the great society is this philosophical concept as it would seem to have been in his inaugural address or is it a legislative program as it might have seemed in his state of the union message about what what is your view is of his intentions and me well surely the great society has some legislative connotations because
homeland being presented by the president and the congress that relate to his understanding and his vision of the great society sometimes you can describe what you mean by a term or concept by pointing out what it is not as well as what it is which you intend as well as which it didn't include great society is a philosophical description of the kind of life that we would like our nation to have the quality of our civilization not just one example we can talk about the growth of our gross national product earlier efforts that are being made to reduce unemployment all of this is important very very important and it it is a contribution to the mean and the achievement of the goal of the great society but more importantly i think what we mean by the great society as well
for what purpose is this economic wealth for what purpose are these four what do we see get a higher per capita income or what happens do we seek to make america stronger what we do not seek america to make america strong for purposes of aggression but actually to safeguard free and we do not want america as well just for the purposes of luxury but rather for the enrichment of like yes the unification of our country the betterment of our education improvement of our cultural standards and cultural institutions so the blue the wealthy the economic wealth of a of an economic system is in a sense a partially used to have to bring about this spiritual wealth of a social structure and i would say that what we're seeking to do with the great society
is to make it possible for mankind be constantly emancipated from his fears and prejudices is the disease is caught a reef giving people to have better realization of the purpose of life itself which is the purpose of service and building and creating its atonement i think what we mean by great society as is not just building and building but making a beautiful it's the difference between building a block house in the cathedral it's the business runs between having a jukebox which cajun music and a beautiful orchestral which gives you a sort of a replay of the song that's a long term objective of the great society will not be realized in a hurry any more than peace can be achieved in a decade i said some time ago i was speaking of this
the piece was like and might require international market but the labor of many generations and it may not come in a lifetime just as most of the great cathedrals of europe were never constructed within the lifetime of the architect or the initial builder important thing is to use to anyone something to the structure and in the process of adding to it do you glorify or do you in a sense corrupted and what we're seeking to do as we build this literature society in terms of material things morgan's in better buildings and bigger bank accounts but we also should be seeking to do is to not only have they are more houses but a greater degree of happiness within the community and only in the greater bank accounts but they're seeing to it that the social values of our society the quality of justice of opportunity is protected
and isn't and dance just as we seek to advance markets and economics it this is a philosophical subjects may i say they can take an awful lot of time well in the end pursuit of all the assignments that you've been given and of the more intangible past that you've been describing about the great society and the whole scope of this the activities that are yours now wondering if you could bring it down to a rather specific description for sale it'll be a typical day in the vice president's wife like we didn't want to give us an idea of the specific range of things you cover and you you know you use so way activate my mind before i get to that i just want to say this that i can't think of any more exciting period in human history to be alive right now and actually i think what our government is doing and what's happening in our country is very challenging and exciting
tremendous a number of new things going on in science and technology but the years in america today that really says you can do it nobody and nobody ever dared talk about that or we're in a time where we can honestly say that we can even vanish hunger and we're really almost at the point where we can say we can conquer disease and there are just so many things happening that instead of us becoming more materialistic were becoming more idealistic and you have the young people are just anxious to get in to build a better and a more just a more equitable society they won one nation or eradicate racial and religious prejudice like we've been living with racial and religious prejudice for thousands of years and now we have people with a dedicated their life to the woods abolitionist dispatch i think this is a glorious period in which to live well now that i just want to have that under my reactions about the kinds of the challenges of the time i gave
you asked me what kind of a tool it starts early enslaved and every hour of it begun the year with a few exceptions is a one that i like and then i enjoy the end of the moment keeps me feeling it and optimistic and evolution on the parking and the spirit i said so and wiry theyre times and i'm fatigued it sheer physical fatigue but did not spiritual you're mentally are philosophically i stuck up early in the morning there are seven thirty i try to get to my office was closed in iraq around nine nineteen fifty i could coming earlier but actually i'm pretty i can do many telephone calls my home and it's a little quieter they're not quite as bad as activists downtown i read all the way downtown macabre worker my papers come to my office i have a fully every day is scheduled in fact and the worker we spent or weeks ahead
of time sometimes they're meetings and speeches in i care college commencement exercises i have the month of june july already scheduled almost entirely with the exception of new lunches and he reckless we can and we have to change that schedule because something develops you'll have to be understanding of their identity and work until seven thirty seven o'clock sometimes much later than their family a dinner in the evening or a gathering that i attend i mean they speak immediately go to a dinner for one of the foreign dignitaries it's here we may have to travel i gently put in the good old minimum of sixteen hours fourteen to sixteen hours a day once in a while i have an easier maybe give any camera cromartie i'm not complain frankly i liked it i enjoyed that type of that type of life and i have no complaints the day you also include meetings in the congress
that will include meetings with the president including leaving possibly with some cabinet officer some foreign visitor signing mail became male i've learned how to use every single minute of the day every minute when i travel by plane i take some cases full of the papers i read incessantly and i'd make notes like no i have a portable dictaphone as well as one in every place i go so if you're not unusual kind of a novel i've done and besides that i have and i want it if you can have a little fun and enjoy a quick well i'm sure that's to do that much activity in itself tv wasteland and yourself in shape or do you find it and the geopolitical once in a while i get end of the gem i'll do it more likely that the sinner yes i am i really don't do not do the job and taking care of myself as i should that way when i get to feel and weary then i always go years he's likely to go to the gym it's like when i get if i become to elizabeth on nagel of the doctor i'm so the mail i
maybe i i i do feel that one can do a little better if he's physically fit i try to have been reasonably careful i quit smoking and many years ago and i know that that's made me feel a hundred percent better i i do not watch my diet as well as i should that day that waste wine business is a it hasn't been a serious problem with lead but let me say the army there are there are signs of the times occasionally well we've been talking in vienna what is known as the indian treaty room of the old state department building and a little anecdote about the vice presidency kurt runs through the eisenhower there was news conference here it was here that he made the final the final question he was asked what he'd been a major contribution a vice president nixon's administration he said well if you give me a week i think that one out that leaves made excuses we are the strengths what you think in the long run
over the period of a term in office what can be your major contributions of all the money that you can wake to grow the jobs and give him a sense of the eye feeling of friendship loyalty of comfort i hate to have the president be worried about me that i'm eating something that would cause embarrassment or that would be injured his administration and with human beings this is always a possibility if i can be a friendly advice or if i'm kind of time i can lift some of the word and even though it may not amount to much i think that would be a real contribution i don't expect that you will find any humphrey program any great humphrey messages integrate public policy because there aren't and i am the vice president united states and twitter and that means that i will support the president i will try to help make a
contribution to president johnson spoke i will try to have my friends become loyal friends of president johnson as i said to my staff <unk> humphrey people learn or humphrey policies there are no humphrey programs whatever we have we should try to contribute if it's one thing to the president and his administration can have two presidents one time you can't have two leaders the executive branch one time we ought to have one i was a very frankly i'm quite content is because i'd rather have the privilege of one hour with the president alongside of him visiting with him sharing my thoughts with him then they have two years on the outside wondering whether i can ever get inside even spew talk to him for just a few minutes you are vice president with a friendly relationship with your cousins you can make as much of a contribution to your country that way she
couldn't almost any position because any president will actually admit that he seeks the advice and counsel of many and if i can be at his side as a welcomed and wanted brandon partner then any thoughts and i may have been any means and i may have been any ideas that i may have been anything about policy i may have i can share with him to find persuasive if i have something to offer these ideas and thoughts will find their way in the public policy that maybe we'll have one's name on but it isn't necessary all was to have your name on something what is more important is when you read a book of history that something was done and it was accomplished there's always plenty of room in the hallway of success for everyone but all how lonesome you are in a year and ideally that the
administration can be successful if the president's policies policies which many people may have made a contribution of those policies can be effective than all know there have been good chapter of our history that those policies are a failure because you did something that cause trouble or because you didn't share and advice and counsel the new year this then know it's a sad chapter oh i guess to put it quite directly to you at that i consider the high honor some responsibility in a rare privilege to be vice president united states it was the vice president and a pleasant talking with you you heard a conversation with the vice president of the united states' hubert h humphrey speaking with the vice president was tom wicker chief washington correspondent of the new york times this was the audio portion
Vice President Hubert Humphrey
At Issue
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Interview with Vice President Hubert Humphrey, conducted by Tom Wicker, The New York Times. This is the audio portion of the NET telecast "At Issue."
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Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 65-Sp. 8-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:27:35
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