tv Book Discussion on Assassinations Threats and the American Presidency CSPAN February 21, 2016 6:03pm-7:31pm EST
courses at both broward and florida atlantic university. as i always say he majored in feinman and my american in my american history. [laughter] he now teaches at college and helped me with the powerpoint and going to use because i'm not a technically savvy and also with the chart in my books. he's the head of the center for the presidency at florida atlantic university for also having contributed a great deal and having reviewed the book and criticized it and help to make it better. the question is why i've been asked in fact i was asked on c-span q-and-a why did you pick
this topic were what do people say to you, is it a little bit weird to be discussing and i said yes i guess it is but i find it fascinating and i think that it's a significant assassination certainly affected not only american history that world history and i give a few examples in my introduction about the fact that after all its face it, world war i began because of an assassination and of course we had the fall of the roman republic because of an assassination and we have our country itself divided when abraham lincoln was of course murdered in 1865 and we are still reverberating from the events around john f. kennedy in 1963 but it's a lot more than looking at abraham lincoln and john f. kennedy. assassination has been a common theme in history but also in
american history and i devoted a chapter to each president who faced a direct assassination attempt both those who were assassinated into those who were wounded and were also presidential candidates which i haven't seen anybody else do i know whereof so i have a chapter of huey long assassinated in 1935 and i have a chapter on robert f. kennedy assassinated in 1968 and also a chapter on george c. wallace who was shot in the list for life in 1972. semi-covered altogether so mike brought together 11 i covered altogether 11 presidents and three presidential candidates and then i have two chapters of recent presidents who haven't had a direct contact in the assassination could have been threatened so therefore i discussed the issues around jimmy carter, george h. w. bush, bill clinton, george w. bush and
barack obama right up until october, 2014 and luckily they were not there and got very far into the white house unbelievable and showed us the secret service needs a lot of reform because it is getting more and more daring and people are becoming bench jumpers as i call them, white house intruders and think that this none of the living presidents have had anything anything that correctly affected them but there've been lots of threats and as i pointed out, i talk about 20 threats but it's actually many more to any president other than abraham lincoln. and of course presidential candidates you have to worry about even now after all we have a lot of rhetoric and i've written on the hill and the history news network or the
threat this year because of the rhetoric and because of the hyperbole that is going on and i advocated before what happens is donald trump should have secret service protection and i've also advocated that bernie sanders should have it but he does not. of course hillary clinton does because she's the former first lady but even the candidates that are not as serious like marco rubio and ted cruz always in danger and all you need is one mistake and that is one too many and that's what we have to remember. i've looked at all these presidents and i've done a lot of research. the question comes up how did i get interested in this? when i was at college at the
university of new york at english freshman course i had to do a term paper and that was in 1962. that gripped everybody and still does. there was the assassination of bowker max, the assassination of george lincoln rockwell come of the attempted assassination of george wallace and of course the assassination attempt against ronald reagan as a threat against churning forward to be co- for and was very well kept quiet. almost three years ago roman and
littlefield my publisher was aware of but i never had contact with wrote me and my e-mail at florida atlantic university and said we see you doing these elections would you like to write a book? i am retired now and i just do my lecture and blog. i thought i could than this two years ago no matter how much i would have wanted to. they've been on c-span and now i'm on c-span again. i've had articles in the hill at the history news network and i'm going to be in turkey with on npr on february 15 on presidents' day. i was interviewed not on the
because that's how they found out about me. towards the end of the hour 957 on w. lrm. the sale started to shoot up right after brian lamb so i'm very appreciative. i want to make clear is i have a powerpoint and we are going to go through it. one thing it is more than just the one on the board on the powerpoint. but there's actually three threats against andrew jackson.
1833. not for the webinar firearm. he was in his mid-60s and he used
a cane and all that said he wasn't in the greatest of health but a man named robert randolph. the president never had anything happen that we know of anyway so this is the first thing. not a big deal but it's the beginning. now, et and 35, the one before the one i have on the board is not a friend to veto threat in the sense it is a verbal threat
that comes from a well-known state by a person whose very famous at the time and
write a letter in his hand writing to president andrew jackson threatening his life just fighting in the letter and it doesn't go further than that. it goes to jackson and it's been of course kept everything is kept unless they somehow get rid of it. if advocated who this person was and than who they thought it was and it's shocking. because he is the father of the leader actor who assassinate abraham lincoln that is julius, what a name by the way.
[laughter] three years later, et 38 but imagine you have to wonder whether it was genetic or mental illness, who knows that he threatened. the point is it is his handwriting and we have to say that it's a threat. but we do call it a threat so it is reported in my book. the biggest however is in the 1835 as well and i think that it's a few months before the incident january 301835 so on my facebook page. salon january to provide a little entry this is the day but
now 180 years later. richard lawrence was mentally deranged there is no question and i want to make it clear those tough mental problems, most of them. she comes to capitol hill. he has his cane when richard lawrence runs to him and fires one of his pistols but this is in the middle of the winter remember that may have been a factor. he then takes the other and misfires again. the odds of this were astronomical.
if you kick them down and whack them over the heads of people came along to help them out so in a way he helped to subdue his assassin. no other president could say that that he had been involved so why not. so he went to the mental institution for the rest of his life and luckily he didn't harm jackson but still it was something to worry about. you've got to realize he had a lot of anger and a lot of people with his policies and his temperament and all that and that's the kind of thing that fuels people that want to kill a leader and become famous or edwards be honest if you kill a leader or even try to, you are always remembered. richard lawrence is still alive today because of me because obviously people have also written articles about jackson to suddenly he is somebody.
and although he was mentally ill, he totally was very happy that he had gotten some notoriety. after this, we have the next attempt, actually a few attempts on abraham lincoln and the team 61 before the inauguration on his way from springfield he had to go through baltimore and that was a concern he might be harmed so he is basically skipping for baltimore without stopping and he is ridiculed when he arrives at the station because this was a baltimore plot as it is known that was believed to exist and there is evidence but no one was
ever arrested at the thought was he's on his way to the inauguration. we don't want him facing the assassination so he was able to be inaugurated the people have threats all the time and in 1864 he rises to the home in washington, d.c., a place away from the white house a little bit cooler at the top of the hill and he always had the soldiers with him, there was the secret service yet i have to point out and the point was that he rides his horse and uses the high hat on his head and has a couple of soldiers and suddenly there is a sniper fire and he is past his office had. he laughs off that his wife did not. was it accidental, probably not. we don't know. but now he agrees on the
protection and he's a stagecoach when he went to the old soldiers home for the last seven or eight months of the presidency. now he's inaugurated the second term and of course he's worried about her that it that he's not going to be able to win it c. decides he's going to drop because they didn't matter and they would just stand by. so the first i have chapter 17 as a list of discussion of the 15 might have been presidents and the vice president i mentioned this and they say you are making it up, no i am not it is a real person that he has been dropped and andrew johnson is picked to replace him to gain the democratic votes because johnson is not a republican like lincoln. it's a mistake of trying to cross party lines.
it had been the same problem when he picked john tiger who wasn't awake. it's going to cause trouble for johnson wendling denies. the point is it is only six weeks in office and lincoln is of course assassinated at the ford theater in washington, d.c.. and we know that john wilkes booth was involved and we know that a few days before he was mumbling pretty loud he was going to make sure the president didn't live much longer. he was at an event to the white house and he had been plotting with a group of nine other people. under the succession laws at the time of course he was the
secretary of state william seward who later purchased alaska under johnson and turns out in fact we want to move on and this is assaulting jackson. of course then he succeeded them anyway but he became president anyway. now lincoln killed before trial and here's the scene. the thing is the vice president isn't harmed but he gets drunk and chickens out and he goes on to become president of course overnight, april 14. he said that returning from
surgery but he survives and recovers, stays on as the secretary of state all through andrew johnson eight years as the secretary of state colin of the very best and again he purchases alaska in 1867 from russia. andrew johnson would succeed of course and he would be a tragic figure just by most scholars if not to be the worst president one of the bottom few usually with james buchanan and warren g. harding as a buchanan is worse, the president before lincoln but you have to believe he would have been better. okay. now here is the fact let's say andrew johnson had been killed. the succession at the time was strange we had three successions we were discussing.
the first was that the president or vice president or not available, the president pro tem of the senate which today is the longest-serving member, nope longer the case back then but i have to dig to find out who is this guy. he would have had the president in connecticut and as we study a little bit about him he would have been better than andrew johnson iv leave if for no other reason he was a northerner from tennessee and he collaborated against reconstruction so he was the first but let's say then hannibal hamlin would have been if he were killed in baltimore or sniper shot or have been kept
on. i think he probably would have been better as well because he had a long career after this. lincoln is killed and johnson comes in and this is something that the moment in history i was asked by brian lamb and others which assassination has had the most impact and i said the definitely lincoln. >> not jfk? >> no. you have to realize he was succeeded by andrew johnson and it was a tragedy. jfk is succeeded by lyndon johnson also i'm not so sure he would have escalated in the non. but everything jfk wanted and beyond so it wasn't like a horrible tragic thing in that sense but andrew johnson was i
think. but i think it was more so. the best events, and this is a tragedy in a different way, james garfield comes into office and after four months is shot and wounded. it is a tragic story and garfield was brilliant and he was an intellectual, he knew about eight languages, he could write with both hands at the same time in opposite directions, he was a musician, he's amazing. the best probably intellectually between lincoln and teddy roosevelt. now in a way you could say at least he accomplished at the end of the war. kennedy accomplished quite a bit. but garfield never had much of a chance to do anything and i
think that makes it a human tragedy and the book that came out a few years ago about the mistakes and the constant mistakes by doctors and the fact that they were incompetent and came to the station where he was killed in washington, d.c. don't forget this is 1881 and they don't wash their hands or know about churns or bacteria and he suffers and finally dies in september, 1881. it is really tragic and of course what happens is charleston is the assassin who actually visited the white house at the real road station but he had visited the secretary of state as well and what did he want? he wanted patronage, he wanted the job.
there was no civil service reforms about was unfortunate for the system but was he qualified? he said i made speeches for you. but he's got somebody significant. he made it clear when he visited the white house he told garfield i would like one of the following jobs either ambassador to france or hungary into the show garfield nice to him and he threw out his information and he never heard and he came up with the conclusion the only way i will get the job is to kill president garfield, became the vice president, make chester alan and he will awake to me that he is president and give me the ambassadorship. that tells you how much he is. these are all arguments in the book i want to point out.
so it was a long torturous death and he will put on quite a scene at trial. he will act like he's crazy, he's found guilty and will be executed. he dances around like a ballerina. i would love to go back and see it. it would be something to see. he still ends up being executed and garfield could have benefited an outstanding president and we don't really know. he wants to be the nominee and 84. he won't be. he will be the fourth president
elected. it's lucky that he wasn't elected in 84. he dies in 86. they would have succeeded and this is one of the cases. he finds a simple service reform and because the act. he is a man of courage better than people used to think. now the next one is mckinley and i should point out one thing you might say wait a minute, he went to the white house wasn't the secret service for somebody to check him out before he got in the building? the secret service was created
in 1865, it was on his desk and signed. it it wasn't designed to protect the president or anybody else that was designed to deal with counterfeit currency and it wouldn't be different until 1901 go secret service protection until 1901. so you say wait a minute there's nobody at the white house to check anything? >> there are two officers outside of the building. they are there to keep people off the grass. i'm not joking this is the reality to keep them off the lawn. so after he is killed in 1901, the presidents and 65 and 1881,
1901 and then the secret service takes over. so he's in his second term. we also acquired hawaii separately. mckinley has done so and he is looking better in recent times getting a better wrap as things go on. he is improving in his image and the president are always in approving or declining in their image. now he's against all governments and it's not so much mckinley, it is the office.
they would then go and kill the pope vatican city. he chose the the president of the united states as a position of authority to be the first that he would indeed killed. there is an exhibit on this and we have the exposition world fair. the press secretary was worried about appearing because of the anarchists threatening a terrorist threat as he would see today but he went on with his plans.
as an exposition he's in the crowd and he has a gun under a glove or a washcloth come he comes up and shoots him in the shoot him in the abdomen and the thought is he's wounded that he will recover but he doesn't. there were no x-rays and 81. there were no x-rays and 91. theodore roosevelt in all six months figures he's getting better. i'm going to go hunting by myself and there are no cell phones. he can't be found on the turn for the worst.
there is a screening scurrying of where is the vice president? he doesn't know right away. he dies in 81 and i thought after september 111 of the first thoughts that i had was 100 years almost to the day a transformational moment because once he came in the presidency was never the same. it's basically the same thing minus three days. it was the same transformational point. so he doesn't testify at the trial and he doesn't want to speak up. he's found guilty and is
executed much more quickly. the thing is this is the scene of what happened. they thought he would get better but he doesn't. but he will wind up being executed. now the thing is he now becomes president and he will transform the presidency and be the first to succeed to the presidency and actually get elected to his own term. so he's running back as the best third-party nominee ever.
teddy roosevelt wasn't even known yet and has become a war hero from new jersey another of them might have been. garrett was close with the president, his wife was very close to the first lady. they spent a lot of time together and looking him up, he was an active vice president. not compared to now but for the time he was a significant figure and the indication was that would have kept him for the second term but he dies of heart disease in 1899.
he would have been president for not teddy roosevelt. nobody would have even known who he was probably. but instead, he dies in office and is replaced and he becomes president. now the thing is he becomes president and he's there for seven and a half years and he comes to the north shore of long island and goes back to his home as every president wanted. i'm waiting for somebody to write or call or tell me i knew this. i'm not aware. i found an assassination threat i found in the long island newspapers that was never mentioned in any study that i have ever seen that i know of. maybe i'm wrong and i missed something but i don't think so. we have a man 28-years-old named
henry wilde. a new name to remember as a potential assassin. it o'clock at night the secret service isn't much but there is a secret service now and this is september 1, 1903, september 1, 1903. so he comes back an hour later and says i want to see the president. no, you can't. so they wonder why he's coming back than he comes back then he comes back at 11:00 at night and now the secret service think there's something weird about this guy. the second time should have been enough but now they chicken out.
then they didn't chicken out and they might have killed or wounded in the roosevelt. it's the only one that we know of while he is president and if that had happened, what would have happened? he is one of my 15 might have been and is well known the secretary of state of mckinley and teddy roosevelt. he was a private secretary to abraham lincoln. he therefore was serving under lincoln. he became secretary of state so this thought crossed my mind if hillary clinton gets in cheek and say she is can say she is the second secretary who was at the white house because that is
the case. he would have been fine if he had succeeded. he said in 1904 i will not run again and they said why did i say that? you said you left office at 50, the youngest we have ever had about nine months younger than john f. kennedy but he was under 43. he couldn't stand being out of office. william howard taft, the successor, alienated his own party and was a split between conservatives and progressives and he started to become really upset and decided although he did and made a public key was going to run and in 1912, he
announced his hat is in the ring and he has a boxing ring in the back of the house and he takes it and throws it into the rain and that is where we get the term hat in the ring also nobody does that now. can you imagine donald trump saying hat in the ring? he says silly things but that became an idea and even a challenge. that would have been fun to watch because he was 250 pounds and he could have lost some weight as well that would have been something to watch if it had happened. so he didn't say low-energy -- [laughter] he didn't say you want to look at that face for four years but he did say fatso which was funny
he challenges him for the republican nomination but being the president helps as it was discovered in later times as well. it didn't get anywhere and there were attempts to stop jimmy carter in 1980, couldn't succeed, to stop gerald ford, that couldn't work out. there's always the edge getting nominated but of course each time there are challenges in the party they lose the election in every single case. every one of them is lost but they get the nominations are now he forms a progressive party and it's the symbol of a bold moves. i am not i'm not sure what that means honestly. but now becomes a part of political history just like the
elephant of the republicans and the democrats although actually it isn't a donkey to be exact it is the type of a donkey known as an ass and this is done by the political cartoonist for trades democrats as a ass or donkey but now we have the moves added to this in 1912. eugene is the socialist in the time he he's running at he's dynamic and everybody is to the left even taft. what he's done but he's done some progress of things we've been able to show. of course he does very well he gets 27% of the vote in the third-party. in the six states in the third-party was 88.
that's why michael bloomberg cannot win if he runs into line. if he runs he will elect the republican nominee. although it would definitely hurt hillary clinton so it adds an illusion if he thinks that he will be able to win enough electoral votes in the state idiot but he was a celebrity and said it was national except he had one parts of the country but still in the 88 votes so the fact is during that campaign he was subjected to the assassination attempt october 14, 1912 in milwaukee wisconsin. he's shocked but the thing is this he has a 50 page speech wrapped up up in a glass steel case with classes.
he's been wounded but he insists on going to the auditorium to give a speech while bleeding and even tells the audience like i'm pleading but i'm going to show you you i masked it as a moose and i can finish my speech. everybody thinks thinks that he is crazy but he goes on and on and wants to talk and loves to talk and is a real character and always was a good and he goes to the hospital and he kept it in his body but he recovered. in the end they ended up second behind wilson who won overwhelmingly. one of the states was vermont.
today vermont is so liberal they would never vote republican. you could be sure that they would lose vermont even though i think he might win new england i don't think that he would win new england is very liberal now. the fact is he only had six more years of life and he is crazy enough to go on the expedition in 1914 through 15, he gets the area, he nearly dies and takes all kinds of chances. he never wants to grow up and he does die six years after this at age 60 partly because his hopeless declining but also his youngest son was killed in world
war i and he just couldn't get over it. he had so much to accomplish in the course was rated one of the top five presidents in the united united states there's a lot of debate about what was said but that is what history is all about, the question in an ... of the issues but this was still an attempt. there is a life sentence if he goes on for 30 years more in total isolation. the next one is franklin d. roosevelt. this is what a lot of people don't realize. in miami florida, franklin roosevelt february 15, 1933 is
he was working against them and it's very possible that is the case. but as we will see it's not so much him that the president. he buys about two weeks later and eventually was charged with assault and had a prison term and then he has a very quick murder trial. if they make that quick he was killed. the vice president elect from texas who would have become president, what stands out is that he is the longest lived
vice president of the united president of the united states who lived is 98 years of age. his birthday was november 22, he was 95 on the day that kennedy was assassinated and that morning he made a phone call to the former vice president wishing him a happy birthday and then within a few hours he's dead. things like that stick out. that's what he has been a new dealer and have done the kind of stuff fdr did almost 100% no and i became one of the few that would have been a disaster if this had happened the whole history of america would have changed if that had happened so after two terms when he runs for the third term he breaks with them and then he has henry wallace for the third term and then harry truman for a brief period.
there's all kinds of threats but nothing transpires. they wanted to kill the leaders but it didn't happen and there were right-wing and left-wing groups that did inflate ten -- didn't like him. we have gerald smith attacking him and we also had the father that was supportive and roosevelt -- and we have others like that and am on those who are a threat to him or at least he thinks would be huey long. at that time you didn't announce it that far ahead.
but he was campaigning and writing books and doing the radio show. he was seen as a possible threat to actually be a serious challenger to him in 1936 but suddenly it is all going to be over very quickly september 8, 1935. in fact the state capital in louisiana he had been governor and ran the political machine. he'd been killed by a medical dr.. he had an issue about his father-in-law. but when he was with him or about to shoot him or did shoot him, the security guards that look like not the storm troopers
were the kind of people around mussolini opened up a fire and pump him with 61 bullets. and i think that he's still alive but an old man now there had been a debate because they never had an autopsy properly done. and himself he died two days later and was argued was a medical malpractice and maybe there was a plot and he could have recovered from his wounds and all that and it is a big controversy that still exists and was thought to be a cover up among the king fish as he was known as he's the first candidate for such a tragedy. then we asked truman. he's in an incident that is controversial because there isn't much backing to get. you want to believe.
she wrote a study long ago and argued that a zionist terrorist group as she called it that still exist after world war ii and was involved in killing british leaders bringing about terror in palestine before we had israel that they were plotting to kill president truman in 47 because they hadn't been created but it was thought that it was unlikely to recognize jewish homeland if it came about. it was recognized with an 11 minutes being declared in 48 he was out to kill the leaders and margaret chernin letter bombs were sent to washington and of course they never got to truman that it was still a possible
threat to his life and those who say that it's not backed up by a lot of evidence. why would she do this to some people might say she's anti-semitic or anti-israel. the truman should have said he's coming in but i'm telling you to bite the bullet. but anyway, the point is that is a little debatable. i don't see that it is fact or 100% i can't be sure. the question is do you want to believe the the president stauffer, that's presidents daughter, that's the issue. we will see in a moment who should have been if something had happened. but safe to look at the book george c. marshall was the secretary of state at the time and we will get to a slide that shows you after etd six until
1947 after the vice president the secretary of state and then the others will follow in the succession and that would be changed in 47 which i think is a mistake and should still be that way and i will explain that that's why he was the secretary of state before the succession act changed. we know that it was a great world war ii general and we also know that marshall worked against the recognition of israel and truman did anyway and then marshall re-signed as the secretary of state in 48 and later came back as the secretary of defense of 1950 so i guess they made up that he wasn't for the recognition of israel so that could have affected history if he had command. the plot was changed in 47 but it was is what it is now to get them directly after the vice
president. the speaker of the house is first. then the president pro tem of the senate and then the secretary of state. i want you to know i've studied this three out of every four years since, the speaker of the house and/or the president in and the senate have been of the opposition party of the president. that isn't good. there should be continuity but there isn't. after the president and vice president we have the speaker of the house paul ryan in the other party and from utah the point is it doesn't matter which way it is that we should go back to the cabinet members directly linked to the present but it had then later in the year.
i don't think that he would have made much of a president. he would have been alright, he was a military man also that margin, not particularly and i don't think the speakers of the house as being cereal myself although right now the speaker would like to be now that we know. that's true but generally i don't think of them as being that way and we have good speakers but i couldn't see him as a president. now we will have a threat against truman looking at the blair house instead of the white house because of the renovation and the two puerto rican nationalists. they saw him from outside and there has been a revote in puerto rico.
some people wanted an independent nation as it has been the result of which was suppressed by the u.s. military something many people don't even realize just a few days earlier and i guess one of these people were killed in a military assault by puerto rico a few days before in 1950. but what happens is one of them is killed and the other one is wounded. truman of course is not affected. he's inside the blair house he's looking out the window and they would say get back because being in the window could be dangerous it's very sad and he's buried in a national arlington cemetery
that if he had been killed in 1950, the vice president barkley and the full-term because he succeeded roosevelt as alvin barkley who defend the senate majority leader a solid person considered for this "a couple of times by roosevelt a couple of times and truman i think earlier but anyway, he would have been president and good i think. i want to point out he was older than him. that is becoming a trend more than ever. what's interesting is after he decides not to run he's already in the 70s. notice the difference now we are going to have the oldest combination of candidates ever. both will be probably 69 or older it looks like that today is different. we don't look at the same way
but the thing that's interesting as he wanted to run but now he's too old like 73. let's say that he had been able to get the nomination. let's take he had won and he is a good man. we don't know come he died in 56. just like if he had been elected he would have died in office, so these are things that after you say think of this. so anyway now i could change it to 1947 and in the succession act of 1947 again i would rather go back to the floor because i think that it's continuity and it makes more sense. okay now the next one of course is john f. kennedy. john f. kennedy is threatened other times. we know of the threats when he is president elect and he's in
palm beach florida there is a man named richard paul who is the oldest assassin or attempted assassin who's already i think 71 and he has a car with dynamite and he parks right near the compound in the beach and he wants to hang around and the secret service doesn't check him out i don't know why individually he leaves but they tracked him down after the fact and they discover the car has dynamite and he is planning to kill kennedy has president elect he didn't like rich people, the kennedys were rich and supposedly would stop him so he says, he went to prison for a number of years, he saw president-elect kennedy.
i can't do it in front of them. he might have been killed before he ever got to be president. there could have been no president theodore roosevelt. we might not have had a president-elect franklin roosevelt if he had been killed. we might never catch on as well. and of course lyndon johnson would have taken over if that happened. ..
>> it seems clear, although some people still say not. but, of course, the tragedy of him being killed by jack ruby means we'll never really know the truth absolutely, unfortunately. all right. and here's the scene right before the shots are fired. and this is in my book also, this photograph. and just seconds before, all right? and what happens is mrs. connolly is turning around and saying to the president, mr. president, you can't say the people of dallas don't love you. and he says, you sure can't. and then the bullets are fired. every time i hear it, you know, i just get chilled by it. it's unbelievable, the tragedy of it all. because he left us at a time when, as people would say, if he had been around for the whole term, would he have been reelected?
that's a big debate. i am not convinced he would have been, because he was losing the south over civil rights that he was initiating, and he couldn't have won without the south in 19 60. he might have lost. and if he had lost and been a one-term president, he would never look at good. one-term presidents never look as good except for one, james k. polk. because he didn't want to run again, and he had a good record of accomplishment. every other one-term president doesn't look good because they're defeated. in a way for history, his being killed makes his name look better, i hate to say it. so i say that because i've had students in recent years who said terrible things like i wish george w. bush would be assassinated. i said, no, don't ever wish violence on anyone. you can disagree and vote against them, i hope they get out of office, but besides, the wrong of that, think about it, if he wants to be killed in
office, he wants to become a martyr. then they realize, yeah, you're right. and i say violence is never the answer, no matter who it is. and that's why i worry and i pray for every one of our candidates this year, that they will all be safe. no matter what they say, no matter what we think of them, leave them alone. don't harm them. let us make our decision and live with it. all right. anyway, so then we have, of course, lbj comes in. we know that. all right, now, next is -- this is beyond belief. and i was watching on television at the time when robert kennedy won the california primary, u.s. senate for three and a half years -- actually, two and a half years, i guess, not even three. two and a half years. had been attorney general under his brother. had decided to seek the presidency challenging lyndon johnson. then johnson dropped occupant, and we had hubert humphrey replace him and eugene mccarthy was oning, the -- running, the tumultuous election of '68. he did win the california primary and looked as if he
might be, not for sure, the nominee of the party if he had lived, and he's one of my 15 might have beens. i believe he would have been, and i think he would have been president. he would have defeated richard nixon, i think, because humphrey came close enough. i think very likely rfk would have. but he is killed by sirhan sirhan who is a palestinian christian immigrant, palestinian christian, not muslim -- point out that. i bet donald trump doesn't know that. [laughter] i bet he doesn't. probably thinks he's a muslim, right? because he's an arab from the middle east. and he's killed in the ambassador hotel in the kitchen pantry right after the speech that he's accepting the, you know, the victory. let me go back. i thought there was another one on this. there isn't another one. i thought sirhan is there. what a name, sirhan sirhan is going to be given the death sentence, commuted to life. he's had, i think, 11 appeals or
maybe it's more to troy -- try to get out of his life sentence. the only person who's tried to kill a president or candidate who's still in prison, as far as the ones we really know about it, and the argument is he killed him. i think that's why he's not been released. we'll see with george wallace and also with gerald ford's attempted assassins, they've all been released. and hinkley even, reagan's, you know, person, assassin, has also had a lot of freedoms parts of the month. all right, but not in the case of siren hand sir hand. all right now, then we have george c. wallace. and, of course, id the not like and do not like george c. wallace, but i wrote a book without any political commentary. gist reported thicks as -- things as they were. he still had a right not to go what he went through. he divide thed the country, and i wrote an article comparing donald trump to george wallace and ross perot in different ways, you know? i think definitely a lot of the wallace ideas, that's not healthy x it's not good as far
as people's anger. and i do worry that he could be a victim of an attempt because of that. but wallace was attacked, and it's right on tv, you can see it. they have footage of it. may 15, 1972, and this is four years after wallace actually wins five states and 46 electoral votes as a third party candidate, the second best performance of the third party ever. but in '72 he's trying for the democratic nomination, and he's going to actually win florida, get that. he's going to win the state of florida. which is regrettable. and he's going to win some states. but the fact is, he is shot and paralyzed for life by arthur bremer. arthur bremer. all right. now, arthur bremer is the youngest potential assassin, he's 21 years old, and he just wants attention and that kind of thing. he'd read about sirhan sirhan, lee harvey oswald and others, and i want to point this out. this is of interest. get this.
he shot wallace and paralyzed him. he had 26 years of suffering and pain. surgery every year to try to relieve the pain. being in a wheelchair but still serving in government again as governor of alabama, he ended up having four terms, and he had one of the longest times in office of any governor. not the longest, but third or fourth ever, 16 years. in his last term he had a republican opponent, he was a liberal. he had changed his views on civil rights. i think his paralysis changed his mind, and he asked for forgiveness from civil rights leaders. he apologized for his bad behavior and his racist statements that he had always run on. he actually did reform which i think was nice to see. all right. but the fact is while he was being stalked and eventually shot and put into a wheelchair by arthur bremer, arthur bremer had other people on his mind. he was stalking richard nixon during the campaign of '72 as
well. he was already president. now, think of it. let's say he had shot and killed nixon which could have been, you know, whatever it is. well, who would have been president? oh, my god. [laughter] and this person i find very hard to be neutral. even wallace i could be more neutral on that spire row agnew. anybody who likes spear row agnew, they're going to turn it off. we didn't know about it yet, and there was no watergate yet, but he would have been president if that had happened or anytime up until he left office in 1973. and so again, agnew -- [inaudible] after nixon's resignation, he might have been impeached and removed himself unlike nixon -- instead of nixon. spear row agnew, the vice president for four years would have been, he's one of the 15, and i'm going to make it clear,
he's one of the short lists i would say, please, thank goodness we didn't have him. i would also put john nance garner on that list and joseph w. martin. but even martin not as much, the speaker under truman. i'd say more agnew than anybody would be just about the worst, i think. all right. so, but beyond that, okay, okay,agnew's out of office. we have an attempt on -- well, not direct, more indirect, but a threat on richard nixon by a man named samuel byke, all right? he has a plot that's unique. he's never going to confront the president directly, so it's not eyeball to eyeball. and it's something covered up for a long time. and a lot of it was not known until 10, 12 years ago when a movie came out. the assassination of richard nixon. starring sean penn. as samuel byke. and i remember thinking, huh? what do you mean, assassination?
it was covered up very well until shortly before 2004, 2005. then the history channel had an hour documentary, the plot to assassinate nixon. and we learned more about it. it was really covered up for a long time. what did samuel byke want to do? he wanted to hijack a plane, try to, in the baltimore/washington airport. he actually shot and killed the pilot, and i think wounded the co-pilot, then was shot and killed by, i guess, by airport police. but he wanted them to do was fly the plane from baltimore to washington and attack the white house, hit it. now, nixon wasn't home that day, but the thought of somebody using a plane to attack the white house in february '74? 9/11, 27 years early? that's mind blowing. what other way can you look at it? it's amazing. even if he wasn't -- just the thought of anybody attacking the
white house. so he is killed, and it's pretty much covered up. we don't know much about it. all right. so not everything is told to us, and the argument some people have said to me, about lyndon johnson? why isn't he the list of people threatened? nothing on the list that we know of, i be with the vietnam war with, nobody threatened him? apparently not directly, or it's just been covered up. even eisenhower. not any threats that we know of publicly. there probably are hidden records, but i was not able to get any information on east one of them -- either one of them. nixon did, but this one was well covered up for a long time. all right now, so anyway, now -- and, of course, he was picked by, you know, by the, picked by nixon. not the first choice, gerald ford. he had other people on his list, nixon, who was under fire and had to pick a replacement for
agnew. he had john connolly, treasury secretary, on his list. and i remember at the time saying, please, don't do that. i did not like john connolly who, of course, was shot when kennedy was shot. i didn't like john connolly. he also had george h.w. bush on his list. imagine that. he had bob dole on his list. interesting. he had ronald reagan on his list and nelson rockefeller. interesting and significant in the future. but he ended up picking ford because he figured, nixon, that ford's a vice president, nobody wants to have gerry become president, so they'll keep me in there. no. as hong as he's a decent fellow, honest guy request, gerry ford would be fine. that's what he didn't understand. he himself will have two assassination attempts which is unbelievable. on september 5th and 22nd, 1975. two in a month. two 17 days apart. amazing. and both by women! only cases, only other case is
running the boarding house for lincoln. excuse me, for booth against lincoln. she's involved in the plot, not actually direct. here we have lynette squeaky -- [inaudible] a follower of charles manson. confronting gerald ford, she has a weapon on her, so it's not as direct. but 17 days later in san francisco sarah jane moore is actually going to point her weapon at the president and is going to lead to, indeed -- let me see, i've got this one. it shows you both of them. she gets a light sentence, released in 2007. same thing with sarah jane moore. and here's the scene i have in the book of the sarah jean moore shot and ford looking stunned as the shot is fired and, luckily, it does not hit him. actually, a marine knocked her hand and, therefore, he was not hurt. i've mentioned to people look at how he's stunned there, and some
of my friends said, wasn't he always? [laughter] well, what is that, you know? so that's the scene that's in my book as well. all right. now, this is the story of the century. who would have been his replacement? nelson rockefeller, the former four-term governor of new york. the liberal republican who conservatives like ronald reagan hated. even today, particularly now if you said i'm a republican still, oh, good. what kind? a rockefeller, they'll kick you out of the room. they'll say you're a communist, probably would be said today. he was very liberal for a republican. he had tried to be president three times. failed to, but he had tried. all right. but he was picked to be vice president. had a whole controversy about it. it lasted four months, the debate, because he was very wealthy, and he was not liked by conservative republicans and southern democrats. finally confirmed but not easily like ford had been to replace agnew. and twice in 17 days he could have been president of the united states, and it probably would have caused some people to
have a stroke or a heart attack thinking, oh, my god, president rockefeller? and after this is over when ford defeats reagan, reagan's people make it clear we will not back you in '76 after reagan loses the nomination unless, unless you agree that you will dump rockefeller. he picks bob dole and tells rockefeller, you can't be on the ticket. after the election's over and years later, you know, ford says if i had kept rockefeller, i might have beaten jimmy carter. i think he would have. he lost ohio and hawaii. he might have had it if he had rockefeller because dole was a nasty campaigner against walter mondale. i think rockefeller was the better. but rockefeller could have been president and would have been a good one, i think. reagan, of course, in '81. john hinckley. actually has about half the month he can go and visit his mother who's, like, 91 years old. i agree with nancy reagan, he
should not be free. he's in a mental hospital, all right? he is seriously wounded. he is not wearing, he's not wearing a vest, you know, a protective vest, neither is the secret service agent who is shot and wounded. could have been very different if they had. of course, i think back a hundred years, if this had been garfield, he would have been gone, 1881, but this is a different time. and this is john hinkley, of course, who's, you know, comes from a well-to-do family, but he had mental illness. it's always mental illness. and, of course, bush would have become president then if that had happened. of course, he became president anyway. the thing about hinkley, hinkley also was a threat to somebody else. he was stalking president carter months earlier in the fall campaign of '80. let's say he had killed carter, because he was stalking him. and if walter mondale had become president, who says with the tragedy of carter's death he would not have defeated ronald reagan. so maybe ronald reagan never
would have been president either. it's a possibility. all right. so we have idea here about carter and what would have happened with mondale. and by the way, we just passed january 20th, 35 years since jimmy carter left the presidency and walter mondale left the vice presidency, all-time record, 91-88 whether you like them or not, you've got to say, wow, this is quite a story. 35 years on january 20th, and they're still both with us, all right? and there's the review of my book, and that is all i have to say. i also covered the recent president, but i thank you very much for listening. [applause] and i welcome people to come up and ask questions with. >> thank you very much, ron. >> yes. >> if you're going to ask a question, please come up to the microphone so that we can be recorded for the cameras, okay? there you go. >> i've got a question. you say you would like to see the succession go back to the
members of the cabinet, because you felt that -- or feel that they'd all be the same party. well -- >> sometimes they pick republicans to be secretary of defense, that's true. >> that's what i was going to say. there's a lot of members of the cabinet that are loyal -- >> but even the republican picks for the democrats or vice versa, your loyal to -- you're loyal to the president. so that's why i would think a cabinet member would be better, but it's not going to happen, you know? it was changed under the republican 80th congress, and it's not going to be changed. but i'm just saying -- >> takes an amendment to the constitution to do it again, does it? >> that's even harder. you've got to get a two-thirds vote of both houses to get it and 38 statement legislate which ares. that's impossible -- legislatures. that's impossible. thank you for the question. yes. >> two unrelated questions. you mentioned there were the five best presidents, and you mentioned one.
who were the other four? let me just give you the other one, and then i can sit down. the next one is, were there any major threats against obama? >> the five top presidents, but going by c-span's rating of 2009, and we'll have another one in 2017, i guess, the top five are, in order, abraham lincoln -- republican, george washington -- federalist -- franklin d. roosevelt, of course, democrat. teddy roosevelt, republican, and harry truman, democrat. now, if i could change that, i would make fdr second and washington third and truman four and g.r. fifthth. no debate about lincoln. even hillary clinton yesterday request said the best president she believes was lincoln even though she's not of her party. everybody accepts lincoln pretty much. except some confederate sympathizers, i guess there's some who hate him, but that's --
now, the other question of any major threats, yes, the most recent was the one of omar gonzalez who got over the fence and got into the white house in september 2014. we had two plots against obama during the campaign of 2008 by young men in tennessee and in denver, colorado. the one in denver would have been to shoot him as he accepted the nomination be, almost like a manchurian candidate kind of a scene as he's speaking. there's been tons of threats. and -- [inaudible] threats in the thousands other the years and it is, in a way, miraculous that he has been able to avoid any direct threat. there are always threats. and his wife, too, has had threats. not as many, of course, but he's had lots of threats, more than anybody other than lincoln by any estimate we have. all right, thank you for that question. any other questions? comments anybody wants to make? >> i'll make another one --? >> okay, just come up, please. we'll be able to hear it later. thank you.
>> this is not related to the exact topic. you mentioned, keep mentioning trump over and over. it seems to me you're pretty convinced that he's going to get the nomination. is this what i'm gathering? >> no, actually not. my blog, i predicted marco rubio will be the nominee. i actually think he will be. my prediction, which we'll see. i might point out, not bragging -- but i am. in 2012 i predicted the electoral college exactly. not that i was the only one, but i did. this time i predict an electoral vote. i may be wrong. maybe i shouldn't put it on tape. [laughter] that hillary clinton will be elected president, her running mate will not be who you hear about. i think the issue of ohio is the crucial state, and republicans must win ohio to win the white house. every single one of them has who have become president other than ford who wasn't elected and lost ohio to carter. and i think what's going to happen is rubio will be the nominee from florida. he will pick kasich of ohio, who i think is the best person,
actually, to be his running mate. florida and ohio, two crucial states. and my prediction is florida will go with the republicans, which it did not the last two times, but ohio will go to the democrats. and how is that going to be with kasich? because my prediction is, and, you know, i might even write a note to hillary joking saying pick senator sherrod brown of. you've got to think ohio senator sherrod brown. forget about julian cat e troh, forget about martin o'malley. you've got to win ohio, and if ohio is on the ticket either way, president or vice president, pick sherld brown who's not as well known, but he's important and a good guy, to be your running mate. and i predict the electoral vote will be 303-235. in other words, every state that obama won hillary will win except florida. it'll be the same except not
florida. so it will be a smaller margin. but that's what i predict, and we'll see what happens. trump has shocked everybody, so i don't know. we'll have to see. i actually have thought at times that it might be people coming to see him and they won't vote for him. we'll see what happens next week and the week after. it would be funny if f if it ended up he did not do well at all. but a hot of people like to be around a reality star. doesn't mean they're going to vote for him. we'll just have to see. i still think rubio will be the nominee. all right. anyone else have a question? just come up to the microphone. thank you. >> what do you think about the situation with hillary with the fact now that the fbi is practically ready to indict her? >> not so sure they are. that's a lot of propaganda. there's not been proof of that at this point. if it happens, however, it's disastrous. if it happens. i don't think it's going to happen. i think a lot of it's
propaganda. but if it does happen, i think vice president joe biden will come back and run. and, you know, i'm a joe biden fan, and last week on john hockenberry i was asked -- because i wrote a blog entry a year ago about joe biden, i said he should run for a third term as vice president. and people say, can you do that? [laughter] on presidents, yes, but not on vice presidents. i wrote this in february of last year, john hockenberry found it, said we want to talk to you about joe biden. last week i spoke to him for seven minutes. he made fun of it. he said you're a one-man campaign to make joe biden vice president again. i wonder if joe biden heard this. i followed through, but i'm thinking, you know something? i like joe biden that much. and whether he runs for something, i think he should be
secretary of state if hillary wins. what i thought i'd do, write him a letter, type a letter up and send him a book signed to his office and tell him about the john hockenberry interview i and how much i admire him and i wanted to give him the gift of my book. i just sent it off today, you know? i thought maybe they'll just blow it up before it ever gets to him. they're going to have to check out that it's safe, of course. so i think if hillary falters, i think joe biden would have to enter, because i do not think bernie sanders can win the election, unfortunately. he's a great guy, but i don't think he can win. i think joe biden would come back in. that's my gut feeling. but it's a lot of ifs. after a month or two somebody could watch this tape and say, boy, are you out of date. it's going to be done already. but you asked me, so i'm answering you. all right? so i thank you for the question. anybody else want to make a comment or ask a question?
feel free to come up. yes, thank you. >> let's say hillary does not get the nomination and biden is out of the picture because of his family -- >> i don't think -- >> do you see any dark horse democratic candidate, a viable one? >> the only one that i talked about was former candidate al gore or former candidate john kerry. kerry, of course, being active as secretary of state, gore's been out of office -- i don't know. i would think it'd be difficult at this point. but that's pretty much it. there's no real bench of new people. other than martin o'malley who east really a good perp -- who's really a good person, but he has not taken off. he's a younger generation, he's the kennedy of the '60s, the carter of '76, you know, the clinton of '92 and the obama of '08. but it hasn't happened. he has not taken off.
so i don't think it's possible to imagine him now being a serious candidate. but he's a good man, you know? there are other people in the party that you could talk about, kristin gillibrand of new york, senator gillibrand, but not seriously. cory booker of new jersey could be thought of, i guess you could talk about amy klobuchar of minnesota. but these people would have to have a campaign apparatus, and they would have had to have been planning. so it could be a real problem if hillary was somehow to be forced out which i am sure it's not going to happen. i don't think it's true. but i think joe biden will be the best bet then to step in that i can think of, you know, really. it would be a problem though, yes. hopefully, there is no real issue, and i do think it's opposition propaganda. >> ron, one more question. >> okay, one more question. thank you. >> with all the republicans in the race right now and there was talk and there still is about a
brokered convention, yes, i also believe rubio's going to get the nomination, but i think it's going to come about because of a brokered convention after three or four ballots. and as old as i am, i remember back in '48 and '52 when -- >> '48, a long time ago. >> '52 when eisenhower and stephenson ran. they were both brokered convention. >> but we didn't have caucuses and primaries that decide delegates. there were a lot of unpledged delegates back then. there were no caucuses until '72. >> but they had primaries. >> they had primaries, but not many states had primaries. now, it'd be very hard to imagine a brokered convention. i by think that would -- i think that would damage the republican party if that happened, if you have a split like that, you know, i really do. anyway, thank you all very much. [applause] thank you very much. i appreciate it. >> booktv is on facebook. like us to get publishing news, scheduling updates, behind the