Episode #222: 1968 — Turbulence and Tragedy

A half-century later, 1968 remains etched in our collective memory, a year of tremendous hope and utter tragedy.  This week we take the first of three looks at that iconic year.

Gary Eichten, a longtime reporter and host for Minnesota Public Radio, talks about Eugene McCarthy, his lonely challenge to President Johnson, his strong showing in the New Hampshire primary … and his sense of betrayal after Robert Kennedy entered the race.

Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University and biographer of Lyndon Johnson, talks about LBJ’s surprise decision to drop out of the race not long after the New Hampshire results.

Gordon Durnil, a former Indiana state GOP chair, talks about his role with Richard Nixon’s campaign in the Hoosier State in 1968, what he represented and how he became the antidote to all of the disarray on the Democratic side.

And Larry Tye, author of a biography of Robert Kennedy, on RFK’s belated entry into the race, his masterful speech in Indianapolis the night of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and how his vast promise came to a crushing end the night of the California primary.

Music used in this podcast:

Get Together by The Youngbloods

Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

The Times They Are a-Changin’ by Bob Dylan

Nixon’s The One by The Vic Caesar Orchestra & Chorus

Abraham, Martin and John by Dion

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3 Responses

  1. Josh Broder says:

    I too sat down with my parents, Ann and David Broder to hear the presidential address. I was 10, and not as sophisticated as you, Ken, in your listening. But Dave certainly was. At some point during that preamble you played, my dad suddenly bolted to his feet, yelling, “He’s not running!” and sprinted out the front door heading to the Washington Post. A moment later the phone rang. My mom picked up the phone and without waiting for the caller to indentify themselves, said “He’s on his way,” and hung up.

  2. Laura Ice says:

    A time filled with tears for me. Listening to this podcast brought it all back. If only….

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