As everyone knows, the 1968 Democratic National Convention was a disaster. Looking back, it's hard for me to separate that disaster from the McCarthy people. Gene had the support of all the way-out, flaky liberals in the country, and they were the ones who were causing all the problems in the streets of Chicago.
Although they were right about the war, the students and the activists behaved terribly in Chicago. They threw stink bombs into our hotel, and the smell stayed there all week. They didn't accomplish a thing by tactics like that. I'll never forget the sight of a protester taking a piece of human dung and smearing it across the face of a police officer. Did the police overreact? Sure they did. But who could have stood up to such provocation? When they were finally free to strike back, no force in the world could have restrained them.
Despite his public position on the war, I wanted Hubert Humphrey to win. There was plenty of speculation that Humphrey had private doubts about Johnson's policy, but I knew it for a fact, because Humphrey and I had talked. He was far closer to my position than to the President's, but the job of the vice president is to be loyal to his boss. Besides, if Humphrey had come out against the war during the campaign, Lyndon would have found a way to make him pay.
What a great president he would have been! He almost made it, too, but was held back by two members of his own party -- Lyndon Johnson and Eugene McCarthy. Even after Johnson took himself out of the race, he wouldn't allow Humphrey to oppose the war in Vietnam until the final days of the campaign, when it was too late. As for McCarthy, after Humphrey defeated him on the first ballot, he should have thrown his support to Hubert. But he withheld it until just before the election, when it was too late. As the campaign drew to a close, Humphrey was gaining on Nixon, and if the vote had been two or three days later, Humphrey would have won.
-- From Tip O'Neill's "Man of the House"