On the eve of the Democratic Presidential nominating convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Senators George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey discussed the main issues of the election with a television panel of newsmen on Sunday (9 July).
GV McGovern facing reporters in studio (silent)
MV Newsmen asking question and McGovern answering
SOF STARTS: "Do you really think....
SOF ENDS: ....of the inauguration."
GV Humphrey facing newsmen
MV Reporter asking question and Humphrey answering
SOF STARTS: "Does it cause you any qualms....
SOF ENDS: "...and negotiation."
REPORTER: "Do you really think and American President ought to go to Hanoi and beg?"
MCGOVERN: "Yes, I do. I think if it would release those prisoners one hour earlier, that the President ought to do precisely that. And I want to tell you Mr. Broder, I have had scores of wives of these prisoners ask me to do precisely that: to go to Hanoi and to implore that government to release our prisoners. Now I'm realistic enough to know that kind of imploring, that kind of begging or whatever you're going to call it, will fall on deaf ears until we agree to terminate our military involvement there -- including the military support of the Thieu regime in Saigon. Keep in mind that for four years President Nixon has been begging Hanoi to release those prisoners. And what I said in South Carolina is that begging, or nothing else, is going to work as long as we're bombing the people of North Vietnam. So let's stop the bombing. Let's end this folly. Let's get out forces out of there -- and I'm positive that if that is done, if I were President of the United States, I could have those prisoners out of their cells and on the way home within 90 days of the inauguration."
REPORTER: "Does it cause any qualms at all that the man who is leading Democratic nomination race, says on the eve of those negotiations, that he would go to Hanoi and beg for the release of the prisoners and the end of the war?"
HUMPHREY: I did not like the word beg. I do not believe that represents sound public policy, morality, nor the kind of the political negotiation that is required to accomplish your objectives. I think that is unfortunate, and I'm sorry that Senator McGovern has used that particular word. there's a great deal of difference between tough negotiation -- the insistence of a President that there be fulfilment of international law and rules of decency and international relations -- a great deal of difference in that and begging. I'm not a beggar here, Hanoi or any other place -- but I am a negotiator. I do believe in diplomatic initiative and negotiations."
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Background: On the eve of the Democratic Presidential nominating convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Senators George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey discussed the main issues of the election with a television panel of newsmen on Sunday (9 July).
On the question of how each would secure the release of U.S. prisoners of war held in North Vietnam, the two Senators differed markedly in their response: