|38th Vice President of the United States|
January 20, 1965 – January 20, 1969
|President||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Preceded by||Lyndon B. Johnson|
|Succeeded by||Spiro Agnew|
|Deputy President pro tempore of the United States Senate|
January 5, 1977 – January 13, 1978
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||George J. Mitchell (1987)|
|United States Senator
January 3, 1971 – January 13, 1978
|Preceded by||Eugene McCarthy|
|Succeeded by||Muriel Humphrey|
January 3, 1949 – December 29, 1964
|Preceded by||Joseph H. Ball|
|Succeeded by||Walter Mondale|
|Senate Majority Whip|
January 3, 1961 – December 29, 1964
|Preceded by||Mike Mansfield|
|Succeeded by||Russell B. Long|
|35th Mayor of Minneapolis|
July 2, 1945 – November 30, 1948
|Preceded by||Marvin Kline|
|Succeeded by||Eric G. Hoyer|
|Born||Hubert Horatio Humphrey Junior
May 27, 1911
Wallace, South Dakota, U.S.
|Died||January 13, 1978
Waverly, Minnesota, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Muriel Buck (m. 1936)|
|Children||4, including Skip|
|Education||University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (BA)
Capitol College of Pharmacy
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge (MA)
Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. (May 27, 1911 – January 13, 1978) was an American politician who served as the 38th Vice President of the United States from 1965 to 1969. He twice served in the United States Senate, representing Minnesota from 1949 to 1964 and 1971 to 1978. He was the Democratic Party's nominee in the 1968 presidential election, losing to Republican nominee Richard Nixon.
Born in Wallace, South Dakota, Humphrey attended the University of Minnesota and helped run his father's pharmacy before returning to academia. He earned a master's degree from Louisiana State University and worked for the Works Progress Administration, the Minnesota war service program, and the War Manpower Commission. In 1943, he became a professor of political science at Macalester College and ran a failed campaign for mayor of Minneapolis. He helped found the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) in 1944. In 1945, he won election as mayor of Minneapolis, serving till 1948 and co-founding the liberal anti-communist group Americans for Democratic Action in 1947. In 1948, he was elected to the Senate and successfully advocated for the inclusion of a proposal to end racial segregation in the 1948 Democratic National Convention's party platform.
Humphrey served three terms in the Senate from 1949 to 1964 and was the Democratic Majority Whip from 1961 to 1964. During his tenure, he was the lead author of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, introduced the first initiative to create the Peace Corps, sponsored the clause of the McCarran Act to threaten concentration camps for 'subversives', proposed making Communist Party membership a felony, and chaired the Select Committee on Disarmament. He unsuccessfully sought his party's presidential nomination in the 1952 and 1960 Democratic primaries. After Lyndon B. Johnson acceded to the presidency, he chose Humphrey to be his running mate, and the Democratic ticket was elected in the landslide 1964 election.
After Johnson made the surprise announcement to not seek reelection in March 1968, Humphrey launched his campaign for the presidency. Loyal to the Johnson administration's policies on the Vietnam War as Vice President, he saw opposition from many within his own party and avoided the primaries to focus on receiving the delegates of non-primary states at the Democratic Convention. His delegate strategy succeeded in clinching the nomination, and he chose Senator Edmund Muskie as his running mate. In the 1968 election, he nearly matched Nixon's tally in the popular vote but lost the electoral vote by a wide margin. After being defeated in the 1968 election, he returned to the Senate and served in that chamber until his death in 1978.
Humphrey was born in a room over his father's drugstore in Wallace, South Dakota. He was the son of Ragnild Kristine Sannes (1883–1973), a Norwegian immigrant, and Hubert Horatio Humphrey Sr. (1882–1949). Humphrey spent most of his youth in Doland, South Dakota, on the Dakota prairie; the town's population was about 600 people when he lived there. His father was a licensed pharmacist who served as mayor and a town council member; he also served briefly in the South Dakota state legislature and was a South Dakota delegate to the 1944 and 1948 Democratic National Conventions. In the late 1920s, a severe economic downturn hit Doland; both of the town's banks closed and Humphrey's father struggled to keep his drugstore open.
After his son graduated from Doland's high school, Hubert Humphrey Sr. left Doland and opened a new drugstore in the larger town of Huron, South Dakota, (population 11,000), where he hoped to improve his fortunes. Because of the family's financial struggles, Humphrey had to leave the University of Minnesota after just one year. He earned a pharmacist's license from the Capitol College of Pharmacy in Denver, Colorado (completing a two-year licensure program in just six months), and spent the years from 1931 to 1937 helping his father run the family drugstore. Both father and son were innovative businessmen in finding ways to attract customers: "to supplement their business, the Humphreys had become manufacturers...of patent medicines for both hogs and humans. A sign featuring a wooden pig was hung over the drugstore to tell the public about this unusual service. Farmers got the message, and it was Humphrey's that became known as the farmer's drugstore." One biographer noted that "while Hubert Jr. minded the store and stirred the concoctions in the basement, Hubert Sr. went on the road selling 'Humphrey's BTV' (Body Tone Veterinary), a mineral supplement and dewormer for hogs, and 'Humphrey's Chest Oil' and 'Humphrey's Sniffles' for two-legged sufferers." Humphrey himself later wrote that "we made "Humphrey's Sniffles", a substitute for Vick's Nose Drops. I felt ours were better. Vick's used mineral oil, which is not absorbent, and we used a vegetable-oil base, which was. I added benzocaine, a local anesthetic, so that even if the sniffles didn't get better, you felt it less." The various "Humphrey cures...worked well enough and constituted an important part of the family income...the farmers that bought the medicines were good customers." Over time "Humphrey's Drug Store" became a profitable enterprise and the family again prospered. While living in Huron, Humphrey regularly attended Huron's largest Methodist church and became the scoutmaster of the church's Boy Scout group, Troop 6. He "started basketball games in the church basement...although his scouts had no money for camp in 1931, Hubert found a way in the worst of that summer's dust-storm grit, grasshoppers, and depression to lead an overnight [outing]."
Humphrey did not enjoy working as a pharmacist, and his dream remained to earn a doctorate in political science and become a college professor. His unhappiness was manifested in "stomach pains and fainting spells", yet doctors could find nothing physically wrong with him. In August 1937, he told his father that he wanted to return to the University of Minnesota. Hubert Sr. tried to convince his son not to leave by offering him a full partnership in the drugstore, but Hubert Jr. refused and told his father "how depressed I was, almost physically ill from the work, the dust storms, the conflict between my desire to do something and be somebody and my loyalty to him...he replied "Hubert, if you aren't happy, then you ought to do something about it." In 1937 Humphrey returned to the University of Minnesota and earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1939. He was a member of Phi Delta Chi Fraternity. He also earned a master's degree from Louisiana State University in 1940, serving as an assistant instructor of political science there. One of his classmates was Russell B. Long, a future U.S. Senator from Louisiana.
He then became an instructor and doctoral student at the University of Minnesota from 1940 to 1941 (joining the American Federation of Teachers), and was a supervisor for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Humphrey was a star debater on the University of Minnesota's debate team; one of his debate teammates was future Minnesota Governor and US Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman. In the 1940 presidential campaign Humphrey and future University of Minnesota president Malcolm Moos debated the merits of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate, and Wendell Willkie, the Republican candidate, on a Minneapolis radio station. Humphrey supported Roosevelt. Humphrey soon became active in Minneapolis politics, and as a result he never finished his PhD.
In 1934 Hubert began dating Muriel Buck, a bookkeeper and graduate of local Huron College. They were married in 1936 and remained married until Humphrey's death, nearly 42 years later. They had four children: Hubert Humphrey III, Nancy, Robert, and Douglas. Unlike many prominent politicians, Humphrey never became a millionaire; one biographer noted, "For much of his life he was short of money to live on, and his relentless drive to attain the White House seemed at times like one long, losing struggle to raise enough campaign funds to get there."
To help boost his salary, Humphrey frequently took paid outside speaking engagements. Through most of his years as a US senator and Vice-President, he lived in a middle-class suburban housing development in Chevy Chase, Maryland. In 1958, Hubert and Muriel used their savings and his speaking fees to build a lakefront home in Waverly, Minnesota, about 40 miles west of Minneapolis.
During the Second World War Humphrey tried three times to join the armed forces but failed. His first two attempts were to join the Navy, first as a commissioned officer and then as an enlisted man. He was rejected by the Navy both times for color blindness. He then tried to enlist in the Army in December 1944 but failed the physical exam because of a double hernia, color blindness, and calcification of the lungs. Despite his attempts to join the military, one biographer would note that "all through his political life, Humphrey was dogged by the charge that he was a draft dodger" during the war.
Humphrey instead led various wartime government agencies and worked as a college instructor. In 1942, he was the state director of new production training and reemployment and chief of the Minnesota war service program. In 1943 he was the assistant director of the War Manpower Commission. From 1943 to 1944, Humphrey was a professor of political science at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he headed the university's recently created international debate department; a department focusing on the international politics of World War II and the creation of the United Nations. After leaving Macalester in the spring of 1944, Humphrey worked as a news commentator for a Minneapolis radio station until 1945.
In 1943, Humphrey made his first run for elective office, for Mayor of Minneapolis. Although he lost, his poorly funded campaign still captured over 47% of the vote. In 1944, Humphrey was one of the key players in the merger of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties of Minnesota to form the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). The same year, he worked on incumbent President Franklin Roosevelt's reelection campaign in the 1944 presidential election. When in 1945, Minnesota Communists tried to seize control of the new party, Humphrey became an engaged anticommunist and led the successful fight to oust the Communists from the DFL.
After the war, he again ran for mayor of Minneapolis; this time, he won the election with 61% of the vote. He served as mayor from 1945 to 1948. He was re-elected in 1947 by the largest margin in the city's history to that time. Humphrey gained national fame by becoming one of the founders of the liberal anticommunist Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), and he served as chairman from 1949 to 1950. He also reformed the Minneapolis police force. The city had been named the "anti-Semitism capital" of the country, and the small African-American population of the city also faced discrimination. Humphrey's tenure as mayor is noted for his efforts to fight all forms of bigotry. In 1960, Humphrey told journalist Theodore H. White that "I was mayor once, in Minneapolis...a mayor is a fine job, it's the best job there is between being a governor and being the President."
The Democratic Party of 1948 was split between those, mainly Northerners, who thought the federal government should actively protect civil rights for racial minorities, and those, mainly Southerners, who believed that states should be able to enforce traditional racial segregation within their borders.
At the 1948 Democratic National Convention, the party platform reflected the division by containing only platitudes in favor of civil rights. The incumbent president, Harry S. Truman, had shelved most of the recommendations of his 1946 Commission on Civil Rights, for fear of angering Southern Democrats. Humphrey, however, had written in The Progressive magazine, "The Democratic Party must lead the fight for every principle in the report. It is all or nothing."
A diverse coalition opposed the convention's tepid civil rights platform, including anticommunist liberals like Humphrey, Paul Douglas and John F. Shelley, all of whom would later become known as leading progressives in the Democratic Party. They proposed adding a "minority plank" to the party platform that would commit the Democratic Party to a more aggressive opposition to racial segregation. The minority plank called for federal legislation against lynching, an end to legalized school segregation in the South, and ending job discrimination based on skin color. Also strongly backing the liberal civil rights plank were Democratic urban bosses like Ed Flynn of the Bronx, who promised the votes of northeastern delegates to Humphrey's platform, Jacob Arvey of Chicago, and David Lawrence of Pittsburgh. Although viewed as being conservatives, the urban bosses believed that Northern Democrats could gain many black votes by supporting civil rights, with losses from Southern Democrats being relatively small. Though many scholars[who?] have suggested that labor unions were leading figures in this coalition, no significant labor leaders attended the convention, with the exception of the heads of the Congress of Industrial Organizations Political Action Committee (CIOPAC), Jack Kroll and A.F. Whitney.
Despite aggressive pressure by Truman's aides to avoid forcing the issue on the Convention floor, Humphrey chose to speak on behalf of the minority plank. In a renowned speech, Humphrey passionately told the Convention, "To those who say, my friends, to those who say, that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, I say to them we are 172 years (too) late! To those who say, this civil rights program is an infringement on states' rights, I say this: the time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights!" Humphrey and his allies succeeded; the convention adopted the pro-civil-rights plank by a vote of 651½ to 582½.
As a result of the Convention's vote, the Mississippi delegation and half of the Alabama delegation walked out of the hall. Many Southern Democrats were so enraged at this affront to their "way of life" that they formed the Dixiecrat party and nominated their own presidential candidate, Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. The goal of the Dixiecrats was to take Southern states away from Truman and thus cause his defeat. The Southern Democrats reasoned that after such a defeat, the national Democratic Party would never again aggressively pursue a pro-civil rights agenda. However, the move backfired. Although the strong civil rights plank adopted at the Convention cost Truman the support of the Dixiecrats, it gained him many votes from blacks, especially in large northern cities. As a result, Truman won a stunning upset victory over his Republican opponent, Thomas E. Dewey. Truman's victory demonstrated that the Democratic Party could win presidential elections without the "Solid South" and it weakened Southern Democrats instead of strengthening them. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough has written that Humphrey probably did more to get Truman elected in 1948 than anyone other than Truman himself.
Minnesota elected Humphrey to the United States Senate in 1948 on the DFL ticket, defeating James M. Shields in the primary for the DFL nomination with 89% of the vote, and unseating incumbent Republican Joseph H. Ball with 60% of the vote in the general election. He took office on January 3, 1949, becoming the first Democrat elected senator from the state of Minnesota since before the Civil War. Humphrey wrote the victory heightened his sense of self as he had overcome the odds of defeating a Republican with statewide support. Humphrey's father died that year, and Humphrey stopped using the "Jr." suffix on his name. He was re-elected in 1954 and 1960. His colleagues selected him as majority whip in 1961, a position he held until he left the Senate on December 29, 1964, to assume the vice presidency. Humphrey served from the 81st to the 87th sessions of Congress, and he also served in a portion of the 88th Congress.
Initially, Humphrey's support of civil rights led to his being ostracized by Southern Democrats, who dominated most of the Senate leadership positions and who wanted to punish Humphrey for proposing the successful civil rights platform at the 1948 Convention. Senator Richard Russell Jr. of Georgia, a leader of Southern Democrats, once remarked to other Senators as Humphrey walked by, "Can you imagine the people of Minnesota sending that damn fool down here to represent them?" However, Humphrey refused to be intimidated and stood his ground; his integrity, passion and eloquence eventually earned him the respect of even most of the Southerners. His acceptance by the Southerners was also helped a great deal when Humphrey became a protégé of Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. Humphrey became known for his advocacy of liberal causes (such as civil rights, arms control, a nuclear test ban, food stamps, and humanitarian foreign aid), and for his long and witty speeches. During the period of McCarthyism (1950–1954), Humphrey was accused of being "soft on communism", despite having been one of the founders of the anti-communist liberal organization Americans for Democratic Action, having been a staunch supporter of the Truman Administration's efforts to combat the growth of the Soviet Union, and having fought Communist political activities in Minnesota and elsewhere. In addition, Humphrey "was a sponsor of the clause in the McCarran Act of 1950 threatening concentration camps for 'subversives'", and in 1954 proposed to make mere membership in the Communist Party a felony – a proposal that failed. He was chairman of the Select Committee on Disarmament (84th and 85th Congresses). Although "Humphrey was an enthusiastic supporter of every U.S. war from 1938 to 1978", in February 1960, he introduced a bill to establish a National Peace Agency. With another former pharmacist, Representative Carl Durham, Humphrey cosponsored the Durham-Humphrey Amendment, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, defining two specific categories for medications, legend (prescription) and over-the-counter (OTC). As Democratic whip in the Senate in 1964, Humphrey was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of that year. He was a lead author of the text of the civil rights act, alongside Republican Senate Republican Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois. Humphrey's consistently cheerful and upbeat demeanor, and his forceful advocacy of liberal causes, led him to be nicknamed "The Happy Warrior" by many of his Senate colleagues and political journalists.
While President John F. Kennedy is often credited for creating the Peace Corps, the first initiative came from Humphrey when he introduced the first bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957—three years prior to JFK and his University of Michigan speech. A trio of journalists wrote of Humphrey in 1969 that "few men in American politics have achieved so much of lasting significance. It was Humphrey, not Senator [Everett] Dirksen, who played the crucial part in the complex parliamentary games that were needed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was Humphrey, not John Kennedy, who first proposed the Peace Corps. The Food for Peace program was Humphrey's idea, and so was Medicare, passed sixteen years after he first proposed it. He worked for Federal aid to education from 1949, and for a nuclear-test ban treaty from 1956. These are the solid monuments of twenty years of effective work for liberal causes in the Senate." President Johnson once said that "Most Senators are minnows...Hubert Humphrey is among the whales." In his autobiography, The Education of a Public Man, Humphrey wrote:
There were three bills of particular emotional importance to me: the Peace Corps, a disarmament agency, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The President, knowing how I felt, asked me to introduce legislation for all three. I introduced the first Peace Corps bill in 1957. It did not meet with much enthusiasm. Some traditional diplomats quaked at the thought of thousands of young Americans scattered across their world. Many senators, including liberal ones, thought the idea was silly and unworkable. Now, with a young president urging its passage, it became possible and we pushed it rapidly through the Senate. It is fashionable now to suggest that Peace Corps Volunteers gained as much or more, from their experience as the countries they worked. That may be true, but it ought not demean their work. They touched many lives and made them better.
On April 9, 1950, Humphrey stated that President Truman would sign a housing bill of 4 million and charge Republicans with having removed the bill's main middle income benefits during the latter's tours throughout the Midwest and Northeast the following month.
On January 7, 1951, Humphrey joined Senator Paul Douglas in calling for an increase to the federal budget by 80 million to combat communist aggression along with a proposal of a stiff tax increase to prevent borrowing.
In a January 1951 letter to President Truman, Humphrey wrote of the necessity of a commission akin to the Fair Employment Practices Commission that would be used to cease discrimination in defense industries and expressed the view that establishing such a commission via executive order would be met with high approval by Americans.
In December 1958, after receiving a message from Nikita Khrushchev during a visit to the Soviet Union, Humphrey returned to the US with the insistence that the message was not negative toward America. In February 1959, Humphrey said comments by Khrushchev, in which Khrushchev labeled Humphrey a purveyor of fairy tales, should have been ignored by American newspapers. In a September address to the National Stationary and Office Equipment Association, Humphrey called for further inspection of the "live and let live" doctrine set forth by Khrushchev and maintained the Cold War could be conquered through the usage of the US's "weapons of peace".
Humphrey ran for the Democratic presidential nomination twice before his election to the Vice Presidency in 1964. The first time was as Minnesota's favorite son in 1952, where he received only 26 votes on the first ballot; the second time was in 1960. In between these two presidential bids, Senator Humphrey was part of the free-for-all for the vice-presidential nomination at the 1956 Democratic National Convention, where he received 134 votes on the first ballot and 74 on the second.
In 1960, Humphrey ran again for the Democratic presidential nomination against fellow Senator John F. Kennedy in the primaries. Their first meeting was in the Wisconsin Primary, where Kennedy's well-organized and well-funded campaign overcame Humphrey's energetic but poorly funded effort. Humphrey believed defeating Kennedy in Wisconsin would weaken and slow the momentum of the latter's campaign. Kennedy's attractive brothers, sisters, and wife Jacqueline combed the state looking for votes. At one point Humphrey memorably complained that he "felt like an independent merchant competing against a chain store". Humphrey later wrote in his memoirs that "Muriel and I and our 'plain folks' entourage were no match for the glamour of Jackie Kennedy and the other Kennedy women, for Peter Lawford...and Frank Sinatra singing their commercial 'High Hopes'. Jack Kennedy brought family and Hollywood to Wisconsin. The people loved it and the press ate it up." Kennedy won the Wisconsin primary, but by a smaller margin than anticipated; some commentators argued that Kennedy's victory margin had come almost entirely from areas that were heavily Roman Catholic, and that Protestants actually supported Humphrey. As a result, Humphrey refused to quit the race and decided to run against Kennedy again in the West Virginia primary. According to one biographer "Humphrey thought his chances were good in West Virginia, one of the few states that had backed him in his losing race for vice-president four years earlier...West Virginia was more rural than urban, [which] seemed to invite Humphrey's folksy stump style. The state, moreover, was a citadel of labor. It was depressed; unemployment had hit hard; and coal miners' families were hungry. Humphrey felt he could talk to such people, who were 95% Protestant (Humphrey was a Congregationalist) and deep-dyed Bible-belters besides."
Kennedy chose to meet the religion issue head-on. In radio broadcasts, he carefully repositioned the issue from one of Catholic versus Protestant to tolerance versus intolerance. Kennedy's appeal placed Humphrey, who had championed tolerance his entire career, on the defensive, and Kennedy attacked him with a vengeance. Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., the son of the former president, stumped for Kennedy in West Virginia and raised the issue of Humphrey's failure to serve in the armed forces in World War II. Roosevelt told audiences "I don't know where he [Humphrey] was in World War Two," and handed out flyers charging that Humphrey was a draft dodger. Historian Robert Dallek has written that Robert F. Kennedy, who was serving as his brother's campaign manager, came into "possession of information that Humphrey may have sought military deferments during World War Two ... he pressed Roosevelt to use this." Humphrey believed Roosevelt's draft-dodger claim "had been approved by Bobby [Kennedy], if not Jack". However, Dallek has written that the claims that Humphrey was a draft dodger were inaccurate, because during the war Humphrey had "tried and failed to get into the [military] service because of physical disabilities". After the West Virginia primary, Roosevelt sent Humphrey a written apology and retraction. According to historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Roosevelt "felt that he had been used, blaming [the draft-dodger charge] on Robert Kennedy's determination to win at any cost...Roosevelt said later that it was the biggest political mistake of his career." Humphrey, who was short on funds, could not match the well-financed Kennedy operation. Humphrey traveled around the state in a rented bus, while Kennedy and his staff flew around West Virginia in a large, family-owned airplane. According to Carl Solberg, his biographer, Humphrey spent only $23,000 on the West Virginia primary, while Kennedy's campaign privately spent some $1.5 million, well over their official estimate of $100,000. There were accusations that the Kennedys bought the West Virginia primary by paying bribes to county sheriffs and other local officials to give Kennedy the vote; however, these accusations were never proven. Humphrey later wrote that "as a professional politician I was able to accept and indeed respect the efficacy of the Kennedy campaign. But underneath the beautiful exterior, there was an element of ruthlessness and toughness that I had trouble either accepting or forgetting." Kennedy defeated Humphrey soundly in West Virginia, winning 60.8% of the vote. That evening, Humphrey announced that he was no longer a presidential candidate. By winning the West Virginia primary, Kennedy was able to overcome the belief that Protestant voters would not elect a Catholic candidate to the Presidency and thus sewed up the Democratic nomination for President.
Humphrey did win the South Dakota and District of Columbia primaries, which JFK did not enter. At the 1960 Democratic National Convention, he received 41 votes even though he was no longer an active presidential candidate.
Humphrey's defeat in 1960 had a profound influence on his thinking; after the primaries he told friends that, as a relatively poor man in politics, he was unlikely to ever become President unless he served as Vice-President first. Humphrey believed that only in this way could he raise the funds and nationwide organization and visibility he would need to win the Democratic nomination. As such, as the 1964 presidential campaign began Humphrey made clear his interest in becoming President Lyndon Johnson's running mate. At the 1964 Democratic National Convention, Johnson kept the three likely vice presidential candidates, Connecticut Senator Thomas Dodd, fellow Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy, and Humphrey, as well as the rest of the nation in suspense before announcing Humphrey as his running-mate with much fanfare, praising Humphrey's qualifications for a considerable amount of time before announcing his name.
The following day Humphrey's acceptance speech overshadowed Johnson's own acceptance address:
Hubert warmed up with a long tribute to the President, then hit his stride as he began a rhythmic jabbing and chopping at Barry Goldwater. "Most Democrats and Republicans in the Senate voted for an $11.5 billion tax cut for American citizens and American business," he cried, "but not Senator Goldwater. Most Democrats and Republicans in the Senate – in fact four-fifths of the members of his own party – voted for the Civil Rights Act, but not Senator Goldwater."Time after time, he capped his indictments with the drumbeat cry: "But not Senator Goldwater!" The delegates caught the cadence and took up the chant. A quizzical smile spread across Humphrey's face, then turned to a laugh of triumph. Hubert was in fine form. He knew it. The delegates knew it. And no one could deny that Hubert Humphrey would be a formidable political antagonist in the weeks ahead.
In an address before labor leaders in Youngstown, Ohio on September 7, 1964, Senator Humphrey said the labor movement had "more at stake in this election than almost any other segment of society". While in Jamesburg, New Jersey on September 10, Humphrey remarked that Senator Goldwater had a "record of retreat and reaction" when it came to issues of urban housing. During a September 12 Denver, Colorado Democratic rally, Humphrey charged Goldwater's record with displaying that he had rejected programs that a majority of both Americans and members of his own party supported. At a Santa Fe, New Mexico September 13 rally, Humphrey said the Goldwater-led Republican Party was seeking "to divide America so that they may conquer" and that Senator Goldwater sought pinching individuals in his reduction of government. On September 16, Humphrey said the Americans for Democratic Action supported the economic sanctions against Cuba by the Johnson administration and that the organization wanted to see a free Cuban government. The following day, Humphrey said Goldwater opposed programs favored by a majority of Texans and Americans while in San Antonio, Texas. During an appearance in Cleveland, Ohio on September 27, Humphrey said the Kennedy administration was successful in leading America into a prosperous direction and called for voters to issue a referendum with their vote toward "those who seek to replace the Statue of Liberty with an iron-padlocked gate."
On October 2, Humphrey said the general election would bring voters to a choice between his running mate and a candidate "who curses the darkness and never lights a candle" while speaking at Shrine auditorium in Los Angeles, California. During an October 9 Jersey City, New Jersey appearance, Humphrey responded to critics of the administration, who he called "sick and tired Americans", by touting accomplishments made during the tenures of both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. On October 18, a week after the resignation of Walter Jenkins amid a scandal, Humphrey said he was unaware of any potential security leaks relating to the case while in Tampa, Florida. On October 24, Humphrey listed the censure vote toward Senator Joseph McCarthy, the civil rights bill, and the nuclear test ban treaty as "three great issues of conscience to come before the United States Senate in the past decade" that Goldwater had voted incorrectly on as a Senator during a speech in Minneapolis. Amid an October 26 speech in Chicago, Humphrey dismissed Goldwater as "neither a Republican nor a Democrat" and called him "a radical".
In 1964, the Johnson/Humphrey ticket won overwhelmingly, garnering 486 electoral votes out of 538. Only five Southern states and Goldwater's home state of Arizona supported the Republican ticket. Humphrey had predicted the month prior that the ticket would win by a large margin though not carry every state.
On November 6, 1964, Humphrey traveled to the Virgin Islands for a two-week vacation ahead of assuming office while tapped remarks, in which Humphrey stated that he had not discussed with President Johnson what his role would be as Vice President and that national campaigns should be reduced in length by four weeks, aired. On November 20, Humphrey announced he would resign his Senate seat midway through the following month so that Walter Mondale could assume the position during an interview.
On December 10, 1964, Humphrey met with President Johnson in the Oval Office, the latter charging the vice president-elect with "developing a publicity machine extraordinaire and of always wanting to get his name in the paper." Johnson showed Humphrey a George Reed memo with the allegation that the president would die within six months from an already acquired fatal heart disease. The same day, President Johnson announced Humphrey would have the position of giving assistance to governmental civil rights programs during a speech in Washington.
On January 19, 1965, the day before the inauguration, Vice President-elect Humphrey told the Democratic National Committee that the party had unified as a result of the national consensus established by the presidential election.
Humphrey took office on January 20, 1965, ending the 14-month vacancy of the Vice President of the United States, which had remained empty when then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the Presidency after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was an early skeptic of the then growing conflict in Vietnam. Following a successful Viet Cong hit-and-run attack on a US military installation at Pleiku on February 7, 1965 (where 7 Americans were killed and 109 wounded), Humphrey returned from Georgia to Washington D.C., to attempt to prevent further escalation. He told President Johnson that bombing North Vietnam was not a solution to the problems in South Vietnam, but that bombing would require the injection of US ground forces into South Vietnam to protect the airbases. Presciently, he noted that a military solution in Vietnam would take years, well beyond the next election cycle. In response to his advice, President Johnson punished Humphrey with coldness and a restriction from his inner circle for a number of months, until Humphrey decided to "get back on the team" and fully support the war effort.
As Vice President, Humphrey was controversial for his complete and vocal loyalty to Johnson and the policies of the Johnson Administration, even as many of his liberal admirers opposed Johnson's policies with increasing fervor regarding the Vietnam War. Many of Humphrey's liberal friends and allies abandoned him because of his refusal to publicly criticize Johnson's Vietnam War policies. Humphrey's critics later learned that Johnson had threatened Humphrey – Johnson told Humphrey that if he publicly criticized his policy, he would destroy Humphrey's chances to become President by opposing his nomination at the next Democratic Convention. However, Humphrey's critics were vocal and persistent: even his nickname, "the Happy Warrior", was used against him. The nickname referred not to his military hawkishness, but rather to his crusading for social welfare and civil rights programs. After his narrow defeat in the 1968 presidential election, Humphrey wrote that "After four years as Vice-President ... I had lost some of my personal identity and personal forcefulness. ... I ought not to have let a man [Johnson] who was going to be a former President dictate my future."
While he was Vice President, Hubert Humphrey was the subject of a satirical song by songwriter/musician Tom Lehrer entitled "Whatever Became of Hubert?" The song addressed how some liberals and progressives felt let down by Humphrey, who had become a much more mute figure as Vice President than he had been as a senator. The song goes "Whatever became of Hubert? Has anyone heard a thing? Once he shone on his own, now he sits home alone and waits for the phone to ring. Once a fiery liberal spirit, ah, but now when he speaks he must clear it. ..."
During these years Humphrey was a repeated and favorite guest of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. He also struck up a friendship with Frank Sinatra, who supported his campaign for president in 1968 before his conversion to the Republican party in the early 1970s, and was perhaps most on notice in the fall of 1977 when Sinatra was the star attraction and host of a tribute to a then-ailing Humphrey. He also appeared on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast in 1973.
On April 15, 1965, Humphrey delivered an address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, pledging the incumbent session of Congress would "do more for the lasting long-term health of this nation" since the initial session in office at the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt assuming the presidency in 1933 and predicting 13 major measures of President Johnson's administration would be passed ahead of the session's conclusion. In mid-May 1965, Humphrey traveled to Dallas, Texas for an off-the-record discussion with donors of President Johnson's campaign. During the visit, Humphrey was imposed tight security as a result of the JFK assassination a year and a half prior and the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald was placed under surveillance by Police Chief Cato Hightower.
During a May 31, 1966 appearance at Huron College, Humphrey said the US should not expect "either friendship or gratitude" in helping poorer countries. At September 22, 1966 Jamesburg, New Jersey Democratic Party fundraiser, Humphrey said the Vietnam War would be shortened if the US stayed firm and hasten the return of troops: "We are making a decision not only to defend Vietnam, we are defending the United States of America."
During a May 1967 news conference, Humphrey said American anger toward Vietnam was losing traction and that he could see a growth in popularity for President Johnson since a low point five months prior. During an August 2, 1967 appearance in Detroit, Michigan, Humphrey proposed each state give consideration to forming peace keeping councils geared toward violence prevention as well as the gaining of community cooperation and the hearing of "the voices of those who have gone unheard."
On November 4, 1967, Humphrey cited Malaysia as an example of what Vietnam could resemble post a Viet Cog defeat while in Jakarta, Indonesia. The following day, Vice President Humphrey requested Indonesia attempt mediating in the Vietnam War during a meeting with Suharto at Merdeka palace. On December 7, Vice President Humphrey said in an interview that the Viet Cong could potentially be the factor in creating a political compromise with the government of Saigon.
In February 1965, President Johnson appointed Humphrey to the chairmanship of the President's Council on Equal Opportunity. The position and board was proposed by Humphrey, who also advocated to Johnson that the board consist of members of the Cabinet and federal agency leaders, and it would serve multiple roles including assisting agency cooperation, creating federal program consistency, using advanced planning for the sake of avoiding potential racial unrest, creating public policy, and meeting with local and state level leaders. During his tenure, he appointed Wiley A. Branton as executive director. During the first meeting of the group on March 3, Humphrey stated the budget was 289,000 USD and pledged to ensure vigorous work on the part of the small staff.
Following the Watts riots in August 1965, Johnson downsized Humphrey's role as the administration's expert on civil rights. Dallek wrote the shift in role was in line with the change in policy the Johnson administration underwent in response to "the changing political mood in the country on aid to African Americans." In a private meeting with Joseph Califano on September 18, 1965, President Johnson stated his intent to remove Humphrey from the post of "point man" on civil rights within the administration, believing the vice president was tasked with enough work. Days later, Humphrey met with Johnson, Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, and White House Counsel Lee C. White. Johnson told Humphrey he would shorten his role within the administration's civil rights policies and pass a portion to Katzenbach, Caulifano writing that Humphrey agreed to go along with the plan reluctantly.
December 1965 saw the beginning of Humphrey's tour of eastern countries, saying he hoped to have "cordial and frank discussions" ahead of the trip beginning when asked about the content of the talks. During a December 29 meeting with Prime Minister of Japan Eisaku Sato, Humphrey asked the latter for support on achieving peace in the Vietnam conflict and said it was a showing of strength that the United States wanted a peaceful ending rather than a display of weakness.
Humphrey began a European tour in late-March 1967 to mend frazzled relations. At the time of its beginning, Humphrey indicated that he was "ready to explain and ready to listen." On April 2, 1967, Vice President Humphrey met with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Harold Wilson. Ahead of the meeting, Humphrey said they would discuss multiple topics including the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, European events, Atlantic alliance strengthening, and "the situation in the far east". White House Press Secretary George Christian said five days later that he had received reports from Vice President Humphrey indicating his tour of the European countries was "very constructive" and said President Johnson was interested in the report as well. While Humphrey was in Florence, Italy on April 1, 1967, 23-year-old Giulio Stocchi threw eggs at the Vice President and missed, being seized by American bodyguards who turned him into Italian officers. In Brussels, Belgium on April 9, demonstrators led by communists threw rotten eggs and fruits at Vice President Humphrey's car, also hitting several of his bodyguards. In late-December 1967, Vice President Humphrey began touring Africa.
As 1968 began, it looked as if President Johnson, despite the rapidly decreasing approval rating of his Vietnam War policies, would easily win the Democratic nomination for a second time. Humphrey was widely expected to remain Johnson's running mate for reelection in 1968. Johnson was challenged by Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota, who ran on an anti-Vietnam War platform. With the backing of out-of-state anti-war college students and activists while campaigning in the New Hampshire primary, McCarthy, who was not expected to be a serious contender for the Democratic nomination, nearly defeated Johnson, finishing with a surprising 42% of the vote to Johnson's 49%. A few days after the New Hampshire primary, after months of contemplation and originally intending to support Johnson's bid for reelection, Senator Robert Kennedy of New York also entered the race on an anti-war platform. On March 31, 1968, a week before the Wisconsin primary, where polls showed a strong standing for McCarthy, President Johnson stunned the nation by withdrawing from his race for a second full term.
Following the announcement from Johnson, Humphrey announced his presidential candidacy on April 27, 1968. Declaring his candidacy in a speech in Washington, D.C. alongside Senators Fred Harris of Oklahoma and Walter Mondale of Minnesota (who both served as the co-chairs to his campaign), Humphrey stated:
Here we are, just as we ought to be, here we are, the people, here we are the spirit of dedication, here we are the way politics ought to be in America, the politics of happiness, politics of purpose, politics of joy; and that's the way it's going to be, all the way, too, from here on out. We seek an America able to preserve and nurture all the basic rights of free expression, yet able to reach across the divisions that too often separate race from race, region from region, young from old, worker from scholar, rich from poor. We seek an America able to do this in the higher knowledge that our goals and ideals are worthy of conciliation and personal sacrifice.
Also in his speech, Humphrey supported President Johnson's Vietnam initiative he proposed during his address to the nation four weeks earlier; partially halting the bombings in North Vietnam, while sending an additional 13,500 troops and increasing the Department of Defense's budget by 4% over the next fiscal year. Later in the campaign, Humphrey opposed a proposal by Senators McCarthy and George McGovern of South Dakota to the Democratic Convention's Policy Committee, calling for an immediate end to the bombings in Vietnam, an early withdrawal of troops and setting talks for a coalition government with the Viet Cong.
Many people saw Humphrey as Johnson's stand-in; he won major backing from the nation's labor unions and other Democratic groups that were troubled by young antiwar protesters and the social unrest around the nation. A group of British journalists wrote that Humphrey, despite his liberal record on civil rights and support for a nuclear test-ban treaty, "had turned into an arch-apologist for the war, who was given to trotting around Vietnam looking more than a little silly in olive-drab fatigues and a forage cap. The man whose name had been a by-word in the South for softness toward Negroes had taken to lecturing black groups...the wild-eyed reformer had become the natural champion of every conservative element in the Democratic Party." Humphrey entered the race too late to participate in the Democratic primaries and concentrated on winning delegates in non-primary states by gaining the support from Democratic officeholders who were elected delegates for the Democratic Convention. By June, McCarthy won in Oregon and Pennsylvania, while Kennedy had won in Indiana and Nebraska, though Humphrey was the front runner as he led the delegate count. The California primary was crucial for Kennedy's campaign, as a McCarthy victory would've prevented Kennedy from reaching the amount of delegates required to secure the nomination. On June 4, 1968, Kennedy defeated McCarthy by less than 4% in the California primary. But the nation was shocked yet again when Senator Kennedy was assassinated after his victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. After the assassination of Kennedy, Humphrey suspended his campaign for two weeks.
Humphrey and his running mate, Ed Muskie, who had not entered any of the 13 state primary elections, went on to win the Democratic nomination at the party convention in Chicago, Illinois even though 80 percent of the primary voters had been for anti-war candidates, the delegates had defeated the peace plank by 1,567¾ to 1,041¼. Unfortunately for Humphrey and his campaign, in Grant Park, just five miles south of International Amphitheater convention hall (closed 1999), and at other sites near downtown Chicago, there were gatherings and protests by the thousands of antiwar demonstrators, many of whom favored McCarthy, George McGovern, or other "anti-war" candidates. These protesters – most of them young college students – were attacked and beaten on live television by Chicago police, actions which merely amplified the growing feelings of unrest in the general public.
Humphrey's inaction during these activities along with President Johnson and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's behind the scenes convention influencing, public backlash from securing the presidential nomination without entering a single primary, as well as Humphrey refusal to meet McCarthy half way on his demands, resulting in McCarthy's lack of full endorsement of Humphrey, highlighted turmoil in the Democratic party's base that proved to be too much for Humphrey to overcome in time for the general election. The combination of the unpopularity of Johnson, the Chicago demonstrations, and the discouragement of liberals and African-Americans when both Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated during the election year, were all contributing factors that caused him to eventually lose the election to former Vice President Nixon.
Although he lost the election by less than 1% of the popular vote, 43.4% for Nixon (31,783,783 votes) to 42.7% (31,271,839 votes) for Humphrey, with 13.5% (9,901,118 votes) for George Wallace, Humphrey carried just 13 states with 191 electoral college votes. Richard Nixon carried 32 states and 301 electoral votes, and Wallace carried 5 states in the South and 46 electoral votes (270 were needed to win). In his concession speech, Humphrey said: "I have done my best. I have lost, Mr. Nixon has won. The democratic process has worked its will."
After leaving the Vice Presidency, Humphrey taught at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota, and served as chairman of the board of consultants at the Encyclopædia Britannica Educational Corporation.
On February 11, 1969, Humphrey met privately with Mayor Richard J. Daley and denied ever being "at war" with Daley during a press conference later in the day. In March, Humphrey declined answering questions on the Johnson administration being either involved or privy to the cessation of bombing of the north in Vietnam during an interview on Issues and Answers. At a press conference on June 2, 1969, Humphrey backed Nixon's peace efforts, dismissing the notion that he was not seeking an end to the war. In early July, Humphrey traveled to Finland for a private visit. Later that month, Humphrey returned to Washington after visiting Europe, a week after McCarthy declared he would not seek reelection, Humphrey declining to comment amid speculation he intended to return to the Senate. During the fall, Humphrey arranged to meet with President Nixon through United States National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Humphrey saying the day after the meeting that President Nixon had "expressed his appreciation on my attitude to his effort on Vietnam." On August 3, Humphrey said that Russia was buying time to develop ballistic missile warheads in order to catch up with the United States and that security was the "overriding concern" of the Soviet Union. Days later, Humphrey repudiated efforts against President Nixon's anti-ballistic missile system: "I have a feeling that they [opponents of the ABM] were off chasing rabbits when a tiger is loose." During October, Humphrey spoke before the AFL-CIO convention delegates, charging President Nixon's economic policies with "putting Americans out of work without slowing inflation." On October 10, Humphrey stated his support for Nixon's policies in Vietnam and that he believed "the worst thing that we can do is to try to undermine the efforts of the President." At a December 21 press conference, Humphrey said President Nixon was a participant in the "politics of polarization" and could not seek unity on one hand but have divisive agents on the other. On December 26, Humphrey responded to a claim from former President Johnson that Humphrey had been cost the election by his own call for a stop to North Vietnam bombing, saying he did what he "thought was right and responsible at Salt Lake City."
On January 4, 1970, Humphrey said the United States should cease tests of nuclear weapons during the continued conversations for potential strategic arms limitations between the United States and the Soviet Union while speaking to the National Retail Furniture association at the Palmer House. In February, Humphrey predicted Nixon would withdraw 75,000 or more troops prior to the year's midterm elections and there main issue would be the economy during an interview: "The issue of 1970 is the economy. Some of my fellow Democrats don't believe this. But this is a fact." On February 23, Humphrey disclosed his recommendation to Lawrence O'Brien for the latter to return to being Chair of the Democratic National Committee, a Humphrey spokesman reporting that Humphrey wanted a quick settlement to the issue of the DNC chairmanship. Solberg wrote of President Nixon's April 1970 Cambodian Campaign as having done away with Humphrey's hopes that the war be taken out of political context. In May, Humphrey pledged to do all that he was capable of to provide additional war planes to Israel and stress the issue to American leaders. Amid an August 11 address to the American Bar Association luncheon meeting, Humphrey called for liberals to cease defending campus radicals and militants and align with law and order.
Initially he had not planned to return to political life, but an unexpected opportunity changed his mind. McCarthy, who was up for re-election in 1970, realized that he had only a slim chance of winning even re-nomination (he had angered his party by opposing Johnson and Humphrey for the 1968 presidential nomination) and declined to run. Humphrey won the nomination, defeated Republican Congressman Clark MacGregor, and returned to the U.S. Senate on January 3, 1971. Ahead of resuming his senatorial duties, Humphrey had a November 16, 1970 White House meeting with President Nixon as part of a group of newly elected senators invited to meet with the president. He was re-elected in 1976, and remained in office until his death. In a rarity in politics, Humphrey held both Senate seats from his state (Class I and Class II) at different times. During his return to the Senate he served in the 92nd, 93rd, 94th, and a portion of the 95th Congress. He served as chairman of the Joint Economic Committee in the 94th Congress.
L. Edward Purcell wrote that upon returning to the Senate, Humphrey found himself "again a lowly junior senator with no seniority" and that he resolved to create credibility in the eyes of liberals. On May 3, 1971, after the Americans for Democratic Action adopted a resolution demanding President Nixon's impeachment, Humphrey commented that they were acting "more out of emotion and passion than reason and prudent judgement" and added that they were irresponsible in making the request. On May 21, Humphrey said ending hunger and malnutrition in the US was "a moral obligation" during a speech to International Food Service Manufacturers Association members at the Conrad Hilton Hotel. During the month of June, Humphrey delivered the commencement address at the University of Bridgeport and days later said that he believed President Nixon was interested in seeing a peaceful end to the Vietnam War "as badly as any senator or anybody else." On July 14, while testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Arms Control, Humphrey proposed amending the defense procurement bill to place in escrow all funds for creation and usage of multiple‐missile warheads in the midst of continued arms limitations talks. Humphrey said members of the Nixon administration needed to remember "when they talk of a tough negotiating position, they are going to get a tough response." On September 6, Humphrey rebuked the Nixon administration's wage price freeze, saying it was based on trickle down policies and advocating for "percolate up" as a replacement, while speaking at a United Rubber Workers gathering. On October 26, Humphrey stated his support for barriers to voting registration being removed and students being authorized to establishing voting residences in their respective college communities, rebuking the refusal of United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell the previous month to take a role in shaping voter registration laws as applicable to new voters. On December 24, 1971, Humphrey accused the Nixon administration of turning its back on the impoverished in the rural parts of the United States, citing few implementations of the relief recommendations from the 1967 National Advisory Commission and in another statement said only 3 of the 150 recommendations had been established. December 27, Humphrey said the Nixon administration was responsible for an escalation of the Southeast Asia war alongside a request for complete cessation of North Vietnam bombing while responding to antiwar protestors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In January 1972, Humphrey stated the US would be out of the Vietnam War by that point had he been elected President, saying Nixon was taking longer to withdraw American troops from the country than it was to defeat Adolf Hitler. On May 20, Humphrey said President Nixon's proposal in limiting school children busing was "insufficient in the amount of aid needed for our children, deceptive to the American people, and insensitive to the laws and the Constitution of this nation" in a reversal of his prior supporting stance while in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During a May 30 appearance in Burbank, California, Humphrey stated his support for an immediate withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam despite an invasion by North Vietnam.
In January 1973, Humphrey said the Nixon administration was plotting to eliminate a school milk program in the upcoming fiscal year budget during a telephone interview. On February 18, 1973, Humphrey said the Middle East could possibly usher in peace following the Vietnam War ending along with American troops withdrawing from Indochina during an appearance at the New York Hilton. In August 1973, Humphrey called on President Nixon to schedule a meeting with nations exporting and importing foods as part of an effort to both create a worldwide policy on food and do away with food hoarding. After President Nixon's dismissal of Archibald Cox, Humphrey said he found "the whole situation entirely depressing." Three days after Cox's dismissal, during a speech to the AFL-CIO convention on October 23, Humphrey declined stating his position on whether President Nixon should be impeached, citing that his congressional position would likely cause him to have to play a role in determining Nixon's fate. On December 21, Humphrey disclosed his request of federal tax deductions of 199,153 USD for the donation of his vice presidential papers to the Minnesota State Historical Society.
In early January 1974, Humphrey checked into the Bethesda Naval Hospital for tests regarding a minute tumor of the bladder, Humphrey's physician Edgar Berman stating the day after his admission that Humphrey "looks fine and feels fine" and was expected to leave early the following week. In an interview conducted on March 29, 1974, Humphrey concurred with Senator Mike Mansfield's assessment from the prior day that the House of Representatives had enough votes to impeach President Nixon. Humphrey was reportedly pleased by Nixon's resignation.
On May 5, 1975, Humphrey testified at the trial of his former campaign manager Jack L. Chestnut, Humphrey admitting that as a candidate he sought the support the Associated Milk Producers, Inc. but at that time was not privy to the illegal contributions Chestnut was accused of taking from the organization.
In October 1976, Humphrey was admitted to a hospital for the removal of a cancerous bladder, predicting his victory in his re-election bid and advocating for members of his party to launch efforts for the increase of voter turnout upon his release.
On November 4, 1970, shortly after being elected to the Senate, Humphrey stated his intention to take on the role of a "harmonizer" with the Democratic Party for the purpose of minimizing the possibility of potential presidential candidates within the party lambasting each other prior to deciding to run in the then-upcoming election, dismissing that he was an active candidate at that time. In December 1971, Humphrey made his second trip to New Jersey in under a month, talking with a plurality of county leaders at the Robert Treat Hotel: "I told them I wanted their support. I said I'd rather work with them than against them."
In 1972, Humphrey once again ran for the Democratic nomination for president, announcing his candidacy on January 10, 1972 during a twenty-minute speech in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the time of the announcement, Humphrey said he was running on a platform of the removal of troops from Vietnam and a revitalization of the United States economy. He drew upon continuing support from organized labor and the African-American and Jewish communities, but remained unpopular with college students because of his association with the Vietnam War, even though he had altered his position in the years since his 1968 defeat. Humphrey initially planned to skip the primaries, as he had in 1968. Even after he revised this strategy he still stayed out of New Hampshire, a decision that allowed McGovern to emerge as the leading challenger to Muskie in that state. Humphrey did win some primaries, including those in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, but was defeated by McGovern in several others, including the crucial California primary. Humphrey also was out-organized by McGovern in caucus states and was trailing in delegates at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida. His hopes rested on challenges to the credentials of some of the McGovern delegates. For example, the Humphrey forces argued that the winner-take-all rule for the California primary violated procedural reforms intended to produce a better reflection of the popular vote, the reason that the Illinois delegation was bounced. The effort failed, as several votes on delegate credentials went McGovern's way, guaranteeing his victory.
On April 22, 1974, Humphrey said that he would not enter the upcoming Democratic presidential primary for the 1976 Presidential election. Humphrey said at the time that he was urging fellow Senator and Minnesotan Walter Mondale to run, despite believing that Ted Kennedy would enter the race as well. Leading up to the election cycle, Humphrey also said, "Here's a time in my life when I appear to have more support than at any other time in my life. But it's too financially, politically, and physically debilitating - and I'm just not going to do it." In December 1975, a Gallup poll was released showing Humphrey and Ronald Reagan as the leading Democratic and Republican candidates for the following year's presidential election.
On April 12, 1976, Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic Party State Senator James P. Dugan said the selecting of a majority of delegates that were uncommitted to a candidate could be interpreted as a victory for Humphrey, who had indicated his availability as a presidential candidate for the convention. Humphrey announced his choice to not enter the New Jersey primary nor authorize any committees to work in favor of him during an April 29, 1976 appearance in the Senate Caucus Room. At the conclusion of the Democratic primary process that year, even with Jimmy Carter having the requisite number of delegates needed to secure his nomination, many still wanted Humphrey to announce his availability for a draft. However, he did not do so, and Carter easily secured the nomination on the first round of balloting. Humphrey had learned that he had terminal cancer, prompting him to sit the race out.
Humphrey attended the November 17, 1976 meeting between President-elect Carter and Democratic congressional leaders in which Carter sought out support for a proposal to have the president's power to reorganize the government reinstated with potential to be vetoed by Congress.
In 1974, along with Rep. Augustus Hawkins of California, Humphrey authored the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act, the first attempt at full employment legislation. The original bill proposed to guarantee full employment to all citizens over 16 and set up a permanent system of public jobs to meet that goal. A watered-down version called the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act passed the House and Senate in 1978. It set the goal of 4 percent unemployment and 3 percent inflation and instructed the Federal Reserve Board to try to produce those goals when making policy decisions.
Humphrey ran for Majority Leader after the 1976 election but lost to Robert Byrd of West Virginia. The Senate honored Humphrey by creating the post of Deputy President pro tempore of the Senate for him. On August 16, 1977, Humphrey revealed he was suffering from terminal bladder cancer. On October 25 of that year, he addressed the Senate, and on November 3, Humphrey became the first person other than a member of the House or the President of the United States to address the House of Representatives in session. President Carter honored him by giving him command of Air Force One for his final trip to Washington on October 23. One of Humphrey's final speeches contained the lines "It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped", which is sometimes described as the "liberals' mantra".
Humphrey spent his last weeks calling old political acquaintances. One call was to Richard Nixon inviting him to his upcoming funeral, which he accepted. Staying in the hospital, Humphrey went from room to room, cheering up other patients by telling them jokes and listening to them.
He died on January 13, 1978 of bladder cancer at his home in Waverly, Minnesota. His body lay in state in the rotunda of both the United States Capitol and the Minnesota State Capitol, and was interred in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. Humphrey's passing overshadowed the death of his colleague from Montana, Senator Lee Metcalf with Metcalf's death occurring one day prior to Humphrey's. Old friends and opponents of Humphrey, from Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon to President Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale paid their final respects. "He taught us how to live, and finally he taught us how to die", said Mondale.
His wife, Muriel Humphrey, was appointed by Minnesota's governor Rudy Perpich to serve in the US Senate until a special election to fill the term was held. She did not seek election to finish her husband's term in office.
|HHH Statue, link from the panoramio web site.|
There is a statue of him in front of the Minneapolis City Hall.
|Mayor of Minneapolis
Eric G. Hoyer
Lyndon B. Johnson
|Vice President of the United States
|New office||Deputy President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate
Title next held byGeorge J. Mitchell
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
1948, 1954, 1960
|Senate Democratic Whip
Russell B. Long
Lyndon B. Johnson
|Democratic nominee for Vice President of the United States
|Democratic nominee for President of the United States
|Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
|Response to the State of the Union address
Served alongside: Carl Albert
Joseph H. Ball
|U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Edward Thye, Eugene McCarthy
|Senate Majority Whip
Russell B. Long
|U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Walter Mondale, Wendell Anderson
Lyndon B. Johnson
|Persons who have lain in state or honor
in the United States Capitol rotunda
Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam Era
|81st||Senate: E.J. Thye | H. Humphrey||House: A.H. Andresen | H.C. Andersen | J.P. O'Hara | W. Judd | H. Hagen | J. Blatnik | R. Wier | E. McCarthy | F. Marshall|
|82nd||Senate: E.J. Thye | H. Humphrey||House: A.H. Andresen | H.C. Andersen | J.P. O'Hara | W. Judd | H. Hagen | J. Blatnik | R. Wier | E. McCarthy | F. Marshall|
|83rd||Senate: E.J. Thye | H. Humphrey||House: A.H. Andresen | H.C. Andersen | J.P. O'Hara | W. Judd | H. Hagen | J. Blatnik | R. Wier | E. McCarthy | F. Marshall|
|84th||Senate: E.J. Thye | H. Humphrey||House: A.H. Andresen | H.C. Andersen | J.P. O'Hara | W. Judd | J. Blatnik | R. Wier | E. McCarthy | F. Marshall | C. Knutson|
|85th||Senate: E.J. Thye | H. Humphrey||House: A.H. Andresen | H.C. Andersen | J.P. O'Hara | W. Judd | J. Blatnik | R. Wier | E. McCarthy | F. Marshall | C. Knutson|
|85th||Senate: E.J. Thye | H. Humphrey||House: H.C. Andersen | J.P. O'Hara | W. Judd | J. Blatnik | R. Wier | E. McCarthy | F. Marshall | C. Knutson | A. Quie|
|86th||Senate: H. Humphrey | E. McCarthy||House: H.C. Andersen | W. Judd | J. Blatnik | R. Wier | F. Marshall | A. Quie | A. Nelson | J. Karth | O. Langen|
|87th||Senate: H. Humphrey | E. McCarthy||House: H.C. Andersen | W. Judd | J. Blatnik | F. Marshall | A. Quie | A. Nelson | J. Karth | O. Langen | C. MacGregor|
|88th||Senate: H. Humphrey | E. McCarthy||House: J. Blatnik | A. Quie | A. Nelson | J. Karth | O. Langen | C. MacGregor | D.M. Fraser | A.G. Olson
|92nd||Senate: W. Mondale | H. Humphrey||House: J. Blatnik | A. Quie | A. Nelson | J. Karth | D.M. Fraser | J.M. Zwach | B. Frenzel | R. Bergland|
|93rd||Senate: W. Mondale | H. Humphrey||House: J. Blatnik | A. Quie | A. Nelson | J. Karth | D.M. Fraser | J.M. Zwach | B. Frenzel | R. Bergland|
|94th||Senate: W. Mondale | H. Humphrey||House: A. Quie | J. Karth | D.M. Fraser | B. Frenzel | R. Bergland | T. Hagedorn | R. Nolan | J. Oberstar|
|94th||Senate: H. Humphrey | W. Anderson||House: A. Quie | J. Karth | D.M. Fraser | B. Frenzel | R. Bergland | T. Hagedorn | R. Nolan | J. Oberstar|
|95th||Senate: H. Humphrey | W. Anderson | M.H. Brown | D. Durenberger | R. Boschwitz
Hubert Humphrey died on January 13, 1978. His wife, Muriel was appointed to continue his term, and David Durenberger was elected on November 8, 1978 to finish the term.
Wendell Anderson resigned on December 29, 1978 after losing to Rudy Boschwitz, who was appointed the next day to finish the Mondale/Anderson term.
|House: A. Quie | D.M. Fraser | B. Frenzel | R. Bergland | T. Hagedorn | R. Nolan | J. Oberstar | B. Vento | A. Stangeland
Bob Bergland resigned on January 22, 1977 to be in Jimmy Carter's cabinet as US Secretary of Agriculture. Arlan Stangeland was elected on February 22, 1977 to finish the term.
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