Oral history transcript, Lawrence F. O'Brien, interview 29 (XXIX), 11/3/1987, by Michael L. Gillette


Oral history transcript, Lawrence F. O'Brien, interview 29 (XXIX), 11/3/1987, by Michael L. Gillette

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The possibility of Wilbur Mills' presidential candidacy; the Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, first led by George McGovern; changes in the delegate selection process to include more African-Americans, women, and young people; labor's response to the changes; controversy surrounding the reforms, leadership of the Credentials Committee and the Democratic National Committee (DNC); Harold Hughes and Patricia Harris; Harris' election as Credentials Committee chair; the Credentials Committee's recommendation to allocate California delegates entirely on the basis of popular vote; Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's offer to split the Illinois delegation; parliamentary decision-making regarding what constituted a majority of delegates in the California protest, and pressure from the candidates for O'Brien to side with them; meeting with Hubert Humphrey during the California controversy; a lunch meeting of the candidates before the convention, which McGovern did not attend; concerns about George Wallace's party loyalty; O'Brien's visit to Wallace after he was the target of an attempted assassination; O'Brien's support for Wallace's right to pursue candidacy; the DNC's 1972 debt; John Y. Brown and his plan for a telethon to raise money for the DNC; telethon producer David Wolper; Democratic National Convention costs and the length of the convention; the National Welfare Rights Organization and Ralph Abernathy's demands; 1968 campaign debt; the Democratic Policy Council; the importance of Southern support to Democratic Party unity; Jimmy Carter's role in the 1972 presidential election; Edmund Muskie's campaign leading up to the 1972 election and how it was affected by attacks in the Manchester [New Hampshire] Union Leader; John Lindsay's 1972 candidacy; O'Brien's contact with Henry "Scoop" Jackson 1970-1972; the California primary as a turning point in the 1972 presidential election; McGovern's vice-presidential running mate choice; DNC efforts to instruct delegates on how to conform to party reforms; McGovern's 1972 campaign financing; O'Brien's efforts to attack Richard Nixon; the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (ITT) scandal; how O'Brien became chairman of the 1972 Democratic National Convention; Daley's reaction to his delegates not being seated; the McGovern campaign's strategy to ensure maximum strength in the California vote and kick Richard Daley out of the convention; how the 1972 Democratic National Convention differed from previous conventions; the effect of delegate selection reform; the unit rule; McGovern waffling over whether or not O'Brien should continue as DNC chairman; O'Brien's final meeting with the DNC; McGovern's regret that he allowed O'Brien to end his DNC chairmanship; McGovern naming O'Brien as national campaign chairman; O'Brien's work with McGovern's staff, especially Gary Hart.


O'Brien, Lawrence F. (Lawrence Francis), 1917-1990


LBJ Library Oral Histories

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Lawrence F. O'Brien


Michael L. Gillette

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Oral history









Time Period:

Post-Presidential (Jan. 21, 1969-)