Here's another snippet from the memoir I'm writing about growing up in the 60s. It's 1968. I'm a student at UCLA spending most of my time at the campus radio station, KLA.
In November, KLA utilized all its resources to cover election night. They sent people out to the various campaign headquarters. That was the sum total of their resources. I was assigned to the Biltmore Hotel downtown where both Hubert Humphrey’s and Senator Allan Cranston’s camps were housed. This was very exciting. I had a real press credential and could enter any restricted ballroom and watch volunteers blow up balloons. The presidential race was way too close to call, even hours after the west coast polls closed. So most of the time we media folk just raided buffet tables and schmoozed. One local reporter who was very nice and chatted with me for close to an hour was Channel 4’s Tom Brokaw. Who knew that years later we would both write books about the 60s and he would sell his?
At around midnight, the senator’s race was over and Cranston had won. We gathered in his ballroom for the victory speech. I was standing just off the stage. Cranston entered followed by his staff. His campaign manager was Jesse Unruh, rumored to be running for California governor in two years. He was standing right next to me. So after Cranston completed his speech I turned to Unruh, held out my microphone and asked if he was planning to run. He dodged the question, saying it was senator Cranston’s night. But I was young and brash and in college and didn’t give a shit. I began goading him. “Come on, you know you’re going to. What’s the big deal? Why can’t you just say it? It’s not like it’s a big secret.” I was the first Stuttering John. Unruh continued to duck me and eventually slipped away. When I got home late that night there was a message that my aunt from Louisville had called. Apparently my whole exchange with Jesse Unruh had been carried live on ABC. I probably got more national exposure that election night than Tom Brokaw.
Jesse Unruh did run for governor two years later. He lost.
By the next morning it was official. Richard Milhous Nixon was elected the 37th President of the United States over Hubert Humphrey in one of the closest elections in history. (The closest was when Al Gore actually won but George Bush became President.) Nixon vowed to reunite the country. It took years but he succeeded as the entire nation banded together to finally force him out of office.