Schwarzenegger “Lies” Redux
I finally arrived here in 1968. What a special day it was. I remember I arrived here with empty pockets but full of dreams, full of determination, full of desire.
The presidential campaign was in full swing. I remember watching the Nixon-Humphrey presidential race on TV. A friend of mine who spoke German and English translated for me. I heard Humphrey saying things that sounded like socialism, which I had just left.
But then I heard Nixon speak. Then I heard Nixon speak. He was talking about free enterprise, getting the government off your back, lowering the taxes and strengthening the military.
The facts? There was no presidential debate in that election. Nixon never debated Humphrey.
But it sure is a touching story, regardless of its truth.
I can find no references to the 1968 debates in either the quoted text above or the entire speech transcript. Schwarzenegger was talking about the race, during which, almost certainly, Humphrey espoused positions that were far closer to European socialism than did Nixon.
Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t old enough to drink liquor or vote. But he already knew what he wanted to do and what it would take to become the world’s best-known bodybuilder, a wealthy businessman and one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. “Any man can get whatever he desires in life provided he’s willing to pay whatever price it takes,” fellow bodybuilder and journalist Rick Wayne recalled the ambitious 19-year-old telling him in 1966.
Actually, in Austria, one can legally drink at age 16 and vote as early as age 16, too–although apparently not until 18 for parliamentary elections. If I remember my math classes correctly, 16 and 18 come before 19. I know major news organizations subscribe to LexisNexis. Perhaps they should give their reporters rudimentary training in Google, too.
It is true that there were no Nixon-Humphrey debates in 1968, which seems odd now. Indeed, debates between presidential nominees were quite rare until recently:
The first presidential debate in the general election campaign featured Vice President Richard M. Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy (note that Kennedy practiced for this one in a Democratic primary debate against Hubert Humphrey in West Virginia). Nixon and Kennedy debated four times and Kennedy won a very close election. Some scholars believe that those who heard Nixon on the radio thought he did better than those who saw him on television, but this idea has been questioned recently.
No general debates were held in 1964, 1968, or 1972 (there were Democratic primary debates in 1968 and 1972). General campaign debates were revived again in 1976 and every campaign since 1976 has included at least one debate between the Republican and Democratic nominees for president.