December 5, 2008

Audio tapes from President Johnson’s last months in office were released yesterday. These tapes confirm conversations I’ve had with Senator Inouye about the serious discussions that were taking place to have him be the Democratic nominee for the Vice President of the United States.

CBS News reports today about this possibility.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante reports.
Forty years before Democrats nominated their first candidate of color, President Lyndon Johnson told 1968 presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey that he should pick a Japanese-American as his running mate.

It was Sen. Daniel Inouye, who was awarded a silver star in World War II, and who lost an arm in battle.

“He answers Vietnam with that empty sleeve. He answers your problems with Nixon with that empty sleeve. He has that brown face,” Johnson said.

Humphrey, though he was one of the Senate’s foremost liberals, balked.

“I guess maybe, it’s just taking me a little too far, too fast,” Humphrey said. “Old, conservative Humphrey.

My recorded interviews with Senator Inouye have been about prewar Hawaii and his military service with the 442nd RCT in Europe. My hope is that we can do a follow-up interview focused on post-war Hawaii, the Watergate hearings, and his role as a long-serving U.S. Senator. See below for the Senator’s description of the event that won him the Medal of Honor and cost him his arm.