Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Wendell H. Ford, October 23, 2001

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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FORD: Told us last night that the temperature would, from the high yesterday, to the low Friday, be dropped sixty degrees.


FORD: Are you? I'm not.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs)--

FORD: Gee. I liked this weekend, it's been great.

BIRDWHISTELL: I guess this is the best time of year. So, are you getting to spend any time at your cabin in the fall?

FORD: No, we--mother--uh, I was at UK, you know, last--the week before last.


FORD: And uh, so it was homecoming and all the kids were coming up, and so uh, they brought Ms. Ford, and we went up to Mount Sterling. Sarah has inherited some farms up there, and they had been trying to work on the old home place some, particularly inside. It had been rundown, and so they wanted to see what they'd done. So we decided we'd just go on down to Pine Mountain, and I called 00:01:00and luckily got a room, the last room.

BIRDWHISTELL: The last one, huh? --(laughs)--

FORD: Yeah. And uh, which was fine.


FORD: And uh, we drove down there on Friday and went over into Tennessee, went through the tunnel and all over in Tennessee, to Little Basin and back, and then down Louie B. Nunn Parkway or whatever you call it there.


FORD: And uh, into Bowling Green and then home. So we enjoyed that and then last weekend, went down to Kentucky-- Lake Barkley, this last, past weekend.


FORD: And uh, to be with the National Guard and uh, the trees down there not nearly as pretty as they were up in East Kentucky.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, it's a little longer down here. I've not been through that tunnel yet.

FORD: Well, we dec--dedicated that. I don't know whether I told you the story on that.


FORD: Hal Rogers called me and he was $17 million short in getting all the 00:02:00money he needed on the House side, so he called and asked me if there was any way I could help him. So I went to George Mitchell, who was Majority Leader, I was Whip, and uh, we started going down through the list of money. From New York, we took a couple million. --(both laugh)-- In California, we book a couple million, they didn't miss it, you know. And a million here and a million there, and then we finally got to seventeen. And then uh--and Hal gave me credit for it. He was very nice, and of course I like Hal Rogers, I think he's a decent sort of fella, a decent sort of politician.


FORD: And uh, so then we all got--my last year, we all got assi--assigned I think that was $17 million. But anyhow, it was somewhere around twenty, and he had the audacity to call me and see if I could let him have some of mine. I said 00:03:00Hal, I'm leaving and it all goes--I let Patton have a couple million for the African American Museum or whatever it is, in Louisville, and then I put the rest of it--they're spending it on the bypass here. It's not nearly enough, but uh, we got an extension. We will come in at the bridge, we will go up above. I guess we come in at Kentucky 144 and US-60, you hit the four-lane facility up there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah--

FORD: --to go to the bridge. That will take a lot of traffic off of --(coughs)-- downtown but uh, and then we'll keep this bridge open, I guess, for cars.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, Just cars.

FORD: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, that will help. A lot of trucks run through here.

FORD: Shoo, tell me about it. And I want to tell you it's--they don't slow down on small roads at all. They've got a--I guess the majority--I wonder what 00:04:00percentage of our goods are transported by truck.

BIRDWHISTELL: It has to be a lot.

FORD: Way up there.

BIRDWHISTELL: It has to be a lot. Well, Senator, it's October 23, 2001, and, and uh, we've got a lot of ground to cover, but I want to take a few minutes this morning, if you don't mind, and, and uh, since it's such an important historic event, and just ask you about September 11th, ask you about uh, where you were that day and how you found out about what was going on, and sort of what when through your mind as you watched the events of that day unfold.

FORD: Well, Terry, I was at UK. I was at the Martin School.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, I saw you that morning.

FORD: And uh, I was with my group of students, my morning class, if you want to 00:05:00call it that, and uh, Gina Toma, the director of the Martin School, came in to tell me what had happened --(sniffs)-- and it was hard for me to believe.

BIRDWHISTELL: So when you first heard about it, it wasn't like reported as an accident. She, she reported to you that a plane had deliberately flown into the Trade Center.

FORD: Yeah, it wasn't uh, yeah. And two of them had at that time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, so when you--

FORD: --yeah, showing both of them, because they were not too far behind each other.


FORD: You know?


FORD: (coughs)--And I guess it was--she was working, and we were all working, and I don't know exactly who had the television --(coughs)--on in the school, but anyhow, she came in and told me and uh, it was just disbelief.



FORD: And of course, Terry, we are open, an open society. We uh, about the only thing that we try to do here domestically, is on the border with Mexico. The Canadian border just about as wide open as, as if it was part of our country. And uh, we had become, I guess lax, if that's the word, but uh, everybody that I know of in government, would always uh, even when we--uh, uh, preparing for the inauguration. We had all the security groups together, the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation], the Secret Service, local police, you know, all of them, and then that was early on, and we 00:07:00were developing a security operation. And uh, then toward the end, as it got close to the inauguration, we expanded it to international, to see if anybody was coming and, or anybody recognizable would be on an airplane or get on a ship, or whatever it might be. And so uh, the, the good thing about it, if there is a good thing, people are now interested in government and who's running it.


FORD: We had a meeting here locally. We had the sheriff and the chief of police and the fire chief, and the head of the hospital, and a military person, and we had an overflow crowd. We, we just had them jammed here, and it indicated of course, it was--it's a threat, it's a scare, uh, people are edgy, and uh, so 00:08:00they wanted to know. But they were interested in what the sheriff was prepared to do. They were interested in what the uh, chief of police was prepared to do. The hospital, they understood, couldn't do anything to prevent it but they--if it happened, could they accommodate. And we--I think some of them were surprised the sheriff had, uh, for three years now, uh, he--since he'd been sheriff, he's got this program. He, he laid it out, what, what the--he said the only problem he had, something like this would happen, he'd be undermanned. But as far as those that are part of his uh, operation, are prepared, they've gone through training, the city has too. Of course, we have a disaster plan and, and most of it's uh, natural disaster.


BIRDWHISTELL: Right, a tornado or something.

FORD: Yeah, the city be responsive and if not, the expanse of county, you know, they expand to the state and the state can't handle it, they call FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency]. And so that's uh, uh, where it is, but this is different from a natural disaster, but the plan is not any different. So, I think we've, uh, you know, uh, it's just the idea that uh, these people can fit in and go to McDonald's, as somebody said the other day, and go to the bar and have a drink with the boys, and, and all the time they're plotting to--they would even shave and use aftershave lotion, you know?


FORD: So they wouldn't be susp--the, the suspicion that they were not part of us.

BIRDWHISTELL: The uh--of course you had the World Trade Center and then more close to where your base was for so many years, a plane went into thePentagon 00:10:00and uh, and then of course there was the discussion about the plane that went down in Pennsylvania may have been headed for the Capitol. What, what went through your mind in terms of the threat against the Washington area?

FORD: --(coughs)-- Well, you can see the World Trade Center on, on TV and pictures in the paper, and the Pentagon and so forth, but it's completely different. When I drove by the Pentagon and saw that gaping hole in the Pentagon, and that you could see it and almost feel it, uh, it's quite different. Uh, somehow, I--I, I don't know, I had mixed feelings. Somehow, I was glad I wasn't there. The other side was that maybe I should have been. But uh, 00:11:00in my limited knowledge and what little judgment I have left, is that those people on the airplane that crashed in Pennsylvania did this country a great service.


FORD: I'm not sure that the White House would have been the target, because it was smaller and you had to be at pinpoint. The Capitol Building, as you know, is on a hill, and it's hard to believe it's on a hill, but you can see it when you're in Washington, you can see the Capitol.

BIRDWHISTELL: See it at the airport.

FORD: Yeah, and it's easy, it would have--it was easier to hit the Capitol Building than it would, and when you start eliminating uh, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, Minority Leaders, and leaders of this country, Uh, then, you not only have damaged the Capitol Building, you've damaged the ability 00:12:00of this country to proceed, because of its--your loss of leaders. And so it uh, it, it's hard. It's hard to grasp that it happens, because it's never happened here, except during the Civil War, I guess, and the Revolutionary War. But since that time, all of our problems have been someplace else and uh, this is the first time we've really faced it. And Terry, I look at it as an earthquake, that we are continually hearing--feeling the ripples from it.


FORD: And I think we've had a couple of aftershocks, and the aftershock basically is who's next? It's not that it's happened but will it happen. Just like our little uh, post office over here, it's uh, uh the second most active 00:13:00post office in town. It's a branch of our main post office and they're closed down because of suspicious mail this morning.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, what kind of mail did they get this morning?

FORD: I don't know.

BIRDWHISTELL: You just--you just know that--

FORD: --I went in to get my mail, that's where I--on the way to work.--(coughs)-- I'll exchange that on the way to the office uh, I go by there because it's more convenient.


FORD: And uh, the young lady said that it was closed and would be. They had the inspectors and everybody in and uh, the only thing I asked her, "Was the letter mailed to me?" And she said, "No," and so I felt better about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Have you talked to your former colleagues in the Senate since the--

FORD: --yeah, I've talked to--

BIRDWHISTELL: --since the anthrax?

FORD: I've talked to several of them and [Thomas A.] Daschle is uh, just beside himself, because the little girl that opened the letter went to work on 00:14:00September 10th.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

FORD: Yeah. She was the intern and just tickled to death to get to come to work there, you know.


FORD: And so she'd been to work one day. And why put an intern in the mailroom? Well, uh, that's one way for a new person to quickly understand the office. The mail comes in, it's addressed to--and it has certain things in it. They can separate it and get it to the staff and so forth. So within a week's time, they understand the flow and they've met everybody in the office.


FORD: And then there's another step. But uh, uh, Daschle is so concerned. His staff is about like mine, where we were family.


FORD: Anybody had any problem, the whole staff had problems, and so he's--and I've talked to his wife, and it's difficult for him to sleep because of the 00:15:00worry about other folks. Not himself, but the worry about other folks, and how to prevent it, and the unity. Uh, I'm disappointed in some, who would hold up legislation for getting uh, federal judge's uh, uh, nominations approved. I'm disappointed in some that would hold up legislation because they wanted to get An--drilling in ANWR, Alaska, the national wildlife refuge up in Alaska. Uh, I'm disappointed in those people that would do that, that would take advantage of the time, because in, I believe it's the 1973 War Powers Act, that the president can do certain things, but after thirty days, he has to have approval of Congress.


FORD: Well, it's I think just two days, uh, they had passed the resolution 00:16:00giving the president full power, you know.--(coughs)-- This is much different than the Persian Gulf, where there was an argument or a disagreement among the White House. Colin Powell wanted to continue the embargo, and uh, others wanted to go and get after Iraq. And then there was the argument at the end, you know, whether the war was over in a hundred hours, how great that was, you know. Well, we left Saddam Hussein over there and we're sending him $10 billion a year for oil, and so he, he is maybe part of the culprit, uh, uh, may be part of the problems we have. So it's all 20/20 hindsight and we also find, Terry, the turf war that's been there for so long. That's the CIA and the FBI and so forth. 00:17:00We've found since then, that each of those agencies had a fragment, that if it had gone into a central location like uh, uh, Governor Ridge is now Homeland Protection Agency, gone into that. Those pieces may have given us an opportunity. It may not have.


FORD: But the prospects were better, and so we've got to get away from that. There's a tendency not to do--to have the best technology. There's a tendency, well it's good enough right now so let's don't spend any more money on it, we need it someplace else we've got to spend it. And so I think we were short on--there's technology out there that I know of, that would speed up uh, things a thousand times. It just uh, it's just something we ought to go on and do, 00:18:00--(coughs)-- and hopefully the administration will go on and change their abilities, because it's limited. And then, I, I disagree with making Governor Ridge the appointment of the president. He--Whatever, whatever the president can give him, that's well and good, but um, he has no real authority, except what the president has given him.


FORD: And I have known all along, and you have too, that anything that's put on by pen can be taken off by pen. And I'm--I approve what Lieberman and some of the others are going--Senator Lieberman and others are going to do, is to make this a office under the law.



FORD: Nominated by the president, approved by the Senate, and make him secretary of the ca--a member of the Cabinet--


FORD: --so that they will have some authority. See right now, he doesn't have a budget that it's in, in the budgetary process, and so it makes it so difficult. He has no control over money. All he can do it jawbone, and that's not a very good way to operate government, when you have a jawbone a secretary to do what you want him to do.

BIRDWHISTELL: It reminded me of when Wilson Wyatt was appointed Housing Expediter, after the war--

FORD: Yeah--

BIRDWHISTELL: --and all that trouble, because he couldn't get everybody going. And uh, it seems like a tough job to me.

FORD: Oh, it is, and uh, uh, it's, it's made tougher because he has no --(coughs)-- legal authority. He has presidential authority. A president has named--that's just like Card being his, his, his Chief of Staff, uh, whatever, 00:20:00in the White House. And so the law gives him just so much and uh, I hope they--that works out, because as I said, to go back to people that are really interested in government now--


FORD: --may, may dwindle. The consideration may uh, wane out there, the, the further we get away from September 11th. But they want to know what you're doing, are you prepared. And, you know, well, about 25 percent of the people vote, another 75 percent are raising most of the cain now, you know, but they didn't vote.


FORD: Go from there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you know, politics is a part of all this, Senator, and George W. Bush's popularity has skyrocketed during this uh, national crisis.

FORD: I don't uh, want to--I think what he's done so far has been good, and he's lucky that he has uh, Dick Cheney there, who was Secretary of Defense 00:21:00during the Persian Gulf, and knows the area.--(sniffs)-- He also has Colin Powell, who was Chief of the Joints Chiefs, you know. And uh, so he went through that and he's had--both of them have had this experience and uh, I think you have to give Colin Powell a lot of credit for putting the coalition together, because he has--knew them, worked with them, been there, you know, ten years ago, and so Colin Powell is, is a known entity in that area. But uh, and, and apparently, the president has taken the advice from uh, Powell and uh, and Cheney, and Cheney is kind of the man behind the scene, I think Cheney's uh, advice. And I think that the, the president is looking to his father some, even 00:22:00though it's not apparent. But uh, it's obvious that uh, he's trying not to hit the same pitfalls that his father had, politically, uh, after the Persian Gulf.


FORD: We're looking at the economy, Terry, and uh, uh, Congress has to get on a two track. They have to go ahead and do the things that are necessary to support our position as it relates to getting after terrorists and, and bin Laden. But --(coughs)-- the uh, they also get the domestic operation in, in gear too, and we can't be fighting over that too much, because we already now have uh, the second continual--continuing resolution, which funds government after the day 00:23:00the budget ran out. And so that's--that goes, I think through uh, the last day of October, and I don't believe they've given a--have an appropriations bill on the president's desk yet. And so we've got, uh, maybe that as far as appropriations bills are concerned. And so we've got a lot to do in that, so it needs to be on a two track, but with the offices closed,--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- it makes it very difficult for them to do, and they were kidding that the chairman of the Rules Committee now is Democrat, so the Republican's office is going to be in Baltimore. (both laugh) And but uh, you know, so they're trying to find a place. Schumer worked out, Senator Schumer of New York is working out of his home. Uh, there's these so-called Capitol offices, that are you know, ten-by-ten, ten-by-twelve rooms. They're not anything outstanding, 00:24:00magnificent. Some of them are. Some of them are, are extremely nice, but there's not anything that you could put a bunch of employees in, move them from your office in the--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right--

FORD: --office building, over to the Capitol Building. And where are you going? So that's uh, created a problem and as uh, in talking to my colleagues last week, when I was in Washington, they are now uh, reconciled to the fact that uh, they'll stay there at least until Thanksgiving, and maybe later. Now, if they can get through They've got a lot of work to do. This is the twenty-third of, of October, you know, eight more days and--is it thirty or thirty-one this month?

BIRDWHISTELL: Thirty-one, I believe.

FORD: Yeah, well anyhow, you've got eight more days and you're into November. And so uh, I don't believe they'll get things done much before Thanksgiving, but 00:25:00they, they need to stay around and if the president needs any authority or any--by legislation, they ought to be in a position where they can do it quickly.

BIRDWHISTELL: Two uh, areas that were particularly of interest to you, have been important in this crises. One is the airline industry and the other is the National Guard, which you were very involved with. Uh, what's going to--what are the major impacts on the airline industry as you see it?

FORD: Two things have to happen and ah, I think that uh, up until now, uh, the pilots have been vulnerable. Uh, secondly, the uh, screening is uh--has been 00:26:00lax, and so therefore, that is another one that will take a lot of, of uh, consideration for. And thirdly, what's in the suitcase that uh, went down, that you checked.--(coughs)-- What is in that? Well, you've got a good many of the uh, screeners that those suitcases go through, but you don't have nearly enough. So, the FAA won't tell you where the screeners are, but--so you have to know that they're in the major airports, that--where you go--more people go through, where you have international travel. Of course Maine was not international travel, I don't guess, and that's where the terrorists took off from, to Boston, and changed flights. They, they even practiced that, you know. They came--they go back and check now, they came, made that flight and got on the flight in Boston, went to California and came back. But uh-- the change in uh, the 00:27:00air--airplane, as far as the pilot's door is concerned, is uh, very, very important. Just a few seconds to prevent it, uh, is uh, is, is uh, important, and may be the, the difference between life and death.

I'm not sure how much help the Marshal will be on the airplane. Uh, he's going to be allowed to carry a pistol, it will make the passengers feel safer, maybe they'll want to fly. Maybe it's easier for them to fly if they know they have a, a Marshal on the plane to give them some protection. Uh, but the screening, every company is a foreign company, and most of them as you know, are are 00:28:00immigrants, are foreign nationals that are uh, employed. Now, uh, I listened to the director of--the new director at Boston Logan Airport last night, and uh, he said it was not the fault of the screeners, you know.


FORD: You know, it was these were human beings. --(coughs)--and we've all said, you know, that those of us in World War II, we experienced some of this with the kamikaze pilots.


FORD: They knew they were going to die and they would take their plane, put it down the smokestack of one of our ships. And these uh, terrorists knew they were going to die, and so it makes it very difficult for you know. More difficult to try to stop them, because they're going to give their life.


BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right.

FORD: And so um, that's uh

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you ever--in all your dealings with airlines over the years, did you ever imagine a scenario where a commercial airline would be hijacked and, and used as a bomb?

FORD: We were always concerned about hijacking, but I don't recall anyone discussing with us, publicly or privately, may be out there, that it would be used in this nature and in this manner.


FORD: But uh, hijacking, yes, we had that uh-- Of course, they basically wanted to go home or they wanted to get here or wanted to do lots of things.

BIRDWHISTELL: Get the prisoners released.

FORD: Yeah, yeah, and there was--there was always a ransom part to it.


FORD: But uh, see the difference between us and others is that we value life so much.



FORD: And others don't, you know? They get a little tag and put it on their belt and the Iran-Iraqi War, you know, and if they died they were going to heaven, they had their little tag on, so it was all right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right. So how did you feel flying that first time after September 11th?

FORD: It didn't bother me any.

BIRDWHISTELL: Didn't have any problems.

FORD: Nope, I just kind of put it out of my mind that there was anything, and I uh, uh, went soon after. Of course my family wasn't very happy about me doing it.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs)--

FORD: But uh, I've made two flights now, to Washington.


FORD: And uh, uh, since then. I went up the latter part of September and then I went up last week. And uh, so, uh, the uh--Dulles, was--when I first came back 00:31:00hrough Dulles, it was an hour or more to get to the counter to check your luggage.


FORD: And it was an hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes uh, to get through the metal detector.--(coughs)-- This time, it was about forty minutes total. I got to check in real quick, and then once I had checked in, I had my ticket and everything, I went straight--instead of going to the counter then, I went straight to the uh, metal detector, and then down to my gate, and then they checked. Of course, I got checked more thoroughly than normal, at the detector, or mega detector, whatever you want to call it, but then I got my ticket at the counter downstairs, so they were able to get us out--


FORD: --and they utilize the, the employees at the counter. So I had a lot of time leftover. I could have gone--they wanted us there at least two hours. But 00:32:00Dulles, see you have to understand, is an international, and you've got an awful lot of people with an awful lot of luggage.

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand that uh--I had some friends fly out of National last week and they said uh, if anyone on the flight stands up during the takeoff, the plane immediately lands at the nearest airport.

FORD: I, I don't know, I-- They said it's--of course, it's hard to get flights back into National now, and they've--

BIRDWHISTELL: --those planes go straight up.

FORD: --yeah, and they're uh, they're not going over the Potomac River like they did. Of course, that raises a fuss from residents because of noise.

BIRDWHISTELL: True. --(laughs)--

FORD: And that has been one of the reasons that it's--the pattern of the--the flight pattern has been uh, down the Potomac and up the Potomac, where they're landing north or south. But uh I'm not sure how long a couple of the 00:33:00airlines can stand a reduction in uh, income, and I don't know that--the, the airlines are opposed to the two dollars and a half, to be used uh, for security.


FORD: And they wanted, I think a dollar. And uh, the only--you and I pay for it and I don't--I'm not reluctant about paying two dollars and a half to have a safe flight.


FORD: I don't think many other people. But the airlines are concerned that it just raises their ticket, and so therefore, if it's five dollars more for your round trip than it was uh, the last time, they're afraid that fewer people are 00:34:00going to get on the plane. I don't hardly agree with them, but I haven't had--they've got the business experience that uh, I guess you need to take into consideration. But uh, I can't see where it's going to stop too many people from putting five dollars. If they're going to fly,--


FORD: --putting up five dollars more to not make it a hundred percent safe, I don't think you can do that, but make it safer. Uh, so but uh, the airlines are quite concerned about increasing the ticket fare, the ticket price, and I can understand that, but under the circumstances, our life has been changed forever. See? How much will--how far back will we go, to where we were before September 11th? I don't know, but we won't go back to where we were before then.


BIRDWHISTELL: Does it--does it remind you at all, of the days back in the fifties and sixties, when uh, you'd go to a shopping center and they'd have a fallout shelter on display in the parking lot of the shopping center? Does it have that feel to your or is it completely different?

FORD: No, it's different. That was--we were--we were looking at uh, uh, ABMs. We were looking at uh, atomic energy, atomic blasts, uh, and I'm not sure the shelters uh, would have protected you anyhow. I know it wouldn't protect you from a direct hit, but how many direct hits will you get. That was somewhat different, where this one is somebody right here, they may have some uh, uh, atomic weaponry, I'm not sure. How would you have gotten that in here? I don't 00:36:00know, but uh, --(coughs)--these people are not dummies. They're smart and they're willing to be patient.


FORD: Now, will the American people be willing to be patient, or will they start giving the president and the military unshirted hell, because they haven't done, it costs them money and it's not over yet. You know.


FORD: But our, our, our opponents here, the terrorists, they'll wait years you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, they'll wait us out.

FORD: Can't you believe--can you believe that bin Laden had the honey shops, where they sell honey, and he could send people there to work and run. Why, it's just amazing, what's been going on, now that we're digging into it. Why didn't we know that before? It wasn't necessary, maybe. There was not that preventative medicine that we talk about. It wasn't the flu shot or the pneumonia shot that we take to take care of ourselves, and I think that uh, George Tenet's memo, 00:37:00apparently, to the CIA a couple weeks ago, is that whatever we have, we're going to share; this time of turf war is over. I don't know--I haven't seen anything like that, or heard about anything like that, from the FBI or the Secret service or the others. --(coughs)--

It's just like you watch the movie the other night, "Law and Order." Well, you had the local police and the FBI, and one had some information, and, there was another one that had some information, and they wouldn't, wouldn't mix it, uh, because it would, I think, something, the integrity of their investigation or whatever, so.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Speaking of television, have you watched any of the new series, "Citizen Baines?"

FORD: No, I have not.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was curious. You know what it's about don't you?

FORD: No, I haven't paid any attention to it.


BIRDWHISTELL: It's about a Senator uh, who leaves the Senate and goes back home. I'm just curious if you'd seen it.

FORD: No, I haven't. I better go--I'd better watch it, see what I'm supposed to be doing. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, he got beat, you didn't get beat though. He was--he was sent home, you chose to come home.

FORD: Well, it's You know, I don't watch television a whole lot. Uh, if I can find a good John Wayne or a baseball game or a football game or something like that--


FORD: I enjoy that. And then the news, uh. But I read a lot and try to learn something more about the computer and send messages, talk back and forth with some folks. And so it's uh--takes most of my time doing that, and I, if you--you can't turn on television without having somebody speculating about what might happen, --(sniffs)-- and every talk show, every--you know, just, just 00:39:00twenty-four hours a day. CNN, Fox, uh, whatever.


FORD: Yeah, it's all full-time, and then a talk show comes on and they have some retired general, you know, that can tell you what's going to happen, what's not going to happen, and all those good things that he starts telling you. So, they say, "What about that, Ford?" And I said, "Well, I think he ought to keep his mouth shut,"--(Birdwhistell laughs)--you know. We ought to know everything we need to know, and they're not--they're speculating, and that's life today. Let me give you something here that, that's hypothetical. Everything is hypothetical and the first thing you know, "Well, I heard so and so" you know. Well, it begins to grow, and so a hypothetical, there was a man giving an 00:40:00answer, a retired military man gives an answer to a hypothetical, or what is happening now that the--our troops have landed in Afghanistan, what's happening? Well, they go through all these things that they're going to do. Well, then they go to the Pentagon, did these things happen? You know. Well, they, they don't have an answer for it because they can't tell you.

BIRDWHISTELL: They're not going to tell you.

FORD: If they're going, if they're going to alert your enemy of what the hell is going to happen, then uh, why get--why, why don't we just stay here and take another hit.

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go. Well, let's go back to 1968 then. --(laughs)-- You're, in 1968, LieutenantGovernor. We talked about a lot of that uh, a lot of that period. I want to go back to the legislative session and uh, I had mentioned last time, but we didn't talk about it much, the uh, legislation that came through that 1968 legislature. One was the Auto Inspection uh, Bill, uh, to 00:41:00keep us in line with the federal funding and ah, that was uh, overturned by the legislature, I believe. And uh, Lou--Governor Nunn had to veto the bill. Is that your memory of that?

FORD: Yes. Uh, the imposition on local communities uh, got the votes to keep--they didn't want big brother looking over our shoulder all the time, and Governor Nunn knew, and like we do, like we have to do, is that if they didn't pass a bill like that, he'd start losing highway funds and the amounts that would be harmful to Kentucky. Therefore, he was--it is incumbent upon him to 00:42:00veto it, but then that was used politically, you know, we don't want it, our air's, blah-blah-blah, and everybody was being scared again or frightened about how much it was going to cost. And it did. When you get reformulated gasoline that you have to use in your area, you find that when you get--just like Washington, uh, the gasoline there. We can get high test here cheaper than they can buy regular, in D.C., but the further you get away from D.C., for the air attainment, uh, the less the gasoline costs.

BIRDWHISTELL: So did the--were the Democrats able to set Governor Nunn up, knowing that he would have to veto that, that the Democrats could look like they were opposed to it, knowing full well that it wouldn't happen? Kind of like the way they set you up on the daylight savings time.

FORD: Yeah, but I knew that was coming.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs)-- That's right, you saw that one.


FORD: Yeah. Uh, I don't recall whether we set uh, Governor Nunn up or not--

BIRDWHISTELL: It just worked out that way--

FORD: --but I would say that there is--that's a real possibility, that you would I mean, we would get what we want, but we got our political piece.


FORD: And I would say that, not remembering exactly what happened, that was a real possibility.

BIRDWHISTELL: I know you, you put him in a hard spot. He had to think about that one.

FORD: Oh, yeah, I wouldn't--I, I, I don't blame him.--(sniffs)-- But uh, then, then he loses all that money and he couldn't build highways, and he'd blame it on Democrats, that, that, that

BIRDWHISTELL: That works too.

FORD: Yeah, but that doesn't--that didn't hurt nearly as much as him uh, uh, vetoing the bill you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: One of the--one of the toughest uh, issues of this time period, 00:44:00this '67, during the campaign--let me turn this over.

[Pause in recording.]

UNKNOWN: Scare me a little bit

FORD: Be scared. No, be concerned.

UNKNOWN: Be concerned but not scared.

FORD: Yeah, don't let them scare you.

UNKNOWN: All right. Continue on.

FORD: Thank you.

BIRDWHISTELL: One of the difficult issues was uh, as I said, in the campaign in '67, and then in the legislative session in '68, was open housing, and how to deal with the--how to deal with that issue, in the midst of a, of a civil rights movement, in the midst of uh, of uh, problems in the, in the city. That was a, a huge issue in Louisville and uh, the uh, legislature actually passed open housing legislation that Governor Nunn had then allowed to become law without his--


FORD: --signature--

BIRDWHISTELL: --without his signature. What kind of context could you put that in for me this morning, in terms of how, how as a politician and as a government leader, you've dealt with an issue like that in such a volatile time.

FORD: Well, ah, a lot of them voted--I say a lot of them. Some voted because it would not affect their area too much. Secondly, it's Nunn, Governor Nunn, was in the same position on this as he was on clean air, he could get clean air, that he uh, uh--the Feds at that time, uh, were directing what the states would do by 00:46:00holding the, the carrot or the stick. And so you had to um--and I'm, I'm talking pure politics now. You had to either want the money or be able to--or be able to, if you wanted to veto it or not pass it, be able to see that it wouldn't hurt you politically.


FORD: And uh,--(coughs)-- the open housing was uh--became a real bugaboo once it was passed. Uh, a lot of uh, law--young lawyers were trying to test it legally, you know, and uh, if one of your--and they'd go out and look for clients, you know. We even had one suit back there that they had a little garden space for the uh, uh, occupants of low cost housing, you know? And uh, the fella 00:47:00didn't get as much space as the other, so he was being discriminated against, so he took the housing board to the, to court. And so it became a uh, it took a while for people to accept it. You don't hear much complaint about it today, or at least I don't.


FORD: And uh, maybe people just stopped complaining to me because they know I can't do anything about it. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- But uh, the uh, uh, uh--it was one of those things where it was the carrot or the stick. It basically was the right thing to do. I'm not sure how well the ground was laid before uh, the vote occurred, and I'm not sure but what Governor Nunn, allowing it to become law, even though it was out his signature, showed the uh, probably the pressure that was behind it. That uh, on, on balance, I imagine his philosophy was 00:48:00that--at that time, was that no, and he would want to veto it.

BIRDWHISTELL: He ran, he ran against it in the

FORD: Oh, I know that, yeah. He's uh--as I say, his, his feeling at the time. He may, may have changed today, we've all mellowed a little bit.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I was going to--I think I mentioned last time that all the, --(Ford coughs)-- all the, all the candidates in the '67 race, from the primary through the general election, as far as I know, were on record as opposing open housing.

FORD: Yeah, I think that's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: So all of you opposed it.

FORD: Yeah, I understand that but uh, that was the, the--candidates for governor, it's awful hard to find a lieutenant governor that you, you could get his issues out. But uh, uh, I think it's--what's what's--and you're going to have to help me with this, but, but it backed--get backed again, if he didn't pass this legislation, you didn't get your money?


BIRDWHISTELL: I'm not sure on this one there was any money attached to the open housing. I think it was uh

FORD: Well, how, how did you get your low cost housing, that's your open housing problem. Where'd you get your money from.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you think it might have been tied to some federal funds.

FORD: I think so. I--I think, I think most--during that period, it was either--everything, the, you know, it was 5 percent or 10 percent. Ten percent was kind of the maximum, but you'd lose uh, X number of dollars if you didn't. You didn't have to. You had to pass a law equal or better and that means, in the minds of some, equal or worse.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. You know, what, what interests me, Senator, in your generation, let's just say, let's call it your generation of people in government, in politics, came from a, a time when it was mostly segregated, to a time when it was uh, uh, completely--

FORD: --desegregated--


BIRDWHISTELL: --was completely desegregated. And as a, as a government leader and as a politician, you had to adjust to those uh, uh, changes. Did you find it difficult to, to maneuver those kind of waters, you know, in terms of trying to, to deal with a predominantly white, rural, uh, somewhat racist state, uh, and yet run, uh, try to be progressive in terms of a, of a changing and brought about the Civil Rights Movement and race relations--------(??).

FORD: It was a lot like walking through a minefield, not knowing where the mines were buried.

BIRDWHISTELL: I--(laughs)--I would think that would be tough.

FORD: And it's just like on--I declared Martin Luth--I couldn't get it passed through the legislature, but I declared Martin Luther King's birthday, you now, by government--I didn't, could not--a holiday, because that had to be the law.


FORD: But uh, I, I issued a proclamation. We ended up in a room there and had a 00:51:00decent crowd. Uh, surprisingly, I didn't get a lot of backlash from that uh, And so I think there was, beginning in my gubernatorial time, there was beginning to--an ease as it relates to recognizing Martin Luther King and things of that nature, the open housing, with whatever, the discrimination, you go through all that. It became uh, uh,--I think the ice had melted some, uh, Terry, and it made it somewhat easier for those of us that were trying. But, we, we took some--I got into ERA, if you recall, that was there, into my governor, that's over--and it passed by one vote in the Senate. And uh, so, there were a lot of things that 00:52:00were beginning to churn out.


FORD: And some of my friends who were uh, more liberal, maybe than I was, some somewhat upset with me that I didn't go gung-ho. Well, if you look back at what the problems we had and the, and the steps we took, you get ERA through the Senate by one vote, you know. You know how close it is, how hard you had to work. And so uh

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. That's a close call.

FORD: --so it's uh And then later on, didn't Thelma Stovall catch Julian out of town, and she vetoed that or something? I'm not sure. He left town right after that, before the ten days were up. She vetoed the bill and uh, so now do they--ah, ah, I guess rescinded, and, and Thelma was left there as, as governor. So it lingered for a while.


FORD: And still, some of it's out there, not a whole lot but some.


BIRDWHISTELL: Right. But as you said, you compared it to a minefield, you know, it's uh, it's uh--these are big social issues that as a politician looking at their future, you had to--you had to maneuver through.

FORD: Oh, I don't know that uh, maneuvering is the right--you, you just try to do what you can do. --(coughs)-- It goes back to Henry Clay, and all, you know. This is as far as you could go. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- I'm--I'm willing to sign a social contract, pass legislation, and leave those things to be debated in the future. So you made steps, you made progress. It's just like that fella said, "Golly, I looked back there and you gave a 40 percent increase to higher education" and all that. Well, you look at 40 percent of what we were spending then, compared to 40 percent of what we're spending now, it's nothing, you know, but at the time it was good. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- And so it uh, you just--and, and uh, we had some luck, you know. Uh, uh, uh, Nixon made one heck 00:54:00of a mistake; he vetoed all the uh, the construction money and uh--(coughs)-- I'm not sure, but highway monies and things of that--all construction money. And then uh, the Senate and the House overruled his veto and then he pocket vetoed it, wouldn't spend it. Then took him to court and Muskie and Warren Hearnes, who was governor of Missouri, took him to court, the court upheld the Congress and they had to turn the money loose.

BIRDWHISTELL: There you have it.

FORD: And of course then I was governor and I got two--got a wham, got a double whammy. I got the first year and the second year all in one time you know. I was spending money pretty good. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- You know, it was so--I had, you know, there were a lot of downsides, but that was an upside that I used pretty hard. I'd go down to where you can let two phases of a contract, you know, where normally you'd just have A and, and B, you know, A one year, the 00:55:00next year B, the next year C. You get a letter of intent, do all that. --(coughs)-- He just had to take--it's what was handed to you and a little luck, and, and you had--a fellow said, "I'd rather have luck than skill in politics."

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs)-- Let me uh, let me ask you, did you--did you attend the uh, Chicago convention in 1968?

FORD: Yes, yes, I did.

BIRDWHISTELL: And uh, so, I suppose you remember very vividly, that uh, night when uh, Johnson came on TV and said he would not seek and would not accept the nomination of his party.

FORD: I don't know how vivid, but I remember it.

BIRDWHISTELL: I remember it very well. Uh, what--I guess in summary, what did you make of that 1968 uh, campaign? Humphrey uh--


FORD: --and McArthur, McCarthy--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, Humphrey finally gets the nomination over uh, Gene McCarthy. Bobby Kennedy is assassinated in June of '68. It's uh--here again, I want to put it in a context, you know, that it's just uh, an amazing year. I mean, books have been written just about 1968, you know, and how volatile it was. And I keep bringing it up because this is right in--this is right at the--where your political career is taking off. I mean, you're trying to launch a--what would become one of the most successful political careers in Kentucky history, during a time when it's so uncertain, and that's why I'm spending so much time asking you about all these cross currents that are coming along. And, and so how did you see yourself in the Democratic Party as you watch these events unfold in 1968, with Gene McCarthy's run against uh, Johnson, Kennedy's assassination, uh, Humphrey eventually getting that nomination?


FORD: Uh, Terry, I could almost say I don't know how I got in or how I got out of that. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- He just had--it was, it was a day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, because just like in Chicago, that was mea--tough. Mrs. Ford and the children were up there for the convention, I sent them home.


FORD: Absolutely.

BIRDWHISTELL: You saw the beginning of the war.

FORD: Oh, oh it was the riot in the streets really and the brutality and, and all that was going on, and we couldn't hardly get out of the convention center because of all the problems outside, and so it was tough. And so what I was able to do is hold my democratic delegates together. Of course I was the--

BIRDWHISTELL: --head of the party--

FORD: --head of the party at the time, titular head, if you call it that. And uh, we, we, we did pretty well with our--among ourselves. We, we uh, enjoyed 00:58:00ourselves. We had a few meals together, we ate breakfast every morning and started that tradition. And uh, so as far as the Kentucky delegates were concerned, my base, uh, we came away from there uh, maybe not agreeing with what happened and not understanding it all, but satisfied with ourselves.

BIRDWHISTELL: What you had been able to do.

FORD: Yeah, what we had been able to do. And so it was uh, it was not uh, not an easy time, nor was it a pretty time. Uh, and, and you go back and McCarthy was--he threw--uh, I think Humphrey might have won that race, uh, but McCarthy threw him a ten foot rope in fifteen feet of water, you know, he, he endorsed 00:59:00him but he didn't go all the way.


FORD: And so it made it somewhat difficult to uh, uh, to win. But uh, it was not uh, uh--it was not a, a race that uh, was not winnable. I thought we had a re--reasonable chance of doing it, but then McCarthy just would not go that extra mile.

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you think of him?

FORD: I thought, I thought Gene took uh, advantage of the time. Ah, he was smart, uh, had been tilted that way some, and ah, was just able to uh, uh, uh--I think he saw the crowd was going one way and he got in front of it. Now, a lot of people will disagree with me, what a great man he was. So, I have no problem 01:00:00with him being smart and, and doing a lot of good things, but uh, he could have helped stop some of the problems, but he allowed it to go on, to benefit his endeavor to be uh, the nominee and possibly President of the United States. Uh, maybe I'm--they'll say Ford, you don't know what you're talking about, but I still think he could have helped uh, to reduce uh, --(coughs)-- the meanness was uh, uh--it kept accelerating and uh, I think the meanest was the fact that people wanted to be heard, they wanted to be seen, and uh, and, and they wanted the people to do what they wanted, what they wer fussing about. And then uh, uh, Chicago was required to try to keep peace and order, and that got overblown 01:01:00some and overdone some. But uh, it was--I, I don't blame McArthur--McCarthy, for ah, creating all that. It was there and he just became part of it, which I do think he could have helped to reduce. Now, they may say he tried to, but, but I don't think he moved in the--moved very hard to do it.

BIRDWHISTELL: If Bobby Kennedy had lived and, and taken his campaign to the democratic convention, where would the Kentucky delegation have come down on that? I understand that's a what if but

FORD: I don't know, uh. You had--when you go back to 1960, I was in uh, 01:02:00California and Earle Clements was for Lyndon Johnson.


FORD: And we had a core group, particularly Jefferson County, that was for Kennedy, and I would say that it would have been awful hard for the maj--for a majority of the Kentucky delegates if Kennedy had survived, for them not to be for him, because I think--

BIRDWHISTELL: --would you have been for him?--

FORD: I think I would. I think I would have. That's a, you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand--

FORD: --what if. And would have McCarthy have gotten in it had Bobby Kennedy survived? Would Humphrey's strength been what it was if Kennedy had survived? 01:03:00There are a lot of questions here.


FORD: But uh,--

BIRDWHISTELL: Lots of ifs--

FORD: --one, Johnson said no, you're not going to run, and uh, uh, Bobby was assassinated and that left uh, these two people. So, you had the choice to make then. So, uh, I think that uh, uh, Humphrey may not have been a candidate. Of course, he died wanting to be president. It's like a fellow said, he didn't take care of himself. He wanted to be president worse than he wanted to live.

BIRDWHISTELL: What uh, what did you--how well did you know Hubert Humphrey in 1968? Had you met him?

FORD: Oh, yes, but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you make of him?

FORD: Oh, uh, I think uh --(coughs)-- he was from Minnesota and all his liberal stands were accepted in Minnesota as a senator. They had one half of one percent 01:04:00uh, African Americans in Minnesota, I think, you know, and so all these civil rights stands and everything fit--didn't affect Minnesota, and so it made him--you know it didn't--he kept getting--it didn't both him in Minnesota any. And just like they walked out of the convention, the southern states walked out of the convention on him, when was--was that uh, '54?

BIRDWHISTELL: When he did the civil rights plan?

FORD: Yeah, um-hm. But anyhow, uh, Hubert was smart and uh, he was liberal and uh, uh, I had no uh--I thought he was a little too liberal in some places and he talked too much, about like me, But uh

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know--(laughs)--that there's any comparison there. (laughs)

FORD: But uh, it uh, yeah, but it's uh, I, I watched him almost cry one night in the Senate.



FORD: Yeah. He was back in the back and he had a bill that he'd gotten through the Senate and the House went out and he couldn't get it done. It was something he'd been wanting to do for a long time, and oh, it hurt him pretty bad, but uh, that's, you know, that's the way life is. And then when he came back to the Senate, after being vice president, there was uh, how do we handle him, you know, what do we do.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did you handle him?

FORD: Well, we made him assistant president pro tem and they gave him a car and driver. --(both laugh)-- That's what happened. So he, he was--

BIRDWHISTELL: --he was happy with that--

FORD: --he had a title and uh, had a car and driver. So it uh

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have a car and driver in the Senate?

FORD: Only when I became in the leadership.

BIRDWHISTELL: When you became Whip.

FORD: Yeah. And I didn't take it home. A lot of uh--


FORD: Now, the many of the uh, leaders uh, everywhere they went, their car 01:06:00would take them and their driver, and uh, I would only use my car basically on uh, uh, official business; go from the White House to the--I mean, from the Capitol Building to the White House, to a meeting there, or out to the Pentagon or somewhere, uh, that uh, it was necessary to my job.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you drove your own car back and forth from Bethesda?

FORD: Yeah. And uh, when I didn't, I was out at some meeting late at night and had the driver drop me off, pick me up the next morning. I, uh, uh, put it on my income tax as an income and paid taxes on it.


FORD: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: You didn't have to do that.

FORD: Um. But I did. Yes sir I paid, not a whole lot, but it was, you figure a thousand miles at three hundred dollars and whatever. I forget now, what the 01:07:00figure was but uh. Anyhow, I put it as income and I paid taxes on it. Now, what the other fellas did, I don't know, and I did what I thought was right. But you know, I had uh, you know six or seven thousand miles on the car in a year and they'd have forty-five or fifty. I just couldn't see taking the taxpayers car and going up to Baltimore to a ballgame, I just, that's not right. If I wanted to go to Baltimore to see a ballgame, then that's my business, that's outside the realm of my uh, job as Whip you know. Get on the train, ride right into the station there, on the MARC train, I think they call it.


FORD: Get back on it, come right back, get in your car and go home.--------(??)

BIRDWHISTELL: You never forgot how to drive yourself.

FORD: Never did. Of course, Mrs. Ford thinks I never was a very good driver anyhow, but nevertheless.


BIRDWHISTELL: I bet she'd wished you'd have taken a driver more often.

FORD: (coughs)--Yeah, she had. And uh, the driver I had was a pretty strong fella, and, and she was glad that he was with me whenever I was out running around.

BIRDWHISTELL: The uh--as you watched the events unfold in Chicago, uh, obviously it was a, a turmoil, it was uh, uh, somewhat of a youth movement against the war, it was anti-government. Uh, I guess compared to what we've seen in more recent years, anti-government, it was, it was somewhat milder. What did you make of it at the time? Did you--what did you think needed to be done to sort of uh, calm those waters, to deal with the social unrest that you saw uh, around you at the time?

FORD: It was difficult to uh, uh, really, uh, Terry, figure out what was the 01:09:00right thing to do.


FORD: What you could do to calm uh, the folks down. Uh, I'm not sure that, uh, Singletary and others had uh, the problem at UK campus pretty well--it was Singletary wasn't it?


FORD: --uh, pretty well worked out. Of course they burned that building there and Louie was out of town, I was governor, when he--I think he was in Cincinnati, but it wasn't--at the time he got across the border, he called to let me know he was in the state and uh, he called out the National Guard and 01:10:00they got pretty rough with the students, you know, and it created--but he went up ten points in the polls. Uh, I thought Happy Chandler smacking that student was a, a natural, or reaction to it, but uh, uh, it shouldn't have been done, and I don't know how you--I've said things I wish I hadn't said, I've done things I wish I hadn't done, you know?


FORD: And so it's uh, emotion is pretty high sometimes. But uh,--(coughs)-- those young people, with what Louie did with the National Guard at that time, turned them against him and I think his party, for a while. I think you go up there now, I think it's socially correct and politically correct to be a 01:11:00Republican on campus. And

BIRDWHISTELL: It seems like it.

FORD: Yeah. Well, you know, I just, I just--it's kind of the mood of the time you know.


FORD: And uh, but uh, I--it's, it, it's--you had the I think, Terry, it was more trying to cope with what was happening, rather than try to make something happen.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, okay, that's fair, that's fair.

FORD: And--and if you could manage what was happening.

BIRDWHISTELL: Manage i, yeah.

FORD: Yeah. Then,--

BIRDWHISTELL: --I like that--

FORD: --it's--it wasn't what, what--you can't do--it's awful hard, under those circumstances, to make a decision today, what's going to happen tomorrow or down the pike, because so, I think just managing and trying to keep everything from 01:12:00getting out of control was my job.


FORD: And uh, as you know, Kenny Schmied that was the mayor in Louisville. Every time he'd called the governor's mansion, the governor is out, he would have trouble, so he'd have to call me.--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- So he called me one night without calling the governor's mansion and I said, "Hell, he's in town." --(both laugh)----(coughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well that's uh, that's interesting, the way you've framed that, Senator, and it helps me to appreciate it. I mean, some things aren't--at the time, it's not like you can project out how you're going to fix it. You're just trying to get through it, you're trying to manage that situation, and those were certainly--the times were so volatile, that you're hammered right and left by riots in Louisville, by uh, problems at UK, by open housing, by


FORD: It, It's all--you just name it and you had those kind of problems.

BIRDWHISTELL: Everything going.

FORD: But, if you, if you remember though, I was lieutenant governor, not governor.

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand.

FORD: And uh, it made it somewhat easier for me to work my way through some of these things than it did for gov--if I had been governor.

BIRDWHISTELL: But, you were running for governor.

FORD: That's right, that's true.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you had to--you were making decisions about how you were going to deal with these issues, with the full knowledge that your, your gubernatorial ambition rested with this.

FORD: It sure did and so at uh--but nevertheless uh, it made it a little bit easier for uh--well, a smidgen easier for me, because I didn't have to have--I didn't have the responsibility. Now, he and I could disagree. See, Louie never called me down very much, we never were invited to the mansion and that sort of 01:14:00thing, and so it uh--and I don't blame that on him.


FORD: But nevertheless, uh, we never did talk very much, so I never--he, no, he just didn't want my input. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- But uh, I had some tough nights, we-- I believe it was uh, Ortez (??) and they had a riot at the--were having one at uh, Kentucky State.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, and you had to deal with the mayor of Frankfort.

FORD: Oh, yeah, you remember that, and then Mrs. Ford was given the mace and left un--left unprotected.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's hard to believe. Let me ask you about the '68 Senate campaign. Thruston Morton, a very successful Republican politician, a 01:15:00Congressman, Senator, from Louisville, up for reelection in 1968. And uh, It looks like he's going to run and so, when you have a person in office like that, sometimes you don't get your strongest candidates to try and unseat them, I mean that's, uh, that's just a political fact. But uh--and so the Democrats are trying to decide who are they going to run in 1968, and Katherine Peden sort of emerges as the person who's going to carry the pulpit to the democratic banner. Morton up and announces he's not running for reelection, it changes everything. Where were you in all of that, uh? You were following that development and I take it you had no interest in running as Wilson Wyatt had run for the Senate in 01:16:00'62, as lieutenant governor. That wasn't in your plan.

FORD: None, whatsoever.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who did--did you have somebody that you wanted to see run for the Senate in 1968?

FORD: I don't think so. We were all kind of like Al Gore getting into the United States Senate. Nobody wanted to run against uh, uh, Howard Baker, didn't think you could beat him. So Al announced as a Congressman from the dist--from the Nashville district.


FORD: And all of a sudden, he was out here campaigning, organizing, Al Gore was, doing what he could, and he--his opponent announced that he was retiring. Well, everybody wanted to get back in but they didn't want to look like fools, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Johnny come lately.

FORD: Yeah. Because they couldn't beat the Republican incumbent, Howard Baker, you know. And so here's Al, and so they just kind of acquiesced to him, and 01:17:00that's kind of the way we got in this one, you know. Katherine wanted to run.

BIRDWHISTELL: Wanted to run.

FORD: Yeah, gosh she'd whip most men, you know? And uh, and she had some good points, and she'd been uh, Breathitt's industrial development person.

BIRDWHISTELL: Development for commerce.

FORD: Yeah, yeah. And so, uh, it was just--and women, you know, oh, shoot, and so it was--and here comes Morton, you know. Morton, outside of having a little drinking problem, every once in a while, he was pretty good and a good speaker. Oh, he could just, he could make you feel like you're ready to wave the flag, you know, and he'd leave you happy. But uh, and so nobody really wanted to--and then, when he just announced, blah, here we go. It was very difficult.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then Marlow Cook comes up, who had lost a very, very tight--

FORD: --to Nunn--

BIRDWHISTELL: --controversial primary to Louie Nunn.


FORD: And they made up for it, tried to make up for it.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then Governor Nunn gets behind--

FORD: --Marlow--

BIRDWHISTELL: --Cook in that, in that election.

FORD: Made up for it, it was part of the problems.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Now, putting it in context, Senator, the Kentucky Democratic Party is uh, is fallen on hard times. You know, as you pointed out before, you've had to take out life insurance policies to pay your debts.

FORD: Debts, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: You're spending your time as lieutenant governor trying to rebuild the organization, if you will, and so then here you have a Senate campaign. You're the head of the party, the lieutenant governor, you're trying to re--rebuild a Democratic Party with a Republican governor. Now you've got a woman running for Senate on the democratic side, against a very, very popular Republican county judge of Jefferson County. How do you, how do you deal with that?


FORD: Well, you just appeal to--you appeal to Democrats and at that time, you know, we Democrats have--weren't uh,--I guess uh, didn't feel free to vote for a Republican, you know, like they do now. I vote for the man--I'm registered Democrat, registered Republican. I vote for the man or woman, you know--they didn't have all that. --(sniffs)-- That was part of it.. And, Katherine was able to raise some money.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where did she go?

FORD: Well, Washington, women groups, you know, they started this--several groups, they were trying to help women in, you know, the ERA group and business and professional women and all that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Which she had been the head of.

FORD: Oh, yeah, and so it, it--she was able to, to raise some money, which was sufficient, and we did little things which I think were pretty good. We got on 01:20:00buses, we went on bus tours. We'd, we'd hit little towns, you know, and we'd all get off the bus and go down to Main Street, give out cards and shake hands and so forth, and the bus would be at the end of the--and we'd get back on the bus and we'd drive to the other place. In fact, we had--one fellow came in one night and said, "I don't have much to offer but I've got some homemade tomato juice here that uh, has a little vodka in it." (both laugh) Well, those were the kind of things that if you wanted a Bloody Mary with homemade tomato juice, you wanted a Bloody Mary that's fine. I think that was part of why we did so well, and we didn't have to spend a lot of money. And ah, when we talk about uh, $50,000 in 1973, was a lot of money, or '74, you know, and $50,000 now won't, 01:21:00won't buy you a consultant.

BIRDWHISTELL: But was--was Katherine Ped--Peden running against Marlow Cook in 1968, similar to Lois Weinberg running against Mitch McConnell in this upcoming Senate race? Did you think she had a chance? FORD: It was not uh, Katherine Peden against Marlow Cook. It was Katherine Peden against Thruston Morton, and so you have to compare Lois Weinberg running against Mitch McConnell. Now, if Mitch would decide to make an announcement today that he's not going--that he's retiring, that would--then you could--then you could look at Katherine Peden's position.


FORD: But ah--[telephone rings]--you can't uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: Do you need to get that?

FORD: But um, and Katherine was--in Katherine's position, I don't know who would have been the best candidate for, for the U.S. Senate at the time.

O'BRIEN: [answering machine message] Senator Ford, this is Christina O'Brien, and I was calling about the---------(??) leadership workshop.

BIRDWHISTELL: I think uh, Governor Breathitt had second thoughts, he wished he had run.

FORD: He wanted to run when I ran in '74, and when I decided to run, he had stepped aside, because he didn't want to have a primary, didn't want to get defeated.

BIRDWHISTELL: He found himself in a hard position in '68, once uh, Thruston Morton gets out and he wants to get in.

FORD: Yeah, and Katherine. Katherine, being from Hopkinsville and being his close ally.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's one of his buddies, yeah, debate team partner and, so he couldn't do it.


FORD: Hell, that's--those are the things that you can't put into the equation when you're getting ready to run.


FORD: And it just, who would ever thought Thruston was going to

BIRDWHISTELL: See, that's what I like about your story about '71. You decided you were going to run early on obviously, and that story about Combs just intrigues me to no end, because you just, you know you're like an athlete who stays focused, you know? It's your game, you know, if you can't--so at any rate.

FORD: He knew what was going to happen and, you know, I go back to that, if Bert hadn't run, I'd probably had a harder race, you know, because he had a record, you know, and, and somebody without one may have taken me out in the primary. But that's part of those unknown things.


BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's what makes history so interesting. So, one of the things I'm intrigued about in this Katherine Peden race is that there are undercurrents out there that say Katherine Peden didn't get the support she should have gotten from the establishment of the Democratic Party, because she was a woman and they thought she couldn't win.

FORD: I don't--I think if you go back, who was the--who was the chairman for her? Waterfield's son, that played football, son in-law.


FORD: Uh, worked awful hard for her and J.R. worked hard, uh, Breathitt worked hard, we all worked hard for her. Now, I don't know what the establishment is, unless that's a county, that's uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I just made that up.

FORD: I know, I'm saying but it's probably the establishment. Maybe we didn't get out and knock hard every day, but we were, we were not in leadership, you know, and we had to run a headquarters and we had to raise money and we had to have a respectable showing in the, in the campaign.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you didn't--

FORD: --and I don't know of anything that kept me. I was at a lot of meetings for her.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you didn't take a walk on this.

FORD: Oh, no.

BIRDWHISTELL: You were there.

FORD: I've never taken a walk. I even voted for McGovern, you know?

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, let that--(laughs)--prove you never (laughs)

FORD: So uh, so it's uh--no, I didn't take a walk on her. And, you know, it was a fairly close race, what twenty-five thousand, something like that, and uh, everybody wants to blame somebody, you know. If you can't blame your wife, blame your secretary. I've heard that from one candidate more than I'd like to hear.


BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you had a presidential election going on that had an influence.

FORD: Oh, sure, no question about it, no question about it, but they got a lot of--they got a lot of folks out. But uh, it was uh, it was uh--I can't--oh, I can believe they would say that they didn't get as much help as they would like to have had from the establishment, but nobody ever does. You know, that's just normal.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's just a campaign, right?

FORD: That's just a campaign and it's normal. So um, Terry, the uh

BIRDWHISTELL: She hadn't said that, I want to point out, but I've heard that brought up. And see what--

FORD: --see, Breathitt, Breathitt got hurt twice; one when she was in, and then when I ran. He wanted to run both times and uh, he, he claims he acquiesced to me. That's fine, you know.


BIRDWHISTELL: You know, as I've told you, the reason I, I raise these issues is because a historian, writing about this 1968 Katherine Peden race, will have to deal with what you've said about it. I mean, they just can't say well, Senator Ford wasn't involved in that campaign. The can see --(Wendell coughs)-- the newspaper coverage, they can see the rallies, and now they can hear you talk about what you did. And I think it's--I think it's very important to understand where the Kentucky Democratic Party was in a race like that, because the fact that she was a woman running in 1968, is going to draw a lot of historical attention.

FORD: That's true, and, but uh, I remember, we went around--we went around the state and, and held district organizational meetings, you know. We gave out material, we let them know what the structure was going to be. We, we put 01:28:00together a pretty decent organization with the amount of money we had and uh, if we'd had more money, maybe we would have gotten more votes. I don't know, but it makes a lot easier for you to, to be able to hire--buy more television or, or more radio or more whatever, uh, than to go around on a dang bus, going from town to town, you know. But, but I still think it's good and it went good, and I still think she ought to feel awful good. Outside of winning, she ran one heck of a good race for the first woman, I guess, on statewide--isn't she about the first woman on a statewide race? It's Thelma, outside of Thelma.

BIRDWHISTELL: For the Senate, yeah. All right, well we're out of tape on this side.

FORD: Good.

[Pause in recording.]

BIRDWHISTELL: The uh, so uh, Katherine Peden ends up losing that election, as we, as we said, and I guess in some ways that's a setback for the Democratic 01:29:00Party, because they're trying, trying to get going here. You've had a Republican governor elected in '67, you have a Republican Senate in '68, replacing a Republican Senator and uh

FORD: Well, we had two Republican Senators. We had John Sherman Cooper.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, Cooper too, right, yeah. Um, one of the things you did as lieutenant governor uh, you were uh, chair of the LRC, right?

FORD: That is correct.

BIRDWHISTELL: In the legislature.

FORD: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me a little bit about that in terms of what you tried to do in terms of reorganizing the legislature and as chair of the LRC, in terms of making it a, an organization that worked well.


FORD: Well, what, what happened was that we had uh--I could see the state government needed to be reorganized and we also saw that the legislature had so many fragmented committees, that we weren't coordinating anything, and uh, we were using Robert's Rules of Order, if you believe that, for our parliamentary procedure. And ah, just a lot of little things that could be done to uh, uh--are we all right?

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah, we're fine. I'm sorry.

FORD: A lot of little things that we needed to, to do, that would make life so much better. So, we went to Mason's Rules uh, for the senate and the house and that helped, and then we had, we had uh, uh, fourteen committees, I think, in 01:31:00the house and the senate. We had uh, one agriculture committee, you know, and we had one of this and we had one, one of that, because we went to meeting then, in between sessions. That was the new angle to it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm, um-hm.

FORD: But then, w--w, when we were--when we were going to try to put them together, you had so many fragmented h--you had so many e--the committees in the house were different from the ones in the senate, so we wanted to get them all the same. So, when the, a--after the session, when uh, when we, when we talked about agriculture, the two committees merged, you had one committee and they were both agriculture. So that got that worked out and then we had to work out that one year, the house was chairman, and the next year the senate was 01:32:00chairman of it.


FORD: So we begin to coordinate, and we started using Mason's Rules and that was--when you get right down to it, it's basically the rules of the U.S. Senate, with precedents and precedents set in the minds of most people, are stronger than the original rules.--(coughs)--But anyhow, that was part of the change, and you began to see that the LRC could uh, instead of everybody--when, when the chairman of the committee would come in, and so we, we let uh--it got rid of the governor as--or the lieutenant governor as chairman of LRC. I had carried that same philosophy on when I was governor, when I took myself off of the board at UK. Now uh, Singletary didn't like that, and a lot of those that, that favored 01:33:00UK, because the governor, being on that board of trustees, was tantamount to saying this is the flagship, this is the number one university in the state, and everybody was concerned about U of L coming into the system, which Louie had brought into the system and I had to fund, and that was a fight, because they wanted the same amount of money UK had got, and that just wasn't going to happen, and so that was a fight between Louisville and uh, the legislature and really, Louisville and the governor, and I had a hard time trying to work that sucker out.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, because you were very strong toward Louisville.

FORD: Yeah. Well, I was strong for Louisville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Not Louisville the school but Louisville the--

FORD: ----(coughs)-- the community----(coughs)--


FORD: Oh, yeah, we go back to the issues.



FORD: And that's what we did. We won't let Louisville to tell Frankfurt what was good for it instead of Frankfurt telling Louisville what was good for it, you know?


FORD: And so that part of it worked out and uh, but uh, uh, we, we had some--we had some uh, pretty good thinking uh, uh, senators in the house. It was Kenton, I guess, was Kenton speaker of the house then?

BIRDWHISTELL: I'm not sure.

FORD: But anyhow, y-you had some people that could see the uh, uh, validity of putting these together, where we could be coordinated, rather than having so many. And so, i--it, it worked itself out and I don't think it's changed much. Some things you know, change but uh, just like Julian said, he's going to put everything back like it was before I reorganized once he got in. He said well, it's in pretty good shape, I think we just leave it like it is, you know.--(Birdwhistell laughs)--


BIRDWHISTELL: The uh, this is an interesting period for the legislature, because uh, uh, Kentucky historians anyway, have tried to track the growth of independence for the Kentucky Legislature, and certainly uh, your leadership as lieutenant governor in a Republican administration, gave the legislature some additional independence, in a way it hadn't had before, I guess since Clements had taken over so much during the [Simeon] Willis administration.

FORD: Yeah, they took Willis's budget away from him and rewrote it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, just took everything and uh, and so here you have this moment in, in history and you're trying to reorganize and upgrade the workings of the--of the legislature. Now, when you become governor, most people would argue I guess, that, that's not a time of great legislative independence. You were a very strong governor, right, I mean, but as--


FORD: Well, I had, I, I coordinated the legislature and gave them--and took the lieutenant governor out as chairman of the LRC, but I didn't take the power of the governor away from him.


FORD: And uh, that, the power of the governor in Kentucky, you know, has, has been pretty good. Uh, after that ninth day, before they'd go out, you're in--the governor is in complete control, because the uh, the ten days could run, you know from, from that ninth day on. At ten days, you had to sign a piece of legislation, he hadn't signed any of them until after they were gone.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then you--

FORD: --you just sit there and say look, do you want this bill signed or do you, you know, or not, and, and they'd say well, I'd love to have it signed, governor. Okay, let's start cooperating a little bit you know, and so you got their attention and it was, it was--oh, it was not the nicest thing in the world to do to a fellow that's worked hard to get--but some of them wouldn't help you 01:37:00at all, you know. They wanted it all and you nothing, and so it had to be a two-way street, and so if you get what you want, I want what I want, let's just be share and share alike you know. So I, sure, I was a, a, a little uh, tough on some of them, and uh.

BIRDWHISTELL: Tough love, huh?

FORD: Yeah, it was in some respects. It was--you know, tough love is, is, is a way to--is, is adequate, I guess, but uh, my love for the state and what I wanted to do in reorganization and those things that uh, came down the pike, and we got uh, uh, the monies that--we were having, we're having good luck with money. And uh, you know, I got sued by Larry Hopkins, an old man Christian, over uh, $17 million surplus, over $10 million surplus, you know? It had to go to 01:38:00education and he said I didn't have a right to do that. The legislature approved it. Well, the courts wouldn't even put an injunction on it you know. They knew what was going to happen. And it got--you know, people get pretty tough. The easiest way to slow things up or the easiest way to--the easiest thing to do right now is go to court.


FORD: It was beginning back in my time, because that six month period from the time I was on the UK board, until I got off, just instead of putting an emergency clause on, I let it go, the norm--its normal course. I got sued, you know, a dozen or so times, over the rights on the campus.


FORD: And it was years before I ever got off of those things. But that's part of it.


BIRDWHISTELL: Since you've served in the State Senate, you worked with the legislature as lieutenant governor, very closely obviously, trying to reorganize it. You worked with the legislature as governor --(Ford coughs)--and then you went off to Washington, to work in the United States Senate. With all that perspective, uh, what would you say about the workings of the State Legislature in this period, in the uh, sixties? Was it a, was it a body that functioned well? Did it represent the people well? Did--were you impressed with the membership and how they approached their work, or were there kind of built-in problems to that process?

FORD: Oh, Terry, there's always problems, and it's because of uh, uh, want, rather than desire some time, and you want something, so it's you can get 01:40:00reelected and I think you found uh, in Van Hoose, for instance, that was the leader for the Republicans uh, we got along fine other than, you know, I knew he was going to have to do what the governor wanted him to do, and I knew he was going to put on the sales tax, and I took a voice vote one time that said that the vote was twenty-one ayes, seventeen nos. That was what the vote was on the tax and uh, he probably could have had another vote or two, they had bought, you know? And uh, there's some that go back and say I voted for the sales tax but I got the community college; I voted for the sales tax but I got the road done; I voted for the sales tax They, they did a heck of a job of putting all that together. I learned pretty well that it wasn't necessarily the big roads that you built that got you votes, it was the get to it roads, you know, and like 01:41:00that farmer up there in Berea, talked about 75, you know going down through there.I said, "Isn't it wonderful, you've got this big interstate road and it increased tourism and all that?" He said, "Yeah, but I can't get to it." Uh, his roads were so bad, he couldn't get out there. Exits, didn't make good enough exits and stuff.

BIRDWHISTELL: Get to it roads.

FORD: Yeah, get to it. And so I found that uh, what we built during my term was get to it roads. You had the big ones you had to do. We opened the Natcher Parkway --(sniffs)-- in uh, Audubon and Cumberland, and they were all started otherwise, you know. But uh


FORD: But they still had to be funded and we had money left. Money was--money was uh, uh, uh, was good in '71 through '74, for the state.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know and I-- Senator, I was thinking about that on the way down this morning, driving on your, on your parkway, --(Ford laughs)-- just 01:42:00thinking about all the money that the state spent on that road infrastructure during that very--I mean, it's a very short period of time actually.

FORD: --(coughs)-- That was Henry Ward basically, who did that.

BIRDWHISTELL: And uh, and it just popped in my head this morning, Senator, I wonder, is Kentucky making the same investments today, that are going pay off as much as those roads did? I mean, are, are there comparable type big projects? I mean, those were huge projects.

FORD: I don't see--I don't see how they can, Terry, uh, financially. Uh, education has to be number one, and I thought we were making progress, this Brains for Bucks and things of that nature, the match that we have and all that. I think we're beginning to see a great deal of progress in education.


FORD: We have so many miles of road in this state, that the state maintains. Uh, the commonwealth is just almost overburdened with uh, uh, the repair and maintenance--


BIRDWHISTELL: --the maintenance of the roads--

FORD: --and so forth. And the prob--every little town, if they don't have a bypass, they don't have a town any more it seems like. You know everywhere you go, they've got a bypass. Even Hardinsburg, Harlan, you know. You just name the towns and uh, uh, they've all got a bypass around them. Uh, there--uh, and it-- the smallest town, you know, it, Mount Sterling, now, you go get a bypass around Mount Sterling, you go down to West Kentucky, they've got bypasses. They're just trying to--and, and so

BIRDWHISTELL: I knew when they bypassed Elkton, that bypasses were big time.

FORD: Yeah, well it's-- there you go, but, but I'm just saying, you know they're out there, this is part of it, and they ultimately get it. And so the expense of a road program now is just uh, repair and replacement, and that is humungous.



FORD: And so I don't know, but there's not a project. You can look at Toyota, that was a major project.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, okay, yeah.

FORD: Yeah, yeah, and, and that cost about $138 million.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a good example, of a different type of investment in the future.

FORD: Yeah. And right now, we've, we've invested about $600 million from uh, phase two of the tobacco money, and I'm not sure we've done a good job with that as far as new breakthrough projects that will take rural, that will keep rural Kentucky where it is and uh, and uh that, that seems to me is to where the farmers are going to have to understand, we've got to have some research, we've got to have some uh, pink elephants if you want to uh--that we've tried and it failed, and try something else, in order to find a replacement for tobacco, 01:45:00because it-- tobacco is going to be around, but whether it's uh, going to be enough to stabilize some communities, I don't think so. It's all going to be big farmers.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I was out early, early this morning, so on the radio, I was listening to some farm reports on the way down, and uh, they were talking about this tobacco settlement money, and this guy was reporting, Crowley, I guess is his name.

FORD: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And he was talking about how some of that money had been use--had been set aside in an endowment, to make sure the FFA convention stays in Louisville permanently.

FORD: Yeah, um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And uh, that sounded fine and then--but then he talked about twenty-five thousand grants to Christian and Todd counties for something, you know, and it occurred to me at the time, I wonder if this is being broken up in such small chunks that it might just dissipate.


FORD: It could be. I, I think the philosophy behind it is, is trying a lot of nickel programs, and if they show some uh, evidence of uh, progress, that they'll go with it. If not, they'll drop it off.


FORD: I don't think that they're wanting to spend humungous amounts of money on something that they're not sure will work. I'm, uh, and his warehouse thing is uh, it's awful hard, see uh--I don't want to name names, but when you have leadership that uh, we get $1 million or so for a buyout of their tobacco program, and then you see $10 million going to a warehouse program and they make money from that, it's--begins to look like that somebody's doing--is taking advantage of the, of the situation and not, not doing the job to help everybody.



FORD: I understand trying to keep the uh, uh, the uh, tobacco program, but uh, with uh, 60 percent of the tobacco being bought by contract uh, it won't be long--and they're making a nickel to, to eight cents more per pound, because they don't have pay any warehouse fees. And uh, uh, this thing that Philip Morris is trying to do is just--will be devastating to the tobacco farmer, because the FDA can tell them what kind of tobacco they can make their cigarettes out of, and then they're going to tell the farmers. So indirectly, the FDA is on the farm. Uh, I don't understand how the farmers let this--I, I hope the wool hasn't been pulled over their eyes, but it, it looks like it, by Philip Morris, and then U.S. Tobacco is going to be another one. So it's going to be uh, I think as far as uh, smoking is concerned, that none of it's going 01:48:00down. I mean, the, the, the only outfit that's really doing the job to reduce teen use is smokeless. They're down to und-- under--it's 2 percent under one, and it's 1.2 percent under another scenario, when you put them together. Either way you look at it, they've done a hundred percent better than they were--the, the 4 percent was what Shalala said, if they have it reduced, by year 2000 four percent. Hell, they're under uh, almost two, and so they're down to--under her, the way the HHS had it down, they're down to 1.2.


FORD: There's another uh, I think it's tobacco, smoke free kids or whatever it is, but anyhow, that's two-point-something. But any way you look at it, they've done one heck of a job, not getting much credit for it, because they don't want 01:49:00to use any of it, you know. It's just like terrorism. We're not going to eliminate it, we might control it, just like crime; we don't eliminate it, we try to control it. And so you're not going to eliminate the use of tobacco, you're going to have to try to control it, and that's what I think the goal ought to be, to try to control it as best you can. Keep--I think this billboard out here of this baby, said don't smoke for him, you know, because it's, it's passive smoke. I think that's a good one, you know. --(coughs)-- For years now, I've never--I haven't smoked in our house. I either smoke in the bathroom with the exhaust, I take that back, with the exhaust, or in the kitchen with the exhaust over the stove, or go outside. --(coughs)-- So uh, there's a lot of things. I'm still a smoker and there's a lot of people out there smoking, but uh, so try to contain it, do the best job you can. But this money that's coming, 01:50:00it's going to run out one of these days, it's limited, and so they've got to

The farmer wants, uh, wants government to stay out of his business but yet he wants a subsidy, you know? And uh, he doesn't want them to get into his business about tobacco. He wants to keep the program, keep selling the way he's doin, he doesn't want any change. He's got to change. You can resist it to a point, but then when you see that you're losing, you know, and going to lose, it's time that you changed your horses or, or made some kind of decision about where you want to go. Do you want to be taken care of or do you want your children taken care of? And uh, they got to make that choice. Of course, I understand it's hard to give up now, but uh, oh, heck it's, it's going to be interesting.



FORD: I don't know where we got off base but we did.

BIRDWHISTELL: No, we don't--you can't get off base on these. It's uh, it's all about you, so. The uh, the uh, historians love to look at the Kentucky Legislature, as I said earlier, and see how it's changed over time, and supposedly gotten stronger and better. There's going to be a conference going on in EKU in a couple of weeks or three weeks, and I'm sure the legislative leadership is going to show up and say it's gotten stronger and better. From your perspective, from nineteen--let's just say from '66 to the present, how did you see the state legislature as, as changing? Stronger and better?


FORD: Oh, I think they've gotten more independent.

BIRDWHISTELL: More independent.

FORD: Uh, --(coughs)-- whether it's uh, stronger or not, I don't know. Uh, it's uh, it has the ability to do an awful lot of things under the circumstances. I think it has an awful lot of a-ability, since the lieutenant governor is no longer uh, in the position of presiding over the, the senate and being on the rules committee and that sort of thing, I think it's uh, given that responsibility, but it was obvious, you know, that uh, the, the senate in particular, didn't like a strong hand-- that was Eck Rose, and the house is not--the house has respected the strong hand of Greg Stumbo, and so uh, uh, I 01:53:00think Greg has done a better job keeping them together than Eck did in the senate, in the senate, but both bodies moved, uh, uh, and the senate operated, things got done under Eck, even though you didn't like his procedure. Well, that's--that's part of what they're saying now, they didn't like what he did, and that's the reason I changed parties, after Eck was gone. --(Birdwhistell laughs)--you know, So uh, you know and uh, they don't believe in the, in the, in the planks of the, of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Well, I didn't--the, the Democratic Party doesn't have flanks, it's a national, and it's at the convention; you don't have one otherwise.


FORD: And so these are excuses and uh, it's going to be interesting to see what happens too, and I think it's going to be difficult to not reelect both of them, but nevertheless, I just--it seems like to me, that Phil Gramm, with all his 01:54:00faults, did the right thing. When he decided to become a Republican, he resigned and then ran as a Republican. These cats just change parties.


FORD: Of course Jim Jeffords did too, in the Senate, so you know, he didn't change parties. Yes he did, he changed to an Independent. He didn't go Democrat or Republican, but that gave the Democrats a one more--a one vote majority.


FORD: --(coughs)-- So--(coughs)-- I'm not sure how much stronger it is. Now you've got the senate is in one party's control and the house in another, and you find that there's uh, conflict between the two. And I'm not saying it ought to be railroaded, and maybe uh, it, it's, it's good, but uh, I find that uh, the leadership in the senate is uh, obstructionist and, and uh, it has to be--y--you have to be for--you can't, in my judgment, like right now, what's going on in 01:55:00the State Senate, I mean in the U.S. Senate, where you won't pass appropriations bills that the president needs bad, because you want more uh, nominations put--sent out of the Judiciary Committee, you know?


FORD: And, and you're not going to pass the, the uh, uh, airplane--airport safety bill unless you put ANWR, you're going, going to be able to vote on drilling for oil in, in ANWR. Now those things just, that's obstructionist and, and maybe that's the only way you can get it, but then you have to make a decision, and I don't think that uh, being obstructionist is in the best interest of the country or the state. Now I, if it was a philosophy, it was uh, two uh-- if the issues on this, that's one thing, but the fight is over 01:56:00frivolous things. The fight is not over legislation.

BIRDWHISTELL: Or a basic view of government.

FORD: Right. And so um, it's uh, it's--and, you know, people are really not interested. The Courier Journal writes, Lexington Herald Leader writes, Owensboro Messenger writes, and uh, you uh, sit down with some people and have lunch with them or you have breakfast with them, they read the paper. They don't bring up those sort of things, you know, it's just uh, they're--I'm not sure how much people are paying attention. I think they are now, as I said earlier, that they're more interested in government and who's running it, than they have in a long, long time, because of our September the 11th problem. But uh, otherwise, I just, people just--twenty-five percent of the people go to the polls and vote, 01:57:00and half of them, you know, are split, so uh, 12 percent of the people tell uh, uh, 68 percent of the other folks what the hell they're going to do or whatever. No, that's 78 percent isn't it?

BIRDWHISTELL: Hm. Um-hm. Um-hm.

FORD: Ninety-eight, eighty-eight, what, 12 percent, it's 88 percent.


FORD: And uh--I don't know, I, maybe I'm too old and too set in my ways, but I understand politics. I understand what you have to do sometimes, and uh, but y--you don't be so uh, uh, hardheaded that uh, uh, you don't let progress be made.

BIRDWHISTELL: That does seem to be a difference from when you and uh, others uh, like with your back and forth with Louie Nunn you know when, you might say 01:58:00you're going to bust his budget like a watermelon.

FORD: Yeah, look at a receipt, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: But still, programs got done, right? Still, programs got done.

FORD: You didn't do things to hold up things.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right.

FORD: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So those are differences.

FORD: You had the arguments and you had the debates and then you had the vote.


FORD: And if you won, you won, if you lost, you lost, and you went on for something else.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. It's like the uh, articles about you in the United States Senate, the one in particular talks about what a tough, tough fighter you are.

FORD: Sure.

BIRDWHISTELL: But it didn't say you were an obstructionist, it said you fought for those things for your constituents. --(Ford coughs)--And of course your label was you fought for tobacco, and there were all kinds of journalists who wanted to say that was uh--you know, you were out on some kind of fringe, by the fact you were, you were representing your constituents.

FORD: Well, there were a few other things I was interested in besides tobacco.


BIRDWHISTELL: No, but that's the one they always throw at you.

FORD: Yeah, um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: But they never said you were an obstructionist in fighting for it, that's the thing, you know. And uh

FORD: I hope not, but anyhow, you have--everybody has the right to debate, has every right to use the rules, has every right to uh, try to do whatever you can parliamentary wise, to win a point, and some points you're going to lose. You can't just on purposely, try to keep on, keep on findings way, you know, to do something. Adjourned or whatever, you know, that, that's part of the rules, but uh, that doesn't give you an opportunity to vote on it and pass it or, or defeat it and go on to something else. That's the reason I kind of like compromise. Everybody gains something and those who wanted to, would gain some, that loss wouldn't lose too much. And so it

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And the government still works best when there's compromise.

FORD: I understand that. I just have every belief that if you compromise. And some won't compromise, you know, and that'swhat we see right now uh. But you 02:00:00have to give uh, some folks uh, credit, they don't give up. Like I said, if you stay around Washington long enough, you get what you want. --(both laugh)-- Of course, times change.

BIRDWHISTELL: Back in the days when the legislature in Kentucky didn't have independence and maybe wasn't as strong, you had people coming out of the legislature who went on to big time political careers, like Earle Clements, Wendell Ford, Dee Huddleston uh. I mean you can just name several different--Julian Carroll uh,. You can just go on and on. --(Ford coughs)--With the new independence and the new power the legislature has, you don't see people building necessarily, strong political careers, coming out of that body.


FORD: Because um, uh, the, the leadership don't--of either party, I don't think really want it. I think they want to--they want to be in control, they want to hold them down, and uh, they want--they're the leaders and they'll do what I say. That's uh, pretty tough, you know, and so when, when--under the old system, you had a right that, that, that--we had four or five senators in the senate when I started in 66, that we did a lot of things. Uh, we, we introduced twenty-two pieces of legislation, they all passed, and uh, we got along with the governor well, you know, that, that helped. We got along with everybody else. Of course, some of the older ones there didn't like these wet behind the ear freshmen coming up there and, and doing well, you know, but we didn't--we 02:02:00weren't obnoxious to them.


FORD: And uh, we helped them on occasions, you know, by not letting it get out of hand. But there are certain things we wanted, we had enough votes to get it, so we went ahead and got it done. It's uh, it's--you know, congress, you know, the senate plays its uh, uh, role well based on the constitution, what our forefathers, you know, the saucer that cools the coffee. And uh

BIRDWHISTELL: And you liked the United States Senate more than you ever thought you wouldn't, didn't you?

FORD: Toward the end, yeah, the last ten to twelve years.

BIRDWHISTELL: The way it worked.

FORD: Yeah. It uh, you, you, you could uh--I think uh, Frank Church said it when I first went up there he said uh, "When you first come here, you don't like the seniority system, but after you've been here for a while you think it's the 02:03:00right thing to do."

BIRDWHISTELL: It's the right thing to do. (laughs) Yeah. Well, I'll look forward to talking about that. Let's stop there today, I guess.

FORD: Okay.

BIRDWHISTELL: Next time we'll pick up with your actual gubernatorial administration, how about that?

FORD: That will be fine.

[End of interview.]