Sen. Eugene McCarthy on the 'Death of a Great Man'

Minnesota senator hopes Kennedy's death serves as an "influence for good" throughout the world.
3:00 | 10/21/13

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Transcript for Sen. Eugene McCarthy on the 'Death of a Great Man'
I have with me sitting here one of the most forceful and articulate members of the senate senator Eugene McCarthy. Minnesota. Senator. Is well known in the midwest and has been. The distortion loyal Democrats in the senate and the very firm supporter of the late president. Senator McCarthy. As a former college professor and as an author. Of the book I believe is called frontiers in democracy. What do you see. As the repercussions. Domestically. The guest of president John Kennedy -- John that it's time like this really doesn't make much difference what you have been -- what you expect to be -- -- pretty. Harsh judgment upon the realities of the moment. I suppose one even feel somewhat guilty -- even attempting to describe what's happened in language which might be remembered because the the harshness and they reality of the fact itself is such that. If you can. If you need to really and there's not much need for it because I think everyone in the country. Has -- they're very deep sense of what has happened. To try to embellish it is to make it more clear to people as a task which probably should be left for the poets and and then for those boys who have restrained enough. Not ready to touch this subject for ten or fifteen or. Or twenty years. Senator there will be many distinguished foreign visitors attending a funeral. Including those typical Britain's. Prime minister whom. -- chancellor -- And former chancellor Adenauer. Do you think that even -- this solemn and tragic moment that. There will be some kind of in her -- discussions at least some level during their stay. Well I'm sure there will be informal discussions as to. What continuing good may come of it I think has at most 21 can only be. Be hopeful. We're always it may be. That computers human nature to somehow except it. The death of the great man of the strong man of man of real power. That this in itself has a kind of purifying influence upon history itself. I think it's good to believe that -- -- to hope for that. But there are some contradictions in the in the testimony. Of history that sometimes following the death of -- devoted to peace and liberty and pursuit of justice. That disordered rather -- order has. Would be my hope that under these circumstances and in these times this but appears to be. And almost gratuitous sacrifice of of a young man in the office of the presidency. Not one who had in any way offended anyone. Not one who had. In affected had time ready to do to prove himself. That this might have -- kind of purifying and and they kind of redemptive. Influence upon not just United States. Where we are concerned about hate and suspicion and doubt and all of the forces -- -- reason but added -- might have an influence for good. Throughout the entire world. You think that these forces of hate when reason and that sometimes have been evidence that even in our country. We're in -- -- area they could contributory factor to be -- Would John this raises safe you know -- -- the question of guilt which is upon which know no one person really is. There are qualified dirt. -- -- -- -- -- -- There is a disposition I think broaden our country for people -- pronounces judgment upon others and to say who is guilty and who is not guilty. Have always tried to restrain myself from passing that kind of particular judgment upon upon any man. But these -- the -- for the assassination of president. Is -- -- which is so great that. That I I don't think we can. It just in the in the equation of human relationships in the human life. That you can say that this one man whoever he may be the fifth perform the act that. That he himself can can bear that burden of guilt. And you have to look beyond that and you you say well who else contributed to it and I suppose -- very few back up and you say well. All of us. The city of Dallas -- state of Texas the United States itself and everyone I suppose who has. -- deal to the president of the United States. Everyone who in some measure may have envied him but in a very particular way here in this country I think that. Those persons and institutions that. That that have when there was when doubt that exist in all of us know that there are many doubts many things about which we must be -- from the world today. That taking doubt we have we've tried to expand it really and and and on the base of -- -- to. To create very serious suspicion that anyone who contributed to the creation of of that change -- to bring about that change. There must be a very particular. Sense of -- in a time when everyone must be somewhat fearful because. There -- forces of evil abroad in the world and much uncertainty and and ignorance that anyone who. It acknowledging that -- -- really lives. Only in shadows. If if you have. In a sense you have. Protected and and kept this fear from the light until it. Developed into a kind of despair what Franklin Roosevelt called a -- fear fear that these persons must. -- a special the measure of of responsibility for what has happened. And all of these two guys to put you have to accept the on the -- Probably a 100000. People in this country who are unstable enough and -- rational enough and emotionally disturbed enough so that. If property stimulated. They might have performed the act which this man performed in in Dallas Texas so you move off from that and say well. Who was responsible for creating conditions which would move these people to this kind of action at that point. Then I think each of us must look into himself. To try to determine what measure of guilt he himself must -- for this rather and to look awkward and point the finger have. Thank you very much senator Eugene McCarthy I've been talking with senator Eugene McCarthy Democrat from Minnesota.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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