tv Book Discussion... CSPAN December 23, 2013 5:15am-6:21am EST
>> to each of you, you feel america, our empire is kind of having entered a new gilded age cut each in your own way. and dysfunctional, destructive, self-destructive. is it perhaps beyond the point that it can correct itself, safer huge social movements that force it to change? and it correct itself? that would be my question to each of you. >> well, i mean, it depends on how you defined correcting itself. if you are looking for the congress to correct itself, it's not going to happen for the foreseeable future. in terms of a big social movement doing it, there's nothing on the horizon that we
see that is doing that. we've seen in the sense in the last few years, to movements. one from the right and one from the left, a tea party on the right, which had a political component and service changed the republican party and to force change the politics in washington. i think part of the reason we're going into this period of incredible gridlock and the shutdown that we went through is because many of the people who were elected in 2010 and then 2012 in the republican party came with a different agenda than other people have come to washington to represent congressional districts in the past. and are playing by a different set of rules. there was the occupy movement, which i think some people thought might transform some of the politics of the country. it certainly changed the vernacular by giving us the 1% versus the 99%, and i think that in a sense helped frame some of
what we heard in 2012. but as a political movement it has had much less impact. in part i think by design. it was not, you talk to someone people have been involved in it, they were not setting out to be another tea party or to create a third political party. the ingredients for an independent presidential candidate certainly exists today. the anger at washington which is enormous, the frustration, the disillusionment with a lot of political leadership, but it takes a couple of things. one, it takes somebody to lead that. somebody to be the face of it in a way that ross perot was in 1992. and somebody probably who has the resources to be able to fund and run a national campaign. but the prospects are somebody actually doing more than having
an impact at the margins are pretty small, for the reasons i said before. if you think of yourself as a republican, 95% of you are going to vote for the public and presidential nominee and probably the republican congressional nominee in your congressional district and the republican senate in your state and if you're democrat missing. if you're an independent, you know, more than happy, probably three quarters of you lean to one side or the other. and that still dictates of political behavior in this country. we've been through periods of polarization and carriage in which congress switched back and forth. we went through that a little over 100 years ago, and we came out of it, you know, at the beginning, or the end of the 19th century and the dimming of the 20th century when the republicans were put in power and had a run and then the democrats have it in the 1930s.
that we seem to be in a different big now and which voting behavior is different than it was in those days. you know, we think maybe it would take something cataclysmic, that it would be 9/11, which created a sense of unity in retrospect 10 minutes and then we went back to the old ways. we thought maybe after the 2008 economic collapse we would see a change and that the political system would spawn in a more effective way and that didn't happen. and so if you've had an enormous shock in terms of terrorism, and enormous economic shock in need of those severely change the politics and in many ways have hardened the lines that we've got, it's hard to know what's out there that would do it. >> i think we're hitting our time here, so maybe in the interest of that we should -- >> thank you very much. let's have a round of applause for our authors.
concept today. >> thank you very much for your time. >> former secret service agent clint hill was present during the assassination of president john f. kennedy november 22nd, 1963 and recounts that day and his actions to protect the president and first lady. this is about one hour and five minutes. >> good evening everybody, thanks for joining us tonight. we are thrilled you came out on this night. my name is lisa and i have the great honor and pleasure and privilege of working with mr. clint hill on this book our second project together. last year we did mrs. kennedy and me and it was largely because of the overwhelming
response that we got to that book but we decided to do another one at the amar thing of our brilliant editor who was here today from simon and schuster and this was kind of his idea to put together this story of the five days in november from his viewpoint which is so personal and he tells the story like no one else can so we are going to share with you tonight a taste of the book and hopefully bring into light for you like you've never seen before. so, you started in the secret service president eisenhower was president and then in 1960, john f. kennedy was elected president and one thing a lot of people don't realize is when the administration's change they bring in all of their own people and the one thing dusty is the same as the secret service so you assumed you were going to be
transferred to president kennedy's detail that you found out that you were being assigned to mrs. kennedy and what did you think about that? >> i was a very disappointed. i felt like someone demoted me to the second team because all the action in the past have always been with the president and that's where i wanted to be. i knew how they treated agents of the first lady's previously. they watched fashion shows and tea parties and games and that's about all they did so i didn't want any part of that. but i had to accept the assignment and i did. >> when he met mrs. kennedy she was very pregnant and about two weeks into the assignment you got a phone call. >> yes it was thanksgiving night, 1950. and i got a phone call i was at my home and the phone call told me they'd just taken mrs. kennedy to georgetown hospital in an emergency situation she was about to give birth. so i raced to the hospital and i paced the floor like an
expectant father. the president was in florida and i was there and witnessed when john f. kennedy jr. was born and i saw him shortly after his birth. >> in the photograph you can sort of see you peering behind and in a lot of the photographs you have to sort of taken out because he tries to stay in the shadows. his job is not to be in the photographs but you will see him as we go along to the the so even though you were with mrs. kennedy, you spent a lot of time with president kennedy as well just because you were so close to the family. >> yes i have a great deal to do with president kennedy and in this particular photograph in florida. i had been advised that the president's brother-in-law and best friend were going on a little walk and periodically the president and mrs. kennedy would go out to check on them and then the secret service would have to go out there and be there so they would volunteer me. >> how long was this what?
>> 50 miles. so i put on the only shoes i had done what last that long. they were weighing a tip. we went out to the sunshine partly and started walking towards fort lauderdale. >> what is this b.c.? >> the president came out. the president is admonishing me because i allowed them to rest. there was a wager involved he that then they couldn't do it and he wanted to make sure that i pushed them hard enough that they couldn't. >> so you are with them all the time when they went to church, there you are next to president kennedy coming out of church. and when mrs. kennedy traveled she did a lot of traveling overseas often by herself without a president or just with her sister and you were with her. what was it like traveling with her and protecting her? >> the biggest problem was crowd control because she was an extremely attractive lady. everybody wanted to be as close
to her as possible. this is a photograph and a lynn italy. you see the crowd generated to see her and the was a typical situation. whether we were in india, pakistan, morocco, france, greece or italy, it didn't matter. was always the same. >> tell us a little bit about the size of the secret service detail at that time. >> back in 1960 there were only two of us assigned. fever assigned to children and 34 were assigned to the president. that meant at any one time there were only five agents present because we were three shifts a day plus on advanced assignments. some people. >> so, let's go through some -- we are going to show you some photographs of the kind of challenges the secret service faced when they were protecting this wildly popular couple
around the world. >> this is in dublin ireland. there is the crowd on the sidewalk at the end of the street they had a hard time getting through the crowd and they were hanging out of windows on dhaka knees and rooftops, anyplace they could be to get a better view of the president. this is an co-star rica the military started to help us get through the crowd and had a difficult time. you can find the president there in a black suit among the crowd. so that's very difficult. this is in mexico city. mexico city is quite high in elevation but that doesn't smell. that is confetti. there was so much confetti that time we got to the end it would stop at the back seat. this is in billings montana. somebody decided to pass their child up cross the top of the crowd said they could touch the president. something the tried to avoid a but it happened all the time. this was in berlin germany.
two women had a broken in and tried to shake the president's hand. they were about to be pushed back into the crowd carried the this is the site in berlin there were hundreds of thousands of people there and they were on top of buildings and rooftops and balconies and windows. everyplace that they could be to see the president. >> and the five secret service agents to protect the president in this kind of environment. so, we go into 1963. there was a trip planned in texas was meant to be today's, fight cities. how did this trip, about and why did they go to texas? >> was actually three days. we were going to go to dallas and then austin and then out to the ranch. the trip was planned in the spring of 1963 in a meeting in el paso texas between president kennedy, johnson and governor
connally. in 1960, the election was very close so they knew that in 1964 they had to carry some states in the south so they picked the two with the most electoral votes, florida and texas and decided to campaign in those states. november 16th president kennedy went to florida. and he went to cape canaveral, palm beach, tampa and miami. then he came back to washington. then they planned to leave on fears a november 21 for texas. mrs. kennedy was going to go along. >> that's the reason you went on this trip is that mrs. kennedy was on the track. so take us through that first morning and as you are at the white house how does the day began? >> the president had an appointment with the two ambassadors from the united states to a couple countries in africa and the was the only one that he had. when he came down from the
second presidents he passed by my office, stuck his head in and he said we are going to take along a helicopter and i said yes mr. president we will have the agents alerted and so that is what we did. we flew out of the white house in a helicopter and flew to the andrews air force base. mrs. kennedy, the president we got to interest and were about to get off the helicopter and go to the air force one and he wanted to go along. well, she couldn't go said he had to go back to the white house and he got upset and he started to cry so mrs. kennedy tried to counsel them and they told him look we will be back to celebrate your birthday november 25th. that didn't seem to satisfy him so the president turned to foster and said mr. foster would you take care of him while i am gone and she said yes mr. president and so that was the last thing that we heard the
president say in his presence that he would be back and that he wanted him to look after him after he got back. then the president noted air force one and we flew on down to san antonio texas. we arrived down there and was a large crowd at the airport, thousands of people had lined the airport including on top of the terminal, in spite of the glass terminal they were everywhere that they could be to see the president and mrs. kennedy. the president avoided going and they were in the car and we began to motorcade from san antonio international airport at two the new aeromedical space center medical laboratory. >> so the president is in an open top car. the weather is great and everything is going wonderful. what are we seeing in this photograph? >> a typical situation the president decided to stop the motorcade to allow people to shake his hand. he asked us to do that
periodically as we were traveling down the street and that is what you see is the crowd is trying to rush to the presidential vehicle and then we went down to san antonio and there you see people on the street and on the balcony's and hanging out of the windows everywhere they could be to see the president and mrs. kennedy. we get to an airport again in the field to leave the area and another large crowd was helped with the military. ..
>> there is a meeting of the group which is a spanish-speaking group. and he had mrs. kennedy to talk to him. and she spoke to him in spanish. and he was extremely happy with this. because he could see the reaction among the people. they were very happy. they were there and she had spoke to him in their native language. and then they went to the coliseum and they had a testimony for the congressman, who had brought a space center houston and people were very excited about that. and then they got back on board
and they were at air force base in fort worth, texas, arriving at 11:05 p.m. at night. it was raining. there were thousands of people they are. families with children. and i couldn't understand that. raining with children. and i got pretty jaded, apparently, but then i realized that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the president, and they took advantage of it. in the crowd like the hotel that we had in downtown fort worth, dallas, it was a tough crowd and we took them up to the eighth floor and put them in the sweet that they were going to occupy. >> so all of that happened the first day, november 21. the reception in texas was so enthusiastic and everybody was so exuberant and from a political standpoint, they were absolutely thrilled. >> the politicians had underestimated the reaction that they were going to receive and they were very, very pleased
with what ended up happening. and so are the president and mrs. kennedy. when we put them in this week, they were so pleased with everything that had gone on that day. >> they fully expected the next day was going to be just as wonderful as well. november 22, 1963, he found out something was going on in dallas. flying from fort worth to dallas that morning. >> that's right, we woke up in fort worth, and it was raining. but we woke up with knowledge that the president would be featured in a large article in the newspaper in dallas, criticizing the president on all policies that had been made. it was very anti-kennedy. and so the president made a comment to mrs. kennedy that morning, saying that i want to know one thing. we are headed into not country today. and so he was fully aware of the
problems that existed in dallas. >> but the secret service. did you have any specific threats in dallas? were there threats against his life? >> we had no threat information whatsoever regarding our trip to dallas. the only thing was a month earlier at least evenson had gone to dallas to make a speech and he was heckled and spat on and they had a little blackard and we knew that the area was filled with people who didn't agree with the policies of the administration. but we did not believe that anyone would try to be that unpleasant. we thought it would be similar to the experiences that we have had the previous day. >> so you wake up in fort worth and outside of the hotel, people havarti started to gather and people have brought their young children out in the rain before
dawn. so what was this all about? >> they had this particular situation as part of the itinerary. it could only hold 2500 people and in there were thousands who wanted to see him. so they set up another place outside of the parking lot. it was raining. the president came out. he just came out in his suit and everyone else had their rain gear reindeer on and they spoke to the crowd. people are hanging out and on rooftops as well. and the president spoke to these people and then he went right into the crowd, which is very typical of the way he likes to operate. >> you can see the handful of agents that are there around to guard him very closely in that
situation. >> we always relied upon the local authorities and we always knew that they did a wonderful job. so then the president went into the hotel and 2500 people were packed in this program. we walked in there and we went to the head table and we went down. and i had gone down to the eighth floor on my room to be with mrs. kennedy because she had indicated to me on her schedule that she was not going to go to this practice. her schedule set on the very bottom that jackie will not attend. so we anticipated that she would go directly from the hotel to the airport. and however, the president noticed that everybody was clamoring to see mrs. kennedy. so he called advanced age and over and said call clint and
tell him to bring mrs. kennedy down right now. so i got a phone call from the presidential suite, telling me that the president and mrs. kennedy down there. trying to explain that that was not on her itinerary. and he said you don't seem to understand. the president said bring mrs. kennedy down to the reckless, breakfast, and i said i understand, i hope she will. and i explained it to her, and we came down to the breakfast. >> so there you are leading her into this practice and you don't look so happy in this photo. >> no, i was not very pleased. and everyone was thrilled that mrs. kennedy came to the breakfast and she got a standing ovation and everything went very smoothly. and then from there you are heading back to the airport because now you are going to go to the scene. >> that's right, there were
thousands of people who have business school, and it was a glorious day to see the president and mrs. kennedy and they were very pleased with the reception that they received. >> you were taking air force one from fort worth to dallas. and it's a very short distance and it doesn't seem to make sense at all. why did you fly from fort worth to dallas instead of driving? >> well, it wouldn't make any sense to most people. and it would be much quicker to drive. but this was a political situation and they wanted a photograph of president and mrs. kennedy in dallas and that is what they got. and here they are, coming down the ramp. met by a large reception committee, including the vice president and mrs. johnson who
were seen in fort worth. and there was a large crowd gathered behind the fence line and the president noticed him and immediately went to that crowd to shake hands. mrs. kennedy normally wouldn't do that. she joined him and went to the crowd as well and shook hands and the photographers were having a field day and they were getting a good photo and this includes the radio stations that were going crazy with what was going on with the people of dallas. and they were built largely as we proceeded into the city. there are some points where it was difficult to get through the
crowds. and the president was in the right rear, and he was trying to keep away from the crowd, that mrs. kennedy was in the left rear, not put her right up next to the crowd. so occasionally i would get up in the back of the car. to be its closest proximity as i could be to prevent anything from happening. and we had been told that the president did not once in the back of the car. that had happened the previous situation. i would answer to him later if there were any questions. >> that looks precarious. what was it like getting onto the back of the president's car? >> welcome the most difficult thing is this fixed platform when your army moving at a certain speed. and so there was a little platform on the back of the bumper there and there was a
handle on the top of the chunk and trunk and that was the position that i was in. we travel down the street and the crowd got bigger and bigger, right into the street. they were on balconies and fire escapes and hanging out of windows. and you can see me there up on top of the back of the car and how close we are to the right side of the street. and that is the way we were down main street into dallas. in this shot is towards the end of the main street area and also here we go, we have to turn right at the end of main street. >> this is sort of the end of the motorcade around main street. you are heading into an area
called dealey class stamp yes, we are coming down main street, and we turn right on houston and had to make a sharp left hand turn and a lot of people say, why didn't you go straight down main street? well, we couldn't because we had to go right when we got underneath the underpass. if we have gone straight down main street, we couldn't get across that concrete divider that was in the center of the road. so we had to go right on and left on home to make it work on our way to the area. >> this is a photo of you and you have turn here and explain where you are in this photo. >> time in the forward position and these are leading on the other side of me and agent mcintire is here.
there was one other agent in the back of the car with an a air of 15 rifle and he was in a position between kenny o'donnell and they powers and there was another asian out there as well in the intelligence division making sure that everything was going okay. and there was an agent in the front seat. we proceeded down the street and we were down there and we had slowed down considerably because of the sharp turn. but as we got down to about 120 feet, i was standing in the area to the left and suddenly i heard an explosive noise over my right shoulder. so immediately my eyes went from the left to the right to the noise in the explosion. but i only got as far as the president's car and i saw what happened in the backseat. all of a sudden, the president made a motion with his hands up against his throat and he moved
violently to his left and i knew that something was very wrong. something had happened. i jumped from my position and ran toward the presidential vehicle with the intent to get on top of the rear of the president's car to form a shield or a barrier to protect president or mrs. kennedy from anything happening. so i had to get between the motorcycle officer in the car. the motorcycle was making a lot of noise. later they told me there was a second shot when i was in opposition. and i did not even hear because of the noise. and the president said was down to his left and leaving over towards mrs. kennedy. he had a back brace on and he couldn't bend forward and he couldn't go to the right because of the side of the car, so he had to go to the left with his head down. when the shot rang out, it
exited out the right rear quadrant. the material disrupted from the wound and there was brain matter and bone fragments that came out of that over the trunk and over me and over mrs. kennedy and when that happened, mrs. kennedy came up on the trunk of the car. she tried to retrieves some of the material, trying to gather it together. she did not know that i was there. i got a hold of her and i put her in the back seat and when i did that, the president's body fell to the left and the right side of his face was up and i could see that his eyes were fixed. there was a hole in his skull and i assumed it was a fatal wound. i turned and i gave a thumbs down to the other agents to make
sure that they knew how serious it was, i screamed out the driver and he accelerated immediately and we raised up and down the freeway, led by the chief of police in dallas and we had speeds of up to about 80 miles per hour. >> it took clint way longer to tell you what happened in the amount of time that this all developed. it was just a matter of seconds, and you have to remember that when the first shot rings out, your brain has to process what to do. so the timer stops when i first shot happens and we are going to show you. there is a film that has been edited slightly, and a headshot has been cut out and the reason we do that is because the man who took the film was so horrified when he took this film -- he thought no one should ever see that. and so we don't show that. but this is to show you how quickly things developed a. >> yes, we came down houston and
we turned left onto him. we were led by motorcycles. as you can see the president coming here. as he gets to this point, he is hit for the first time and he raises his hands up in the fatal shots ring out and i climb upon the back of the car. and i wedged myself up there and i got as high as i could. we were traveling at excessive rates of speed. my sunglasses blew off as i turned my head. at one point mrs. comley moved and i could see that the governor was covered covered with blood. that was the first time i knew that. and we raced to the hospital. this is after we had arrived. when we arrived there, there was nobody there. we arrived and we had to move the governor out of the car before we could do anything because of the way that the car was configured. he was sitting in the jump seat right in front of me. and they finally got him up on a
gurney and put him in trauma room two. and then we went to help the president. mrs. kennedy had a hold of him and i said, please let us help the president. no response. i knew pretty much how she thought and i realized the problem was that she didn't want anyone to see the condition that he was in because it was horrible. so i took off my suit coat and covered his head and upper back and as soon as i do that, she let go. and we put him on the gurney and raced him to the emergency room. and many of the doctors reacted immediately, trying to do everything they could to resuscitate the president. >> you are inside.
outside the press has gathered. most of the press was in a vehicle several cars behind. they knew that something had gone terribly wrong. they are trying to gather information. meanwhile, you are inside. you are told that he you decided he needed to contact the white house immediately and let them know what is happening. was that phone call i? >> welcome i had a semi-supervisor the situation and i was in the process of talking when the operator cut in and said, mr. hill, the attorney general wants to talk to you. and i said, okay, fine. so the attorney general was robert kennedy. the president's brother. and he said what is going on down there? and i told him about what had happened. i tried to explain that the president and government had been shot in we were in the emergency room and that the doctors were working on him. and he said, how bad is it? and welcome i didn't want to tell him that his brother was
dead. so i simply said that it's as bad as it can get. all i heard was the click of a phone because up and he found out that his brother had been killed. >> meanwhile, many of you may have been at home. and this is probably how you heard the news. [inaudible conversations] >> there is a bulletin from cbs news in dallas, texas, three shots were fired at president kennedy today in downtown dallas, the first report says that he has been seriously wounded. he was shot today just as his motorcade left downtown. mrs. kennedy jumped up and grabbed mr. kennedy and said oh, no. and the motorcade sped on. the wounds could perhaps be
fatal. president kennedy has been shot by a would-be assassin in dallas, texas. stay with us at cbs news for further details. >> president kennedy was wounded in downtown dallas and his condition is an exact unknown. we have not been told his exact condition. >> as you can imagine, there are many upsetting reports and scenarios that are coming in now. the first is that he is dead.
it has not yet been confirmed. from dallas texas, president kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. central standard time. only some 38 minutes ago. >> 50 years later, it is still just as moving as when you heard the news. clint, you are inside it you don't know what is being broadcast. you are dealing with chaos there. >> yes, they were doing every day could. at 1:00 o'clock, the doctor came out and said that we can't do anything more. the president is dead. and so when that happened, the president's closest aide said clint, we need to cast it to transport his body back to washington. and i said that i would see what i could do. i'd range to the administrator of the hospital and ordered the
best casket they had to be delivered to the emergency room for the president. the nurses began to prepare the body to be placed within the casket. and as we found out that the people in texas decided that we needed to have not topsy done in dallas before we could leave. and you have to understand that at that time in 1963, it was not a federal crime to kill a president. it was a state crime. and so the state law of texas prevailed. and so they told us that they would have to do the autopsy their. we asked them how long would it take, and they said hours or maybe a day. and we said that's not acceptable because we need to take the president back to the nation's capital. we could have the autopsy done their and they said that that is in violation of state law and there was some additional discussion between my supervisor and the president chief aide and
members of authorities bear in dallas and we finally said that we are leaving anyway. and they said if you're going to do that, please have a medical professional remain with the president through the entire process. george berkeley was volunteered to do that and he was with us. and so they placed the president's body in the casket and berkeley got in the rear and i brought out mrs. kennedy and said we could write in ride in his car back here and she said no, i'm writing in the first hearse with the president. and i said okay. so i opened the door the casket in the back. it was mrs. kennedy and me.
and that's the way we went to love field in dallas. >> so then you get there. and the agents have the horrible unbelievable task of having to carry the casket of the president that they were supposed to protect up to air force one. >> yes, the crew had moved a bunch of the seats in the aircraft they could place the casket there. and we started to carry the casket of the rear stairway which is extremely heavy and difficult. we got up to the top of the stetson were about to go through the door and we found out that the casket handle was too wide. so we broken handles off. we put it in the aircraft and set it on the floor. and mrs. kennedy came on board with larry o'brien and kenny o'donnell and the powers and i
moved to the forward part of the aircraft to do some other tasks. >> vice president johnson then needed to be sworn in on the ground there. he found a federal judge in before this swearing-in, mrs. kennedy wanted to tell you something? >> yes, before the ceremony began, i got word that mrs. kennedy wanted to see me. so i went back through the presidential suite where she was seated he stood up and grabbed my hand and she said oh, mr. hill comer what is going to happen to you now? was very concerned about how i was reacting and she knew that the administration had changed in the kennedy administration to the johnson administration and she was very concerned about where my next assignment was going to be. that i was shocked that she was thinking about it is an issue have to stand up and beside the vice president in a few moments for this photograph and she was still covered in blood. she hadn't done anything to change that.
and so i went back to my position in right behind the doorway there, standing there she stood inside as vice president johnson was sworn in as the next president of the united states. >> and many were with him on air force one. on that long ride back and you and the other agents help to unload the casket and take it to bethesda hospital. >> yes, we did. we took it there because he was a former naval officer and who cited that is where the autopsy would be performed. so friends and family could be with us while we waited for the autopsy to be completed. they called me and asked me to
come down to the autopsy room and they wanted me to observe the president's body just before they finished so that if the questions were ever asked by mrs. kennedy, i would be able to answer them as to the exact condition that the body was then at in at the time the president was placed in the casket. >> so that it was 430 in the morning when finally you are able to go back to the white house and eight. those and placed him in that room identical to the one used for abraham lincoln and members of the family were there, they came in including those are on the presidential casket and ask >> so what time did you get to go home?
>> germane here a few minutes and then went upstairs. i went downstairs to my office on the ground floor and stay there until about 6:00 o'clock to make sure that she had no other needs and then i went to my home and i got a little bit of something to eat and came back to work. >> at this time, all of the other agents transferred to president johnson and their are two agents with mrs. kennedy, no one there to replace them, there is no other shift. so clinton has associate went home, shaved and showered and came back and they had to be with mrs. kennedy. so what happened that day on saturday? >> saturday at, the 23rd, there was a private mass in the east room for the family in an and then mrs. kennedy called and said that she wanted to go to arlington national cemetery and she and the president's brother and jean kennedy smith were
going to go to pick out the burial site. and so i took them to the cemetery and we picked out the gravesite of president kennedy. >> at this point the world has stopped. stores were closed, people were sent home, children were sent home, people were watching television about it. twenty-four hours, constantly, it had never been done before. and everyone was just in shock. and it resonated around the world. this is a vigil in berlin because this president had touched people around the world. sunday, november 24, 1963. >> that morning there was going to be another mass in the east room and then we are warned to take up the body to the east capitol capital in the rotunda.
i have gone over to my supervisor's office and the phone rang and i was told that the assistant wanted to talk to me. and he said clinton, you better come over to the main residence because mrs. kennedy wants to see the president. and i said that i would be right there. so i ran to the east room and she's standing in the doorway with robert kennedy. and said what do you want to do and she said, robert kennedy and i want to be the president's body. as we win and we made sure that everything was okay. we opened the casket. we got it ready. and then we got in and got them in to view the president's body. and we sat there for maybe a minute and she said, mr. hill, will you give me a pair of scissors, please. and i said, yes, ma'am. so i went up there and stood
there and heard the clipping and i knew it she was doing. robert kennedy and mrs. kennedy then backed away from the casket and turned and walked towards the elevator on the second floor and she handed me the scissors and they went to the second floor. a return to the scissors and i noticed there were particles of hair left. the max and now they are going to take the president's body by motorcade on to the capital. and as we showed you in the photographs before all this happened, there were always crowds and people screaming and hollering and shouting and we were working on this book. one of the most painful things that clinton says from this time is that that possession to the capital, there were no screens screams were shouts or chairs. there was only this sound.
>> we got into the rotunda. mrs. kennedy and caroline and john were there and at one point john got rambunctious, so we had to take them off to another room, away from where the cowboys. and mrs. kennedy and caroline approach the casket and walked over and kissed the flag that draped the casket and as we walked outside, we noticed that there were hundreds of thousands of people who had gathered and they wanted to view the president's casket. and so this went on for the rest of that day, all night. they finally had to turn him in turn things off at 9:00 a.m. because we were going to move the president's body back down the funeral service. but there were still thousands of people lined up who wanted to view his casket.
>> so 50 years ago today. >> 50 years ago today, and it was john f. kennedy juniors third birthday. but it was also his father's funeral. and so we went to the capital and the body was there and taken back to the white house and we got back to the white house and hundreds of heads of state who had come to washington to pay their respects, including president de gaulle and the president of ireland as well and the president of italy. the king of belgium was there as well. they were all there. and we walked with mrs. kennedy
and here you see that she is walking with her two brothers in law beside me in the photograph and then we have sargent shriver and then hears agent paul landers. you will see president johnson and mrs. johnson and their two daughters. those are all agents surrounding him and walking on the way to saint matthews cathedral. and imagine all these heads of state. and this is just a security nightmare if you can possibly imagine. >> yes, the funeral was held in saint matthews and john gave his infamous salute. and tell us about this.
you were there witnessing mass. >> the military wanted the salute to the president and mrs. kennedy saw this and she bent over and she whispered something into john's ear and john turned into his shoulders back and saluted. and that was not a natural thing for the young little guy. this kennedy came to me and said, mr. hill, the president is going to go to arlington national cemetery on november 11 and we know that the military is going to salute them as president. i would like john to go on i would like him to salute his father as well and you think the agents could teach them how to salute. and i said sure, that is no problem. we can do that. and so the agents start to work with john. trying to get him to salute. the problem is he can only do it
with his left hand, and that went on for a long time. finally, on november 11, when he went to arlington with his father, he did it properly. and everyone was so relieved and pleased. we couldn't believe that he had finally got the message. well, on this day on november 25, during the service he got a little rambunctious and mrs. kennedy said that one of the agent should take into another room and they did. and so they thought that they would have him practice his salute. and they were working within and he was right back to using his left hand. and there's a marine colonel in the doorway and he saw this in the walked into the room and he stood at attention and he saluted properly and he said john, this is how you do it. and i will be done. it took that colonel 15 seconds
to show john and he did it properly. we have been working with them for weeks with nothing. so just shows you sometimes those wheat kernels know what they are doing. and then we have president eisenhower, his wife mimi. and we went to the lincoln memorial and they had lined the streets all the way back in there were hundreds of thousands of people who came to washington for this funeral. and we got to the cemetery, and here you see president de gaulle saluting along with the various
states bear. there. and it was then the flag that was folded and presented to mrs. kennedy. and then we went back to the white house where mrs. kennedy held a reception where all of the heads of state came. and they paid their respects to the president. and meanwhile i told mrs. kennedy but i hope your mum at mama today is john's third birthday and she said yes, and they had a little birthday party after this perception and it was just john and caroline and their cousins and other members of the family and it was something they had promised john and they told him that we will be back on monday to celebrate your birthday. and she did. and that night was after 11:00 o'clock. the phone rang and it was mrs. kennedy. she said, mr. hill, the attorney general and i want to go back to the cemetery to pay our respects
and i said, okay. and we took them to arlington. and she brought a small bouquet of flowers and stayed there 10 or 12 minutes or so and then went back to the white house. but that was the end of the fifth day in five days in november. >> and i know that for many years you could not even bear to talk about this with anyone. it has been emotional, emotional writing this book, but i think for a lot of people it is certainly healing and it offers a sense of closure to know what really happened to know the truth area and we are so thankful that you shared your story with us. >> thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you all very much.
[applause] >> thank you if any of you have any questions, please feel free to raise your hand. [inaudible question] >> can you repeat the question? >> do i think the fact that he was wearing a back brace -- would he lived? well, i don't know. but it could have prevented him to move forward? well, the only way he could move was to his left. because it prevented him from moving forward. [inaudible question] >> the question is why would were you the only agent that reacted.
>> welcome one of the photograph shows that. in the first shot was fired in rang out, we realized what it was. and i turned to the noise and i saw what happened. the agent behind me, his vision was obscured by my body and to agents on the other side of the car also turned toward the noise and away from the president's car and by the time they turned back i was already at the presidential card and there was nothing more they could do. >> yes, sir? [inaudible question] >> the night before. welcome i will tell you what happened the night before. we left washington now morning on november the 21st and we flew to san antonio and we were served a lunch on the way there.
and we flew to houston in fort worth and we didn't need to do anything before we got fort worth. i was hungry as heck and i was tired. and i had not eaten since noon. marilyn smith was the head of the press corps and said, we're going over to the press club and we when other there and there was no food, they had eaten it all up. so i had a drink myself when i was over there. and they said there's a place down the street. i went back to bed, woke up at 6:00 o'clock, ordered breakfast and this includes eggs and bacon and potatoes and orange juice
and toast and coffee mugs all i have that whole night for nourishment. there was no other thing, they were disguised as myself who were very hungry. be my guest, sir? [inaudible question] [inaudible question] >> the questions about the oliver stone film jfk. >> that movie has caused more problems than anything i can remember because it is so full of baloney. and there are so many things in it that are just not true. and he knows that.
i happen to know one of the consultants that was working on the film and he happened to be a detective. then he went to oliver stone during the process and said, the things that you're putting in the movie are not true. and he said i know that, but this is a movie and it doesn't matter. i'm making a movie and i'm not doing a documentary. and so he didn't care. and it was as full of erroneous information. it's unfortunate because most young people that saw that movie at that time believed that it was true. and it was not. there were other movies that came out that were almost as bad if not worse in some respects. >> yes, sir? [inaudible question]
>> in parkland hospital, where was mrs. kennedy and what was happening and what was the vice president? >> they had taken the vice president into another section of the hospital and sealed it off. not too far from the emergency room. we knew where he was and we could get information to him. when the area between the calm rooms were coming through, mrs. kennedy would try her best to be there to observe what was going on. and they were both seated out there. it was a small walkway between the two rooms. and they were both in this vicinity. >> and agent landis was there as well? someone was always with her? >> just. [inaudible question] >> where