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Goldwater Calls Portion of Civil Rights Bill Unconstitutional

Jan. 18, 1964 - Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) called the public accommodations clause of the pending civil rights bill “unconstitutional” today. He predicted that President Johnson would “back down” in the face of a Southern filibuster in the Senate and agree to deleting the clause from the final bill. Goldwater gave his views in Fayetteville, N.C., as he completed his first brief foray into the South since he formally announced his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination. He also said that he objected to certain features of President Johnson’s “war on poverty,” calling the program “an attempt to divide Americans” on class lines. He denounced the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt for what he called attempts to “pigeon-hole people and make hyphenated Americans.” “It is the Democrats who have put people against people,” he said.

Goldwater seemed delighted to be in an area where conservatives are hardly a persecuted minority. He said it was a pleasure to “get out of the Land of Oz and out where Americans really live and work.” At his press conference, Goldwater was asked to comment on reports that he had used such words as “hell” and “damn” on broadcasts when he was unaware that he was still on their air. “Well, Truman did pretty good with that language,” he grinned. “I try to watch it, but every once in a while I slip.” Asked if he thought Congress would restrict the use of cigarettes, Goldwater said, “I don’t know what they can do.” He said restrictive legislation would be “another boo-boo” like Prohibition. The Senator noted that he had never smoked but added that his wife, Peggy, “smokes like a chimney.” Asked about Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy’s trip to confer with Indonesian President Sukarno about the Malaysian crisis, Goldwater said, “That might be one way to get him out of the country.”


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