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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Joseph Califano, April 5, 1991. Interview L-0125. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

North Carolina politicians forged a bipartisan alliance to reject Califano's stance

Califano failed to garner support from North Carolina politicians because of his anti-smoking and pro-desegregation stance.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Joseph Califano, April 5, 1991. Interview L-0125. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JOSEPH CALIFANO:
Just to urge him to do it. I mean, I talked to other southern governors. You have to remember there was another thing going on at the same time. I was in the middle of the anti-smokingߞI was mounting the anti-smoking campaign. And there was, you know, North Carolina was the number one state fighting that. And that was being fought by Governor Hunt. Jesse Helms was trying to get riders on appropriations bills to take away our funds for any anti-smoking effort. I mean it wasߞso, it was kind ofߞI mean, there were cartoons. In fact, I've got one on my wall. They did cartoons of me down there. Political cartoons. So, it wasn'tߞjust trying to see this one. [pause] Uh, [pause] I mean I justߞI think that problem, that complicated and made less effective my ability to deal with the political structure. I could call the governor of Virginia, I could call the governor of Alabama, or the governor of Texas, and the governor of South Carolina, I didn't have any problem. And I could call Jim Hunt, whose a friend of mine, but there was, you know, he was underߞhe was at war over the smoking campaign. Hunt and Jesse Helms went to President Carter asking to fire me. So, it was not a, you know, we weren't having aߞit wasߞthat element, in terms of making the situation more complicated. The element of the ability to have a discourse with the political leadership was very difficult in North Carolina.
WILLIAM LINK:
So there was a definite connection between the desegregation case and the smokingߞthe whole smoking campaign.
JOSEPH CALIFANO:
Well, it made the politicalߞit made my ability to use the political structure to get the colleges desegregated, it really hindered my ability to use the political structure.