George Wallace at Madison Square Garden, 1968

From The New York Times, October 25, 1968.

Politics: 16,000 in Madison Square Garden Cheer Wallace's Third-Party Candidacy




He assails the Republicans, Democrats and High Court


By James T. Wooten

      George C. Wallace, the bantamweight from Alabama, came to New York's new Madison Square Garden last night to fight a main event.

      As the great circular hall reverberated with the screams of more than 16,000 who support his third-party Presidential candidacy, the former Golden Gloves boxer unloaded his Sunday political punch-45 minutes of criticism of the Republicans, Democrats, the United States Supreme Court and the young hecklers who oppose him.

      Basking, beaming in the glare of eight spotlights, to the bouncing melodies of "Dixie," and "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy," Mr. Wallace and his vice-presidential running mate, Curtis E. LeMay, the retired Air Force general, raised their clasped hands as 2,000 balloons floated down on the nearly frenzied crowd.

      A standing, screaming ovation of 20 minutes brought the two third-party candidates to the front edge of a bunting-draped stage at least eight times with each bow prompting increasing sound and fury.

Several Scuffles

      The throng has waited nearly an hour and a half for Mr. Wallace, many of them goaded by the presence, attitude and actions of several hundred young people who were involved in several scuffles with Wallace partisans and police.

      Before Wallace skipped into their view, the predominantly white crowd had listened impatiently to a succession of appeals for money and guitar and singing performances by country musicians.

      The conflict was precisely Mr. Wallace's cup of tea; the presence of protesters with taunting, teasing and raucous mock-Nazi salutes pitted against his faithful. For the third time in the past five days he disdained the use of a prepared text and returned to his familiar parade of punch lines.

      "You better have your say now, I can tell you that," Mr. Wallace said, tilting his head to find his protagonists. "After November 5, you anarchists are through in this country."

      They loved it as they do at every stop he makes in his carnival-like swing through the nation.

      None of those who came to hear Mr. Wallace heard anything he has not said before.

      He assailed Richard M. Nixon and Vice President Humphrey, the Republican and Democratic Presidential nominees, as "unfit to govern this country in the next four years."

      He castigated the United States Supreme Court and United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark for recent decisions on civil rights and inaction against "left-wing intellectuals and Communists professors who advocate a victory for the Vietcong."

      He assailed the news media for aiding and abetting "the rebellion in our streets," singling out to the delight of the audience The New york Times and the national television networks. "They just don't want the people to know what kind of support we have," he said. . . .

      None of his frequently used epithets went unappreciated, and with the skill of a veteran entertainer, he timed his gibes and wisecracks to provoke the maximum response.

      "Hey there, sweetie," he said, looking toward a long-haired protester to his left in the audience. "Oh, excuse me," he added after an appropriate pause. "I thought you were a girl.". . .

      Before he stepped away from the lectern, he saluted his followers, leaned back to the microphones and shouted, "Now we all know we're going to do it."

      As the crowd moved toward the exits, a uniformed Garden attendant began moving the chairs in which a 40-piece orchestra had played. The attendant paused to scratch his head and said: "I don't believe it. I just don't believe it."



At Rally, They Give Voice to Their Dissatisfactions


By Steven V. Roberts

      As George C. Wallace bounced up the steps and onto the platform of Madison Square Garden last night, a row of people behind him brought out signs that spelled, "New York is Wallace Country."

      New York is Wallace for Richard Brady, a policeman from Poughkeepsie; for Kate Pedulia, a cocktail waitress in the Bronx; for Anthony Siclari, a butcher in Brooklyn; for Walter Grabowy, a sanitation worker from Rockland County.

      "I was in the Navy for six and a half years," said Mr. Brady, his face growing dark with rage. "You sing 'God Bless America' and say the Pledge of Allegiance and you really believe it--and some people think you're a kook. That 's why I'm here tonight."

      Joseph Delaney, who runs a catering business in Garfield, N.J., was at the rally with his wife and brother.

      "Wallace will get rid of all the Communists in government," he said. "This country is going to pot, it's being run down, little by little. And people are sick and tired of what's going on. Those college demonstrators and everything--everybody is against the country, even the people who live here."

      There are many things that frustrate and anger the people who came here to the Garden last night, and Mr. Wallace is a symbol of their protest. Some do not even know the details regarding the things he says. He is against "them"--and he "says what he thinks.". . .

      For many in the crowd, the "politicians" seem to be catering to Negroes and other minority groups.

      "I want a change," growled Mr. Grabowy. His heavy arms displayed the tattoo "U.S.S. Spencer," and he rested them on his knees as he went on: "All those giveaway programs. They'd rather give them money then put them to work."

      "It's about time people woke up in this country, they've been taken advantage of long enough," said Jeff Dady, who works for an airline and lives in Broad Channel, Queens. "Look at your paycheck every week. That money they take out isn't going to the man who breaks his back--it goes to the man who stays at home in bed." . . .

      Ben Lami who runs an electronics business in Little Falls, N.J. was philosophical.

      "Neither Wallace nor anybody can solve all these problems," he said in a quiet voice. "The average working-man is grossly dissatisfied. He's angry that the government has been turned over to those Joe College types, and that's the way he sees Nixon or Humphrey. He associates himself with Wallace because he feels that he's for the common man. Wallace can't solve his problems, but he thinks Wallace can."

Houghton Mifflin Company