This tape is an edit for the Saturday night broadcast of "Five Day Bicycle Race," a project comprised of live in-studio commentary and taped edited coverage of the 1976 Democratic National Convention in New York City. Produced by independent videomakers calling themselves The Image Union (including many members of TVTV and Videofreex), it aired on Manhattan Cable for three hours per night for five days during the convention. In this video, we watch as numerous videomakers document the DNC inside Madison Square Garden and speak with various politicians about Jimmy Carter and his nomination for the presidency. Rough edit with timecode onscreen.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen.
00:14Copy video clip URL A West Virginia delegate at the convention gives an introduction to the program. This is then followed by footage of a musical performance featuring an Uncle Sam impersonator outside of the convention in New York City.
00:49Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of Jimmy Carter as he makes his way into the convention. Videomaker Skip Blumberg explains what the program will entail.
01:19Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Rosalynn Carter. Blumberg asks Carter about her Carter/Mondale pin. She pleasantly responds to Blumberg while continuing to speak with those around her. Blumberg asks her about whether all of the press coverage is imposing on her. She states that she has gotten used to all of the cameras, but that it was a very gradual process. Blumberg then asks her about the most important thing she hopes for in a Carter administration. “Well I’ve seen Jimmy reorganize the state government in Georgia, and I know how people are very skeptical about whether or not he can do it in the federal government, and so I want them to see that he can do the things that he thinks he can do and that it is not impossible to make changes in the federal government.”
02:59Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of DNC Chairman Robert Strauss. Blumberg asks Strauss whether he knows anything about Carter’s plans for reorganization. Strauss states that he knows nothing of the sort. We then see a shot of Senator Hubert Humphrey. Blumberg asks him the same question and is promptly given the same answer. Blumberg also asks House Speaker Carl Albert, House Majority Leader Tip O’Neill, and Senate Majority Whip Robert Byrd about the possible direction of the Carter Administration. The three men answer the questions but do not get into specifics.
05:12Copy video clip URL When asked whether it is possible to be a First Lady without being involved in politics, Rosalynn Carter states that she doesn’t know how one could possibly separate the two. “I’ve been involved with Jimmy for so long and I think about all kinds of political considerations in fact, I was the one that kept saying, thinking about the political considerations, when Jimmy was trying to choose, decide on the Vice President.” This is then followed by more footage of Rosalynn Carter.
06:42Copy video clip URL Blumberg interviews New York Democrat and social activist Bella Abzug. She talks about the different worlds in politics as she makes her way to a luncheon.
07:25Copy video clip URL Fade into a shot of a International Committee Against Racism protest rally. A group representative explains why the group is protesting. “Basically we’re coming to let Jimmy ‘Peanut’ Carter and Senator ‘Monkey’ Mondale that we know the name of the game–it’s called ‘the Democratic Party put in Ford,’ not ‘they’re going to put in Carter,’ same enemy, same fate as far as the ordinary black and white person is concerned–Latino, Asian, Native American, and immigrant.” The representative states that Carter’s appeal is not to the working class, but to the Democratic Party machine. He goes on to label Carter as a “phony Puritan” and that he is a perfect candidate for the Democratic Party machine. “We’ve got the perfect combination. A man who supported George Wallace, who invited him to speak, who supported Lester Maddox, but is also protected by the Black Negro Nationalist Community. With a mixture like that you got something called ‘apartheid’ in sight. We’re there to say we’re going to fight it and we don’t care who they put in office, we’re going to be struggling against them.”
09:48Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of three labor workers. The videomakers ask the men about their political affiliations. One of the men talks about his liking Pat Brown but goes on to state that there’s no difference between the Democrats and Republicans. The man speaks with a very brooding Irish accent and is seemingly angered by the current state of U.S. politics. “Does not make any difference whether it’s Democrat or Republican. The men with the money tells you when you walk and when you eat.”
11:33Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of one of Carter’s sons, Jeff Carter. He talks about the campaign and how it has affected the family. The videomaker asks him about all of the media attention surrounding his father. Carter states that he tends to stay away from the media attention as much as possible due to some of the dangers involved. The videomaker goes on to ask Carter if he is a fan of the TV show, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” Carter talks says he likes the show and its recent season finale. He then goes on to talk about attending the Rolling Stone party the previous night. Carter talks about some of the movie stars that were in attendance.
15:28Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from outside of the Rolling Stone party the previous night. One of the videomakers interviews Jeff Peters, a member of Carter’s finance committee. While waiting for a friend, Peters speaks with the interviewer about Rolling Stone’s endorsement of Carter and listens to a speech from House Representative Barbara Jordan on a radio.
17:06Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Vietnam Veteran and activist Ron Kovic. Kovic is about to try and enter the party, which is a closed door event. Kovic states that he’s being discriminated against because he had been invited by Jimmy Carter and Rolling Stone Magazine. As the intensity of the situation grows, Kovic becomes more outraged by this circumstance and says with a fervent tone of voice, “Now maybe I’m not one of the beautiful people because I’m sitting in the wheelchair because of the goddamn United States Government policy in Vietnam.”
19:28Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Bella Abzug once again. Blumberg asks Abzug to welcome the television audience to the DNC. She also talks about her own feelings on Carter’s nomination and invites the television audience to an ice cream party being held later that night.
21:40Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of priest at the convention. The videomaker asks the priest whether his support for Carter is faith based. The Priest responds by saying that faith comes from the record of a candidate. Feminist author Betty Friedan talks about her reasons for voting for Carter.
22:17Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Chevy Chase who responds to the same question by saying, “I don’t give a shit really.” Shortly afterward, a woman expresses her discontent with the current choices for the Presidential office.
22:48Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a young reporter on the floor of the convention hall. The young boy explains that he works for a kids’ news magazine and that they have about fifteen reporters covering the convention. The young boy answers all questions thoughtfully and seriously, stating that he’s lost about five to ten pounds from working so much on the floor. Blumberg then interviews CBS reporter Roger Mudd, remarkably friendly after refusing to speak to Blumberg at the 1972 convention. He talks about the physically draining aspects of the coverage. He also talks about his being a registered Democrat. He explains that he’d like to re-register as an independent. When asked who he would choose to be President, living or dead, the reporters states that he’d like to see Theodore Roosevelt in office.
26:18Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Jesse Jackson on the convention floor. Blumberg asks Jackson about his experience at the DNC. Jackson is fairly distant throughout the exchange and is clearly trying to exit the interview. When asked if it is difficult for him to be sitting in the same section as Mayor Daley during the convention, Jackson responds by saying, “No, because I’m bigger than racism. I mean, I’m free of having to react to people. I’m clear that the agenda here is to put together a combination of people that will eliminate Ford and Reagan and I’m preoccupied with that.”
27:58Copy video clip URL While at a bar, one of the videomakers speaks with convention attendee Bob Connor about his feeling on the DNC so far. Connor states, “Well I think Bob Strauss put it best by saying you kind of had a girl that was deaf and dumb and who’s daddy owned a liquor store and that’s the way he wanted to keep it.”
28:46Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Jerry Brown as he makes his way out of the convention, joking with the crew. He and his associates have some trouble staring the vehicle. Brown jokes with the videomakers and says, “You know I think this is symbolic of thew whole campaign. We just ran out of gas at the last minute.”
30:36Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of an Uncle Sam impersonator holding a terrified toddler and dancing to New Orleans style music. This closes the video.
32:04Copy video clip URL Tape ends.