Max Cleland visited Stetson in October 2007 and shared stories about the memorabilia and photos that he has given to the Stetson University Library. The following are some gems from an informative and entertaining two-hour interview. (The complete DVD interview is available for viewing in the library.)
Max recounts his first visit to the Georgia
Max talks about Jimmy Carter’s
1976 campaign and President Carter’s decision to name Max the youngest
Director of the Veterans Administration.
Max speaks about many Senators, including Lyndon
Johnson, Dick Russell, John Stennis, Joe Biden, and Ted Kennedy.
Stories about the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port and an
insight into Senate “hideaways.”
Max talks about his relationship with Bill and Hillary
Max tells of seeing President John F. Kennedy in a parade
in Washington, DC as a Stetson student on the Washington semester. As part
of his semester he had been in the Oval Office with McGeorge Bundy and got
to see Kennedy’s famous desk – 72 hours later Kennedy was assassinated.
Max recounts being in his Senate office with General Richard Myers when
the country was attacked on 9-11.
Max discusses General Westmoreland and his tactics in Vietnam and how
they relate to the Iraq War.
Max relates how he and John Kerry fought in the same war and how
the Republicans mischaracterized Kerry’s war experience.
A cariacature of Max in his wheelchair reminds him of the press
portrayal of FDR without his wheelchair (“the splendid deception”) and
the impact of press coverage of George Wallace in his wheelchair.
Max talks about going to Ft. Stewart with Ted Kennedy during the
early phase of the Iraq War.
Max talks about the Vietnam Memorial (The Wall), war veterans,
and how he came very close to having his name on The Wall.
Max speaks about the first Gulf War and the mission and tactics
of George H.W. Bush, General Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell as opposed
to the mission and tactics of the Iraq War.
Max reminices about meeting Jimmy Carter for the first time
in 1970 and thinking he didn’t stand a chance to win the Governor’s race
or later the presidency. Max talks about their relationship over the years and President
Carter naming him the head of the Veterans Administration.
Max discusses Al Gore and the loss of the 2000 election. He tells why
he believes that the first decade of the 21st Century will become known as
the “Lost Decade” because of George W. Bush’s agenda.