Sen. Humphrey Rips Ike, Nixon
April 9, 1960
Sen. Humphrey Rips Ike, Nixon
“We need a Marshall Plan Home” Sen Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn) told a near-capacity crowd Friday at the Memorial Building as he launched his West Virginia presidential primary campaign.
Humphrey blasted the Eisenhower administration for not providing a counterpart to the Marshall Plan for foreign countries and charged the best it could do was spawn Vice President Richard M. Nixon as its candidate for president.
Humphrey attacked Nixon to the delight of the highly partisan crowd by a comparison with “everybody’s all American Jerry West.”
“Nixon is just the No. 1 Republican.”
Humphrey told a gathering of about 750 persons that the Democrats will tackle Nixon this fall on the basis of his record. He described this record as a tempting target.
Humphrey, who meets Sen. John Kennedy of Massachusetts in a popularity primary test in West Virgin May 10, said he and “my good friend Jack Kennedy” smoked Nixon out of hiding in the Wisconsin primary where the vice president running unopposed on the GOP ticket polled 29 per cent of the total vote.
Humphrey said Nixon had hoped to sit out the campaign and get the presidential nomination on a silver platter but now has changed his mind rather than risk being “low man on the totem poll again.”
The Senator indicated Nixon is about to get out on the stump. There have been reports the vice president would visit upstate New York and the Midwest next month to county public opinion polls showing him running behind Kennedy.
Nixon’s office said in Washington he has under consideration a speech in Buffalo next month but beyond that nothing is in the works except previously announced trips to San Francisco next Monday and to Chicago May 1.
Humphrey in his speech here struck at the administration for President Eisenhower’s vetoes last year of an area redevelopment bill and measure to establish a coal research and development commission. West Virginia would have benefited greatly by both measures, he said.
The senator also protested against what he termed the administration ‘lying down veto” of his bill enacted last year authorizing a food stamp plan to feed the hungry. He charged Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson has done nothing to put the plan into effect.
To avoid another similar situation Humphrey said he was introduced this year a new bill making the food stamp plan mandatory in industrial areas of chronic unemployment and in rural areas of low farm income.
This new plan he said would be administered by the Department of Health, Education Welfare taking it out of the “dead hands of the Department of Agriculture.”
On the coal research and development commission Humphrey charged:
”The Administration cares not for the people of West Virginia. It is a business administration and has written you off as a loss. “So I’ll tell you what to do: get rid of them.”
He said the commission was designed “to create new jobs right here in West Virginia and my own state of Minnesota to meet the effects of automation.”
Humphrey said he had read recently in the Saturday Evening Post something about West Virginia being a dying state.
“Today I have seen its vitality - it is just a victim of paralyzed government” in Charleston and in Washington.
He said he had seen untold wealth of body and mind in school children along the bus route from Charleston to Beckley. The senator told the crowd that he had also seen trouble along the way.
Humphrey declared the area redevelopment bill sought to do at home what for over 10 years “we’ve been doing for people abroad through the Marshall Plan and President Truman’s point four program of economic and technical aid.”
“Now I’ve supported these programs, but I’ve never stopped insisting that we should help our own people as well.”
Veto of the Youth Conservation Corps Bill also drew the wrath of Humphrey. He termed it a “veto against youth.”
Humphrey’s presidential campaign bus arrived late Friday in Beckley where he addressed the rally Friday night. It was the 16th stop of the day for Humphrey on an itinerary which took him to some of the hardest hit communities in the unemployment plagued southern West Virginia coal mining area.
Groggy after only two hours sleep following a bad weather flight to Charleston Humphrey set out from there early in the morning. It was the first day of a two day swing in the southern counties and the start of serious West Virginia campaigning by Humphrey.
In the May 10 West Virginia Democratic primary he again will test his popularity as a White House prospect against the man who beat him in Wisconsin last Tuesday, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. Kennedy will arrive in the state Monday to begin his campaign. Unlike Wisconsin’s the West Virginia primary will not bind any delegates to the Democratic national convention. But this overwhelmingly Protestant state is expected to furnish a more revealing test than Wisconsin of “the religious issue” which grows out of the fact that Kennedy is a Roman Catholic.
As the bus proceeded slowly to Beckley Humphrey made speeches at only a few stops. Otherwise it was person-to-person campaigning – Humphrey chatting with individuals and small groups personally pinning “It’s Humphrey in 60” buttons on hundreds of persons and shaking hands tirelessly.
Mostly the crowds were small sometimes only a handful but many of the stops were at communities of only a few hundred population. The best crowd along the route turned out to hear Humphrey make a sidewalk speech in Oak Hill. Police estimated there were 600 persons on hand.
At Fayetteville Humphrey spotted a bus loaded with men on their way to work at a metallurgical plant. It was stopped in heavy traffic on the main street. Humphrey stepped aboard and worked his way to the rear of the bus passing out campaign leaflets and shaking hands with every passenger.
In Oak Hill drug store owner G. Steele Callison whom Humphrey addressed as “fellow druggist” introduced Humphrey who is a registered pharmacist and part owner of a drug store. Humphrey paid a visit to Callison’s store. Before the bus left Oak Hill Humphrey also sat down on the curb of the main street to pose for pictures with some children.
At Mount Hope, the next stop, Humphrey was introduced for a speech to a sidewalk crowd by former West Virginia Governor Okey L. Patteson who lives there.
At Marmet a chemical plant worker stepped out of the crowd to tell Humphrey he used to live in Rochester, Minn., and had voted for him there for the Senate.
“Now you’ll get another vote” said the worker Robert New.
Humphrey aides said 5,000 campaign buttons were passed out during the day. Humphrey didn’t do it all himself. Helping him were four girls from a Charleston modeling agency.
An interested spectator following the tour on his own was West Virginia’s 4th District Congressman Rep. Ken Hechler of Huntington.
“I wanted to see a real pro in action” Hechler said. He added that he was going to follow Kennedy the first of the week.
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