Catholic Issue Gains Impetus
April 12, 1960
Catholic Issue Gains Impetus
Crowds greeted Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn) in small Southern West Virginia coal towns Monday while in the background were whispers of his primary opponent, Sen. John Kennedy (D-Mass).
“It’s that religious issue” said one man propped against a car in Oceana in neighboring Wyoming County. He listened with great interest to a Humphrey speech before a lunch hour street crowd.
It was the last day of Humphrey’s campaign swing through West Virginia. He will contest Kennedy in the May 10 primary as to who is the most popular Democrat of the two for president.
The religious angle was injected by a Methodist minister who gave the invocation for an enthusiastic breakfast gathering at Logan Monday. The Rev. L. E. Crowson, speaking aside to newsmen, said that Kennedy’s faith would be a big issue in this state’s Protestant dominated southern section.
On the other hand former Judge R. D. Bailey, 60 year old political veteran of Pineville, noted:
“I ran with Al Smith in ’28 and went down with him. It was bitter then, you could cut it with a knife. I frankly haven’t heard it (religion) talked about much lately.
In random samplings more people said they thought religion would be factor in the preferential primary than those who discounted it.
Humphrey’s campaign continued at its whirlwind pace of the weekend, pegged to the need for more aggressive administration in Washington to deal with such problems as unemployment in West Virginia’s mining areas.
Never did Humphrey mention Kennedy during impromptu speeches at every stop. Humphrey had said Sunday he would denounce “any supporter who raises this religious issue in West Virginia.”
Instead Humphrey loser of the Wisconsin primary to Kennedy struck out at the Eisenhower Administration and what he called its ‘big business’ attitude.
“I realize the president won’t be on the ticket,”Humphrey said Monday at Logan, “but the crown prince will be. Let’s just take the crown off of his head and crown him with it in November.”
He renewed his appeal for President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon and other top Republicans to come to see the effects of chronic unemployment in this state’s coal fields.
Part of the crowd that turned out Monday evening to greet Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport left before the senator arrived.
Spectators lined the fence along the runway several minutes before the presidential aspirant was due to arrive. It had begun to grow dark when an airplane circled the runway and landed.
Four persons climbed from the plan and walked into the airport terminal building. Much of the crowd lining the fence thinking the senator was one of the four persons climbed into their vehicles and left.
The plane was not carrying the senator. It was another on charted by newsmen to get them here ahead of Kennedy.
Frank Albanese of Beckley also thinking the small plane carried the senator started lighting the fuses to the fireworks he had set up the occasion.
Finally Kennedy’s private plane made its approach to the runway and Albanese lit the fuses to the remaining two or three rocket and sky bombs he had set up.
As he made his way to an automobile the senator flashed a broad grin and thanked Albanese for the fireworks display.
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