Newspaper Articles

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
April 12, 1960

Humphrey Infers He would Try To Stay In Senate, Rather Than Be VP

Importance of State Race Cited

By Stubby Currence

Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, bringing his campaign for president into the deep part of Southern West Virginia, arrived in Bluefield by chartered bus about 6 p.m. Monday. He was greeted by about 30 or 40 people, many of them candidates, and later had dinner with the group.

While here, the man who is contesting with Senator John Kennedy in West Virginia's primary election on May 10 was asked if he would accept his party's nod for vice president in the event that he is unsuccessful in his bid for the top spot on the Democrat ticket.

"I think probably that I should return to Minnesota and try to get re-elected to my Senate seat, in the event I lose this race." Humphrey explained.

"I certainly do not want anything I say to be construed to mean that it would not be a great honor to be vice president," he added.

This One Is Important

Humphrey rather freely expresses the opinion that if Senator Kennedy defeats him in West Virginia, then Kennedy "certainly would have the inside track on getting the presidential nomination at the National convention."

Asked who he would rather see nominated in the event he fails to make it, Humphrey was noncommittal. "I wouldn't want to say right now," the Minnesota Senator declared. "All of the candidates are fine men, all would make good presidents...Symington, Johnson, Stevenson and Kennedy."

The Minnesota Democrat commented on a published report in a national magazine, referred to by the publication as "a little publicized appearance by Humphrey before the Capital Press club, a Negro organization in Washington." He was asked if he would consider appointing a Negro to his cabinet, if he were elected.

Would Appoint Negro

"If he were qualified, yes sir," he answered, and explained that there are some great leaders among the Negro race.

"I would appoint persons to all posts on the basis of their qualifications and ability, without regard to race, color or creed."

Senator Humphrey also bumped into the racial issue while in Bluefield. Negro students from Bluefield State college picketed the West Virginian while Humphrey was there. They protested the refusal of the hotel to lodge or serve food to Negroes.

One of the signs they carried asked, "Humphrey, what's your platform?" The Minnesotan observed to listeners, "to question my stand on civil rights would be like questioning an arithmetic teacher on addition."

"Had we known that the hotel does not accomodate [sic] Negroes," he explained, "we wouldn't have come to the meeting."

As he left the hotel, Humphrey paused near some of the pickets. "Hello, boys," he said. The negroes did not return the greeting.

Criticizes Administration

Humphrey said that he believed the same thing could help West Virginia's economical situation that could help the rest of the country. "The small business administration should help the small business man by loaning money for the so-called smaller projects."

The Minnesotan declared that one of the big needs now is a more aggressive administration in Washington to deal with such problems as unemployment.

Oasis In Industrial Area

He also explained that West Virginia, to him, looks like an oasis in a wide area of industry. "It is near such larger areas as New York, Pennsylvania and other metropolitan sections of the country. The state should be developed into one of the greatest tourist and recreation sections in the United States.

"Too, it has all the natural resources it needs. It is shameful to waste the opportunities presented by your rich coal deposits. The government should have a research commission to explore the possibilities of developing further uses for coal."

Humphrey also bemoaned what he called "the terrible pollution of your streams in West Virginia. Something should be done about that immediately."

"Poor Little Jack!"

Humphrey, asked by a newsman about rapidly spreading reports of "ganging up" on Kennedy by the other candidates, denied it.

He sarcastically commented, "Poor little Jack. That's a shame. And you can quote me on that."

In denying that Kennedy was being "ganged up" on by the other candidates, the Minnesotan snapped, "I wish he would grow up and stop acting like a boy."

Pretty Gals For Window Dressing

The Humphrey party, including press agents, managers and a bevy of pretty models who were along to pass out Humphrey badges and campaign literature, left Charleston at dawn Monday and made numerous stops on its journey through the Southern coal fields, in Logan, Wyoming and McDowell Counties.

While Humphrey never mentioned it, all along the route there were whispers in the background about the Catholic faith of his primary opponent, Senator Kennedy.

The religious angle was injected early in the day at Logan, where a Methodist minister gave the invocation for a breakfast gathering. The Rev. L. E. Crowson told newsmen there that Kennedy's faith would be a big issue in this state's Protestant-dominated Southern section.

On the other hand, Judge R. D. Bailey, veteran Wyoming County politico, later in the day noted:

"I ran with Al Smith in '28 and went down with him. The religious issue was so bitter then you could cut it with a knife. Frankly, though, I haven't heard religion talked about much lately."

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