Newspaper Articles

Charleston Daily Mail
April 19, 1960

Change of Tactics

Angry Sen. Kennedy Brings Up Religion

By Herb Little

Wheeling (AP) - An angry Sen. John F. Kennedy has brought up the religious issue himself in his West Virginia campaign and has lashed out at his chief rival.

In an abrupt change of tactics, the Massachusetts Democrat discussed on the stump yesterday the matter of his Roman Catholic faith.

He also assailed his only designated opponent in this state's primary, Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota, as an instrument of others who oppose Kennedy.

Kennedy flatly declared that Humphrey could not get the Democratic presidential nomination.

Kennedy said Humphrey is a "man who could not be nominated . . . a man who could not carry a state right next to his own . . . and who is now being used to stop Kennedy."

To applauding crowds on this swing to gain support for the May 10 primary vote, Kennedy struck out at Humphrey directly for the first time.

On the religious matter, he said 'we might as well settle this issue right here in West Virginia."

'My Business'

"One of the issues in this campaign is my religion," he told a crowd in Fairmont, adding "I don't think that my religion is any one's business but my business.

"Is anyone," he asked, "going to tell me that I lost this primary the day that I was born and baptized 42 years ago? I don't believe it."

Kennedy eased up on his travel today, scheduling a day of appearances in and around this steel-producing city of 60,000.

Today's plant tours included no steel mills, although that is the main industry in Wheeling. Kennedy was to visit the Sylvania electrical manufacturing plant and the Hazel-Atlas glass plant.

Kennedy's arrival in Wheeling brought him to a section where, compared with this overwhelming protestant state as a whole, a large segment of the population shares his Roman Catholic religion.

Catholics account for 30 per cent of the population of Ohio County (Wheeling and vicinity) and 48 per cent of the church members. These figures compare with percentages of 5 and 15 for the state's overall.

After speaking at a reception here tonight, Kennedy will fly to Beckley. He will wind up this week's three-day campaign swing with appearances tomorrow in about a dozen places in the southern part of the state.

He arrived in Wheeling late last night after appearances in Clarksburg, Fairmont and Morgantown. At a reception in a hotel ballroom at Morgantown last night, Kennedy drew what was probably the largest indoor crowd so far in his West Virginia campaign. Local officials estimated that there were between 1,000 to 1,500 persons on hand.

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