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Wheeling Intelligencer
April 19, 1960

Kennedy Arrives in City, Claims Humphrey Being ‘Used’ by Sen. Johnson

Senator Slates Whirlwind Tour of Area Today

Says He’s Concerned About Unemployment Problem in State

By James Brennan

Sen. John F. Kennedy flew into Wheeling last night and promptly charged his principal rival in the upcoming West Virginia presidential election is being “used” to secure the Democratic nomination for Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson.

Kennedy said he was “surprised” Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota would “permit himself to be used” in the May10 West Virginia primary as a means of “encouraging the nomination of another candidate, Sen. Johnson”

He did not elaborate on the statement.

The Massachusetts senator who will oppose Humphrey in the stat’s primary in three weeks, held a brief press conference after arriving at the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport at 10:41 p.m.

He added that he was “concerned” about West Virginia’s unemployment problem and that he had voted in the Senate for measures, such as an area economic redevelopment bill and a coal research bill, to help the state in this situation.

In a statement released Sunday, Humphrey rejected reports he was being used by other candidates, announced or otherwise. Similar rumors cropped up two weeks ago in the Wisconsin primary election and have been spread in West Virginia in recent days.

At the same time, West Virginia’s Sen. Robert C. Byrd has stated that if Kennedy wins here he will be practically certain to win the Democratic nomination at the national convention in July.

Yesterday Byrd claimed Kennedy “lacks age and experience to be president in these perilous days and times.” He has said he supports Sen. Johnson, the Senate’s majority leader from Texas.

After holding the press conference, Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, left for the McLure Hotel where they spent the night.

A group of local Democratic leaders was on hand to greet the Kennedys when their Convair touched the ground at the local airport.

The Massachusetts senator will have a week’s jump on Humphrey in the Northern Panhandle stumping-for-the-presidency tour.

Humphrey was reported to be campaigning in the District of Columbia for the May 3 primary where he will be pitted against Sen. Wayne Morse of Oregon. The Minnesota senator is scheduled to come to the Northern Panhandle next Monday for a bus tour.

Sen. Kennedy will be up bright and early this morning to begin his strenuous tour of Wheeling, Bethany, and West Liberty.

The itinerary calls for Kennedy and his wife to leave the McLure at 8:45 a.m. for Bethany College and a faculty reception at 9:30 a.m.

Kennedy will join a convocation at the Bethany chapel at 10 a.m. and leave the college at 10:30 a.m. for his trip to West Liberty State College.

He is scheduled to arrive at WLS at 10:45 a.m. for a greeting by the students and faculty, then leave a half hour later for the trip back to Wheeling. He is slated for a television interview at noon.

From 12:30 p.m. until about 1:45 p.m. when he leaves for a tour of the Sylvania Electric Co. plant in South Wheeling, Kennedy will have a lunch and work on a speech for a reception tonight.

Democratic hopeful is scheduled to begin his tour at Sylvania at 2 p.m., then meet and talk to workers at the Hazel-Atlas plant at 3 p.m.

Although nothing definite has been planned yet, Kennedy may appear on the streets in downtown Wheeling to greet and talk to persons he meets from about 3:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.

A press conference has been scheduled for 5 p.m. at the McLure.

A public reception will be held in the Colonnade Room at the hotel from 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

At Morgantown last night Kennedy accused Humphrey of turning their popularity contest in the primary into “a mean fight.”

He referred to cha[r]ges by Humphrey campaign staff members that Kennedy supporters were trying to create the impression that those opposing Kennedy in West Virginia are intolerant or unfair.

During the opening day of a three-day campaign tour in both northern and southern West Virginia, Kennedy expressed confidence of victory but said “this is a very tough fight for me.”

At Fairmont, he made a frequent reference during a speech to the issue of his religion – he’s a Roman Catholic – and said he did not think West Virginia Democrats would doom him to defeat on the basis of what happened 42 years ago when he was born a Catholic.

Later he told newsmen he decided to bring the religion issue “into the open because it’s obviously here underneath.” West Virginia’s almost 2,000,000 population is about 95 per cent Protestant.

“Quite obviously it is hanging in everyone’s minds,” Kennedy told newsmen on a bus between his hand shaking stops. “I don’t think it’s a majority thing but I do think it is of concern to many persons so I should give my views.”

Kennedy said he is running in West Virginia “against everybody who doesn’t want me for president for one reason or another.”


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