Newspaper Articles

Huntington Herald-Dispatch
April 21, 1960

Kennedy Cuts Speech Before Tiring Crowd

By Harry Flesher

A crowd estimated at between 750 and 1,000 filled the ballroom at the Hotel Prichard last night to hear and see Senator John F. Kennedy, candidate in the Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia on May 10.

Senator Kennedy, who had released for publication a seven-point program for West Virginia economic revival which he would have included in a lengthy address, did not use that speech. He said he knew the crowd had been standing for a long time and that he wanted more to meet the people than to speak.

He spoke briefly, stressing three points:

First, as he said here last week, the primary is a democratic institution, and should be used to prevent a few men from selecting the presidential nominee. By implication, he denounced any move to pile up votes for his rival, Senator Hubert Humphrey, as a "stop Kennedy" tactic.

Second, as a Catholic, he has never violated his oath as a Navy officer, congressman and senator to preserve and defend the U. S. Constitution, which specifically separates church and state. He would not violate the oath as president.

Third, that Republican gubernatorial candidate Harold Neely, in deploring the presidential primary contest, is forgetting that any candidate for president is entitled to, and should, "expose the fact that West Virginia, which has the highest proportionate unemployment in the nation, has the smallest amount of defense contracts among the 50 states."

Kennedy Visits Coal Fields

Value Of Trip Questionable

MONTGOMERY, W. Va. (AP) - Roman Catholic Senator John Kennedy (D-Mass) made his first campaign tour Wednesday into the overwhelmingly protestant southern coal mining section of West Virginia.

The vote-getting value of the foray was questionable because, to a great extent, the audiences still will be too young to vote for Kennedy or anybody else in the May 10 primary election. Kennedy and Sen. Humphrey (D-Minn) will be on the ballot then as rival candidates for the Democratic nomination for president.

Fayetteville, Kennedy's third stop Wednesday, was about the only place a direct comparison could be made between his crowd and Humphrey's. The gathering which heard Kennedy speak from the courthouse steps was considerably smaller than the crowd Humphrey drew at the same location. The opinions of people along the Kennedy route were by no means unanimous as to the effect of religion upon voting in the area.

One prominent citizen of Montgomery said he did not think it would matter much in that immediate vicinity and he though Kennedy had a chance to beat Humphrey there. But another man in the same town said, "I don't think he'll make it here, by at least one third." He said he thought religion would be the reason.

At Mount Hope, a high school girl who heard Kennedy make a short speech on the main business street said, "They're making an issue out of religion." A woman in the same crowd who said she was a Catholic, remarked, "I wouldn't want to be in his shoes."

At Gauley Bridge, former Fayette County Sheriff Clyde Reinhart said he didn't think the Kennedy people should give up on Fayette County because of the religious issue.

"I know a lot of people here who are protestants and who are going to vote for Kennedy. I'm going to vote for him," he said. Reinhart is a protestant and a Mason.

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