Humphrey Hits ‘Rich’ Kennedy
April 27, 1960
Humphrey Hits ‘Rich’ Kennedy
Charles Town, W. Va. (AP) Is Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts too rich to be President?
Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota has made the question a major weapon in his West Virginia fight with Kennedy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“I can’t afford to buy an election,” he said in a speech yesterday, “and if I could I wouldn’t.”
Humphrey hammered on this theme during a two-day, 400-mile bus tour of this hill country.
Winding up the trip in Charles Town last night, Humphrey returned to Washington by automobile. He is due back in West Virginia tomorrow for another three-day grind of speech-making and hand-shaking, leading up to the primary.
Although rated by many West Virginia professionals as a favorite in this state, Humphrey lost in Wisconsin to Kennedy and would be regarded as practically finished if the same story unfolds in West Virginia.
Until yesterday, Humphrey had saved his heavy artillery for blast at the Republican Administration.
But at Kingwood, about 10 miles from the Pennsylvania line, he really began exploring the Kennedy-is-too-rich-and-I’m-poor-like-you theme.
“My opponent is well-to-do, well supported and well organized,” he shouted from the courthouse steps.
At Keyser, heading through orchard country toward Maryland, he recalled his earlier days as a druggist and said he knows “what it means to compete against bigness” in business as well as in politics.
“I can’t afford to run through this state with a little black bag and a checkbook,” he added.
“If only the wealthy can run, if politics has reached the place where only the rich and the pets of the political bosses can run, then God bless America.”
The Minnesota senator hit the boiling point later when a reporter asked him to comment on rumors that Teamster boss James Hoffa was throwing a bundle of cash to his support.
“I’m getting sick and tired of some of this stuff,” he shook his head. He complained that Kennedy had accused him “of stealing votes, taking money from Symington, Johnson and Jimmy Hoffa, and I’m just supposed to sit and take it.”
But if he criticized Kennedy, “I’m supposed to be a bigot,” Humphrey fumed.
Humphrey repeated earlier denials that he and supporters of senators Stuart Symington (D-Mo) and Lyndon Johnson (D-Tex) were “ganging up” on the front-running Kennedy.
“The gang-up in this election is the gang-up of wealth of the political bosses,” he declared.
Bluefield (AP) – Hardly had Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) wiped the coal dust from his face after probing a West Virginia mine than he said he would interrupt his campaigning today to fly back to Washington to vote on a mine safety bill.
The Senate is considering a measure that would extend the “police powers” of the U. S. Bureau of Mines to workings of less than 15 men.
Republican critics have scored Kennedy in West Virginia, saying he could do more good at his desk in Washington for the state’s problems than talking about them here.
Kennedy arrived in Bluefield, a business center for the southern West Virginia coal fields, last night after two days of touring mining camps and towns.
He spoke at Bluefield State College this morning, then moved northeast for a change of scenery – out of the rugged coal region, into the lush Greenbrier Valley along the Virginia border.
But his tour was to break off sometime after a noon appearance in Hinton, a railroad center. Kennedy planned to fly then to Washington and turn the handshaking for the time being, over to his brother Ted.
Kennedy is entered in West Virginia’s May 10 “popularity” primary against Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn). They are seeking the Democratic nomination for president.
This was Kennedy’s last day in the state campaigning until the weekend. He plans to fly back from Washington after the Senate vote for an eastern panhandle rally tonight at Charles Town, then leave again.
Saying behind in Bluefield to meet more people was Kennedy’s wife, Jackie, who had an afternoon appearance scheduled on local television.
On Tuesday at Mullens hundreds of persons lined the main street to get a look at Kennedy and his campaign partner, Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr.
And an estimated 1,000 stood in the sun-drenched courthouse lawn to hear Kennedy label the Republicans a do-nothing party.
It was by far the best reception the tanned Kennedy has received on his current three-day swing through the state.
No one could tell whether the turnout was a compliment to Kennedy, or FDR Jr., or Dr. Ward Wylie, a Mullens physician and state senator who is conducting Kennedy’s state-wide campaign.
One youngster carrier [sic] a sign which said:
“Hello, FDR Jr. We voted for your Pop. We Like Jack.”
The fellow was a bit young to have voted for Pop. But former President Roosevelt’s name is still legend in these parts.
Kennedy continued the theme he has stuck to for the last two day of his campaigning: the Eisenhower administration has neglected the needed areas, such as the economically hit coal mining areas in this section of the state.
At Pineville (pop. 3,400) a crowd of about 600 greeted his caravan of 8 to 10 cars.
There he was introduced by young Roosevelt as “the only man who can lick Dick Nixon, the Republican bosses’ handpicked candidate.”
Roosevelt sized up the West Virginia presidential primary race as a contest between two outstanding Democrats, one of whom cannot be nominated even if West Virginia votes for him. His initials are H. H.”
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