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Logan Banner
April 30, 1960

Sen. Humphrey takes Off Gloves, Hits Back at Kennedy Accusation

The kid gloves came off last night in West Virginia’s presidential primary election campaign as Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota focused the national spotlight on Logan County by swinging a haymaker at his opponent, Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

The unexpected blow was landed by Sen. Humphrey during a radio interview last night with Banner Editor Charlie Hylton over station WLOG.

Sen. Humphrey apparently perturbed over a personal attack by his opponent said, “I don’t know what he, Kennedy wants except that I endorse him, and I’m not going to do that.”

“I think that what’s happening is that for the first time my opponent is finding the going a little rough, like he’s peeved, like he’s not capable of taking competition in a political campaign.”

“We’re both grown men, and let’s act that way.”

“When all this is over I would like to be able to support a Democratic nominee,. A few more statements like that, and I’ll not be able to do it.”

Sen. Humphrey’s remarks were in rebuttal to the first personal attack of the campaign which was made yesterday by Sen. Kennedy.

Kennedy accused Humphrey of having “distorted my record, attacked my integrity and played fast and loose with smears and innuendoes.”

The two are turning into the home stretch of the crucial May 10 West Virginia primary. Each said at the start that if he couldn’t win in West Virginia, he couldn’t expect a strong showing at the Democratic National Convention next July.

Humphrey’ initial reaction t Kennedy’s blast was one of humor.

“Keep your shirt on, Jack,” he teased. “maintain a sense of humor and don’t expect to win them all.”

And at the courthouse, when first informed of Kennedy’s attack by Dick Boyd, Huntington correspondent for the Associated Press who accompanied Humphrey here yesterday, Humphrey spread his hands in amazement and said:

“What brought that on? What have I said about him? I haven’t mentioned his name twice all day. I don’t see what reason he had to say a thing like that.”

Kennedy’s blast was in a statement issued by his brother, Robert Kennedy, who has taken personal charge of the senator’s Charleston headquarters.

The statement added:

“I do not intend to reply in kind because no Democrat is ever going to win in 1960 by imitating Vice President Richard Nixon.”

“But I do not intend to take this kind of abuse indefinitely, because there is one fact about Hubert Humphrey that every on agrees on – every politician, every Washington correspondent, every Gallup poll and all the rest – and that is the single fact that Hubert Humphrey cannot be nominated.”

“He cannot win the nomination - he cannot win the election – he cannot be elected President of the United States….”

Sen. Humphrey leveled his attack at Courthouse Square on the Republican administration of West Virginia and the Republican party in general, blaming the state’s “poverty” on what he described as the Republican slogan of “No, No, Go Slow, Not Now, Veto.”

The senator also took a swing at Governor Underwood by stating: “There is nothing wrong with Charleston that a change in the statehouse wouldn’t fix.” He said: “Governor Underwood has been touching me up so I’ll just touch him up a little. In fact I’ll just touch up the Republicans in general.”

His attack on the Eisenhower administration was centered on what he termed an insufficient allowance of surplus commodities for the unemployed of the state. He hammered away at the issue and drew loud applause from the crowd of some 600 list(e)ners. He compared West Virginia’s plight to that of Minnesota and other states during difficult days and said “all are victims of the Republican farm program.”

Sen. Humphrey was accompanied on his second swing into Logan County by his wife Muriel who spoke briefly before the gathering at courthouse square and accepted an orchid from Miss Mary Ann Stultz of Justice Addition, a sophomore at Logan High School.


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