Hubert Punches Back
At Jack and Whole Family
May 1, 1960
Hubert Punches Back
At Jack and Whole Family
Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn) Saturday slapped back at Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass), saying he was pushing the panic button in making personal attacks on Humphrey.
“It has always seemed rather amusing to me,” Humphrey told a sidewalk crowd in the lumber town of Richwood, “to see Jack (Kennedy) publicly challenge other candidates to enter the primaries, and then when someone does enter, he complains there is a conspiracy to stop him and deny him the nomination.
“Politics is a serious business, not a boy’s game where you can pick up your ball and run home if things don’t go according to your idea of who should win.”
Kennedy Friday night accused Humphrey of having “distorted my record, attacked my integrity, and played fast and loose with smears and innuendoes.”
It was his strongest statement about Humphrey since the two began campaigning for the significant May 10 West Virginia presidential primary.
No Republican presidential hopefuls are entered. No write[-]ins are permitted. And the state’s 25 delegates to the Democratic national convention in July are not obligated to the winner.
Humphrey took a somewhat different tack, bringing in the whole Kennedy family, in coming back at this argument in a speech for a right rally at Fayetteville, about 50 miles southeast of Charleston.
“It seems to be the new Kennedy family line that I should be ruled out now because they don’t think I have a chance,” he said.
“I don’t seem to recall anybody giving the Kennedy family—father, mother, sons, or daughters—the privilege of deciding who should or shouldn’t be our party’s nominee.”
He wound up sarcastically by suggesting that the Democratic National Convention “might want to say something about that.”
Humphrey inserted a veiled warning to Robert Kennedy, the senator’s brother who has come to Charleston to take personal charge of the Kennedy campaign.
Friday night Robert compared Humphrey’s campaign tactics with those of the late Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis).
“I’d suggest,” Humphrey told a reporter, “that brother Bobby examine his own conscience about innuendoes and smears. If he has trouble knowing what I mean, I can refresh his memory very easily. It is a subject he should not want opened.”
Asked to elaborate, Humphrey replied firmly, “no sir.”
With the campaign focusing more and more public attention on West Virginia and the economic plight in some of its areas, Gov. Cecil H. Underwood, a Republican, was becoming increasingly more short-tempered.
He said he and the nearly two million residents of the state strongly resented the way both Kennedy and Humphrey were using West Virginia as a political arena and holding up the state to ridicule.
But Kennedy and Humphrey aren’t listening. The way they’re campaigning now, going into the home stretch, just about everything—and everybody—is fair game. Especially Republicans.
Jab Hints Governor Doesn’t Know State
By James A. Haught
Sen. John F. Kennedy went into a crucial round of his state championship match here Saturday with injuries from the fight, but he answered the bell and came out handshaking.
Barely about to talk because of a sore throat, the Massachusetts Presidential aspirant nonetheless went through his full day’s schedule—and managed to take a jab at Gov. Underwood in the process.
At Marmet, he told an outdoor gathering of 500:
“I’m getting to know your state better than your Governor does.
“He has issued several statements lately about how wonderful everything is here. It would do him good to make a detailed tour of the counties I have covered.”
He added that the Republican Governor and Republican national administration “have neglected West Virginia,” and said:
“After my month here, I now know something about West Virginia I didn’t know before. And I can promise you that, whether I am in the Senate or in the President’s office, the problems of this state will be on the front desk of the next President.”
Kennedy also said:
“If we win here in West Virginia, it could mean the nomination.”
During much of the day, however, Kennedy let his aides to most of the talking and limited himself to shaking hands among the crowds.
He began the day with a rally at Madison, before a crowd of about 200 on the Boone County Courthouse lawn.
Next, he visited the mining community of Eskdale on Cabin Creek, in the heart of chronic unemployment area. Amid drab closed stores and empty houses, Kennedy and his aides greeted a small gathering before a Quonset hut-type general store.
Across the road was a mine which has been shut down since March. Residents said a “No Work” sign was posted at the mine office until Saturday, but was taken down before the Kennedy party arrived.
A 340-pound Kennedy supporter, Matt Reese of Huntington, did most of the speaking at Eskdale. He discussed the Democratic senator’s war record, called him a hero, and pointed out that “he’s the only veteran running.”
Then he said:
“His opponent has admitted that the best he hopes for is 200 delegates to the national convention so he can help write the ticket. Hubert Humphrey cannot be elected.
“Don’t waste your vote on a man who can’t be elected. Humphrey merely is holding the front for others who are afraid to come into West Virginia, or who don’t want to.”
Charleston lawyer John Lane also addressed the Eskdale gathering, calling for his listeners not to be prejudiced by Kennedy’s Catholicism or his wealth.
“Let’s show that we in West Virginia have progressed in the years since bigotry and ignorance defeated Al Smith,” Lane said.
Ted Sorenson, Kennedy’s administrative assistant, took over the duty of serving as the candidate’s voice at a series of night appearances in the Charleston area. Kennedy himself again spoke only briefly at each stop.
He appeared before the Kanawha Valley Unitarian Fellowship in North Charleston and before overflow crowds in the City Hall Auditorium at Nitro and the junior high school at St. Albans.
Kennedy was joined on the platform at St. Albans by his wife, Jacqueline, who told the audience, “I’ve been giving my husband an awful lot of gargles and pills.”
Kennedy’s prepared speech was read for him by Sorenson at St. Albans. In it, Kennedy attacked what he viewed as the Eisenhower Administration’s failure to give proper attention to the problems of older citizens. He said:
“And nowhere has this Administration failure had greater impact than in West Virginia. You have approximately 164,000 citizens over the age of 65. More than 70,000 of them have an average annual income of less than $1,500—71,000 more manage a bare subsistence living on federal Social Security benefits averaging $829 a year—and 20,000 must attempt to survive on an average income of under $400.
“These incomes are a meager, pitiful reward for the richest country on Earth to offer to those who have contributed a lifetime of productive labor to that country’s strength.”
Kennedy proposed higher Social Security benefits, “a sound and effective program of health insurance for those over 65,” higher lump sum payments to surviving spouses, and an increase in the amount older persons may earn and still be eligible for social security benefits.
Ramps And Trout Share Campaigners' Attention
By Richard E. Boyd
Ramps And Trout Share Campaigners' Attention
By Richard E. Boyd
RICHWOOD, W. Va. (AP) - Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey and Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. ran into each other Saturday while campaigning in this small town in the south-central part of the state.
Humphrey was pushing his own candidacy for the May 10 Democratic presidential primary. Roosevelt was out using his name and talents for Humphrey's opponent, Sen. John F. Kennedy.
Humphrey was entering the Richwood Grade School, Roosevelt was going out.
FDR Jr. made a bow, threw open his arms, said "Good afternoon, Senator," then asked how everything was coming along.
"Wonderfully, wonderfully," Humphrey answered - which ended the conversation.
The opposing campaign sound trucks, parked near one another out on the street, engaged in a few exchanges meanwhile.
Marvin Crouch of Cabin Creek, the Humphrey driver, blasted out that "Roosevelt has been in here once, and now it's our turn."
Then he threw in, "Humphrey is the closest man to FDR there is. I mean senior. Not your man."
Humphrey himself both watched some fishing and ate some of the area's formidable ramps while in the Richwood area.
After turning up at Summit Lake, seven miles out for the opening of the state trout season, he came on in for a meal dedicated to the greater glory of the spring onion-like plant that smells notoriously in its natural state, and even more notoriously on the breath.
After taking his first mouthful somewhat dubiously, Humphrey pronounced the ramp "fine." Then, having made his concession to local pride, he added, "But I don't think it's as necessary as water."
Roosevelt likewise turned up at the annual Ramp Festival, but the times were different there, and the two men didn't see each other again.
At the lake, Humphrey didn't catch any fish - he couldn't get a license. But he got in his licks as a campaigner.
About 4,000 fishermen surrounded the 43-acre lake at the 6 a. m. opening hour. At mid-day, it had gotten a little breezy, and some of the crowd had left. But there were still nearly 500 cars, trucks, trailers and other vehicles in the parking lot, and other hundreds of other cars on side roads around the area.
Humphrey, wearing a gray, suede jacket and jaunty, woven straw cap, stepped off for a leisurely trip around the water.
Bewhiskered Bus Johnson of Charleston, an instrument mechanic at a chemical plant, wanted to know something of the senator's opinions. Humphrey took time to give him a one-man run-down on defense, foreign aid, and other issues.
"West Virginia," he said, "has the smallest percentage of these defense installations of any state in the union. He said in California these amount to $500 a person, in West Virginia, $14.
"If California had a $14 per person expenditure for this purpose, it would be in just as serious trouble as this state," he said.
Unable to find a warden to pay $6 for a non-resident license fee, Humphrey was told it would be cheaper to go ahead and fish and to pay the fine than to buy the license.
"Yes, but it wouldn't be legal," he said.
He climbed down the rocks of the impoundment to greet other fishermen. He also was photographed holding fishing lines with young Bill Webb, 11, and his brother Paul, 8, who between them had caught seven fine rainbows. The Webbs are sons of Hurston Webb, a power company employe at Marmet.
In a speech off the cuff after his tour of the lake, Humphrey said, "With the help of the government, there isn't any reason why you folks couldn't have 200. 300 or even 500 more such lakes."
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