Newspaper Articles


Charleston Gazette
May 4, 1960

Two Candidates Debate Tonight

At 7:20 this evening a coin will be tossed into the air while Sen. John F. Kennedy and Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey stand by watching.

On the way the toss does will depend which of the two men gets to make his points first in their big face-to-face hour-long debate, to start 10 minutes later.

The winner will have five minutes for his opening statement, after which the turn of the loser will come. Then each will be given the same amount of time to rebut the other as best he can.

People all over the United States will be listening. The Mutual Broadcasting Co is carrying the program in its entirely. In West Virginia and in some other places, Kennedy and Humphrey will be seen as well as heard.

The Westinghouse chain of television stations will join five of those in West Virginia in a hook-up. That will provide outlets in San Francisco (KPIX), Boston (WBZ), Washington (WTOP), Cleveland (KYM) and Pittsburgh (KDKA).

T. W. Woodward, vice president of the Westinghouse network, said in a telegram to The Gazette:

“We expect this program to be an outstanding public service effort and we certainly thank The Charleston Gazette and WCHS-TV for the opportunity of carrying it.”

In addition, station WNEW-TV in New York and the radio station of the New York Times also announced Tuesday that they will carry the program.

The Canadian Broadcasting Co. will use a tape to run the program on its television stations later.

On the most immediate interest to the senators will be their saturation of West Virginia because of the primary in which they are running against each other for the Democratic presidential nomination coming up next Tuesday. Besides WCHS-TV, in whose studios the debate will be held, WHIS at Bluefield, WBOY at Clarksburg, WTAP at Parkersburg and WTRF at Wheeling are carrying the program.

After the opening statements and rebuttals, which will take up 20 minutes, the question and answer phase will begin and will continue through the remainder of the house.

The Charleston Gazette, an independently Democratic newspaper, has chosen the questions from among those received from its readers. They will be asked by W. E. Chilton III, assistant to the publisher of The Gazette, and Charles Schussler of WTRF. News Director Bill Ames of WCHS is doing the moderating.

Whichever candidate answer will have a maximum of two minutes. Then the other, if he wishes, can have the same time to give his side.

At 8:30 p. m. it will all be over.

Never before have Kennedy and Humphrey met head-on like this. Tow work out the arrangements for this first meeting took days of negotiations. Each candidate’s camp claimed the other was setting impossible terms, and otherwise making difficulties. Finally, last weekend, the time and place were agreed upon; the remaining details were taken care of since.

As late as Monday, Humphrey was indicating that he was not as happy as he could be with the form the program will take. He called it a “tame” version of what might have been. His preference, he said, would have been for a debate in an auditorium, with fewer restrictions on how the questions were asked and answered.


Jack Happy Fate Is Here

By Don Marsh
Staff Writer

Welch – Sen. John Kennedy told an audience that overflowed the McDowell Circuit courtroom Tuesday night that “I am delighted to submit my political fate to the people of West Virginia.”

The Massachusetts Democrat, resuming his campaign for the presidential nomination after a two-day break, still nursed the sore throat that has hampered him for nearly a week. He spoke only 10 minutes.

In his brief address, Kennedy emphasized that he was glad he entered the West Virginia primary because it gave him an opportunity to see the plight of men who have lost work because of automation.

“This is the best school, the hardest school, and in many ways the most somber school of learning about this problem,” he said. “I wish that every Democratic candidate was here in West Virginia.”

The senator said automation was becoming more important in every industry and predicted that displaced workers would be a key problem facing the next President.

Despite his throat, he spoke in a firm voice, “I have been in Welch three times,” he said at one point. “I’m the only presidential candidate who can make that statement.”

Ted Kennedy, again lending a helping voice to his big brother, also made a brief speech.

“We recognize that West Virginia is going to be the key state. We recognize that the next seven days are going to be the crucial battle,” he declared. “If we’re successful here, we’re going to be successful in July and November.”

The green and white courtroom was filled well before the senator made an appearance at 7:40 p. m. Leonard Bolt, chief McDowell County field deputy, estimated there were 700 in the audience and another 300 listening to a public address system outside.

Sen. Kennedy was introduced by Sidney L. Christie, secretary of the county executive committee, and a man also regarded often as the most important political figure here.

Christie said the senator was “truly the man of the hour.”

“I have told him that his candidacy would be judged on its merits—not on bigotry and intolerance,” Christy [sic] said.

Sen. Kennedy arrived at the Bluefield-Princeton airport from Washington on his private plane. He will resume his campaign with appearances in Mercer, Summers and Greenbrier counties today.


Bigotry Easy to Find in W. Va., Claims Out-of-State Reporter

'You Won't Have To Search Far'

By Arthur Edson

PINCH - AP - If it's religious bigotry you're hunting, you won't have to search far.

You can leave Charleston, drive along the pretty Elk River, and cross over to Pinch. It's a lovely place, and it's easy to fall into a conversation with a kindly retired industrial worker. Soon the talk drifts to the presidential primary race May 10 between Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) and Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn). And how did he expect to vote?

"Well, I'll tell you," he said, "It won't be for no Cannady, I say no man can pray another man into heaven."

Freely translated, this means that Kennedy is a Roman Catholic, and this is one vote he won't get.

Another Pinch man put it this way: "Right smart of them around here are for Humphrey."

It's easy to make too much of this. West Virginia has no patent on intolerance. To paraphrase Will Rogers, we're all prejudiced, only in different directions.

If you drive southeast, along the Kanawha River, and turn left at Port Amherst, you'll find Fisher's pool room, and a hotbed of tolerance.

Willie Fisher pushes a beer across the counter and says: "I'm a Protestant myself. Usually go to church Sunday, but last week I didn't feel so good. I listened to the radio, and here was this preacher saying how now [sic] one should vote for Kennedy because he's a Catholic.

"Soon as he finished I called him up and told him I figger a man had a right to belong to any church he chooses. I though he had damn little to do to stand in that pulpit and criticize Kennedy. He said, 'I don't have any more time to talk to you.'"

Lewis Walton, a handyman in a machine shop, is another Kennedy supporter.

"But I went to the doctor in town today," Walton said, "and do you know what he told me? 'Lord have mercy on the American people if he gets in.'"

Or let's go to Kingwood, in the northeast corner of the state. Here James Messenger, a coal miner, explains that last year he made exactly $127 in the mines and even with odd jobs never made enough to pay income tax.

"First time it's ever happened to me," he said. "Something's got to happen."

He hopes that something is Humphrey, a man he rates as the poor man's friend.

Yet the economic picture isn't clear-cut either. If West Virginia has its desolate areas, it also has some of the most prosperous scenes in the world.

It's this that makes West Virginia's primary so interesting - and confusing.

For out of these contrasts a small bit of U.S. political history will be written.

A defeat for Humphrey undoubtedly would mean the bitter end of his presidential hopes.

A defeat for Kennedy especially a decisive one, would take the bloom off what has been a succession of triumphs - and renew the whispers that no Catholic can win the presidency.


Humphrey Draws 10,000 in Cabell

Free Rides For All

By Richard K. Boyd

HUNTINGTON - AP - Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota hit the jackpot of all crowds in his West Virginia campaign Tuesday night.

The attraction was free rides at an amusement park. Robert Burley, park manager, estimated the gathering at nearly 10,000.

Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass), contesting with Humphrey in a Democratic presidential popularity match in the May 10 primary, had his largest crowd, an estimated 4,000, in Parkersburg Sunday.

The attraction there was an ox roast.

While Humphrey scrounged for votes with indifferent results in Huntington industrial plants during the way, Kennedy visited the southern coal fields.

At the amusement park here, Humphrey mingled in the crowd, took a ride on a miniature train seated beside Jill Corey, a pretty high school majorette, then spoke from the roof of an ice cream stand.

Speaking above the confusion of the crowd, he recognized that most of them were children.

He also urged in his eight-minute speech changes of administrations in Charleston and Washington, to "stop the erosion of power and prestige of this nation." Nationally, he said, "we have an administration that has neglected the people."

Both Kennedy and Humphrey have focused national attention on the state's economic and social problems.

William A. Beckett, Huntington attorney, said he arranged the free rides at the park "for a client," whom he declined to identify.

Humphrey has emphasized that his is a "shoestring" campaign against the wealth of the Kennedy forces.

Pressed to estimate the cost of arranging for the park, Beckett said only, "we got the tickets wholesale. The cost wasn't as much as you [t]hink."


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