Kennedy, Humphrey Attack Ike, Nixon on TV Debate
Both Senators Avoid Clashing
By Thomas F. Stafford
May 5, 1960
Kennedy, Humphrey Attack Ike, Nixon on TV Debate
Both Senators Avoid Clashing
By Thomas F. Stafford
Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy threw away their brass knuckles here Wednesday night when they faced each other on TV camera, and discussed the nation’s gravest issues with senatorial dignity.
After weeks of sniping attacks, both in Wisconsin and West Virginia, the two hopefuls in this state’s popularity primary changed character. Their appearance was on WCHS-TV, with The Gazette serving as co-sponsor in the mountain style Lincoln-Douglas debate.
Humphrey dropped his role momentarily to indignantly insist that if he wins in the West Virginia primary next Tuesday he will be a serious threat in the Democratic presidential race.
He thus took issue with the Kennedy thesis that only he among the Democrats seeking the presidency currently has any chance of winning the nomination.
Otherwise, the attacks were altogether aimed at President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon and the Republican Party in general. They weren’t represented at the debate.
The local appearance of Humphrey and Kennedy was broadcast and televised nationally as well as statewide. Likewise, it attracted a battery of newspaper notables who are in West Virginia covering the primary.
The most exceptional thing about the debate was the lack of debate. On almost every subject the two senators either agreed or were polite in their very mild differences. This, of course, could have been due in part to the questions sent in by the West Virginia citizens.
Among the more remarkable exceptions was this one: Humphrey said he favors raising income tax exemptions from $600 to $800, while Kennedy said he believes that the federal government has so many costly problems facing it that he doesn’t favor any income tax reductions now.
The only exciting part of the meeting of the candidates came near the end of the hour-long show, when Humphrey was asked if he thinks he has a chance for the Democratic nomination. His reply was:
“I most certainly do think I have a chance. No Democrat has this nomination tied up.”
He also used the debate platform to say the other candidates aren’t ganging up on Kennedy. Here’s how it happened:
Kennedy said, “Those who are supporting other candidates have uniformly supported the candidacy of Sen. Humphrey in West Virginia.” And to this Humphrey retorted:
“If they wish to support Sen. Humphrey, they have ever right to do so.”
Topics on which the two agreed were:
The President should be given the right to solve the Cuban sugar quota problem.
Foreign aid should be continued, with less emphasis on military spending.
Red China should not be admitted to the United Nations until its leaders show more respect for the U. N.’s peace aims.
The Negro sit-ins in southern stores are proper as long as they are orderly.
Russia hasn’t shown much good faith in its disarmament overtures.
The opening remarks were so polite and courteous that when Kennedy referred to Humphrey he didn’t speak of him directly. And Humphrey said that he would support his party’s presidential nominee, Kennedy included.
The glib Humphrey led off with a blast at the Eisenhower administration, saying:
“We have had too many years of caretaker government that ignores problems and avoids opportunities, too many years of shameful neglect of America’s needs at home, and waste and loss of America’s prestige abroad.”
Popularity has been substituted for leadership and mediocrity for principle, he said. “Slogans,” he declared, “have been offered in place of programs, and public relations instead of genuine public service.”
One thing is “crystal clear,” he said with emphasis: “America needs a Democratic victory” this November.
“Richard Nixon must not be the next President of the United States,” he stated. “I pledge my wholehearted and active support to any forward-looking Democrat who may win the nomination, and I mean that to my friend, John Kennedy, as well.”
Continuing his attack on the Eisenhower administration, he said “little or nothing” has been done about distressed industry such as coal or depressed areas, or the problems of technological unemployment and automation. He then said:
“The Republican administration has put the brakes on the American economy when we should be moving ahead with giant strides. It has complained about growing surpluses of food and fiber while in many parts of America, yes, in West Virginia, children suffer from inadequate diet.
“It shouts of inflation as it adds to the cost of living, the hiking of interest rates, and tightening up the credit, and we pay a terrible price for this indifference.”
These, however, are not America’s worst problems, he said. Tough and able Soviet Russia is working hard to overtake America in the international field, and this is a danger, Humphrey said, that the next President will inherit.
Turning then to the West Virginia primary, he said it is more than a popularity contest. “There are differences between the candidates,” he added, “but the basic difference has been more accurately assessed . . . as one of temperament and one of approach.”
Sen. Kennedy was frank in saying in his opening remarks that “a setback here will be a major one. . .” Nonetheless he is here because “I think this is the best experience and the best education that an American political leader can have whether he serves in the presidency or the Senate.”
His appeal was aimed at the heart of West Virginia’s injured pride. He said “If there is one quality which I think this state can be justly proud of, it is the quality of courage.
“More men from West Virginia lost their lives in the Korean War than men from any state in the Union of its size. More West Virginians served in World War II from West Virginia than from any state of its size.”
After touching on some of West Virginia’s other better qualities, he asked 250,000 of its citizens must live on surplus commodities and 100,000 able-bodied men who want jobs can’t find work. Then he said:
“This state can really do a good deal. I don’t think I have seen a more vigorous industrial complex than I have seen along the Ohio River and in the Kanawha Valley or better farms. The people of this state only need a chance, and I think they are going to get it.”
He said he was glad he came to West Virginia. “I think everyone who seeks the office of the presidency,” he went on, “should be willing to come. The lesson is hard but it is important for all America.”
In his rebuttal Humphrey said it would be “undesirable and foolish” to attempt to reply to Kennedy’s remarks. But once having made generalized statements, he observed, some should be emphasized.
“While it is true that automation and technological improvements have taken jobs,” he said, “it is equally true that a government that is worthy of the respect of the American people will move into action with private industry, labor and the local communities to find new jobs to retrain workers. . .”
West Virginia’s problems, he reiterated, are those of the rest of the country. In fact, the same sort of distress can be found in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis and Chicago.
But, he added, “we have been taught in recent days by our current government not to care and I consider this to be immoral. It is absolutely necessary for us to care for one another.”
In his rebuttal, Kennedy said, “I think that in considering the problems of West Virginia, the people of West Virginia are concerned about what can be done.” Then, like Humphrey, this problem of depression goes beyond West Virginia.
Massachusetts lost its textile mills, Pennsylvania much of its coal industry, and Kentucky, Ohio and parts of Indiana have been hard hit by technological change. “The question is what should we do about it—what should we do about West Virginia?”
Among the questions asked were these, with answers:
Should Red China be permitted to join the United Nations?
Humphrey—“I would not as a delegate to the United Nations representing this country . . . recommend the admission of Red China at this time. She has demonstrated a kind of arrogance and a kind of intransigence which I believe is anything but worthy of the respect and consideration of our country.”
Kennedy—“I would agree with Sen. Humphrey.”
Do you honestly feel that if you should win the West Virginia primary you would have a chance of getting the Democratic nomination?
Humphrey—“I surely do and I suppose that at this point I disagree most sharply with my friend from Massachusetts. No Democrat has this nomination tied up . . . If I should win this primary, I will surely have additional impetus in my efforts to obtain the nomination.”
Kennedy—“I think this primary may well be the key . . . I ran in the Wisconsin primary where I was successful against Sen. Humphrey and Mr. Nixon. I ran in the Indiana primary yesterday, in the Pennsylvania primary and received 175 or 180 thousand write-in votes . . ., am running in Maryland and will run again in Oregon . . . I think that what has been proved may very well determine what will happen at Los Angeles . . .”
The Roman Catholic Church’s position on truth versus error assumes a right to discriminate against Protestants. In some countries where Catholics are in the majority do you agree with the church’s reported attitude that where Protestants are in the minority they shouldn’t be permitted equal status?
Kennedy—“I wholly disagree . . . I think using the power of the state against any group . . . is wholly repugnant to our experience . . .”
Humphrey—“I have always believed in and will continue to believe in the separation of church and state . . .”
What stand do you take on the proposal to raise federal income tax exemptions from $600 to $800:
Humphrey—“I voted for the amendment offered by the senator from Texas to increase the exemptions from $600 to $800 . . . I felt that this was important at the time it was up because there was considerable recession in the country . . . I think it was a sensible vote.”
Kennedy—“I think it would be a mistake and misleading for me to suggest that I was going to favor a good many of the programs that I have talked about earlier—a stronger national defense, federal aid to education, assistance to this state and other states—and at the same time to say that I was going to reduce the income tax. I don’t think that’s possible . . .”
Appearing on the debate with Sens. Humphrey and Kennedy were Bill Ames of WCHS-TV as moderator and W. E. Chilton, assistant to the publisher of The Gazette, and Charles Schussler of WTRF-TV, Wheeling, as questioners.
Debate Seemed Boring Gabfest
By George Lawless
That was a debate?
If Tuesday’s Big Humphrey-Kennedy show on television has any real influence on voters, actor Ward Bond might well be the write-in candidate in West Virginia. Bond was taking a wagon train to California on another channel.
The only real surprise came seven minutes before the program, when nervous WCHS-TV officials paced in front of their Virginia St. studio waiting for Sen. Kennedy to appear. Sen. Humphrey, disregarding the old fighter’s axiom about not climbing in the ring first, showed up eight minutes earlier.
Kennedy wore a blue pinstriped smile and was cheered by a claque of step-sitting nursing trainees across the street.
Humphrey, alighting from a car in front of the studio, noted the jammed sidewalk and joked, “By gosh, if we could just get this big an audience everytime . . .”
City Patrolmen C. R. Cockran and H. F. Walker shooed the candidates into the arena.
Among the people crowding the sidewalk was one Kenneth F. Klinkert, Menomonee Falls, Wis., who passed out mimeographed handbills advocating himself as a running mate with Sen. Kennedy.
Klinkert, who bills himself as “the one and only true atheist,” reasoned in his handout that such a slate “would prove to the world that we are not bigoted and prejudiced in the U.S.A.”
A slender, graying man who looks like a Sunday school teacher, Klinkert said he had just hitch-hiked in from Pittsburgh. “Transportation is no problem,” he admitted. “I drove a dealer’s new car to Pittsburgh.”
It is a bit difficult to decide who “won” the debate.
A consensus of the press corps is that if either candidate lost this war of words, he was out-generalized.
Humphrey had just returned from a speechmaking sweep up the Ohio Valley, Republican territory where many folks still mourn the McKinley assassination. Despite this unnerving experience, he was his usual effervescent self—the man who can’t be dejected.
In the past three weeks, both candidates have stood on more courthouse steps in West Virginia than Stonewall Jackson.
Kennedy scored a minor triumph in camera angles—his nameplate showed up bigger on the TV screen. The plates were necessary to keep the cameramen from confusing Harvard-man Kennedy with Yale-man W. E. Chilton, who spelled out questions sent in by Gazette readers.
Kennedy might have won the debate going away if he could have sneaked Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr. on camera for a few seconds. Earlier in the day, FDR Jr. called Humphrey a “straw man” at a stump speech in Hinton.
Humphrey retaliated in kind on the program last night with an impassioned “I know what it is to be poor.” If he’d had a Scottie dog on his lap, he could have sewn up the election right there.
At one point, Kennedy displayed a can of surplus commodity issue—dried eggs—but he was careful not to taste them.
Over in press quarters at 210 Hale St., a battery of newsmen sat in front of a TV set during the debate.
They were waiting for something to happen. And finally, it did. Someone accidentally kicked over a wastebasket.
There were 20 male correspondents chewing cigars and pencils—probably the most expensive newspaper talent assigned to review a TV program in history.
And two females, pretty Susan Fodor representing an Ohio newspaper chain and “Sylvia,” a shaggy mutt representing her master, a Gazette reporter.
After the program—which rambled from coal mines to out space—oozed to its conclusion, there was visable [sic] disappointment along press row. Reporters were silently cheering for blood; they got strawberry ice cream instead.
“I’ve talked worse than that to my publisher,” one news-hawk jeered.
Those raucous noises you heard throughout the program weren’t really from a buzzer used to time the debate—that was Lyndon and Stu urging them to take off the kid gloves.
Following is the complete text of the debate between Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) and Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn) over a network of television stations Tuesday night.
The following political debate between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey is being presented by WCHS-TV, The Charleston Gazette, and the participating stations as a public service. Now, here is the moderator for the debate, WCHS-TV News Director Bill Ames.
AMES: Good evening. the [sic] West Virginia primary election campaign has already been characterized by the unique and unusual, and that tradition is being followed in spectacular and unusual fashion tonight with a face to face debate between Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota and Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
The attention of the nation has been focused on the voters of West Virginia and upon the efforts of these two men to enlist their support in the presidential preference balloting next Tuesday. In that voting, only registered Democrats can cast their ballots for these presidential candidates and the outcome of the voting is not binding on the Democratic delegates to the July convention in Los Angeles. Still, it is generally agreed that the results of next week’s election in West Virginia will be important to the presidential ambitions of the winner and of the loser.
With a desire to crystallize for the voter the issues in the West Virginia presidential race, The Charleston Gazette, WCHS-TV, and participating stations in and out of the State have brought Senators Humphrey and Kennedy together for this encounter.
A formal debate will begin the program. These question and answer part will follow the debate. The questions which will be asked have been sent in to The Charleston Gazette by its readers, will be put to the Senators by the two men on either side of me, Ned Chilton, assistant to the publisher of The Charleston Gazette, and by Dale Schussler of the news department of WTRF-TV in Wheeling. Gentlemen, in the debate, you will each have an opportunity for an opening five minute statement. Then, you will have five minutes for rebuttal. At a toss of the coin before broadcast time tonight, you won, Senator Kennedy, and then chose to go second in the debate. You are to be followed in opening statement and rebuttal, therefore, an opening by Senator Humphrey, then an opening by Senator Kennedy, a rebuttal by Senator Humphrey and a rebuttal by Senator Kennedy. The first of this sentence is the order to be followed. The sound of this buzzer will indicate that your time is at an end, and I ask your cooperation in observing the limitations placed upon you, and so, Senator Humphrey, may we begin with your opening five minute debate.
HUMPHREY: Thank you, Mr. Ames, and fellow Americans. Now, in every political campaign we should learn and become informed, and I have learned that here in West Virginia that you want a government which never rests in this all important and vital effort to build a secure and enduring peace. I have learned that you want a government that cares and acts for the people and understands the needs of the people, and you want a government that isn’t blinded by budget balance and slogans but, rather, is deeply dedicated to a balanced nation in which the pockets of depression and unemployment and poverty are erased.
Now, the problems of this wonderful and beautiful West Virginia are much the same as those in other states and, indeed, of the world itself. And, mind you, these problems are growing and spreading like caner throughout our very land. There is one thing to me that is crystal clear. America needs a Democratic victory, and I pledge my wholehearted and active support to any forward looking Democrat who may win the nomination, and I mean that to my friend, John Kennedy, as well.
Richard Nixon must not be the next President of the United States.
We have had too many years of caretaker government that ignores problems and avoids opportunities, too many years of shameful neglect of America’s needs at home, and waste and loss of America’s prestige.
We have, in fact, bee the victim of a “no go—go slow—not now—veto” administration.
Popularity has been substituted for leadership and mediocrity for principle. Slogans have been offered in place of programs, and public relations instead of genuine public service. American, yes, West Virginia deserves a much better deal. Now, we have one basic problem, a conservative Republican government in Washington that is content with standing still in a changing America and a very rapidly changing world, and talk has been substituted for deeds. Little or nothing has been done about distressed industry, such as coal, or depressed areas, or the problems of technicological [sic]unemployment and automation, or, indeed, little or nothing about the growing demands and needs of education or the care of our elderly.
The Republican administration has put on the brakes on the American economy when we should be moving ahead with giant strides. It has complained about growing surpluses of food and fiber while in many parts of America, yes, in West Virginia, children suffer from inadequate diet. It shouts of inflation as it adds to the cost of living, the hiking up of interest rates, and tightening up the credit, and we pay a terrible price for this indifference. Now, these problems in West Virginia and the other states of our Union are, in fact, however, not the worst that America faces.
Time has caught up with America. For the past seven years or so, the Soviet Union has been eating up the lead that America inherited, indeed, from past administrations, and it is going to be a pitiful inheritance that our next President will receive from his [this?] administration when he sits across the table from the Soviet Dictator, Mr. Khrushchev.
Now, the next ten years may well decide whether the United States is to be a first class power or become a second class nation. More than a year ago, I sat across the table from Mr. Khrushchev for better than eight hours. I saw him as he is, tough and able, a Communist, a Bolshevik, determined to surpass the United States, and he is determined that Communism will rule the world, and I am determined that it will not.
Now, the next president must arouse this nation to heroic deeds. He must courageously search for a lasting peace with justice and freedom, and he must understand the complexities of disarmament negotiations, the working of diplomacy, the United Nations. He must develop a force for peace, using our food and fiber surplus to feed the hungry, our medical knowledge to heal the sick, and our education to teach the illiterate.
I have tried to prepare myself for this. Now, the West Virginia primary is more than a popularity contest. There are differences between the candidates but the basic difference has been very accurately assessed by the journalists as one of temperament and one of approach.
Now, how you should vote I think, depends upon your estimate of the needs of West Virginia, America, and the world. If you are satisfied with things as they are, then you will vote for Mr. Nixon. If you think a little change is needed, or, my friend, if you believe that a vigorous hard hitting construction action is required, you know my record, and I hope you will find me your man. Thank you.
AMES: Come now Senator Kennedy, it is your turn for 5 minutes of opening statement.
KENNEDY: Ladies and gentlemen I run for the Presidency after 18 years in the service of the United States, 4 years in the Navy, and 14 years in the Congress because I believe the Presidency is the key office. It is the center of action and because I believe strongly in my country and its destiny and because I believe the power and influence of the next President and his vitality and force are going to be the great factor in meeting the responsibilities we are going to face and so I run for the Presidency and because the Presidency is the key office as not other office is, it is my judgment that any candidate for the Presidency should be willing to submit their name, their fortunes, their record, and their view to people in primaries all over the United States.
West Virginia has a primary and that is the reason I am here. I did not have to come, I came of my own free will. There are no delegates involved. A set back here in defeat will be a major one but nevertheless I cam and I must say I am extremely glad I came. T think this is the best experience and the best education that an American political leader can have whether he serves in the Presidency or serves in the Senate.
Many of you who may be watching television in other parts of the country have been seeing a good deal of West Virginia through your TV and I wonder whether you realize what a varying state it is and how unusual is its past and how bright is its promise.
If there is one quality which I think this state can be justly proud of, it is the quality of courage. More men from West Virginia lost their lives in the Korean War than from any state in the union of its size. More West Virginians served in World War II than for any state of its size. I was in Hinton this morning which is the home of the navigator who flew with my brother before he was killed.
This is a state which has sent men to die in ever[y] section of the world and also here in the state of West Virginia you have to have courage to work in the basic industry of this state—coal mining. Eight West Virginians die in the coal mines of this state every month. These people are tough and hard. They have lived in the mountains.
There are probably more descendents of American revolutionary soldiers here in West Virginia than in any state in the country.
George Washington said many years ago, “Let me plan a banner in those mountains and I will set men free.” This is a state that deserves an opportunity. It deserves recognition from our federal government. Last night I was in McDowell County. That county produces more coal than any other county in the world. There are more people on relief in that county than in any county in the country. Now why should there be 250,000 people living on a subsistence and low subsistence distribution from the federal government who only want to work. A 100,000 able-bodied men want a job and can’t find it, who have spent their lives in the coal mine, who have spent their lives underground working in 35 to 40 inches and who want to get a job again, who want to work. That is the problem of West Virginia. This State can really do a good deal. I don’t think I have seen a more vigorous industrial complex than I have seen along the Ohio Valley and the Kanawha River of better farms.
The people of this state only need a chance and I think that they are going to get it. I think this election is probably as important to West Virginia as any state in the country and I hope the people of this country regard carefully what has happened here because the problem that West Virginia if facing is the problem that all American is going to face. That is the problem of what happens to men when machines take their places. We produce more coal than we did 20 years ago in West Virginia but there are thousands of men who mined in 1940 who can’t find a job.
What is happening in the coal industry in the last 10 years in West Virginia is going to spread all over the country. When a machine takes the job of 10 men, where do those 10 men go? What happens to their families? They live on unemployment compensation and that runs out, they live on a subsistence diet distributed by the federal government which is beyond the living standard of any American and then they wait for a chance at a job. I must say I am glad that I came here to West Virginia. I think everyone who seeks the office of the presidency should be willing to come. The lesson is hard but it is important for all America.
AMES: Thank you very much, Senator Kennedy. You were short 10 second. We will now go on to the rebuttal portion of the formal debate. Senator Humphrey, in accordance with the order established by the flipping of the coin, it [is] your turn now to rebut. You will have 5 minutes for this as well and you may begin sir.
HUMPHREY: Thank you, Mr. Ames. It would be of course very undesirable and foolish to attempt to rebut a sound and splendid and pleasant statement as to the wonderful assets and the great qualities of the State of West Virginia and its people, the state has its marvelous history of freedom and its great contribution to our American system but I do think there are points that well ought to be emphasized, once having made generalized statements. While it is true that automation and technological improvements have taken jobs it is equally true that a government that is worthy of the respect of the American people will move into action with private industry and with labor and with the local communities to find new jobs to retrain workers to provide for new industries and to diversity the economy.
It is equally true that the government has a responsibility, not the total responsibility but a responsibility to the total economy of the nation and when you break that down you make it into the respective jurisdictions such as our states.
Now West Virginia’s problems as I indicated in my opening statement are characteristic of this country. In fact, I might say that I wish that the television camera that has become so much part of the American scene would not only focus upon certain areas of West Virginia where there is unemployment and distress but that it would find its way into parts of New York City and Philadelphia and Baltimore and Boston and, yes, Minneapolis and Chicago. To look into the slums where people live in metropolitan areas in conditions that are incredible and yet we have a government that says we have prosperity.
I must say without arguing with my associate from Massachusetts that we have been taught in recent days by our current government not to care and I consider this to be immoral. It is absolutely necessary for us to care for one another. The strength of the American economy is best judged by the weakness of any section or any person or any part and wherever there is an area of unemployment and distress and suffering, wherever there is a slum, wherever there are conditions that degrade human kindered [sic] weakens our moral posture in the world and it takes a terrible toll in terms of the economies of our country.
You see I was trying to emphasize in my opening statement that America needs to be strong. We are facing the toughest competition of our lives. Tougher than anyone ever dreamed. The Soviet Union and Mr. Khrushchev as he symbolizes it is determined to surpass us and he is fighting us, competing with us in every area. Not merely military, he is competing with us economically and in economics and education, science and technology, culture and we have to be prepared to meet that competition and to surpass it, to expand the area of freedom.
Now you can’t do that if you ignore problems at home. For example, if we are going to have a foreign policy which is willing to give economic assistance to every nation of the world under the loan fund which I have supported it seems to me we must have a domestic policy which will make policy loans to local communities, to local industries, to Americans for the improvement of economic conditions in our own country. In other words, our ability to maintain our strength abroad will be dependent in no small part upon our capacity to have whole production and employment at home with social justice.
Now I have some programs that I have mentioned. I don’t think that generalities are part adequate. I think I know what it means to be in trouble, to be poor, to be without a job. I learned something about that in the depression in South Dakota. I have seen it in the iron mines of Minnesota. I didn’t have to go to the coal mines of West Virginia for first-hand knowledge. I have seen it, I have tasted it.
I don’t like it and therefore I propose that we have area redevelopment, that we find new uses for coal and find new outlets for this great source of power, that we build generating plants at the mouth of the mine. For example that we distribute electricity throughout this whole Eastern seaboard which is a great power center of America, the great industrial center that we development, the great recreational facilities of West Virginia, that we make it the peoples playground, that we give our young people a chance to work in force and out in the public lands, in the parks, in a youth conservation corps program that we spend time and money upon conservation. All of this is an asset, all of this is an investment in the future. Those are my views for the future of this state.
AMES: And now, it is your turn to rebut the statements made by Senator Humphrey, Senator Kennedy.
KENNEDY: During my speech, I think that in considering the problems of West Virginia, I think the people of West Virginia are concerned about what can be done, and I think that the people of the United States are concerned.
This is a problem which goes beyond West Virginia. In Massachusetts, we lost our textile industry and we had for five or six years in certain towns extremely difficult time[s]. Pennsylvania, Southern Illinois, Kentucky, parts of Indiana, parts of Ohio have all been hard hit by technological change. The question is what should we do about it, what should we do about West Virginia?
I said there were 250,000 people getting surplus food from the government. I received a letter the other day, April 23rd, from A. F. Johnston, Box 17. Here’s what he gets every month from the government:
“I’m a man with TB and I have to get surplus food. I have seven children. This is what I receive, 5 bags of flour, 4 cans of eggs, 3 5-pound bags of meal, 8 pounds of shortening, 4 pounds of rice, which you can’t use if you don’t get it clean, and 4 of milk. We do not get any butter, cheese, or beans, as Mr. Benson stated, I would challenge anybody on the surplus food situation, what we get and what we don’t get.[“]
“These are the powdered eggs. For a family of four, you get three of these for a month. It says for distribution to needy persons, 250,000 people in West Virginia are getting this kind of assistance every month. It is an inadequate diet. There are a good many children who get their only good meal when they go to school and bring some of it home to share with their brothers and sisters. This is a national problem, not a problem of just West Virginia. It certainly is a problem which needs the devoted effort of the Federal Government, the President, the administration, and the Congress.
There is, I think, something that we ought to do immediately. In the first place, we ought to send a better diet to those who are dependent upon the government. This is not a satisfactory diet for Americans. We should certainly have decent food. We send much of it overseas. We sell local currency overseas. Certainly, we should add to the unemployment compensation benefits. After 24 weeks, a man goes out. He waits on relief. He waits on surplus food. I think we should give him 39 weeks that the administration has recommended, make it a part of federal minimum standards because no state has adopted the 39 weeks. Thirdly, I think we ought to do as Senator Humphrey said, pass the Area Redevelopment Bill, which makes it possible for small businesses to come in, which makes it possible for communities to clean the water to attract industries which makes it possible to retrain workers to new work, vocation retraining. All these things can be done if the force of the Federal Government is put behind them.
Then, I think we can do a good deal more about West Virginia and other states in sending defense contracts to them. Do you know that West Virginia, which had the most serious unemployment in the United States last year, was the lowest in number of defense contracts received? West Virginia received $20 million in defense contracts from the Pentagon which was spending over $40 billion. My home state of Massachusetts received $1,400 million, Virginia, which borders right next, received $1,300 million.
I think that the Defense Department should set aside of every contract a percentage which would go into those areas where there is a high level of unemployment. Then, I think we ought to begin to consider long rage recovery, how we can attract new industries into this area, how we can provide new uses for coal.
The administration vetoed the Coal Research Bill. I think the administration should approve it. I think that the Federal Government must recognize that as machines come in and men are thrown out of work, it presents a problem, not just to the community, but also to the country. I think in every industry in the United States in the next ten years, there should be counsels between labor and management with government represented so that as machinery comes in which throws people out of work, we can find new jobs for them, new training, as the machines come in, in a way that will help people rather than just provide unemployment. This is the lesson of West Virginia.
This is why West Virginia should be a matter of greatest concern to us all. Because what has happened to these people can happen in every state in the country. West Virginia needs help. I think it ought to be on the desk of the next President of the United States.
AMES: Thank you, Senator Kennedy. Now, gentlemen, we have concluded the formal portion of the program.
AMES: And we come to the portion which will be questions and answers.
I will remind you again the questions have all been sent to The Charleston Gazette by its readers and that they have been screened by the editorial board of The Gazette to avoid repetition. We have made a representative selection of the hundreds that were received.
Now, the ground rules regarding the answers of questions are as follows: Questions will be asked of you alternately and you have two minutes in which to give your answer. At the end of the two minutes, the buzzer with which you have now become familiar will sound as it has before, and you will stop, and I must ask your co-operation in observing that.
The candidate to whom the question was not directed—some have been directed to both—but the candidate to whom the question was not directed will have the option of comment if he so desires, and the time limit on comment will also be two minutes. Now, may we have the first question, first from Ned Chilton of The Charleston Gazette.
CHILTON: The first question is addressed to both of you gentlemen, and I will ask Mr. Humphrey first. Should Red China be permitted to join the United Nations? This was sent in by Charles W. Simpson of Syracuse, N. Y.
Humphrey: I would not, as a delegate of the United Nations representing this country nor would I if responsible for the nation’s foreign policy recommend the admission of Red China at this time to the United Nations. She has demonstrated a kind of arrogance and a kind of intransigence which I believe is anything but worthy of the respect and of the consideration of our country.
May I further add that the charter of the United Nations requires that the nations that are members thereof should be peace loving nations. Now, I know there are some members of the U.N. that surely don’t qualify too well to that particular description but I would add they came in at the time of the United Nations inception and now we have an opportunity to weigh the admission of new members very carefully. Now, I qualify my statement by saying that you don’t take a position in terms of the indefinite future. You take it in terms of the present circumstances.
AMES: Thank you, Senator Humphrey. Senator Kennedy, do you, since this question was directed to both?
Kennedy: I would agree with Senator Humphrey. Unless the Chinese Communists demonstrated a change in their foreign policy and we have seen a very belligerent phase of their foreign policy in relation with India during the past year, unless they are willing to demonstrate a desire to live a peace with their neighbors to the south of them, work out a solution to the problems facing them, including the problems of disarmament, then I would not recognize them. But if they indicated that they would, then I would begin negotiations to see if it were possible to establish more relations.
After all, we desire peace and harmony. They are one-quarter of the world, but I do think they have to meet certain standards before recognition should be made.
AMES: Thank you, sir. The next question comes to us from Dale Schussler, WTRF-TV. Here is the question.
SCHUSSLER: It is addressed to you, Senator Kennedy, and comes from a reader in White Sulphur Springs, Charlotte Kappin. “In your opinion are the Soviets acting in good faith when they press the case for disarmament?”
KENNEDY: Not for disarmament. When they say that they want complete disarmament, quite obviously that’s impossible unless they would agree to the kind of inspection which they have been unwilling to agree to. In addition, I don’t think they have shown particularly good faith because they have failed to agree to the efforts we have made to provide for disarmament in outer space which would be possible. There is no country today that dominates outer space.
I am hopeful, however, it would be possible to reach some agreement with the Soviet Union on nuclear tests. I think this is an area where it may be to our mutual advantage, where it may be that self interest of the Soviet Union and the United States to agree to a cessation of tests, to agree to a workable inspection system, and if that should be then I am hopeful we can proceed on that basis. But on the general basis which Mr. Khrushchev advanced many months ago of immediate disarmament, I don’t think they are acting in good faith.
Humphrey: Well, I would agree that there is considerable evidence of a lack of what one might call good faith, but I do have some hopes about the Summit conference, particularly if the Summit conference, the first Summit conference, is limited to the phase of disarmament discussions. Now, at that conference I think the most that we can expect is to be able to lay down or to get an agreement upon the ground rules for the present ten nation disarmament conference that is underway in Geneva. If we could get the ground rules clearly understood, in other words, what they were to do in the ten nation conference, this would be a forward step, particularly if there was a fair agreement. Secondly, there is one basic problem in the field of the nuclear tests suspension. With adequate inspection and control that problem is the number of on sight inspections with the mobile teams. International inspection teams can move into an area where there seems to be a suspicious event. Now, if we could come to an agreement upon the number of on site inspections, then I think we would be making some forward progress in the field of disarmament, and this is a prospect that lends some hope.
I think the Soviet Union needs peace for at least the next 7 to 8 years if it is to fulfill its 7-year plan.
CHILTON: What stand do you take on the proposal to raise federal income tax exemptions from $600 to $800?
Humphrey: I took a stand on that earlier and this is one of the differences between my colleagues from Massachusetts and myself. I voted for the amendment ordered by the senator from Texas to increase the exemption from $600 to $800. I also voted for the George amendment of the late Senator Walter George to increase the exemption from $600 to $700 as it was a similar measure but of less degree. Now I felt that this was important at the time it was up because there was considerable recession in the country, growing unemployment and genuine economic distress.
I feel that the use of the tax laws to be able to stimulate purchasing power and to broaden the base of the consumers or the consumption ability of the people is very important. Now I would have made up that loss of revenue and it was a loss of revenue—I would have made it up by having withholding taxes upon dividends and interest, by closing tax loopholes reducing the amount of the allowance on gas and oil. I votes to reduce it from 27 1/2 per cent to 15 per cent and those two items along—a reduction of the allowance which I would submit is fair. The present law is special privilege—closing the tax loophole on interest and dividends would more than have compensated for the loss of revenue and the individual family—head of family—would have had more money with which to make his purchases, to educate his family, to take care of the medical needs of his family and to be a better customer. I think it was a sensible vote.
AMES: Thank you, sir.
Kennedy: As I understood the question, am I in favor of it today?
AMES: What stand do you take?
Kennedy: I think it would be a mistake and misleading for me to suggest that I am going to favor a good many of the programs that I have talked about earlier—a stronger national defense, federal aid to education, assistance to this state and other states—and at the same time to say that I am going to reduce income taxes. I don’t think that’s possible. I think that we, in the final analysis, the President of the United States, has to make a determination of what is in the long-range interest of this country.
And I don’t think, therefore, that at the present time, until the economy has moved up, it’s going to be possible to reduce income tax. Secondly, I am heartily in favor of closing the loopholes. I think that can be done. It has been defeated on many occasions since I have been in the Senate, it has come up many times in the eight years I’ve been in and it’s been defeated every time. I hope we can do something about the oil depletion. I think 27 1/2 per cent is too much, and I agree we should close the loopholes. There are many things that can be done, but until we can do it, until we can bring in enough revenue to make up for the loss, I cannot advocate at this time that tax reduction.
SCHUSSLER: The next question is addressed to both of you. The resident is in Bluefield, West Virginia. Senator Humphrey, former President Truman said if he were a merchant faced with a lunch counter sit down demonstration by Negroes, he would chase them out of his store. What would you do, is the question asked.
Humphrey: Well, I surely wouldn’t. AS a matter of fact, I feel that the young men and women that have engaged in these demonstrations have been orderly, that they have been standing up for their rights as they see them as American citizens and they have been applying what I would call a higher moral law. There may be instances and localities where the local ordinances give protection to existing inequities and injustices. If that is the case, those ordinances should be changed.
And in the meantime, I would suggest to those who are the operators of private business establishments that they have some consideration for not only the constitutional rights of people under the 14th Amendment, because no state is supposed to pass any law which falls unequally upon its citizens and I would suggest also they might practice some good business sense by treating customers with equity and with equality. I would like to add, however, if I may go back to another question on that—is that permitted under the rules? On the tax question.
AMES: I believe, sir, that you have one minute left.
Humphrey: I would just like to point this out. The tax act in 1954 passed by the 83rd Republican Congress is not Divine script it is not sacrosanct. It is manmade law. It is filled with inequities and injustice. I refused to accept it without protesting against it. I did not vote for it. I thought that it was injustice consummate. And I feel that the tax loopholes will not be closed until there is a firm determination on the part of more of us in the Congress like myself, to demand some equity in the tax law. And that is why I have supported, and do support, an increase in the deduction for the average family because I think it will lend itself to the health of the economy and compel this government to do justice in the tax laws rather than continue to spread the benefits to a handful of people who do not need them.
AMES: Let me point out this fact. Senator Humphrey raised this point. If you finish your answer to a specific question, and then you have some comments you would like to throw in on some subject raised before, you will have the option to use up the two-minute time in that kind of reply should you so desire. This will be true of both the question that was asked of you, sir, Sen. Kennedy, which was, “If you were faced with a lunch counter sit-down demonstration by Negroes, would you chase such demonstrators from your store?”
Kennedy: No, I wouldn’t, provided the demonstrations are peaceful and respect the rights of others. It is from the great American tradition of peaceful protest which goes back to the beginning of this country and I certainly wouldn’t chase them out.
CHILTON: Sen. Kennedy, the next question is asked of you from Bill Buchanan of Beckley. “In view of recent troubles in Cuba, do you feel we should continue to purchase Cuban sugar at prices above the trade price?”
Kennedy: I think the best thing to do about Cuba at this time is to put the quota and its maintenance in the hands of the president administration who recommended this, and I would suggest that is the most appropriate course that we could carry on on a month by month basis and we can make determinations as event change. They are constantly changing and we don’t know what is going to be the situation six months from now. For the present, therefore, I would continue it as it is. To merely cut it on the basis you suggest would be an annoying act that would have no serious effect on Mr. Castro, in fact, would make him be able to say to the world that we were carrying on a demonstration against him. There is no doubt he would take reprisals against the American who were there. Therefore, for the present, I must say in the case of Cuba I agree with the administration policy.
Humphrey: This is one of the few times, may I say, when I agree that the administration has had a positive and affirmative position or policy. I thoroughly agree with the comments of my colleague from Massachusetts that this kind of patience which we have exercised is creditable and desirable and I, too, have the feeling that the president, whoever the president may be, must have in his power the opportunity to take timely action as the national security requires. I mean, with that flexibility, it would be highly a desirable development and I would support it.
SCHUSSLER: Senator Humphrey, would you agree with this statement from T. V. Saunders, “How do you feel with regard to foreign aid? Doesn’t it make more enemies than it does friends?
Humphrey: Well, it can but I don’t think it does. In the main, the foreign aid program has been a constructive force in American life, in American foreign policy. There has been a tendency, however, of late to emphasize primarily the monetary aspects of the foreign aid rather than the manner in which it is utilized and the manner in which it is effectuated.
Take, for example, sometime ago I wrote to the State Department about a foreign aid program in Korea. I had information which led me to believe that it was being poorly administered, in fact, there was some evidence of corruption. The administration didn’t seem to feel that that was the case. I made a speech in the Senate. In fact, I made five speeches over two years in the Senate on Korea, pointing out what was happening over there which finally developed, as you know, into riots, with the government having to be changed, and we now have discovered that the foreign aid program has been poorly managed and has cost the American taxpayers a substantial amount through mismanagement and corruption. But, in the main, I must say that foreign aid is required. I don’t think that we ought to do away with it, but we need our administrators of continuity of administration in order to see that this foreign aid does some direct good for the people for which it is intended.
Kennedy: I think it would be to the advantage of both the United States and the countries involved if more and more foreign aid could be put in the form of loans, strengthen the development load fund, make it possible for them to pay back, not put so much emphasis on the disposition of surplus military equipment which they are unable to sustain.
So, I would say check that spot, the development load fund, put it on the basis of a loan, and then when people ask for it they will have projects which are worthwhile and it will be down on a more businesslike basis. It does serve a useful function because so much of the world is going through a period of transition. Latin America, Africa and Asia—we want them to maintain their freedom. You have seen what happened in the balance of the power of the world when China went Communist. We want to make sure that these other countries have a chance to develope [sic] under a free system. Our security is protected when they do so. Therefore, I think that the best way, in a measured careful way, to strengthen the loan provision, put the major emphasis on those, and also help get the countries of Western Europe, whom we assisted ten years ago to pay their proportion of the role in assisting these countries.
CHILTON: This question is asked of both, Senator Humphrey first. “Vice President Nixon by inference has said this country has nothing to fear until such time as an individual with no religion, an atheist or an agnostic, is a candidate for President?” Would you care to comment on this?
Humphrey: Well, it is quite well understood, at least it should be, that the Constitution of the United States makes no religious requirement for any candidate for office, and my comment is that a good leader of this discussion on a subject that is sensitive and volatile and personal and intimate as one’s religious convictions would be well relieved if there were a little less talk about it and a little more understanding about the personal matter of one’s religious faith and convictions.
I have said, and I shall repeat, that the most important thing for a voter to understand about religion and politics is the moral laws, the ethical standards, the moral standards of the individual candidates, and the party that he may represent. In other words, we ought to have some religion, some faith in our heart, and by that I mean the love of fellow man, the recognition of our humility before Divine Providence, and the need of prayerful guidance and advice.
Kennedy: Well, of course, as he said, the Constitution quite explicitly said there should be no religious test for office. Article 6 in the first amendments says Congress shall make no laws, so, therefore, this country was founded on the basis of religious freedom and that means we all believe as we want to believe, and I don’t think that the Vice President, and I’m sure he doesn’t intend to, or anyone else, can decide whether somebody is irreligious or not religious.
It is far better that we let them carry on their own life, believe as they choose to do so, provided they have given adequate demonstration that they believe in the Constitutional system and believe in the First Amendment, that they believe in the rights of others to worship as they want, that their decisions are made based on their own experience and their own best judgment.
These are the great factors which I think motivate men as different as Jefferson and Lincoln, men who were entirely opposite in some ways, and in some ways the same, religious beliefs. In this country, this is perhaps the most important ingredient, that development of American character from the beginning of this country, which was founded on the principle of religious freedom. Therefore, I am devoted, and I know Senator Humphrey is, to the maintenance of this tradition, and I am confident that they are too in West Virginia.
That is my experience and I continue to believe that because I think it is such an important quality in the American character and experience. If this were lost, if we started to apply religious tests of one kind or another, then, really something important in American life would go out. So, I must say that I believe that people should be free, that the important thing is to believe as they wish, providing the loyal Americans are devoted to the Constitution.
AMES: Are you in favor of a national Fair Trade Law?
Humphrey: I have been. I think that the Fair Trade Laws have a place in the American economy. The biggest problem has been in the area of enforcement. I believe that there ought to be rules of conduct in the economic market place just as there are rules of conduct in banking, in railroading, in utilities. I happen to believe that lost leaders threaten the very existence of private enterprise, particularly individually owned and partnerships. I have seen thorugh [sic]experience, not through hearing the impact of the powerful large interests upon the independent retailer—and he is in need particularly in those areas where there are nationally advertised brands—of some kind of price protection lest these nationally advertised items be used as come-ons to draw people into a business establishment and ultimately to destroy the independent merchant who is in fact as important to the American social and economic structure as a family farmer or indeed as a school teacher or the independent school district. These are the ways we develop America that has a degree of independence and a degree I would say of social justice and fair play which is so important a part of our national make-up.
AMES: Senator Kennedy, do you wish to reply to that question?
Kennedy: I think we ought to be careful in protecting small business men and I think they need protection because I think in this administration particularly credit policies and all the rest have worked to this disadvantage. I remember Senator Neely from this state making a speech on the Senate floor in which he said the fair trade bill would cost his people millions and millions of dollars so that I think we ought to be extremely careful before we push it, that we are providing protection where it is needed and not merely commiting [sic] a higher cost to the people.
CHILTON: Gentlemen: Mrs. L. C. Osborne of Clendenin asks, “Why—this is a question directed to both of you—“Thy does Senator Kennedy and Senator Humphrey blame all the ills of West Virginia on the Eisenhower administration when we have a Democratic Congress of which both are members and which has done nothing yet towards helping us?”
Kennedy: You know the answer to that one.
Humphrey: Go ahead, John, if you wish.
Kennedy: I was just going to say—I’ll let Senator Humphrey answer half of this question. I remember taking the lead in 1953 to steer defense contracts into distressed areas of which my state of Massachusetts had a good many. This administration committed themselves to maintaining it by executive order and it was never done. Sen. Knowland led the first against our efforts. I was the floor manager in the first area re-development bill which was to assist areas like West Virginia which had high unemployment. The President vetoed that bill. Now I’ll let Senator Humphrey give a couple of other examples.
Humphrey: One other example is the coal research bill which was passed with the support, of course, of the West Virginia delegation, and by the way, the coal research bill had a very modest appropriation to it or it would have been of help to the coal industry in this State and to the entire economy. The President vetoed that; I might add, however, that we have 19 such research programs going in foreign countries which the taxpayers of America pay for, but not one dime is to go into West Virginia.
Furthermore, the administration is taking a very dim view of such programs as the food stamp plan which we passed and which would have been of help right here in the State of West Virginia. I am the author of the food stamp plan. We attached it to the so-called food surplus disposal program last year. It would have provided for a balanced diet for the needy people in this state.
There is over $400 million of monies not paid in by taxpayers but collected by tariffs on food imports into this country that are available. Those dollars are available to purchase poultry, meat, milk, butter, cheese, oleomargarine, soy bean oil, whatever would be necessary for a balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables.
The administration has vetoed 147 times acts of Congress and we have not had the two-thirds to over-ride the veto. I am fully familiar with the area redevelopment bill, having been, with Sen. Kennedy, a co-sponsor of it, and by the way we passed it again in the Senate. I am hoping that tonight the House of Representatives will have passed it for the second time so that the President will have it on his desk once more.
Kennedy: I think if I may say that this indicates the importance that the Presidency plans. Regardless of what action is taken by members of the Congress from this state or any other, the President can veto programs that this administration has done—housing, water pollution, unemployment compensation, a minimum wage—but you can’t get action. All the President needs is one-third plus one in either the House or the Senate to stop any bill from passing and in addition has the power of the President to suggest action in the Congress. This is the key office. Make no mistake about it, the Congress is an equal and coordinate branch but the power and influence of the Presidency makes it the key office and that is why it is important to West Virginia and to the United States that a change in administration—
Humphrey: I might add, gentlemen, to that—I remember the days of 1936 when Franklin Delano Roosevelt boosted my home state of South Dakota, at that time in the drought period. He came to see the conditions. I wish the president of the United States could come to see some of the conditions in this state and other states. I can’t help but feel that any man who occupied that high office with the tremendous power of the Presidency would advocate programs of action and insist upon prompt action. Instead of that I read the other day where the President said there was a liberal allowance for food stuffs in this state.
AMES: Senator Kennedy and Humphrey, you have put a mathematical burden on me there but I hope jointly you have both had two minutes.
CHILTON: Senator Kennedy, this one is submitted to you by J. Q. Thompson of Parkersburg. Are you willing to take a definite stand of Senator McCarthy?
Kennedy: Yes, I supported the censure. On many occasions I have state that.
Humphrey: I supported the censure in the Senate at the time of the vote and spoke in favor of it.
SCHUSSLER: Do you honestly feel that if you should win the West Virginia primary you would have a chance of getting the Democratic nomination. This is to Senator Humphrey.
Humphrey: I surely do and I suppose that at this point I disagree most sharply with my friend from Massachusetts, another Democrat. No Democrat has this nomination tied up. There are a number of Democrats that are potential Democratic nominees and the West Virginia primary is a significant primary. It isn’t the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, but it is a very significant primary. If I should win this primary, I will surely have additional impetus in my efforts to obtain the nomination.
I think at the best that any candidate going to the Democratic convention will not have over 500 votes and 500 votes is about 165 less than he needs and if you have 200 votes you are just as much alive politically as the man who has 500 votes and when it gets right down to it at Los Angeles at the Democratic convention, the Democratic party is going to want a candidate who will take this battle to the Republicans, who will speak up unequivocally, who will stand on the platform, who will be able to wage a battle against Mr. Nixon, the Republican nominee, and who will not back off.
I waged that battle in my opening statement tonight because I believe that the Republican administration has been costly to this country and it has been an unhappy administration for the future of America and I want no more of it.
AMES: Thank you. Senator Kennedy do you care to comment?
Kennedy: Well, I think that Senator Humphrey has stated as he stated the other day in the District of Columbia that he hoped to have at the convention 200 votes and I agree with you that there probably won’t be any candidate going in at the beginning with 500. I think this primary may well be the key, however, I ran in the New Hampshire primary and I ran in the Wisconsin primary where I was successful against Senator Humphrey and Mr. Nixon. I ran in the Indiana primary yesterday, in the Pennsylvania primary and received 175 or 80 thousand write in votes which was a good many more I think than 75 per cent of all the write-ins and I am running in Maryland and will run again in Oregon. This is a key primary. I think that what has been proved may very well determine what will happen at Los Angeles. No one knows who is going to win but I would say that it may well be decided in West Virginia.
Kennedy: I’ll just say if I may sir that there are other candidates, there are supporters who are supporting Senator Humphrey in this state not supporting me. They must make a judgment. If Humphrey wins it eliminates me but Senator Humphrey does not serve as a major threat to them. Otherwise I don’t see why every candidate who is opposing me for the nomination that their supporters in the state are supporting Senator Humphrey.
CHILTON: Mr. Kennedy, Senator Kennedy sir, this question has been sent in, name withheld, from Charleston. The Roman Catholic Church’s position on truth versus error assumes a right to discriminate against Protestants. In some countries where Catholics are in the majority, do you agree with the churches [sic] reported attitude that where Protestants are in the minority they shouldn’t be permitted equal status?
Kennedy: I wholly disagree. I couldn’t disagree more. I think using the power of the state against any group for instance using the power of the state to force a group to be of one faith or another or of a faith I think is wholly repugnant to our experience. I wholly disagree with that.
Now there are some states where there is no separation between church and state. The Queen of England is the head of the Church of England as well as the state. There are other states in Europe where the relationship is intimate. In Spain, the relationship between church and state is intimate. I disagree with that.
This country was founded on the principal of separation of church and state. This is a view that I hold against any other view and it is the view that I subscribe to in the Constitution. Now other countries have less fortunate experiences. I wish they are provided for the separation of church and state but we do in this United States and we are going to continue to do it because I don’t know anyone who holds any position of responsibility that isn’t devoted to that and wishes that this system be spread throughout the world.
Senator Humphrey: That was stated very well, obviously states my position. I have always believed in and I will continue to believe in the separation of Church and State because it is fundamental to my mind to the basic political democracy that this country enjoys and wants to enjoy in the years ahead.
Now in the brief time that I have left I would like to comment on a matter which was raised by my friend from Massachusetts about the support we have here in the state of West Virginia. Now, Senator, Jack, I haven’t had any endorsement from Lyndon or from Stu. As a matter of fact their neutrality has been so conspicuous that its almost been icy.
Now I must say, however, that I have seen in other areas of the country where there was considerable support for you. I know that in Wisconsin for example a number of Republicans were very strong for you. It is quite well recognized that they were. I also know that there were those, for example a congressman, who came out for you very strongly. They sort of ganged up for me. Congressman Zablocki, nice fellow, don’t misunderstand me but he could have been neutral.
Kennedy: Is he a Democrat?
Humphrey: Yes, but isn’t Johnson a Democrat? Isn’t he a majority leader and I would think he—
Kennedy: -- a candidate for President, however?
Humphrey: Never can tell, its wide open.
AMES: Gentlemen: Senator Humphrey has the floor. He has 30 more seconds.
Humphrey: I am through.
Kennedy: There were congressmen—Democrats—supporting Senator Humphrey, and some supporting me in the Wisconsin primary. The only point I’m making is there has been a statement by Senator Humphrey’s campaign manager, that he was his third choice.
AMES: We have two minutes left to the end of the program. I will give you each one minute apiece to debate on this question. You have the floor, sir, for one minute on the subject you have just opened. One minute.
Kennedy: Well, I’m merely saying that Senator Humphrey is a very able and vigorous in the Senate. All I said, that those who are supporting other candidates have uniformly supported the candidacy of Senator Humphrey in West Virginia. That is their privilege, but that is because, in my opinion, other candidates and their supporters [think] that if we can be stopped here in West Virginia, it will be difficult to be nominated. That is why I state this is a key primary, and, therefore, I am running as hard as I can and I’m running against what I consider to be a coalition of those who choose a good many other candidates. That is their privilege. All I have is the privilege of pointing it out.
Humphrey: Well, let me say just this. I welcome the support of the good people of West Virginia, and I happen to believe that if they wish to support Senator Humphrey, they have every right to do so. I can recall here not long ago, the polls showed Kennedy had 70 to 30 percent. There was no complaint at all about who the support was for. When the race tightened up a bit, we had some complaints about who was supporting who. I merely want to say that in this primary election I have had generous support from the rank and file of our people in the District of Columbia yesterday. I saw Kennedy’s support for Senator Morse, one of his prime workers. Now, despite that, I didn’t call it a gang up. I went ahead and proceeded with the election and won it. I hope to be able to do exactly the same thing here in West Virginia but to do it honorably without recrimination. Thank you.
AMES: Thank you, gentlemen, both for appearing on this face to face debate this evening from West Virginia.
WASHINGTON (AP) - West Virginia's Republican Governor Cecil H. Underwood predicted today that Sen. Hubert Humphrey will defeat Sen. John F. Kennedy in the state's Democratic preferential primary.
Underwood, who called at the White House in behalf of federal aid for depressed areas, told reporters he has been saying right along that Humphrey would win. He said nothing has happened to change his mind, but noted that he was not close to Democratic party affairs.
The governor added that in his opinion Adlai Stevenson and Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas are both stronger in West Virginia than either Humphrey or Kennedy.
Underwood is unopposed for the Republican senatorial nomination. His opponent in November will be Sen. Jennings Randolph, who is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
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