Newspaper Articles


Charleston Gazette
May 6, 1960

Race Is Doing Lot for State, Kennedy Says

By Don Marsh
Staff Writer

What is the Democratic presidential primary doing for West Virginia?

And answer, Sen. John F. Kennedy reiterated Thursday, is plenty.

Kennedy repeated the theme in Kanawha, Raleigh and Fayette counties during a series of appearances which made it obvious that he is an underdog of whom to beware.

“One of the immediate advantages of this primary is that West Virginia’s problems have become national problems,” he told a television audience in Charleston.

“For the first time in eight years, the problems of West Virginia are on the desk of the White House,” he told an outdoor audience in Beckley.

“The Republican Governor of this state said ‘nothing good will come of this primary,’[“] he told an indoor audience in Oak Hill.

“Well, I’m going to make him eats those words; he couldn’t even see the President (about federal assistance) until last week.

“I want to predict that the surplus food program will be changed as a result of this primary,” he told a Civic Center audience in Charleston. “I do not think that the President would veto a coal research bill if it were before him now.”

At the end of the rally in the Civic Center, Kennedy announced that we would break off his campaign against Sen. Hubert Humphrey today to fly to Washington.

He will vote on the area redevelopment bill which he said was vital to the state. His brother, Ted, will assume the campaign schedule until he returns this evening.

Sen. Kennedy, who told reporters earlier in the day that he’d be luck to get 40 per cent of the votes, ran into admiring people during his brief swing through the southern coal fields.

The crowd at Beckley was estimated at 1,500 more than double the number that showed up when he was there earlier. At Stanaford Mine No. 2 of New River Coal Col, a troop of reporters was unable to find a single miner who said they didn’t intend to vote for him.

At Collins High School in Oak Hill, a gaggle of teen-aged girls shrieked and cheered when they saw him.

The crowd at the Civic Center was estimated (by a Kennedy worker) at 3,000. The natives were friendly.

In addition to his theory of the campaign’s value, Kennedy repeated some other ideas he’s stated before.

For one thing, he said, if West Virginians voted for him over Sen. Humphrey, he’d probably win the nomination. If he did, he’d remember them when he went into the White House.

For another thing, he said, he was disappointed that all the prospective candidates weren’t entered in the primary. The President’s office is the “key” (a word he’s fond of) one and should be decided by the people.

For a third thing, he didn’t think his Catholicism would count against him and he’s been given “a wonderful reception in West Virginia.” Win or lose, he said, he’d accept the voters’ decision.

It was a busy and—according to his campaign workers—a profitable day. It was marked, if not slightly marred, by a few of the inevitable foul-ups of a tight schedule.

At West Virginia State College, someone forgot to install a loudspeaker and the senator, who’s been having trouble with a sore throat, had to make himself heard by his own lung power.

Then, rushing back to Charleston to appear on television, he arrive at the station at the last moment and discovered it was the wrong station.


Hubert Stops Tour to Push Area Aid Bill

By Thomas F. Stafford
Political Writer

Morgantown – Sen. Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota broke off his primary election campaign here temporarily Thursday night to fly back to Washington and work for passage of the Area Redevelopment Bill.

This is a sensitive issue in West Virginia. Both Humphrey and his rival in next Tuesday’s preference presidential primary, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy, for the bill and have discussed it frequently in their public appearances.

Before departing, however, Humphrey completed a hard day of campaigning in northern areas, climaxing it here with a proposal that West Virginia become the nation’s center for mine-mouth power plant development.

“It is obvious that ‘mine-mouth’ electric power stations,” he said, “represent an exciting new possibility for the growth of the coal industry and the revitalization of West Virginia’s economy.”

In his upstate swing Humphrey continued his campaign of mutual coexistence with Sen. Kennedy, which he started Wednesday night in a Charleston TV debate. Nowhere did he put his famed stinger in his opponent.

Instead, he reserved his criticism for the Eisenhower administration and Mr. Eisenhower in particular in branding his assurance of lending a hand to West Virginia’s recessed areas “too little and almost too late.”

This remark grew out of a Wednesday announcement by Gov. Underwood that the President had assured him he would urge all federal agencies “to do whatever they could to help West Virginia.”

Before leaving here for Washington, Humphrey said, “I want to get the depressed area bill on this (the President’s) desk at the earliest possible moment.”

He said he hopes to rejoin his caravan, which will tour southern coal communities, late today. While he is gone, Lt. Gov. Carl F. Rolvaag of Minnesota will serve as his substitute.

Starting out in Weirton Thursday, he concentrated on the college campuses in the Northern Panhandle and here. Among with speaking on the West Virginia University campus, he addressed student groups at Bethany and Wheeling College, West Virginia’s youngest institution of higher learning.

At Bethany his talk was on foreign affairs. He said in part:

“There are two major steps toward disarmament that can and should be taken at the forthcoming summit meeting. One of these is to resolve the major obstacle standing in the way of a nuclear test ban agreement. The second is to lay down general directives for the future course of the current 10-nation disarmament talks.”

At Wheeling College he centered his attention on cancer, promising that if elected President he will call a White House conference early in 1961 “to bring together the best medical and scientific brains in this country to plan an accelerated attack upon this disease.”

In discussing the need for greater health research, he said he was dedicating his talk to the deceased former U. S. Sen. M. M. Neely of West Virginia, who, he said, “led the fight for cancer research on the floor of Congress . . . until he himself was cut down by this dread disease.”

Speaking here on mine-mouth power plants, he noted that where it was long believed that electricity could not be transmitted economically more than 200 miles, today Sweden and Russia are moving 500,000 volts more than 500 miles.

“West Virginia,” he declared, “is ideally located for such power stations. In time electrical power from your coal could hum steadily through the high lines stretching to America’s great industrial and urban centers. The coal beneath your hills could then become the source of new wealth and economic security for West Virginians.”

Before his public appearance here he spent his time in Morgantown talking with people in private. One was a private dinner, arranged as a respite for himself, he said, but the others were with labor leaders in the area and Bill Hart, editor of the Dominion News.

He explained that there was nothing significant in his meeting with the labor group. “I’ve done it several times before,” he said.

He went on to say that at such gatherings he asks the labor leaders to pass out his campaign literature and cards. “They’re not giving me any financial backing unfortunately,” Humphrey said. “But they’re giving me valuable assistance in distributing my campaign material.” Also, he said, the wives of some union men are organizing telephone teams to enlist support for him.

The only union to formally endorse him, he remarked in passing, is the Teamsters. This action was made public several days ago.

The Humphrey group was quite pleased with the turnout for a street rally in Wheeling’s downtown. It was estimated that 3,000 people were on hand, a bigger crowd than for Kennedy recently, according to a newsman who was on hand for both events.

There is where Humphrey criticized Eisenhower. Also, he said:

“West Virginia describes Republican prosperity. The state provides an x-ray picture of this Republican prosperity.”

In explaining this observation, he said West Virginia, like the rest of the nation, has its areas of prosperity as well as its areas of depression.

There was mixed reaction at the Blaw-Know plant gate, where Humphrey passed out his campaign buttons and cards. Some workers said they would vote for Humphrey, others for Kennedy, and the rest haven’t made up their minds.

P. A. Whalen of Wheeling was most outspoken of all the steel workers. He said:

“Kennedy will carry Ohio County. But Brooke and Hancock counties will go to Humphrey.”

He explained that “they’re more liberal up the river. The laboring men will go for Humphrey. Here we have too many lace curtain voters.”


Cecil Rages At Candidates

'Feasting Upon Famine'

By The Associated Press

Gov. Underwood got up on his Republican hind legs again Thursday about what he said "certain 'misnamed' debaters" were saying.

He was referring, of course, to the face-to-face debate here last night by Sens. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) and Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn).

Much of what they said, Underwood maintained, does not square with the facts.

"It is especially despicable," he said, "for anyone to exploit the plight of persons who may be hungry. In effect, this amounts to feasting upon famine, and I shall always criticize any outsider who attempts to use our citizens for his own selfish advantage."

"To set the record straight," Underwood added, "Congress has established a variety of price support programs to aid farmers, not consumers...

"It is estimated that federal farm support programs to support the nation's farmers cost West Virginia citizens 25 million dollars annually."

He said that last year agriculture price support programs - provided these amounts to farmers in these states:

Minnesota (Humphrey's home state) $222,286,000.

Massachusetts (Kennedy's home state) $1,196,000

West Virginia $693,000.

Underwood said Humphrey's proposed food stamp plan - which would provide the needy with food stamps they could use to buy food, and the merchants could redeem the stamps from the government - would displace the present food distribution program but would not increase the amounts of surplus foods available.

"Moreover," the governor added, "no additional individuals or families would be eligible to receive foods, and no greater quantity or variety of foods would be provided. On the other hand, the plan would place the costs of distribution on the federal government."

Underwood said he noted Kennedy failed to vote on the Humphrey amendment.

"Couldn't Jack stomach Hubert's food stamp plan?" Underwood asked.


Equal Time Demanded

GOP Loses TV Plea

Two high-level Republicans protested Thursday that Wednesday night’s Humphrey-Kennedy debate was only a “Democratic propaganda show,” and demanded equal time to reply—but their demand was “respectfully rejected.”

The national GOP chairman, Sen. Thruston B. Morton of Kentucky, after prompting by West Virginia national GOP committeeman Walter S. Hallanan, complained about the hour-long program sponsored by The Gazette and station WCHS-TV.

Hallanan wired Morton:

“There was no debate, no controversy, no difference of opinion. The so-called debate was a political fraud upon the network and the American people.

“. . . urge that you request equal time for speakers designated by the Republican national committee to answer the partisan distortions of Sen. Kennedy and Humphrey.”

Morton then wired WCHS-TV:

“As chairman of the Republican National Committee, I hereby demand equal time for the Republican Party to reply to that attacks made on our Administration by Senators Humphrey and Kennedy last night.

“Their show as not a debate on the issues of 1960 with intrinsic news interest as a public event. It was a tandem attack on the Administration delivered from the fictitious format on a debate. There was no debate, no difference of opinion, not even direct discussion between the two. They obtained this valuable free time under false pretenses and then used the time to stage a Democratic propaganda show.

“Billed as a debate, this show was a fraud on the stations which carried it and on the American people.

“When a time can be decided upon I will furnish the participants for a one-hour exposition of the accomplishments of the Republican Administration which was jointly attacked by the twin Democratic partisans last night.”

However, Hawthorne D. Battle, president of WCHS-TV, replied in another wire to Sen. Morton:

“Your charge against this station as well as against the distinguished senators who participated are utterly unfounded, and your request that you be permitted to designate participants in another program on our station is respectfully rejected.

“We are amazed that the chairman of the great Republican Party would attack the right of freedom of speech exemplified by this program.

“If the Republican Party had a presidential candidate entered in the West Virginia primary we would, as a matter of public service, have been pleased to have had him broadcast . . .”

Republicans may get equal time from some TV and radio stations that carried the joint Humphrey-Kennedy broadcast. But other stations turned them down, at least for the time being.

In New York, the Mutual Broadcasting System said it would grant the equal time request. Mutual President Robert F. Hurleigh said in a telegram to Morton:

“We are doing this as a matter of fairness in broadcasting all possible major facets of interest and importance to the entire nation.”

Two other networks in New York withheld the granting of equal time.

The National Broadcasting Co. said:

“When NBC offered time for a debate between Senators Humphrey and Kennedy, it was with full awareness that we would be subject to claims for equal time from other bona fide qualified candidates for the same position—the Democratic nomination for President. That is the limit of our obligation to give equal time.

“However, by long tradition, NBC strives for full and fair coverage as between the major parties. The ‘Today’ show which carried 19 minutes of the Humphrey-Kennedy debate, present Republican presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon in two telecasts only a week ago.[“]

On April 25, consisted of an 11-minute profile of Mr. Nixon, and the other, on April 26, was a 15-minute live interview.

The Westinghouse Broadcasting Co., which carried the Humphrey-Kennedy debate on five TV and six radio stations in eight cities, also withheld the granting of equal time, at least for the time being.


National Magazine Takes Look at “Bible Belt”

Vote Buying, Bigotry Seen in Logan

A national picture magazine claims in this week’s issue that the West Virginia primary election will be affected in Logan County by “strong anti-Catholic feeling and loose political practices.”

In its lead story, titled “A Small State Takes the Limelight,” Life magazine declares, “In Logan County, the half-pint vote, slating and ‘Lever Brothers’” will influence the outcome of next Tuesday’s voting.

A story by staff writer Donald Wilson says:

“On the one hand, Logan County’s wild and wooly brand of politics will go on much as it has for more than a century.

“On the other hand a new political factor—religious bigotry—will play a large part in determining the fortunes of Kennedy and Humphrey.”

Wilson quotes Dan Dahill, a Logan attorney, as chuckling and saying:

“With $5,000 you can elect a man to any office except sheriff in this county. This costs $40,000. Why, heck, all you need to do is have the right boys pulling the levers and you can’t miss.

“But in the presidential primary folks are saying there’s enough free Baptists alone in this county to whip Kennedy.”

Terming “impoverished Logan County in the heart of the Bible Belt” as “a battle area for the coming West Virginia primary,” the Life correspondent said, “The Bible Belt’s background of hardship and violence has nurtured the kind of politics that exists today.

Growing up in this part of the state, as one citizen puts it, ”there are only three things to do: fight, chase after women or get into politics.”

“Many Logan voters,” he wrote, “are illiterate, but, even when they can read, the list of names on the West Virginia ballot is always so long that when they go into the election booth they usually vote only for a favorite or two.

“The rest of the voting is left to the ‘Lever Brothers,’ who are glad to oblige.”

Wilson declared that “each candidate has a list of all the “Lever Brothers’ in the county and he calls on them, cajoles them and pays them.”

“Anything from $2 to $5 buys a vote on election day, and sometimes they are delivered in wholesale lots,” he continued.

“Moonshine is still used as payment for a vote, but it is now risky business.”

“A variation,” he said, “is the ‘half-pint vote’ in the area—a straight swap arrangement, bottles for votes—but it too causes a problem for politicians because state law prohibits the sale of half pints of whisky over the counter.

“Most of the half pints used in elections are brought in by truck illegally from nearby Kentucky.”

Wilson described “slating” as “another traditional game in West Virginia.” “The top candidates for office,” he explained, “as well as the United Mine Workers distribute a slate on election day containing the names of all the people they favor for election.”

As for religious bigotry, Wilson noted:

“In Logan County, as most Bible Belt counties, the list of clergymen outnumbers any other entry in the yellow pages of the telephone book. Most of them are fundamentalists.

“Although there has been little pulpit talk about the Catholic issue, the area’s preachers are strongly anti-Catholic and so are most of the parishioners.”

A Free-Will Baptist Church deacon was quoted as saying:

“I love everybody and I love Kennedy too. But I’ll pass him by in the election booth. I’m a lifelong Democrat and I’ll put all the Democratic levers but his.

“I just wouldn’t fee right with him being President. There’d be too much influence from Rome.”


Approval, Disgust Voiced

Voters Not Impressed By Candidates’ Debate

By John Yago
Staff Writer

The two contenders in West Virginia’s presidential primary apparently didn’t use their most presuasive [sic] tactics in Wednesday night’s long-awaited face-to-face debate.

In a sidewalk survey made Thursday afternoon, only one voter who had seen Sen. John F. Kennedy and Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey hash it out on television had changed her mind about who to vote for.

Only about a third of those questioned had even seen the head-on meeting of the two candidates.

Of the 67 persons polled, 22 had seen the telecast.

All but one were sticking with the choices made before the debate. Ten of the 22 said Kennedy was their man. Five were for Humphrey, three were undecided and four wouldn’t reveal their choice.

The lone change was made by a Kanawha City housewife who asked to remain anonymous.

She had favored Humphrey, she explained, but Kennedy’s response to a question on raising federal income tax exemptions changed her mind.

“Humphrey declared he would raise personal exemptions from $600 to $800 . . . But Kennedy simply stated that we couldn’t cut taxes and provide all the extra spending and services both candidates were talking about. That was the right answer, as far as I’m concerned.”

Opinions on the debate were varied, ranging from approval to disgust.

One man who identified himself as a neutral Republican said he was not impressed by either candidate. “Neither one of them is big enough to be President,” he declared, adding that the debate made it clear the Democrats must pick either Adlai Stevenson or Lyndon Johnson.

The opposite view was expressed by Lee Shreves of 1415 Fifth Ave. who said:

“Humphrey, he’s my man. But I thought after seeing both of them on television that they both are better than anything the Republicans can come up with. . .”

A Kennedy supporter said the televised debate showed both Kennedy and Humphrey to be gentlemen.

“Yes, I saw it,” said an elderly lady waiting for a bus. “I think it was disgusting. Both of them said the same things . . . both of them go around the state promising us the sky, but they won’t five us anything.”

One viewer, M. B. Snyder of 1429 Quarrier St., sat down after the telecast and gave his opinion in a letter to The Gazette.

“These men have a great deal in common,” Snyder said. “Both are intelligent and energetic; both eager to improve our nation and assure its future as a world leader.”

Snyder said Humphrey used “a trick or two” in the debate while Kennedy “simply said what he had to say. Here we have the essential difference between the men.”

Another lady identified herself as an enthusiastic Kennedy supporter. “I have always admired him in the Senate. He has conducted a clean campaign in West Virginia,” she said.

“I thought it was really a good think. It gave a good explanation of the issues, but I had already made up my mind for Kennedy,” said Homer A. Lowe of 1223 Lewis St.

A visitor to Charleston, Mrs. Harold Smith of Waterbury, Conn., commented:

“I enjoyed it . . . but I’m for Kennedy. I think he’s a real hotshot.”

One curbstoner didn’t see the debate because his landlady doesn’t allow television but declared himself for Kennedy. “The only one I would change for is Wayne Morse,” he said.

Several of those polled said they would have watched the debate if they hadn’t been working.

But one woman didn’t care much one way or the other. “I never vote,” she said, “so it doesn’t make any difference to me.”


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