Humphrey Says No Need For Poverty Here
May 7, 1960
Humphrey Says No Need For Poverty Here
Williamson (AP) – Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn), just back in the state after voting for the area redevelopment bill, said Friday, “It is not a pleasant sight to see areas of depression and pockets of heavy unemployment.”
“There is no need for poverty and unemployment in this country if we have the will, vision and the determination to wipe it out,” he told a crowd at the courthouse square.
Humphrey flew to Welch from Washington. He had taken only hours out of his campaign in West Virginia for the Democratic presidential nomination to vote for the redevelopment bill.
The Minnesotan took a helicopter from Welch and landed at Lefty Hamilton Baseball Park, then was driven by car into town.
Speaking to some 350 persons, fewer than saw Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) several weeks ago when he was here, Humphrey struck out at the Eisenhower administration, saying:
“We have everything to work with except leadership. We are being lulled into complacency instead of being challenged to action.
“The administration smiles reassurance and speaks contentment. Its leaders tell us to relax as they enjoy a continuing vacation from responsibility.
“Its public relations experts grind out press releases which tells us to sleep softly on the pudgy arms of prosperity.”
Humphrey told his listeners, standing in the warm sun, “I am one American who will not accept this dangerously complacent message.”
Sen. John F. Kennedy (D-Mass) disavowed Friday night a statement by one of his top campaign aides, Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., that Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey sought draft deferments in World War II.
Kennedy, who had a distinguished war record as a naval officer aboard a patrol boat sunk by the Japanese in the Pacific, issued a statement declaring:
“Any discussion of the war record of Sen. Humphrey was done without my knowledge and consent and I disapprove of the injection of this issue into the campaign.”
Humphrey did not serve in the armed forces. He has explained that he was disqualified by a hernia.
Earlier in the day, Roosevelt had charged that Humphrey had requested a number of deferments from military service and that letters had been written for him saying he was a political organizer whose services were needed in Minnesota.
Roosevelt added that Humphrey was turned down by the naval reserve in July 1944 with no reason stated. And later, he said, when the draft board was pressing, another appeal was made describing Humphrey as representing a war-essential industry with 85 workers.
Humphrey was inducted in 1945, Roosevelt said, but was then turned down as 4-F because of a hernia.
“Did you call Sen. Humphrey “a draft dodger?” a reporter asked. “I’ve never said that and I never meant that,” Roosevelt replied. “I did not use that phrase.”
“The record speaks for itself,” he added.
“My whole emphasis on Sen. Kennedy’s war record,” he went on, “is that any man who has known war recognizes the vital necessity for peace. It is also possible that a man who was not in the service could realize the same necessity.”
But in a brier statement issued by Kennedy headquarters Roosevelt stated:
“I do not feel that this is of importance in this campaign and I regret that it has been forced into an issue.”
News of this latest twist in the campaign reached Humphrey as he stumped in the southern part of the state. He had only a brief comment.
“No comment,” he said.
For his part he kept hitting away at the matter of Kennedy’s personal wealth, referring to his opponent’s literature and advertisements as “the most lavish, extravagant and expensive campaign program West Virginians have ever known.
“It’s up to the voters,” he told an audience at Pineville, “If they want this campaign decided by measurement of money that can be expended or the philosophies of the candidates.”
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