Interview with David M. Barkley, July 9, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:14 - Clements' role in Alben Barkley's campaigns

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Partial Transcript: The following is a July 7, 1978 conversation between Mr. David M. Barkley and Tom Syvertsen regarding Earle C. Clements' career and relationship with Alben Barkley.

Segment Synopsis: Syvertsen asserts that Clements played a "Judas role" in Alben Barkley's 1952 presidential bid, and again in the 1955 gubernatorial campaign. Barkley responds that he does not know the whole story.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Betrayal

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Political campaigns

00:04:25 - Asking Barkley to withdraw from the presidential campaign

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Partial Transcript: Mi, Mister Clements, I believe, uh, in the middle of the 1952 convention process, at one point came to your father and actually made the suggestion that he withdraw, and it's my understanding that Mr. Clements did this because, um, Mr. Clements knew that the labor people were pulling out on your father, um, a, and I presume that's because, uh, of his age at the time. Is, is--am I correct in this?

Segment Synopsis: When asked about Clements presumably asking Alben Barkley to withdraw from his 1952 presidential campaign due to backlash from labor unions, Barkley declines to comment, saying he wasn't there, though he does indicate that it was not Clements that made this suggestion.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Betrayal; Labor unions; Old age

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Labor unions; Political campaigns

00:05:37 - Clements managing Barkley's vice presidential nomination

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Partial Transcript: Uh, can we go a step back to the 1948 campaign now? Uh, do you recall much that your father may have mentioned to you, or that you've picked up since, about Mr. Clements' management of your father's, um, vice presidential nomination?

Segment Synopsis: When asked his opinion of Clements' management of Alben Barkley's vice presidential nomination, Barkley comments that he was not aware of any management of his father's nomination.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Democrats; Management; Vice presidents

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Political campaigns

00:08:25 - Alben Barkley's decision to run for Senate

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Partial Transcript: Generally, uh, how far back would you date the association of your father and Mr. Clements, uh, as--

Segment Synopsis: Barkley says he doesn't know how far back his father and Clements were associated. He then goes on to describe his father's decision to run for Senate.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Friendships; Influence; Senate

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Political campaigns

00:10:55 - 1955 Gubernatorial race

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Partial Transcript: Normally your, your, uh, father did not commit himself in the primary process, but in 1955 he came out fairly strongly against Governor Chandler in, in his race, excuse me, "Mr. Chandler" at that point, in his race against Bert Combs for the governorship. Um, do you know why he, he came out and changed his um, normal rule of thumb of--

Segment Synopsis: When asked about his father's uncharacteristically strong opposition to Chandler in his 1955 gubernatorial race against Bert Combs, Barkley suggests that there is an interview somewhere on tape in which his father explains all of it, and that Mr. Syvertsen look it up.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Happy Chandler; Harry Lee Waterfield

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Political campaigns

00:12:37 - Alben Barkley's rivalry with Chandler

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Partial Transcript: Mr. Barkley, can you, uh, tell me, uh, what was the role of Mr. Chandler in your father's 1952, uh, presidential bid?

Segment Synopsis: Barkley states, quite vehemently, that Chandler never supported his father in any way, under any condition. He also says he can't recall any specific important issue that they disagreed on, saying he couldn't say which one of them was more liberally aligned.

Keywords: Alben Barkley; Happy Chandler

Subjects: Barkley, Alben William, 1877-1956; Chandler, Happy, 1898-1991; Political campaigns