Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Lawrence E. "Larry" Forgy, Jr., March 20, 1984

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Meeting John Sherman Cooper

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Partial Transcript: How did you first come into contact with John Sherman Cooper?

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. recalls how he first met Cooper.

Keywords: 1960 Senatorial campaign; Budget Director; Capitol; Close friends; Companion; Donald Cooper; Driving; John Sherman Cooper; Louie Nunn; Patronage; Policeman; Political figure; Position; Return; Senate aide; Senate floor; Talking; Thruston Morton; Together; Western Kentucky

Subjects: Brother; Father; Judgment; Kentuckians; Kentucky; People; Politicians; Washington (D.C.)

00:02:36 - Kentucky Republican Party in the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: What was the condition of the Republican Party in Kentucky during this period...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. characterizes the Kentucky Republican Party in the 1960s.

Keywords: 1954 presidential election; 1959 gubernatorial race; 1963 gubernatorial race; Banker; Broadcasting executive; Brown Hotels (Louisville, Ky.); Campaigns; Coal magnate; Dwight Eisenhower; Finances; Fundraising; Governor; Help; Important; John Sherman Cooper; Louie Nunn; Marlow Webster Cook; Republican state; Right wing; Robert Taft; Roommate; Senator; Statewide elections; Substantial; Thruston Morton; Wealthy; Winning

Subjects: Ashland (Ky.); Conservative; Hazard (Ky.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Money; Oil; Politicians; Races; Yale University

00:05:49 - Political campaigns then and now

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Partial Transcript: First of all, you've got to remember that, that it didn't take the kind of money then that it takes today.

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. compares political campaigns in the 1980s to campaigns from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Keywords: 5th congressional district (Ky.); Advantage; Beginnings; Campaign; Carried; Combination; Constituent services; Different; Financing; Hero; Inroads; John Sherman Cooper; Link; Name recognition; Newspaper ads; Not as important; Places; Political strength; Radio ads; Senate races; Strong base; Thruston Morton; Today; Votes

Subjects: Budget; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Louisville (Ky.); Money; Nature; Political campaigns; Politicians; Popularity; Pulaski County (Ky.); Radio; Speeches; Television

00:07:42 - Kentucky Republican factions / Change in campaign style

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Partial Transcript: How did these, uh, various factions--

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. discusses the factions in the Kentucky Republican Party in the 1950s and 1960s. Forgy Jr. also details the change in American political campaign style and techniques throughout the years.

Keywords: Active; Advice; Analogy; Appearance; Attorney General; Bad; Beliefs; Bickering; Campaign Manager; Campaigning; Campaigns; Close; Communication; Connection; Convention; County official; Decisions; Different; Donald Cooper; Dwight Eisenhower; Embarrassing; Factions; Fight; Finished; Governor; Grand Marshall; Head; Hear; Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.; Hotel; Impact; Inaugural parade; Influence; Insulted; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky politics; Law firm; Law practice; Less; Literal; Lost; Louie Nunn; Manufacturing company; Martha Lane Collins; Mercenaries; More cynical; More local; No polls; No tax platform; Not localized; Now; Opinions; Outside factors; Personal; Politics; Polls; Republican National Committee; Richard Cooper; Robert Taft; Ronald Reagan; Solicitor General; Together; Unfamiliar; Upbringing; Voters; William Howard Taft

Subjects: Bell County (Ky.); Best; Change; Character; Cincinnati (Ohio); Conservative; Counties; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Logan County (Ky.); Meetings; Men; New York (N.Y.); Political campaigns; Politicians; Races; Running; Speech; Television; Young

00:16:04 - Problems in Kentucky Republican Party

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Partial Transcript: Why didn't the, uh, Republican Party within Kentucky gain strength in registration...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. explains the origins of the problems in the Kentucky Republican Party today.

Keywords: 1960 presidential election; 7th congressional district (Ky.); Albert "Happy" Chandler; Appropriations committee; Attorney General; Beat; Campaign; Carl Perkins; Common; Congress; Contention; Democratic candidate; Democratic leadership; Democrats; Destroyed; Earle Clements; Elected; Ended; Federal funds; Flogging; General election; Generation; Governor; Idea; Important; In control; John Sherman Cooper; Julian Carroll; Kentucky General Assembly; Knocked out; Lawrence Wetherby; Lieutenant governor; Local government; Louie Nunn; Marlow Webster Cook; Minority party; Mitch McConnell; Movements; No breakthroughs; Not dynamic; Not involved; Not the reason; Old; Opposed; Over; Performance; Primary; Problems; Rally; Regional; Republican base; Republicans; Same time; Senate; Serious; Speaker; State; Strong; Tax bill; Thruston Morton; Today; Traditions; Vacuum; Vigilant; Votes; Weakness; Welfare-dependency; Welfare-oriented; Wendell Ford; World War II

Subjects: Aging; Career; Change; Devotion; Federal government; Great society; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Leaders; Leadership; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Money; Mountains; Philosophy; Politicians; Prevention; Price; World War, 1939-1945

00:22:08 - 1960 and 1966 Senatorial campaigns

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Partial Transcript: You were working in the 1960 and '66 campaigns...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. recalls his experience working on Cooper's 1960 and 1966 Senatorial campaigns.

Keywords: 1960 Senatorial campaign; 1966 Senatorial campaign; Able; Against; Always; Big issue; Big picture; Business establishment; Democrats; Focus; Gripe; In favor; International issues; International security; Issues; John Sherman Cooper; National issues; No pork barrel legislation; No real appeal; Politics; Senate Public Works Committee; Style; Thruston Morton

Subjects: Career; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Knowledge; Lexington (Ky.); Liberal; Louisville (Ky.); Patriotism; Politicians; Rural electrification; Tobacco

00:25:02 - Kentucky interest groups and Cooper

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Partial Transcript: How about some of these other, um, various powerful interest groups in Kentucky...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. assesses the dynamics between Cooper and key interest groups in Kentucky, including coal mine owners and the horse industry.

Keywords: 5th congressional district (Ky.); Against; Alumni; Brought; Close; Coal operators; Congenial; Convenient; Family owned; Hardest vote; Important; Individuals; John Sherman Cooper; Kentucky aristocracy; Labor issues; Labor support; Liberal Republican; Paid; Places; Portal to Portal to bill; Robert Taft; Support; Supported; Taft-Hartley Act; Thruston Morton; Voted; Well

Subjects: Brown-Forman Distillers Corporation; Coal; Coal mines and mining; Horse industry; Horse racing; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Labor; Loyalty; Politicians; United Mine Workers of America; Yale University

00:27:51 - Happy Chandler

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Partial Transcript: What role did, uh, former governor Happy Chandler play in the Republican successes during the Cooper years?

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. discusses the effect of Happy Chandler's successes and independence (as a Democrat) in politics upon subsequent Republican politicians, including Cooper. Forgy Jr. explains the necessity of another maverick figure in Kentucky politics which will, in his opinion, assist the Kentucky Republicans to get back into power.

Keywords: Accomplished; Alben Barkley; Albert "Happy" Chandler; Angry; Assumption; Attempt; Balance of power; Battered; Bert Combs; Bitter; Campaign Manager; Close; Control; Convinced; Defeat; Democratic machine; Democrats; Disorganization man; Done; Earle Clements; Expectations; Factors; Future; Governor; Governor's office; Guilty; Harry Lee Waterfield; Help; Highway Commissioner; Holding; Important; Insisting; Instrumental; John Sherman Cooper; John Y. Brown Sr.; Lawrence Wetherby; Louie Nunn; Lyndon Johnson; National Democratic Party; No Chandler; No question; Nomination; Odd man out; Personal ambition; Recent; Republicans; Resolved; Resources; Rotten; Senate seat; Senator; Sitting Senator; Support; Thruston Morton; Today; Unsure; Votes

Subjects: Career; Catalyst; Confidence; Corruption; Death; Hope; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Maverick; Mayfield (Ky.); People; Politicians; Time

00:32:51 - Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation / Cooper and Thruston Morton

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Partial Transcript: You worked in the, uh--for the committee in the Senate...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. describes his work on the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation. Forgy then details the working relationship between Cooper and Morton in the Senate. Cooper and Morton are compared to other pairs of Senators hailing from the same state and affiliated with the same party. How Cooper and Morton's staffs got along is also mentioned.

Keywords: Active; Administrative Assistant; Aide; American whiskey; Assistant Secretary of State; Bicker; Bill Miller; Chairman; Close; Combative; Combination; Cordial; Development; Effective; Exception; Excise taxes; Failed; Federal Power Commission; Former; Grateful; Head of Central Intelligence Committee; Heyday; Highly-respected; House Ways & Means Committee; Influential; Instances; Intellect; Interested; Internationalist; Involved; Issues; Jacob Javits; John F. Kennedy; John Sherman Cooper; Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation; Kennedy administration; Kenneth Keating; Kentucky product; Lee Nunn; Lee White; Leverett Saltonstall; Non-Kentuckians; Not interested; Office; One product; Onslaught; Permitted; President; Promotions; Rare; Regulations; Republican National Party; Respected; Russell Long; Sale of American light whiskey; Senate Finance Committee; Senators; Smart; Tax writing; Taxes; Thruston Morton; Used barrel; Well-acquainted; Wife; Worked hard

Subjects: American Horse Council; Bourbon; Federal government; Gin; Horse industry; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Liberal; Louisiana; Money; Morton, Thruston B. (Thruston Ballard), 1907-1982; Morton, Thruston Ballard, 1907-1982; Politicians; Protection; Salvation; Staff; Statutes; Vodka; Washington (D.C.); Whiskey industry; Work; Writing

00:38:48 - Cooper and Louie Nunn

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Partial Transcript: What kind of role did, uh, Cooper play in the, uh, Nunn gubernatorial bids, both in '63 and '67?

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. illustrates Cooper's role and perspective on Louie Nunn's campaigns.

Keywords: Above; Angry; Attempt; Backed; Bad; Beat; Campaign Manager; Communist; Deep; Democratic state; Dim; Disapprove; Dwight Eisenhower; Earle Clements; Ed Prichard; Elected; Endorsement; Feeling; Fighting man; Focus; Function; Guilty; Hard; Hard hitting; Help; Issue; John Sherman Cooper; Lee Nunn; Left-wing; Louisville Courier-Journal; Marlow Webster Cook; Needed; Not a winner; Not approving; Opposition; Performed; Primary; Problems; Provided; Pure; Racial overtones; Republican ascendancy; Resolved; Rumors; Statesman; Stayed out; Strange combination; Take out; Thruston Morton; Together; Tough; Unsure; Using; William Fulbright; Willing; Wilson Wyatt; Winner

Subjects: Anti-Catholicism; Conservative; Fall; Frankfort (Ky.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; Loyalty; Men; Nunn, Louie B., 1924-2004; Paintsville (Ky.); People; Perception; Politicians; Race; Radio; Religion; Shelbyville (Ky.); View

00:44:44 - Cooper and newspapers / Cooper's most significant political contribution

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Partial Transcript: What other state newspapers were important and influential to, uh, Cooper...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. characterizes Cooper's relationship with the press in Kentucky. Forgy Jr. then considers Cooper's most significant political contribution.

Keywords: Close; Contribution; Cooper-Church amendments; Declaration of war; Democratic Party; Democratic figure; Early; Editor; Ernest Gruening; Foreign policy; Gulf of Tonkin Resolution; Hack; Howard Baker; Important; John Sherman Cooper; Knack; Later; Lexington Herald; Lexington Leader; Lyndon Johnson; Media; Name; National; Northern Kentucky; Political figure; Possible; Press; Press Secretary; Questions; Republicans; Role model; Senate; Serious; Sitting Senators; Somerset Journal; Striking; Strong; Support; The South; Tom Underwood; Vitriolic; Wayne Morse

Subjects: Common sense; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); London (Ky.); Newspapers; Paducah (Ky.); Politicians; Somerset (Ky.); Understanding; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; War

00:48:39 - Change in southern politics

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Partial Transcript: Uh, the, the, the Republican ascendancy in the South is a, is a very conservative...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. explains the change in Republican politics in the South in response to the civil rights movement and many African Americans becoming Democrats. Forgy Jr. discusses how Cooper fits into this trend in the constituent base of the Republican Party.

Keywords: "Redneck populism"; City Republicans; Combination; Comfortable; Control; Core; Country club; Courthouse; Democratic Party; Different; John Sherman Cooper; Old; Republicans; Role model; The South; Traditional Republican state; Traditional Republicans; Union Army

Subjects: African Americans; Blacks; Civil rights movement; Conservative; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Politicians; Populism; Race; Republicanism; Whites

00:50:11 - Key people in Cooper's inner circle

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Partial Transcript: --I can just throw out a, a few names--

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. lists some key people that supported Cooper's campaign, both in Kentucky and Washington, D.C.

Keywords: 1966 Senatorial campaign; 5th congressional district (Ky.); Able; Active; Almost equals; Angry; Backed; Bailey Guard; Banker; Banking; Bill Miller; Bright; Bureau Chief; Businessman; Campaigns; Carl Perkins; Chairman; Close; Close friend; Congress; Congressman; Constituents; Control; Defeat; Democrats; Dewey Daniel; Director; Doctorate; Drug store; Elected; Endorse; Family; Famous; Federal Power Commission; Financial backer; First Administrative Assistant; Foreign affairs expert; Friends; Gene Snyder; Glamorous figure; Governor; Great asset; Idea; Jobs; John F. Kennedy; John Sherman Cooper; Key anchor; Known; Lawyer; Leader; Lee White; Left; Legislative Assistant; Legislative history; Louie Nunn; Louisville Courier-Journal; Manager; Marlow Webster Cook; National Correspondent; Office; Opportunistic; Politics; Popular figure; Rasputin; Registration; Related; Republican campaigns; Republicans; Returned; Robert Riggs; Robert Stafford; Senate Intelligence Committee; Senate Public Works Committee; Simeon Willis; Smart; Son; Staff Director; Stayed; Strong ally; Supporters; TVA Board; Tim Lee Carter

Subjects: Ashland (Ky.); Ashland Oil & Refining Company; Business; Executives.; Hopkinsville (Ky.); Illinois; Insiders; Iron; Kentuckians; Kentucky; Liberal; Louisville (Ky.); Matches; Money; Morehead (Ky.); People; Politicians; Public works; Retirement; Staff; Tennessee Valley Authority; Thompkinsville (Ky.); Vermont; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Washington (D.C.); Work

00:58:47 - Key Kentucky figures and Cooper

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Partial Transcript: Are there any names that, uh, I've left out that you can think of...

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. articulates some of the prominent Kentucky figures that supported Cooper, including bankers, oil men, and businessmen.

Keywords: 5th congressional district (Ky.); Book; Car dealer; Carried; Circuit judge; Close; Committeewoman; Construction company; Contribution; Cooper family; County judge; Doctor; Driving; Far; Hat; Head; Help; Huge; Husband; Influence; Insurance man; Interesting; John Sherman Cooper; Kentuckians for Better Transportation; Lawrence Forgy Sr.; Mainstay; Momentum; Picture; Political success; Politics; Postmaster; Prominent; Republican; Road bonds; Roscoe Tartar; Self-made; Sherman Cooper; Tartar family; Turnpikes; Uncle; Votes; Wealthy; Western Kentucky

Subjects: Ashland (Ky.); Bowling Green (Ky.); Carter County (Ky.); Death; Elizabethtown (Ky.); Father; Graves County (Ky.); Grayson (Ky.); Handshaking; Henderson (Ky.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; London (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); People; Pikeville (Ky.); Politicians; Popular; Pulaski County (Ky.); Republican National Committee (U.S.); Reputation; Somerset (Ky.); Wealth

01:03:24 - Stories of Cooper / Experience with politicians

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Partial Transcript: Can you think of any, uh, interesting anecdotes about, uh, Senator Cooper?

Segment Synopsis: Forgy Jr. shares stories of Cooper on the campaign trail. Forgy Jr. relays his experiences with Kentucky politicians as a whole.

Keywords: Absent-mindedness; Aides; Athlete; Basketball player; Battled; Beecher Hotel (Somerset, Ky.); Bert Combs; Bond Street (London); Brilliance; Calculating; Campaigning; Car; Close; Closed; Cross section; Devoted; Drinking; Driving; Dry martini; Eating; Election; Elite; Fit; Flag; Genuine; Gone; Harry Byrd Jr.; Hat; House; Intellectual; John Sherman Cooper; John Y. Brown Sr.; Julian Carroll; Kind; Law partner; Legs; Louie Nunn; Map; Marlow Webster Cook; Material goods; Necessity; Never come early; No bad side; None; Not a good speaker; Not studied; Pee; Pint; Politics; Public servant; Rally; Requirements; Restroom; Retreat; Rouse; Shrewd; Smart; Sobriety; Social functions; Standing; Staying; Tailored; Talking; Thin; Thruston Morton; Touching; Unfamiliar; Wendell Ford; Window; Years

Subjects: Anecdotes; Behavior; Caring; Cigarettes; English; Frankfort (Ky.); Hazard (Ky.); Kentuckians; Kentucky; London (England); Memory; Men; Night; People; Pikeville (Ky.); Politicians; Reputation; Rest; Roads; Sincerity; Smoking; Somerset (Ky.); Successful; Views; Vodka