Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Edward "Ned" T. Breathitt, Jr., November 28, 1995

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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BIRDWHISTELL: Governor, we're--in the chronology of this, we're still in the late fifties and early sixties, but before we move back in the chronology, I was thinking it might be nice this morning if we could start out with maybe a brief discussion about liberalism and whether liberalism is dead and--and how you see the sort of political philosophy that represented the Ned Breathitt-Bert Combs-Wilson Wyatt- Earle Clements part of the Democratic Party--Lawrence Wetherby--this period we're talking about in the late fifties and sixties, and how that political philosophy has--has evolved into the discuss-, political discussions that we hear in the nineties. What do you see as that sort of link between what you-all were trying to accomplish as liberals, I 00:01:00assume, and what has happened to liberalism in the 1990's?

BREATHITT: Well, course, we grew up in the era of the New Deal and the Fair Deal, which was a reaction to the conservatism following Woodrow Wilson in this state, in this country. And when Franklin Roosevelt came in, he brought with him liberal thinkers from college campuses all over this country, and particularly in the east. He brought so many from Harvard and Yale, but mainly Harvard, and--but he had 'em from everywhere. Wisconsin sent some down. Many of those were agrarian social reformers, but that caught the mood of the people, and Earle Clements grew up with that. I grew up with Roosevelt as a child. 00:02:00He was just, you know, our hero. He--he--he gave us hope during the Depression and he led us through the War. Then after the War, 'course we had--we had Truman, and Truman carried it on, with this fair deal. Then, of course, we had a--a reaction that happened no only in this country to that leadership, it happened in England, but they went--went the other way. They went liberal from--from the conservatism of --of Churchill. But when Eisenhower came in, and the Republican Congress, the Eightieth Congress took over, we began to see the movement away from what many perceived in this country as the excesses of liberalism in --in the Roosevelt--particularly the Roosevelt years. When you 00:03:00had people like Harry Hopkins and others that were his very close advisors--Ed Prichard as the--from Kentucky, who was one of the great liberals and liberal thinkers--and then after Eisenhower, you had a very narrow victory and a return to liberalism under Kennedy, but it was nar- --a very narrow victory. The country was divided, not like the great sweeps of the Roosevelt years. And even Truman's victory was a terrible big upset victory. The seeds were there for coming back, pulling back and evaluating, I think, the programs of the new deal and di- --many people wanted to reinvent, or redefine, or throw out the things that they felt were making us dependent on a welfare state. And 00:04:00I think that's the basis of it. An awful lot of people felt that the welfare state was responsible for the killing of a lot of the basic values that had built this country.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? (Laugh)

BREATHITT: Yes. Well, they--they felt that in those times, too. And as a result, we--we've had this growing movement of conservatism and it's been fed by a lot of--of money to fund this through organizations and groups, think tanks that are conservative. For example, when I was first in Washington, the only think tanks were usually, mainly liberal think tanks, but now you've got the Heritage Foundation. In my twenty years in Washington, you've got many conservative think tanks, but that 00:05:00was beginning. And in the old days, you only had the "Chicago Tribune" and a few --and a few other voices for conservatism. But it's--I think it's just a--American people, a lot of 'em, the lifters as I--I like to say, got tired of the leaners leanin' on them. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) And--and so it became a--a movement in that direction. And 'course the- -'course another thing is underlying the whole thing was the race issue. And it--it's no longer out on top of the table, but they're coded words that--that began to--to do it. And in the sixties, I know, when Lyndon Johnson called me to Washington, and there's a picture on the wall when he told me this, asked me to sponsor, at the 1964 Governors 00:06:00Conference, a resolution in support of the Civil Rights Act, he said, "It's gonna take a southern president to do it." Says, "But we're gonna destroy the Democratic Party in the South when we do it. It'll take- -it'll take a long time but it will," because the Democratic party in the South, from the time of the Confederacy on, has been anchored and rooted to racism. And--and says, "Once we take the other side, and a Southern president takes the other side, then there will be a penalty." Now, of course, that has not been--everybody says they're for civil rights and equal rights, but the code words are there, and it has been the thing that's--that has helped the conservative cause in the south.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's an excellent point.



BIRDWHISTELL: Is--at the time you were involved in politics in the 50's and 60's, did you consider yourself a liberal then? Did you think of yourself as a liberal?

BREATHITT: I just thought of myself as a traditional Democrat having grown up in the era of Roosevelt as a child, then going off to--into the Air Force. He was our Commander in Chief. Then when I came back to the university, I--we had Truman who car-, really carried on through his Fair Deal, the efforts to expand the New Deal, but really it was a holding action. He--he was unable to pass many major pieces of legislation during his term. In fact, the last years of the Roosevelt Administration, just before we got into the War, were a holding action.


BREATHITT: I mean, he didn't make any great big advances in those years. But I didn't consider myself anything, but a mainstream Democrat.


BIRDWHISTELL: Just a Democrat.

BREATHITT: That's right, a demonsr- --a Democrat in those years.

KLOTTER: Philosophically, how would--what would you say were the differences between, say, the Clements faction and the Chandler faction then?

BREATHITT: Well--Clements--I think it's hard to--to say philosophically because--Chandler was always on the side of civil rights, for example. He--he always took that side. He sent in the Guard to integrate the schools in Sturgis and Clay and he always prided himself on the integration of baseball by the first player. So I think in the question of Civil Rights, Clements really opened up the University of Kentucky for all graduate programs against Judge Stahl, who had--who 00:09:00had been the strong leader at the university forever. And Judge Stahl won on the first vote, and Clements told him privately that he'd have a board that would go with him, and they caved in. (Laugh) And--and Clements--Clements did it, I think, pragmatically. He was not a bleeding heart liberal. He just thought that people just oughta have an equal opportunity to make it. And--and he didn't see it--the state spending a heck of a lot of money building law schools and professional schools, graduate schools, on a segregated basis. He--he didn't think we could afford it. And he never got out and led any parades, or was in any marches. But he just was a pragmatic person who saw the futility of segregation. I'd say that--that--Chandler in one sense was 00:10:00more liberal than the Clements' wing because the Clements wing, going back to Ruby Laffoon, was for sales tax and a regressive tax structure. And--and Clements came in and was for a gas tax to build roads. Chandler was--pitched his political career on the elimination of the sales tax initially, and then was--his--his last--well his--his race for governor against me was for a cutting down of the sales tax, and whereas--and--and he--he went more for income tax. He says--one time he said to me, for example, said, "I--I'm gonna tax my friends and take care of the people." (Laugh--Birdwhistell) On his tax program and it 00:11:00was a pretty popular sort of a--of appeal. It's the same appeal that you hear today by the Democratic party in the--in the nineties, against the Republican Party. But it--he used that. There was a difference, particularly under Wetherby, because when Wetherby came along, Clements was--was a great infrastructure fellah. And--for building roads, and building airports, and building parks. He started the parks program with--named Henry Ward. Clements was never big on--on the major arterial road program; he was for the rural roads, see, get- the-people-out-of-the-mud sort of thing. I don't think there's a clear distinction between the--the Chandler wing and the Clements through my administration wing of the Democratic Party on philosophy. It's--it's too muddled except on tax policy. And there Chandler's--was in a sense 00:12:00more liberal than--than our crowd.

BIRDWHISTELL: When--when you have in the nineties a president elected as a New Democrat, and now in Kentucky we have a governor elected in `95 as a New Democrat, does--as an Old Democrat, (Laugh--Breathitt) do you think that's--that's, in some way, saying that the policies of Clements, Wetherby, Combs, and Breathitt were--were wrong?

BREATHITT: No, they weren't wrong. I just think that the pendulum is swinging. And I think it'll ultimately swing back. It started to swing back in `95. I think that the governor's race in `95 was run on the issues that won in `94. And then when the--when the conservatives in the congress, and the Speaker Gingrich and Leader Dole, went forward 00:13:00very strong, just as the Roosevelt years had gone forward very strong. It wasn't just rhetoric; they meant it. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) And-- and when they did it, there was a reaction to that, and I think it was swinging back. And it's interesting to me that, where most governors' races they've run from the national issues on the Democratic Party, they looked at the polls, and they embraced it the last three weeks of the campaign, and ran the last three weeks of the campaign against the Contract for America and Gingrich. Pretty--mainly, Gingrich. And--and it--it activated and energized the traditional old-time coalition of the Democratic Party that just sat on their hands in `94. The energy was all on the other side, the activism was all on the Republican conservative side that really feel that they have a legitimate agenda 00:14:00to transform this country and bring it back to basic values, that they feel really built the country.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Were you surprised at how well a campaign Paul Patton ran this time?

BREATHITT: Oh yes. I thought that--I never had any question in my mind about Paul Patton's ability to govern--


BREATHITT: --because he had proven that as county judge in a diverse and difficult county. Not only was he a visionary on--on programs, and he was able to push through difficult programs, but he was able to win-- (Laugh)--three times in a county that sometimes, in county judge's race spends as much as we spend in these--these governor's races now. And- -but my real question was: how well he could run, how well he could articulate, how well he could set a vision for Kentucky. I really don't think either candidate fully defined their vision for Kentucky. 00:15:00There was a little confusion about that. In some many areas, they ran pretty well on the same ticket, on the same platform--(Laugh)--just a matter of degree. And Patton push--kept pushing Larry Forgy over to the right. And--'cause Patton took away the NRA gun control issue from him; he took away the prayer in schools issue from him--neutralized it. And pushed him over then to picking up the religious right and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Took away the tobacco issue basically.

BREATHITT: Took away the tobacco issue, that's right. Now the things that--that won them the traditional races, the only liberal that won in `94 was Mike Ward and that was a three-way race: two conservatives and one more conservative than the other running against him. (Laugh- -Birdwhistell) And it'll be interesting to see how that race comes out this year.

KLOTTER: Why did you decide to get involved in `95?

BREATHITT: In `95? I guess the old Democratic feeling of loyalty that 00:16:00I feel for the party. I really believe in the Democratic Party. I think that, fundamentally, it has been the party that has--has represented those who are--don't have as strong a voice, or don't have as much clout in our society, from an economic standpoint. And other standpoints. Plus, the things that really concerned me was this question of freedom of religion and the question of the religious right. When you study history, you find that so much of the problems in--in man's treatment to man has--has been stemmed under the--has been rooted in--in ideological zealots who--who wanted to impose 00:17:00their particular view of salvation on everybody else. And I saw this beginning to--to really grow in this country. And I--you--you look at it in the "Mideast," the great problem in the "Mideast" is--is religious-inspired. The--the death--the horrors of--of history, if you look at 'em, have been rooted in religious, among religious zealots. It's true in India today. It's true--their--all their unrest, the partition of India and Pakistan and Bangladesh, all was rooted in religion. And--and I--we founded our country--most of our ancestors came over here to escape it. They were persecuted and they got out. 00:18:00And--and the great thing that we founded this country on was religious freedom, and that is the fundamental thing that I worried about. Not that I had any question about the qualities of either candidate personally. But I did not want to further encourage that sort of thing in this country, and I think it's--it--it's the basic thing that I worry about. I didn't worry about the issue of abortion. That's a legitimate issue that people can disagree about.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

BREATHITT: And--and you can make a case on either side of that issue. Now that's one that fueled an awful lot of the enthusiasm on both sides. But when we get into this question of freedom of religion and the right to worship your creator in your own way, that really does 00:19:00bother me.

BIRDWHISTELL: Some--some would argue, going back--you know, connecting that with what we were saying earlier--that the greatest threat to this country has always been from the right, not from the left.


BIRDWHISTELL: In terms of really being destructive.

BREATHITT: Oh yes. Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: I guess that's 'cause of a room full of liberals, I don't know. (Laughter) But it's--I think that's a fair statement.

BREATHITT: Well, this state loves the Republican party of my father and my grandfather. And as exemplified by, in our memory, John Sherman Cooper and Thruston Morton. But you'd never see either one of them embracing this. They never did. In their entire political careers. As a result, I think they pretty well spoke for the majority of Kentuckians and the decency that's within Kentuckians. They believed in hard work, paying your debts. They believed in--in basic values, but they also believed in--in civil rights, for example. They were 00:20:00both strong supporters of that. They believed that America had a role to play in the world of leadership--a moral, ethical leadership. And they were internationalists and--and they never demagogued issues that could divide the nation, either one of 'em. And the--I think the state and the country owe a great debt to men like--like John Sherman Cooper and Thruston Morton and--and I think it's gonna be good for the Republican Party that they pull back some--


BREATHITT: --and don't rely on these people to get elected. They saw in `94 the great strength of it but--but the fallacy of that was, nobody voted in `94. They were the only ones who went to the polls. And the Democratic Party was tired, unorganized, had no energy or movement at 00:21:00all in `94. It was--it was a tired, worn-out, bankrupt party, and--and I think the thing that energized 'em was the great--I mean the Contract for America and then the concern of a lot of people like me. And a lot of Republicans like me that--that moved over not because they--they really liked Larry Forgy better than they liked Patton.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well let me ask you about then, to follow-up, I asked you if Paul Patton ran a better race than you thought. Did--did Larry Forgy run a --a worse race?

BREATHITT: He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. He was a cinch. (Laugh) He was a cinch.

BIRDWHISTELL: What went wrong?

BREATHITT: When he--he--he--he--he let Patton push him to the right, and when he embraced Dr. Frank Simon, and when he went to an extreme on 00:22:00the Kentucky Education Reform Act, he lost the top business leaders. Now I'm not talking about the Main Street business people; he kept most of them. But the--but the top business people of this state that had formed a partnership for education, that had been behind--the advocates for education and the whole efforts to improve the level of education in this country. Now they're as concerned as a lot of people are that we've got to learn from the errors of the--of the administration of the act and improve that, but buy they--when he came all out and said "We're losing a whole generation of children," and really, his last ads and last statements, they came--and I won't mention 'em here, but they were the top business people of this state, all of whom had been in Forgy's camp, all of whom had been primary supporters, financial supporters, and they left him. The other group 00:23:00of Republicans that left him were the Louisville women. Well, they went public so I can say who they were. Like, Sally Brown of the Brown-Foreman Family, Nana Lampton, Sissy Musselman. There were a whole group of Republican women that had been for Susan Stokes that, when he embraced Frank Simon in Louisville, they met with Patton. He satisfied 'em on where he was, and they went public. These were the backbone of the Republican Party among women in Louisville, and you can look at the East End vote, you can look at the vote all over Louisville, but you look at the East End vote and Forgy did not get what a Republican candidate for governor should get in the East End.

BIRDWHISTELL: I interviewed a woman attorney back in September, and just as an aside, she had been--it was the day that Larry Forgy was speaking 00:24:00here in town and she said, "I got--I was supposed--I--I introduced him, but with reservation." (Laugh) Because she was a great leader in education reform and proponent of education, and she was upset at that point. And you know, I thought well, I don't know how many of these there will be, but you know, it was already starting to erode. That's before he came out hard against KERA.

BREATHITT: Well, of course, Larry was--was a victim of the reaction against the Contract for America and Gingrich. And that hit him the last three weeks. And he had really nothing to do with that and that was just an unlucky break for him. But I think that there were any number of factors.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well affirmative action stand--

BREATHITT: Oh yeah--

BIRDWHISTELL: --when you think about West Louisville--


BIRDWHISTELL: --West Jeffersonville.

BREATHITT: Well, and it activated here in this--in Fayette County. He only got a 5,000 vote majority here, when he should have gotten fifteen. (Laugh) He had--he had--the Bluegrass and the old basic Whig 00:25:00sentiments in this--this area solidly behind him.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh yeah. I thought--

BREATHITT: I couldn't find anybody for Patton originally.

BIRDWHISTELL: (Laugh) All you saw was yard sign, after yard sign, after yard sign (Laughter) ------------(??).

BREATHITT: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --that election's over. (Laugh)

BREATHITT: Oh yeah, well I--it was--it was--but I think that that's an example of maybe what will happen in this country. The pendulum--I think the pendulum is--beginning to swing back, but I don't see it swinging back like anywhere near where we were in the New Deal days--

BIRDWHISTELL: Or the Great Society--

BREATHITT: --or the Great Society days, particularly the Great Society days because what that was, was the unfinished agenda of the New Deal that couldn't be passed. And you had some of the Kennedy programs that had faltered that Johnson had made a commitment to--to the Kennedy people he had passed. Which he did the first hundred days of his 00:26:00presidency. And then the rest of his program. And--and I think the country just felt it. We'd gone too far. Just like they feel that Gingrich and the Contract for America has gone too far. And the country wanted to pull back. And--and--or they were afraid that there'd be, pretty soon there'd be more leaners than there were lifters, and we'd just founder under--under debt and the welfare programs. And I just think that--and that hit the average citizen of both parties.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, thanks for going over some of that--more recent things, because I think that it is so--so connected to this history part we're talking about today. About that earlier time.

BREATHITT: Well, I have cut out and I'm making a file on freedom of religion. This ed- --this editorial, I thought, in the "Lexington 00:27:00Herald," November 24--25th, just was a beautiful, thoughtful--

KLOTTER: Yeah, very good.

BREATHITT: --editorial. And I'm making a file on it because I see that as something--that and--and--and keeping the opportunities for disadvantaged people. I want welfare reform myself because I have seen the people in the cycle of it that have become totally dependent on it. And--and I think it's--it has been counterproductive for a big percentage of recipients. And I think that we've got to go there, but I also think that we're gonna have to really guard against this because their appeal--the religious right's appeal is simplistic and easy for--to be demagogued. Just like it has throughout history. And 00:28:00people think they're doing God's will. They'll follow a false prophet or false leader with--and to the death. And it becomes a very powerful sort of a movement. And I think it is the biggest threat we face in this country.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know the--the media has enjoyed this relationship you had with Ben Chandler immensely. They--they never fail to--(Laugh)-- to--to mention that. It's like you-all are now and forever linked, you and Ben Chandler. How do you feel about that?

BREATHITT: Well, I do feel very strongly about Ben Chandler. And--and I think that, one, he has a deep sense of history of the state, the first thing I noticed about him. He--he knows more about each county and its history. It's not only just political history but it's overall history. And he knows the--the story of the people in those counties. 00:29:00He is a real historian, Kentucky historian. And that interested me when I first met him, and he came to see me in Washington. It's been nearly twenty years ago. He was--


BREATHITT: --he was--he was a runner in one of the big Washington law firms that summer and he came to see me and the secretary said, "Albert Benjamin Chandler's here to see you." (Laugh) I said, I don't believe it, but show him in. (Laughter) And in came this young, appealing fellah and he sat down and--and pleasantries and--I had known his father, Ben Chandler, the newspaper publisher--


BREATHITT: --and his mother, Toss(??) Chandler--was Toss(??) Dunlap- -just slightly, but everybody was crazy about those two people, as just really fine citizens. But Ben disarmed me totally in the first 00:30:00conversation. He says, "You know, I've heard all my life about your race against my granddaddy. And--and their side of that race. And their side of why you won. I'd like to hear it from your side." And I said, are you serious about this? He said yes. So we sat there for three or four hours, talking about it from my side, and our side of the party historically. Now he knew a lot about it, but it had all come from the other side, and--and if he--he'd stayed with that, that would have--that would have, for the rest of his life, had the greatest influence on his thinking. But he wanted to hear about it from the other side. And he asked all kinds of interesting questions. And he didn't get mad, and he would laugh and laugh, and it all became a very interesting, historical drama, really, of what had been going 00:31:00on in Kentucky and why they were two sides. And well, you know, that totally captivated me. This young- --wonderful, attractive young man. And he asked all the right questions. Well, from that time on, I began to follow him and then when Brereton ran for lieutenant governor, Wetherby and Chandler and I were all for him. Chandler, because he's a "Woodford Countian." The Alexanders, Libby's family, had always been for Chandler. And Wood- --Woodford County Chandler--(Laugh--Birdwhistell)- -supporters that went 'way back. And now her daddy, the adjutant general, had both been for Chandler and not. He'd been on both sides. He was my adjutant general and was a dear support of Combs,' and Clements,' and Wetherby. But we were at the first announcement rally in the Radisson Hotel, and Governor Chandler got up and made one of 00:32:00his great speeches, and talked about the family and this fine young man who played football at the University of Virginia and--just across the Big Sandy. He knows Eastern Kentucky because it's exactly like the Big Sandy part of West Virginia, and he married into one of the real solid Kentucky families and--and oh, he made a great speech. And I looked out in the crowd and all the Chandler people on one side, and all our crowd was on the other side of the room. (Laughter) You know, it was like Moses and the Red Sea. (Laughter) And I said, I gotta break this up and I looked down there and there was Ben Chandler, and there was my son, and I--I called them both up to the platform and I said, now I want these two young men to stand here. Here's Albert Benjamin Chandler III and here's Edward T. Breathitt III--

BIRDWHISTELL: How about that?

BREATHITT: --and I want to tell you-all that one day, Edward T. 00:33:00Breathitt III and Ned Breathitt are gonna join forces to elect Albert Benjamin Chandler III governor of Kentucky. And we raised our hands. And Happy came up to me, gave me a big bear hug and he said, "God bless you, boy." (Laughter) And the crowd got together and from that time on, Happy was--says, "Our boy's doing well. Our boy's doing well, Governor." (Laughter) And--and it started from that. But the more I got to know him--he goes to Europe on treks and studies--goes to cities and museums and studies the histories of the countries he goes to. And he was--he was--worked for a member of Parliament. He is a very unique and thoughtful young man who tried one of the big law firms--Brown, Todd--and decided that wasn't what he wanted to do. He wanted to be free to pursue--what he really wanted to do was 00:34:00government. And--and for example, he--he was for Harvey Sloan and he's been an environmentalist. Something's that just--something that his grandfather never was. His grandfather usually fell on the side of the coal people and the coal industry, as an economic factor in this state. And he just is a very unique young man. That's why I'm for him. I think he was wise not to run in 1995. He's running--ran for an office, led the ticket and if he does as good a job as attorney general as he did as auditor, without demagoguing it--he never did call a press conference. When he got a complaint, he did the audit and then released the audit report and waited for the press to come to him. Which I like that technique.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you think standing up there on that platform, though, 00:35:00after Patton's narrow victory and an eight year prospective term that Ben Chandler didn't have some doubts about his decision? About being locked out of the race now for eight years?

BREATHITT: Well, he may have had. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) But, from my perspective, I think he was--he was wise. I'm not sure he was ready for--I don't think he had honed his speaking skills or his political skills for a very tough primary against very experienced people. And--and Patton showed such a commanding lead in the primary, if he'd been defeated by Patton in the primary, I think his political career would have been nipped in the bud. And then he would have had to have faced--if he'd won narrowly, Larry Forgy. And I'm not so sure that he would have--

BIRDWHISTELL: He couldn't have done ----------(??).

BREATHITT: Huh-uh. Huh-uh.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's hard to imagine Ben Chandler out at a flea market 00:36:00buying a gun the Sunday before the election. (Laugh)

BREATHITT: That's right. That's right. That's right. So I--I think that he sensed that he's made the right decision and I have talked to him since the election and he has been to see Patton, he told me. He said, "I'm gonna be supportive of you. I don't want you looking over your shoulder at me the whole four years." And says, "If you do a good job, I'm gonna be for you for governor the next time." And--and you know, he told me, he says, "They're compensations to that. I have a wonderful wife and two little bitty children. I can be home every night for probably eight years. I'm now 36; I'll be 44." And he says, "Then I can run, freely." And he says, "I find it hard to believe that the Democratic Party would welcome a challenger to a sitting Democratic governor." And I think he's right about that. And he said, "I think 00:37:00that the attorney general's office can be a very interesting and--and important office. Even more so than the auditor's office was." And he said, "I am not--" and then "There are other opportunities. I mean you never know what's gonna happen. I mean, the Lord may open up an opportunity for something somewhere in the Senate. Or the Congress. Or--or in the governorship." And he says, "I think I'm going to do my job, and just wait for an opportunity that will come, and not try to rush it." And which I thought was very wise. I thought he was very wise in going to Patton because they--he told me, and Patton told me the same thing, they both agreed they weren't gonna let their friends divide 'em, 'cause his friends, a lot of 'em, that were trying to really push him in the governor's race, want him to now be out there 00:38:00drawing a line between him and Patton and taking opposite positions, waiting for Patton to stumble. And he says, "I'm not gonna do that to Patton." He told Patton that, and Patton said, "I'm not gonna let my friends poison the well about you." Says, "If you hear anything, you talk to me." And I think that's wise. Now, I'm hopeful that they'll both maintain that position. I think that'll be good for him and I think it'll be good for--for the--this administration.

BIRDWHISTELL: Good for the state. (Laugh)

BREATHITT: Well that's ultimately the most important thing about it, is it'll be good for the state, to not just spending all their time-- state's sick and tired of that. They want--and I hope that Patton will reach out and reach out for Republicans and--to--like, well like Cooper reached out to the Democrats, and made it easy for them to be a part of 00:39:00it. And reach out for Republican leadership in the legislature and-- well, that's a long diatribe--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I appreciate you sharing that with us.

BREATHITT: --maybe leap-frogged a whole lot of history. (Laugh- -Birdwhistell)

KLOTTER: It's all history, as they say.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's all connected. That's what so interesting about your connection between the sixties and the nineties. You know, that's very--very important, I think.

KLOTTER: In fact, I was thinking of that when you were talking about Ben Chandler's connection with the counties. I read somewhere that, back in `59 I guess, right after Combs had won that, before he took office, that you and Dick--Dick Winston were--had a suite at the Seelbach and you were supposed to meet county leaders there. Is that--what--what happened at that--in those situations?

BREATHITT: Well, now what year are you talking about? Right after he won?


BREATHITT: Yeah, we--we did meet with the county leaders, and I of course had been very active in--you're talking about the `59 race?



BREATHITT: I had been very active and Dicks, ----------(??) Bert and he was the advance man setting up a lot of the stuff, but I had been very active in working in `59 at the county level. Clements ran the whole show. And Bob Martin and Dave Francis were really Clements' lieutenants. They were the campaign chairmen. Clements had no named position, but he ran it. And Clements sent me to the First District and I spent all my time working with the county leaders in the First Congressional District. He sent Wendell Ford to the Second Congressional District. He--Clements picked out somebody to send to each Dem- --district that were his eyes and ears. And--and then I would--quite often, I didn't have a room and Clements would--would--when we were in town, he'd have us spend the night with him. And he'd walk the room and--and talk and ask all kinds of questions about everything 00:41:00in each one of these counties 'cause Clements was a consummate county politician. And he would drain us dry. And--and I learned a lot too, 'cause he would suggest probably what we ought to do and then Clements would meet delegations all the time up to headquarters from different counties, trying to put 'em together, trying to siphon off from the Waterfield side--strength. And divide the enemy and then try to keep the warring factions on our side from getting mad at--if one faction didn't get control, and their enemy did get control, that was a masterful job that Clements did. But I did--but and then, after the election, we did meet with those people because they--they'd been out under Chandler and they all wanted to come in and they all wanted jobs and--and Combs didn't wanna listen to everyone of 'em, you know. 00:42:00(Laugh--Birdwhistell) I mean, he wanted to get his administration put together. So he had, Dicks, Winston and me and--and--and others of these people that were out over--that had responsibilities for meeting with these county delegations. They all had a long list of who's gonna run things now for four years. And--and what jobs were we gonna get? And that sort of--the old patronage stuff, see. That was 'fore the merit system except in certain--and--and historically, what they'd do is--is fire all the real politicians, and all the county maintenance crews, and all the people that worked in the counties, other than economic security as they called it in those days. And--and Fish & Wildlife and--and mental health--a few of those had federal money and were required to have their own merit system. But most--most of state government wasn't--it was the spoils system and patronage. And so we had to meet with these people and get their lists of wants and--


[End Tape #1, Side #1]

[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]

BIRDWHISTELL: In the final analysis--

BREATHITT: In the final analysis, Clements was deci- --he decided all the highway jobs, and--and he--and then of course, Combs wanted all of us who--who really took our--our political leadership and instruction from Clements but we're ideologically bound to Combs, everyone of us. Combs agreed on everyone of us that--that headed these districts. And I was really bound to Combs. And--and 'course, several of us had gotten Combs and Wilson Wyatt to agree to put a merit system in. I'd always been for one. And--and Combs then got me to agree to be Personnel Commissioner which had never entered my mind, and I really 00:44:00didn't wanna do.

BIRDWHISTELL: What--what made you be for a --a merit system when, in fact, you saw how the patronage system worked. Did you think it didn't work well for the state or the for the party?

BREATHITT: Oh, it goes back to the University of Kentucky, Dr. Tom Clark, but mainly Jack Reeves--


BREATHITT: --political science, who was a political reformer. And I had a--two or three classes under Jack Reeves and I'd worked with Tom Clark, Dr. Tom Clark and Jack Reeves on constitutional reform, and had headed that campaign in 1946. And that was the year of the Senate race and--they had pointed out, and Dr. Gladys Kammerer was on the U.K. campus and she was political science, and she had been one of the 00:45:00great advocates of doing away with the spoils system. The tremendous loss of motion and the cost to the state of firing half the people in the state and then putting in the other half for a four-year stint. Now, of course, a lot of 'em were just in four years and out four years, and then back in four years,--(Laugh)--but she pushed it. And then when I went to the legislature in 1952, there was a legislator from here, Bart Peak, who headed the--the Y.M.C.A. and was a political reformer. And he came to me and said, "Gladys Kammerer and Jack Reeves said--I'm gonna introduce the merit system bill and they suggested I contact you to see if you'll co-sponsor it with me." Well, I was a brand-new freshman and didn't know much about the way the legislature worked in those days, and so I did. And when we introduced it, that's the last time we ever saw that bill (Laugh) Never saw the light of day. 00:46:00And so we re-introduced it in `54 and people like Lennie McLaughlin with the Louisville organization built on patronage or Doc Beecham who had been a factional patronage leader, they--and their allies killed it better than a doornail. Now, Wetherby was basically a reformer. But Wetherby was a product of the Louisville organization and he wasn't gonna cross Lennie McLaughlin and Johnny Crimmins(??) And so Wetherby just looked the other way and let 'em bottle it up in committee. And- -and then I--but we then formed a group of rebels during the Chandler years and we pushed the merit system. It never passed. 'Cause Chandler loved the whole system 'cause, you know, all of his friends got the jobs, and--(Laugh--Birdwhistell)--and the Grim Reaper would go through and out would go the Clements-Combs people--(Laugh)--and the-- Clements-Wetherby people in those days. And--and then he would let 'em 00:47:00in one at a time. Now a few of the people on the other side, if they'd side an oath of allegiance in blood to him, then he'd let 'em in. And- -but that was it. He laughed at us. Said "I'm gonna fire everybody and then I'm gonna let 'em back in one at a time. We're gonna have a loyal, honest, God-fearing administration. (Laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: But by the time of the Combs Administration, the political climate had changed to the point that this was now an acceptable alternative to the spoils system.

BREATHITT: What happened was, is that there were a group of people in the legislature that came up with a reform agenda and platform: John Breckinridge in Lexington; Foster Ockerman in Lexington; Cecil Sanders down at Lancaster; myself; Harry Caudill from Letcher County. There were a large number of people in the `56 session that fought Chandler 00:48:00and came up with a platform called the Rebel's Platform. Paul Ford Davis was another one--who was at Morehead University and later down at Western--was one of those in the legislature. Harry King Loman. And we worked real hard and what we did was, we provided the opposition to the Chandler agenda. About half of us were for sales tax, instead of Happy's income tax, and I introduced an amendment which really got 'em tied up all day long to substitute Chandler's tax bill, which was a combination of little taxes and a slight increase in the income tax. And--everything but the title had substituted an increased in sales- -or--not an increase, but a sales tax. And Waterfield had to come over 00:49:00and sit by the speaker of the house to unravel it parliamentarily to keep it from coming to a vote. But we had preliminary votes and we'd get about forty votes for it. John Y. Brown was--Senior was in that. Made a great speech about Garibaldi and his legions, and "--We're gonna lead the legions--" and "--the sales tax is a lot easier than cutting tobacco and picking cotton down in the purchase, and we can pick these tourists coming through,--(Laugh)--and let them pay for our government." But he--he was on our side, just because it was a popular sort of--and he believed a lot of these things. But we then got Combs and--Wyatt had come out with a very ambitious reform and liberal platform in the three-man race: Wyatt, Combs and Waterfield. And 00:50:00when they got together, Wyatt--and Wyatt agreed to run for lieutenant governor in the Staniford(??) Motel. And that was when Clements and Dave Francis, who's Wyatt's--Wyatt's chairman--and Bob Martin who was Combs' chairman, they agreed to come up with a platform and then all of the old rebels. Combs and Wyatt got us together, and they came out and adopted a platform which included a merit system for state employees publicly, and ran on it. So they were committed to it and we had all urged it. But see, we had gotten it all fired up in that `56 session and the newspapers thought it was great, you know, and thought the rebel platform was great, as they would. The editorial board would love that. And--and it gave some momentum.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, it's the momentum that sort of carried it then into this race.

BREATHITT: It carried it into that race and--


BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. And then once the promise was made, I guess--

BREATHITT: Well, once the promise was made, then they could say, well we ran on it, and the people elected us. And--and then they--asked me to be Personnel Commissioner. And as "Prich" said, laughingly, "So you could go in there and fire all those Chandler- --rites" as he called him, "and hire all the "Combs-ites," and then lock 'em in with the merit system." (Laughter) And course that was the argument they used with Beecham and--and Lennie McLaughlin, but Lennie never bothered--

BIRDWHISTELL: He never thought that was quite--

BREATHITT: Doc didn't either. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) And--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, it is kind of funny when you think about it. I mean, the--I don't know if it's ironic; it's funny that--you know, here you are in a room dividing up the jobs, helping divide up the jobs for the new Combs Administration, and yet you're the transition person 00:52:00into this kind of new way of doing government. So I guess that there's no other way to do that in a sense. I mean, it's gotta have this transition and you were the guy, right?

BREATHITT: Well, I was one of the guys. I wasn't "the guy." I was just one of the guys.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, but in your position, you were--

BREATHITT: Yeah, but he used--Combs and Clements really used each one of us that had worked with these counties, and putting together the organization and--and incurred the obligations. And they all talked jobs, you know. When you'd get in a motel room with these folks, they talk jobs and who's gonna be the contact man. And that's the way politics worked.

BIRDWHISTELL: It wasn't political philosophy, right? (Laugh)

BREATHITT: Uh-uh. No, it sure wasn't. And it was power and control in jobs, and prestige, you know. To be the contact person, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right--

BREATHITT: You were a big person in the county.


BREATHITT: Particularly in the rural counties.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, absolutely.

BREATHITT: And to get a job on the maintenance crew, which wasn't any 00:53:00great job, in--in small, rural counties, was big-time. And--and you had control over building of the rural roads, the state ro- --rural secondary system and--and people were trying to get out of the mud and get a gravel road, or maybe a blacktop road, was big time in rural Kentucky in those days. Yeah, but--it gave us an opportunity to do it, and then 'course John Breckinridge was Attorney General. And I worked with John, and with Gladys Kammerer, and the Civil Service administration, and Jack Reeves--Professor Jack Reeves in drafting legislation. And we got the national Civil Service administration people down to help us and then we also had models from economic 00:54:00security which had one that had been accepted by the federal government to go on. And--and--and then, you see, just before Chandler left, he put in a merit system by executive order, and--and Bill Nave(??) was the--was the Personnel Commissioner then, and Bill was for it. And he had seen how the old system was bad, and--and--and he had a solid group of people that I inherited that were in the bureaucracy, in the merit system, that really had a strong classification system, a strong testing system that had been set up and started under the executive order. They had six months and they were determined to get it moving. These people were committed to it. So when I came in, much to my surprise, I had some outstanding people, I kept everyone 00:55:00of 'em, including Ed Henry who was the top career fellah over there. Well, we made them career--they weren't career--and Pat Miller, and Harold Newton, and Gladys Truax, and the whole bunch of those people that I--grew very close to--all of whom I inherited from the Chandler administration and I didn't fire a one of 'em. The only--I fired one drone that I kept seeing sitting around the outer office everyday. And I said, "Can I see you and talk to you?" And I said, "Who are you?" He says, "Oh, I work here." (Laughter) And I says, "Come on in." And he told me who he was. Well, I had heard of him. He was a notorious political precinct packer, and a fellah that could carry the--float precincts in Franklin County and I said--I said to him,--(Laugh)--I 00:56:00said, well--I said, you know, "Doc, I can't keep you here." And he said, "I know; I've had a free ride, but I've lasted thirty days under you and I didn't think I'd last a one." (Laughter)

BIRDWHISTELL: He wasn't even trying to hide.

BREATHITT: No--he was funny as he could be. He had never showed up for work or done a thing. He'd just been a drone on--on the payroll. And you can't do that anymore now. And he--he said, "I have to admit, I haven't done any heavy lifting for you." (Laughter)

KLOTTER: Well, one of the--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's funny--

KLOTTER: --the things in connection with the patronage was the--the assessments of the people who worked in the administration, in political campaigns and that was also made a felony in the Combs 00:57:00Administration. Was there much discussion about that?

BREATHITT: Oh yeah. The--there was strong opposition. Combs endorsed it, but he didn't waste his energies. He says, "Now look, you're an experienced legislator; you've been through this thing. I'll endorse it, as I did in the campaign, but your job is to draft it, write it, get it introduced, and pass it." Well, you know, I--I knew I'd draft it; I already had the bill we had introduced every time, but then we modified and exchanged it. And so I really had the job of putting the coalition together to pass it. And I got some help from Waterfield because under the Chandler-Waterfield administration that executive order had been passed. And Waterfield was--was basically, in his early political career, he was always on the reform side and had the 00:58:00editorial support of the Courier in his race against Clements, for example, in `47. So with Waterfield in the chair, I didn't get any opposition; in fact, he was supportive of it. And--and he had always pretty much been an outsider except for that four years. He been a voice in the wilderness, a very powerful one. And--but he--he had not realized his ambitions to be governor and he supported me on it. And my fall-out with Waterfield came later. And--and in the very early days, that was one of the things he had--had helped--in the background, had helped us pass. 'Cause see, even--as--having lost to Combs, he still had a great influence as the fellow who ran on that side of the party, and so he sent the word out, and I--I got him to help us. And of course, Wyatt, sitting in the chair, was an astute, able person, 00:59:00and Wyatt was strong for it. And the interesting thing is, he was a product of Miss Lennie, and Johnny Crimmins(??), and the Louisville organization. But he went all out for it. Combs--Combs was for it, but he had his own agenda. He had to pass a--a vote for sales tax, and he had to do a lot of tough lifting. And he says, "You take it and run with it; I'll be for it, but you're gonna have to--you're gonna have to get it passed." But that's all I needed because I--I knew all the people in the legislature; I'd been--served with most of 'em. And--and I knew that--where the votes were. They just kept us from ever getting it to a vote. We had a lot of young people that had grown up--a lot of 'em that was disciples of Jack Reeves, and Gladys Kammerer, and Tom Clark, and all those people at the University of Kentucky, that 01:00:00saw here's our chance. And--so they were--it was a new breed of--of legislators and--and--so, we got it passed. And now we had to work hard at it, but I was the point man on--on actually lining the votes up. Now the leadership was for us, but they were carrying a heavy load on Combs' program, that he thought was mainly education and sales tax. And--and he had a lot of other things in his program too.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, you--you're mentioning that U.K. connection. You don't hear that part of it very much, that connection right back to the university, and these political scientists, and historians, and how important that was to the thinking of a lot of your generation.

BREATHITT: Oh, there's no question about it. We were a product of it. But they were, you know, you had similar experiences at the other 01:01:00regional institutions. There were--there were young people that were- -that grew from those 'cause, you know, a guy like Arthur Lloyd was a political reformer, and taught both at--at Eastern and at Morehead. And--and higher education had a great influence on developing an educated group of people that saw the need for political reform in the state. And I don't think we could have done it, if we didn't have that group in there. But it really centered at the University of Kentucky. And--we had such a strong history department, such a strong political science department. I think they were two of the strongest departments we had at the university in those years, in the post-war years. And just before the post-war years. Jasper Shannon was another one of those that was very active in that. He left us and went to Nebraska, 01:02:00and headed the political science department out there.

KLOTTER: One of the things that you mentioned was the sales tax issue. And there was a debate about whether it should be a one percent tax, three percent tax, and so forth. Were you in on that debate? And do you have any advice on it?

BREATHITT: Well, of course, I was a strong supporter of the sales tax. Had--had been in the legislature, and had led that fight in 1956. And that effort to--in fact, I started out--before I ran for the legislature, before the Farm Bureau I made a speech as a new lawyer in Hopkinsville. They had a luncheon every month. And I--I got--used a quote from the president of the University of Kentucky and--and he wrote this book--well, it's a great line, "You can't have a great state without a great university." And--and--I used that and I carried 01:03:00it one step farther: we can't have a great state without a strong educational system, I said. And we can't have a strong educational system unless we're funded; there's only one way to go, and that's with the three percent sales tax. And that was to a bunch of farmers-- (Laugh--Birdwhistell)--Farm Bureau. And I remember the county judge was there, and he says, "Well, if you ever thought about having a political career, you just ended it today." (Laugh) And the school superintendent looked at me with fire in his eyes, and said, "I wanna be for you as my candidate for the legislature." And he backed me, and I had to run against, then, the majority leader who had carried--he'd--he'd incurred the wrath of the school people when they had the march on Frankfort. And Bob Martin, of course, led that march and--(Laugh)--so it started 01:04:00then. And it carried on. I'd always been for sales tax, but I was in on it, yeah. But Combs deserves the credit for--with coming up for the idea for a veteran's bonus, funded by sales tax.

BIRDWHISTELL: That was his idea?

BREATHITT: That was his idea and--and Combs has an advantage of being- -he was a historian, too, and he loved to read history. And he loved to read political histories of great figures in western civilization, mainly. And that was his idea, to tie it to a veteran's bonus. And he knew that veteran's bonuses were--always popular sort of thing. (Laugh) He said--and all the veterans organizations been pushing for 'em for a long time. Never getting it, so--but he knew that it would cost 'em a lot of money initially, but they'd get it into law and under-gird the education system. Wetherby never would back us when--in 01:05:00the `52 session--and in the `54 session because he could remember as a young politician, the Ruby Laffoon sales tax had givin' rise to Chandler's victory. He ran against the sales tax and he didn't wanna touch it. And Clements didn't wanna touch it 'cause that was the old Clements side. He was on the Laffoon side of the part, Tom Rhea side of the party, as was Wetherby. And they just saw it as a kiss of death politically.

BIRDWHISTELL: So did Clements argue against it within the Combs Administration?

BREATHITT: Yeah, he did. Combs withstood it and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Gonna say, that'd be a tough win to stand up against, wouldn't it?

BREATHITT: Well--once Combs got in power, then Combs was surrounded by a bunch of people that didn't want Clements to be the dominant 01:06:00factor, plus a governor's ego doesn't like to see a power center that everybody gravitates to, instead of to him. And--but Clements did not philosophically have a problem with it, because his side had put it in. Ruby Laffoon had passed it.

KLOTTER: Oh, that's true.

BREATHITT: And so he had no philosophical problems with it. It--he just saw the political risks and he saw Chandler sitting out there, waiting to run--(Laugh--Birdwhistell)--the next go-round in `63. And had signs up everywhere: "ABC in `63", had a headquarters downtown in Frankfort. "ABC in `63" and Clements, at that time, wanted to not get kicked out again, and so he was--he was cautious, I'd say, is a better word. And was not an enthusiastic supporter of it, although he had no philosophical problems with it.


KLOTTER: Do you think Clements and Combs would have broken some time during the administration, even without the truck deal?

BREATHITT: Yes. Clements--that--the people like Bill May and Louis Cox and Lawrence Wetherby wanted to be the strongest influence in the Combs Administration. Clements always turned to Joe Leary who had been his palace lawyer. Joe Leary's always on the Chandler side, but Joe Leary was a very loyal Clements man. And they didn't want the influence of Joe Leary and Clifford Smith, which was the strong law firm eclipsing Hazelrig & Cox as a strong law firm. That--that got Louis strongly against Clements. Bill May--'course is a--was a big highway engineer, 01:08:00and--and Clements was a difficult guy for him to deal with. They both had such strong personalities. And--and--and he didn't want--he was very close to Combs, but--because of their Floyd County backgrounds. And so--well, I can't put Wetherby in that, because Wetherby was always loyal to Clements, who was his lieutenant governor. It was mainly Cox and Bill May in the power struggle for influence in the Combs administration--were a divisive force that kept driving 'em apart and--and then the truck deal. Probably there wouldn't have been an open split without the truck deal, and Combs' statement after--after Clements resigned, but there would have been tension and division all 01:09:00through the administration in the power struggle around the governor, as there is around any leader in history. It's just a difficult thing. The palace guard always fights the other sources of power. And--and- -but you see, on Clements' side was--was--in--in that early two years of the Combs Administration, early year of the Combs administration, was Ed Prichard. Ed Prichard was very close to Clements. When Ed got into difficulty and went to prison for four months, Earle Clements would call his wife, Lucy, regularly. Just supportive, very concerned about Ed, and Clements had, as Combs had, had recognized his brilliance and used him. Both of them used him as a resource and it was very 01:10:00interesting how Clements had--and so Ed never did line up with Bill May and Louis Cox and that crowd because he felt their interest in politics was to benefit the law firm or to benefit the engineering firm. And "Prich" was an idealogue and philosopher. And all he wanted a law practice for was enough so he could exist. I mean, he--he had no interest in money. The thing that turned him on was political power and ideas and philosophies and an opportunity to be on the inside of it, help make it happen. That was what motivated him. So it was a situation that I think--was a clear division within the Combs' faction and was a real problem for Combs. Keeping all--everybody on board. 01:11:00And--and he handled it pretty well--and 'course when he gave Clements what at that time was the big job, Commissioner of Highways in the administration, and Bob Martin, who had become a big Clements man, was Commissioner of Finance. Clements had had a big influence on getting people all saturated--placed within the government. So he was the dominant power. And that does rub the hide of a governor pretty thin. I mean, the ego gets bruised by that.


BREATHITT: ----------(??)

BIRDWHISTELL: --I'm sorry, go ahead. The ego gets bruised--

BREATHITT: Well, I think I pretty well covered that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I didn't mean to interrupt you, I was just--

BREATHITT: But I don't--I don't think--I think it would have been thing that Combs would have had to endure for four years. But once Clements was gone and Combs was the boss, there was no other force. And--except 01:12:00for Wyatt. And Wyatt, to his great credit, was totally supportive during those four years. And--and took the whole area of economic development and--and--and did an outstanding job with it. And Combs just turned it over to him. He totally ran it. And Combs took the other things. But Wyatt was not--never tried to set up a counterforce of his own that was a threat to Combs. [Phone Rings] And--

BIRDWHISTELL: I was thinking that, you know, in that first year of the administration, was there a time when you were in the office with Governor Combs, or maybe over in the mansion, and you and he were sitting there talking and he just was sort of mulling over this problem with Clements? Did that--was that the kind of way it played out? Where he would talk to you about it, or talk to somebody else about it? About--

BREATHITT: No, he never did--

BIRDWHISTELL: --Earle's getting--Earle's gonna wear me out with this 01:13:00stu- --

BREATHITT: Oh, it'd just come as little asides, you know. Just a little asides. But it was just so obvious to all of us that were on the inside and in the cabinet, that the administration was pretty well divided between the Cox-Wetherby side and the--or rather the Cox-May side, and the Clements side. And Clements, you know, had so many people that he--and is close to his senator, his congressman or his governor.


BREATHITT: That they were the natural side that came in and--and--and filled the ranks.

BIRDWHISTELL: So how--how did you play the--how did--how did--you know, Governor--

BREATHITT: I was a Combs loyalist, but I also admired Clements very much so I--I was just was--like Ed Prichard. I mean, we maintained close ties with both of 'em and I think of us tried to be peacemakers in 01:14:00the--in the thing. I never did line up on one side against the other. I--I felt that they both had a role to play and I knew so well what Clements had meant. Number one, Combs would not have lost; it'd have been a three-man race if Clements hadn't engineered the merger between Combs and Wyatt, and secondly, he was a master at putting together and mobilizing a challenge to an incumbent administration and--He was there seven days a week. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) I mean, he--he was--he was just in that hotel, running the whole daggone show. It was --it was his campaign. He was the architect of Combs' victory. And Combs had had such a weak headquarters in `55, and he had such a masterful headquarters that Combs tried to--to honor that obligation to Clements. 01:15:00First people to have dinner with he and Mable in the governor's mansion were--were Earle Clements and Sarah. And--and I--it would have lasted three, four years. It would have lasted three, four years without the truck deal.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now early in this administration, would Governor--did Governor Clements ever call you over to his office and say--

BREATHITT: Well as Personnel Commissioner, I had to work closely with him.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, did he ever call you over there just to talk about--"Now are you with me on this?" or--


BIRDWHISTELL: --he didn't try to pin you down(??)--

BREATHITT: No. No. Publicly, he was--publicly, he was very correct and supportive of--of Combs, as Combs was to Earle. Now I never was called over in an effort to line up against the other. That--that never happened by either one against the other. There were just little 01:16:00comments that would be made, and I did hear--but I was with Earle all the time 'cause Earle couldn't stand a drone. And--and when we'd get requests from political leaders to hire somebody and wanted to in the Highway Department, Clements says, "We're not gonna do it. Fellah won't work; I know him." (Laugh--Birdwhistell) And he--he wanted people that would work and would--and he wouldn't hire a drone. Clements just hated drones. And he'd been that way his whole political career. And- -he was a pragmatist in politics and he got trapped into that deal on the truck deal which was not his. It was Thruston Cook who'd been Finance 01:17:00Chairman in the fall campaign. John Watts was chairman. And Thruston Cook had sold Watts a bill of goods on these trucks that he owned and- -they sold Wilson a bill--Wilson would never have done anything off- color in his life. But Thruston Cook was a big leader in Louisville. I mean, he had been one of those who helped talked him into being Finance Chairman in the campaign, and Watts knew how to use the Finance Chairman in the campaign and raised a pile of money and had--and--and so, when it came time to honor the commitment that Watts had made with Thruston, they sent it over to Clements and Bob Martin ducked it. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) It really was a big part of his responsibility 01:18:00and--and Clements was trying to figure out a way that they could do legally--he--Clements wanted to honor the obligation, but Clements was having an awful hard time figuring out how he could use those trucks, and how he could do it legally. And then, of course, the press and the political opposition got into it at that time, and--and they cancelled the truck deal. And--and--and then Clements at that time was very much interested in going to the national campaign to have--help Lyndon Johnson. And when Dick Harwood would asked that question of--of Combs at the press conference, announcing that Clements had--had resigned and that Henry Ward was gonna be named the Highway Commissioner, Harwood asked Combs that question and said, "If Clements hadn't resigned, would you have fired Clements over the--over the truck deal?" And Clements-- 01:19:00and Combs said, "No comment," that infuriated--that infuriated--that was the most unfortunate two words that Combs ever said. And it infuriated the people in the campaign, including "Prich." "Prich" wouldn't speak to Combs for a month. He said, they said, "Are you--have you broken with the administration?" and he said, "No, I'm just mustering in a different squad." That was--that was "Prich's" answer 'cause they knew what Clements had done, and then I was on that plane trip. They had a big birthday party for Clements the day that all those stories hit the paper. And I was flying down to it. I was, at that time, involved in the fall campaign and Clements was working hard for Kennedy-Johnson and I was running the--the constitutional convention campaign with Marlow 01:20:00Cook, a bipartisan effort. And I got on the plane and hitched a ride with Combs and Clements to go down to Morganfield for this big birthday celebration that J. R. Miller, and Clyde Watson, and a bunch were putting on for him. It was a great big deal. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) And boy, Clements was there sitting alone on a bench out of Bowman Field, and I remember we flew in a Aero Command and had four little seats, two facing the other two. Clements sat on one side, and I was sitting on there with Combs. 'Course Clements was a big man, you know, and Combs wasn't. There was more room on that side. (Laugh-- Birdwhistell) And Clements had a file and he pulled it out, said, "I'm gonna read this to you, Governor." And there were a bunch of clippings that gave Clements major credit for Combs' election. Editorial 01:21:00and analysts after the election that really gave him the credit for engineering the victory. And he says, "Now, I've got an other file here, Governor, that I wanna read to you," and he read to him Harwood's article. And the terrible cartoon in the "Courier-Journal". 'Course the Courier hated him 'cause they knew he had undermined Wyatt. And-- and they'd been for Waterfield. They'd never been for Clements and--and there was a cartoon, a Haynie cartoon belittling Clements about running out of the water 'cause the water was too hot--because of the truck deal which--that, and the Harwood story, and the failure of Combs to defend him infuriated him and what he called Combs at that time, I just sat there with my mouth shut and watched history play before me. And 01:22:00Combs didn't say anything. He just listened to--to what Clements said, which basically said that, "This is the basest form of ingratitude, for not defending me. You know this truck deal was my--my deal. You know this--how this was engineered and--I'm not in any way a guilty party and anything I was trying to do was to accomplish, to see if there was any way that we could use those trucks on a basis that was proper for the Commonwealth." And that--and says, "I didn't--I didn't make the commitment, and I was not prepared to do what Cook wanted done," 01:23:00and he says, "You should have defended me." And that was a split from that moment on that was never repaired. Caused Clements to be for Chandler against me because I was--I was Combs' hand-picked candidate, and as Clements told me when I tried to get him for me, he says, "I'd have no respect for you if you didn't honor your commitment to Combs politically. I think political obligations are obligations that should be honored,"--(Laugh)--and--

BIRDWHISTELL: He enjoyed--

BREATHITT: --he said--he said, "But I can't--I cannot accept the fact that Combs will be the strong voice in your administration." And-- and--and--and I spent the night with him. Got--next morning, he got up, cooked my breakfast and it was all pleasantries, talking about the 01:24:00campaign and other things. I went on my way. (Laugh) And--and that was the way it happened. And he did everything he could to beat me. It wasn't against me. It was a way to--to get back at Combs.


BIRDWHISTELL: After Governor Clements on the airplane sort of--well, let me change the tape while we're--

[End Tape #1, Side #2]

[Begin Tape #2, Side #1]

BIRDWHISTELL: During that conversation on the--on the airplane, did--did Governor Combs have any defense of what he had done? Did he--

BREATHITT: He just sat there and listened to it.

BIRDWHISTELL: He didn't try to--

BREATHITT: I think Combs was wise not to get into a real discussion. Nothing he could have said would have helped the situation in that little, captive situation. And he knew what he would say might be incendiary or--or--and so he just sat there. At the birthday 01:25:00celebration, they called on Combs and he got up and made a very glowing tribute to Clements and his record. And Clements just sat there stonily. I watched him, you know. And--and some of the real Clements--very close people, but people putting on the celebration, you know, had--had 'em all up on the platform. Called on him 'cause his role was to pay tribute to Clements, which he did at that time. But it fell on deaf ears. I mean, Clements never forgot it, and--and--now "Prich" kept things in perspective. He hated it--he thought that Combs was wrong but he also knew that Combs was going to be, in his eyes, a force for progress in Kentucky. And he was not gonna throw that away. And--and be a negative so he would--he continued to--he-- he--he always defended Clements in a conversation. He always defended 01:26:00Clements and--and if pressed, would say that Combs was wrong, but that didn't cause the split. And he was very loyal to Combs and Combs continued to use "Prich" as a source, a resource for advice throughout his administration. And they remained close because they were both intellectual. Combs could--could discuss things at a level, as Wyatt could, with "Prich." And "Prich" was close to Wyatt too. And he--he liked Wyatt very much. And liked the Binghams very much.

KLOTTER: Did you ever have the opportunity to go back to Clements and try to soothe the feelings of--

BREATHITT: Oh yes. I got 'em together for a meeting in Washington, some twenty years later. I talked Combs into meeting with Clements, going to his office and trying to patch it up. And I had lunch with Clements 01:27:00and I said would you see Combs? And he was mellower then and he agreed to, and I was gonna come to pick up Combs. And I noticed when they were walking out, they were very amiable and talking together. And from that time on, it wasn't the bitterness on Clements' part that he never reconciled with Combs. It just got to the point that that--that they neither one would say anything. Combs never would say anything ever. I mean, I never heard Combs say anything. Just said, "I'm sorry that Earle and I fell out." He--that's about all he'd ever say. 'Cause I think Combs realized that it was a very unfortunate remark and he didn't then try to--then cook up some justification, or he never tried to lay the blame for the truck deal on Clements after that. I 01:28:00mean--in my presence. People would talk to him about it, and--but I tried hard because I--when I was in Washington, I'd see Clements regularly. We'd have lunch together or dinner together. Particularly in the first years I was there. He was very helpful to me, because he knew Washington inside and out. Was a master lobbyist, and he and I hit it off well. And--and I stayed a close friend of Clements' until his death. And he knew I was. And he knew that I always--'cause I knew enough about what had happened in that--unfolded in the truck deal to know that he was more of a victim in that. It wasn't anything 01:29:00he engineered. Thruston Cook and--John Watts--I don't know that John Watts ever saw through it, but he didn't worry about it. John Watts wanted to raise the money ,and--and Thruston Cook gave him a heck of a big campaign contribution, and--and then Watts left--(Laugh)--and went back to Washington. Bob Martin saw through it and he--he ran the other way. He wasn't gonna touch it. And--and Clements wound up with it 'cause it was a highway situation.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Do you think that--then that Governor Combs' remark at that news conference was just a miscalculation about how that would sound? Or does it--just something he said--I mean, he just hadn't thought through? What --what a response would--

BREATHITT: The Courier--he was so close to the Courier and he was close--not an intimate of Wyatt's, but close to Wyatt, 'cause Wyatt 01:30:00was so supportive. And the Courier in that whole truck thing was making Clements the devil and they were laying it on him, and--and the cartoons and the whole deal, because the Courier had never supported it. They were very critical during this administration. And I think that he made a thoughtless political response, not to alienate the Courier, and I think he regretted it 'til the--'til the last day of his life, just those two words, "No comment." And in response to Dick Harwood who was the "Louisville Times's" political supporter, and he couldn't--he couldn't call 'em back--


BREATHITT: And--and saying nice things about Clements at that birthday party--then it got so bitter that he ali- --was always allied with 01:31:00the Courier, and the Binghams, and Mark Ethridge, who--who was a very strong power there, and--that he just never did. And plus his--he was very close to John Ed Pearce--

BIRDWHISTELL: I was gonna say--

BREATHITT: --he was on the editorial board--

BIRDWHISTELL: --yeah, what role did John Ed have?

BREATHITT: --and Clements had gotten John Ed one time, who had written an editorial really blasting Clements when he was governor. He got John Ed and was banging him against the marble walls of the Capitol, but John Ed said, "My head was bouncing like a bas- --basketball against that marble." (Laughter) John Ed laughs about it, but Clements, you know, hated John Ed, and he didn't like the Binghams and--and that, you know, contingent. And Combs wasn't about to take a side, I think, that would have alienated the Binghams, 'cause you were either--now they were either--you were either a Clements man or not.



BREATHITT: Yeah, they were strong, the Courier was. And--and--and 'course they had really gone all out to elect Wilson. And that group, from the fact that Wilson had been Stevenson's campaign chairman, and Barry Bingham was the press secretary for that--in that campaign. And Wilson and Barry were so close. He was the attorney for the Courier, and--and--and they felt that Wilson should have been governor. And would have been if it hadn't been for Clements. That's not true in my opinion. In a three-man race, Waterfield would have been governor. And--I think that had an--an influence, but I think if Combs could have recalled those two words, he would have.

BIRDWHISTELL: But from your perspective, having said that--from your perspective, I think Jim alluded to this earlier in a sense that ever 01:33:00how unfortunate the so-called truck scandal was, did that then open up a way for Combs to be a better governor in the long run?

BREATHITT: Oh, I think it did. Because he was the--he was totally in charge. Combs was totally in charge. The Clements' loyalists--except for Joe Leary who was always on Chandler's side, except when he was a strong supporter of Clements--see, Smith, Reed and Leary were lined up with Clements and during his administration, and Louis Cox was really on the outside, during the Clements administration as Governor. But they--had been outside during the Wetherby Administration. Had been in with Chandler and--but then they split in my race, and it broke up the law firm. Clifford Smith went with me. Joe Leary went with Chandler- 01:34:00-in `63. And they--they couldn't do that, and--and so to their credit, you know, these law firms that split like that, lose their credibility. You either--you gotta pick a side and rise or fall with that side in Frankfort. (Laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: You can't be jumping from ----------(??)--

BREATHITT: Well, you can't straddle. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) I mean, in- -and if you straddle, you get the leavings. (Laugh) If it--if it--as far as influence in the administration. You take your chances. It's like betting on a horse race. But--yes, I think that in the long run, it made Combs a stronger governor because, one, the Courier remained- -remained very strong supporters. In those days, the Lexington paper 01:35:00was not a major influence. They had--Herald had a--Herndon Evans had a--only wrote editorials, he didn't run it. Fred Wachs ran it. The Leader was basically Republican, but they weren't strident editorials, either paper. The Courier was the activist paper that covered the entire state.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. The circulation--

BREATHITT: Yeah, and they would circulate in counties when they lost money going in those counties, 'cause the Binghams wanted to be a statewide paper. And they had the money, they could afford some loss leaders, and they were so dominant as a force in the state. And Combs of course--continued to have their strong support. Now that didn't mean they wouldn't jump on him some. They always do that to maintain their credibility. Have things that they differ with him, but not on the basics--not basically. They were for him. And yes, he was stronger. He then put in Henry Ward who had the strong backing of the 01:36:00Courier and all the reform elements in the state, and he was tough, and he was strong, and he did the job with the Highway Department that he had done with the Parks Department and Conservation Department. And--and--so he really didn't lose a lot in having a strong leadership over at the Highway Department with Ward, as opposed to Clements. Now Ward had wound up as a Clements disciple, and--and so a lot of the--and Ward continued a close relationship, a friendship with Clements when Clements back to Washington and became the maritime lobbyist and then the tobacco lobbyist, and they remained close until the end.

BIRDWHISTELL: So Clements didn't resent Henry Ward going in and filling his--


BIRDWHISTELL: --his chair?

BREATHITT: No. Well, because he knew he was a--able, tough guy that 01:37:00wasn't gonna tolerate corruption in the Highway Department, and historically, that's a place that you have to really be strong to keep from having corruption. And that--now the--the--the engineers, 'course that was still an area of patronage, and continued through my administration. But they charged the same thing that some anti-engineer would charge. They had a rate. It's not like a contract to building a road. There's where you really have to watch it, is--is--is the standards of--of the construction whether they put as much blacktop as the contract calls for, whether they put as much base as the contract calls for. Do they get the subsurface in the shape that it should be? Do they get a fair price for it? And so that's where Clements really had to look at it hard. Clements really didn't have a problem on the 01:38:00engineers because if they were competent engineers, they got the same thing that all of 'em did. They had a standard fee that they got. But that wasn't true with these road contractors and the blacktop people.

BIRDWHISTELL: Thinking of the--the relationship between the Combs Administration and the Courier, you know, you've always heard about- -these stories about John Ed Pearce. You know, he would write Combs' speech and then he'd go write the editorial. Now, give me your perspective on that, from a person who was there and watched that.

BREATHITT: It's true. (Laughter)

BIRDWHISTELL: Well explain that to me. I mean how--how--what--what--


BIRDWHISTELL: --was his role in that?

BREATHITT: --was a master in dealing with the press. He cultivated the press and he had with him Ed Prichard who was the main source of the press. (Laugh--Birdwhistell) "Prich" knew everything, and--and the investigative reporters, after the early great ones like Alan Trout or before him, Scoops Henderson, those people--but after that, the 01:39:00young ones, all of 'em, would go to "Prich." And "Prich" would tell 'em what was going on and give 'em leads. And "Prich" loved it. It was a little bit of his--his--his desire--and sometimes when he thought--he didn't agree with Combs, you know, he would leak things to them, and they'd pop old Combs on something, and "Prich" would just worked,--and Combs knew this. And Combs used "Prich" to help maintain a solid support from the press and Combs had--well, I had a good press. 'Cause I followed right along on that policy and I followed right along on that--and John Ed--Combs developed a very close friendship with John Ed Pearce, cultivated it, had him over all the time for dinner, and they would talk policy and would talk--and he got him into the parks things, 01:40:00which John Ed was really interested in, and Combs created a Parks Board--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

BREATHITT: --and appointed John Ed to it, and the Binghams didn't like that. At all. And they didn't--now, he went to Binghams and they agreed to let him write the speeches early on. But then they got very uneasy about that. He wrote--he had a hand in this inaugural address. He had a hand in his addresses to the legislature, the big-time speeches. And Combs just had a relationship with John Ed Pearce and with Paul Jordan, who headed the--the AP Bureau. And--and--and Paul was from the mountains. And--and with the guy that was the head of the United Press, Combs played tennis with him on the tennis court all the time. Combs cultivated the press and then he would give them little 01:41:00insides about a story and things. And he would not have an adversary. And once they popped him, he'd just laugh and have a little--he was a master dealing with the press. But he had two that were totally in his hand, was John Ed Pearce and Paul Jordan of the Associated Press. And--and he hired Ed Easterly who had been the head of the Associated Press as his press secretary.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

BREATHITT: And--which opened it up for Paul Jordan to be the head guy. And--and it ultimately was the downfall of Pearce as far as being an editorial writer. It finally just got to the point that they moved him in--did him the greatest favor in the world letting him be a major columnist because then he didn't have to hide behind an editorial. Nobody knew who wrote it, and he had so many more inches- -(Laugh)--in his weekly column, and it was a favor for John Ed. And 01:42:00then he--'course John Ed found the expression through KET and all of these features like "Kentucky 80" and the "Ohio River" and all these things he's done. But it was very close. I suspect John Ed was--and it developed, not only Combs just using him, but it developed into a very close friendship. Because John Ed was a thinker and he's funny. And he and Combs, even in the later years when he went up to Fern Hill, John Ed would go up on the weekends and stay with Bert and Sarah and--weekend after weekend. They were very close, but--but that's true. And--and John Ed laughs about it. I mean, I kid him about it. I'm close to John Ed, but nothing like Combs was.

BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Well I mean, here again, it's--all of you-all are of a similar generation, sort of--

BREATHITT: Oh yeah--

BIRDWHISTELL: --liberal Democrats--


BREATHITT: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --in a sense, in a sort of a same world view and that--and that--

BREATHITT: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I guess the--the surprising thing that, from my perspective, is that the Binghams would have allowed that at all. I mean, just not even the--you know, I--you'd think that they would be so concerned about their own prestige and position as newspaper people that they would not have allowed that all.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, it finally got to the point they didn't. They didn't like it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I read one story where John Ed was supposed to go to--down to Kentucky Lake for a meeting of this board he was appointed to--

BREATHITT: Parks Board.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and he put in--he put in for travel reimbursement and then everything blew up because--(Laugh)--here was this "Courier- Journal" guy going to the state Park Board meeting and wanting to know why--you know, was here there for the Courier? Was he there for the state? And 'course John Ed didn't--he wanted to get paid from both sides. (Laugh)

BREATHITT: Well, what happened was the Courier, in the earlier days, always had a--an inside with--well, from Henry Waterson on. They 01:44:00always played it pretty--pretty strong. They didn't have the arm's length role that they now have. And that the "Herald-Leader" has. They always picked a side and--and--and really sat at the council tables. Through somebody. Through somebody. And they later--but John Ed just carried it too far for 'em. They couldn't handle it. And it became a--a joke all over Kentucky, you know, and everybody got to laughing about it. And--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now I've heard some stories too about--involves Ed Prichard and John Ed living in an apartment in Frankfort. That a bunch of guys down there lived together during this--during this period?

BREATHITT: I don't remember that. That doesn't mean it isn't true.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I was just curious if you knew about that--


BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause there's a social side to all of this. It's not just political.

BREATHITT: Oh well--well--(Laugh--Birdwhistell)--Pearce and "Prich" were 01:45:00close and--but--as--every newspaperman was to "Prich."

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah that's what--

BREATHITT: "Prich"--and 'course you know, when my press secretary became editor of the Herald, "Prich" would write half his editorials. I could tell when they were a "Prich" editorial and when they were a Don Mills editorial. I mean, it was just so obvious the difference. And--and "Prich's"--and Don loved it, you know, that "Prich" would write these editorials. And he 'd get it 'cause that's all Don had to do was write editorials. Had no other duties at all. (Laugh) He's the editor of the Herald--Fred Wachs that ran the whole show, ran both papers. Everything except one editorial that ----------(??) required. The Democratic State Central Committee named the editor of the Herald. And--and that's how Don got his job. (Laugh) And--

BIRDWHISTELL: So when he got an editorial written for him, he had the 01:46:00week off, right? (Laugh)

BREATHITT: Well--well, did his daily job--

KLOTTER: I understand, I understand.

BREATHITT: He had to have about two or three editorials a day,-- (Laugh)--but "Prich" would write, oh, three or four a week, and--and it irritated the heck out of the establishment here in Lexington. 'Course they had had a little oligarchy that ran this town and the paper was a part of it. And Ed Dabney with the bank, and--and Fred Wachs, and Rasty Wright, and Hank Adams, and whoever was the mayor, they'd include in the little circle. And Happy would come in. They'd have lunch at the Idle Hour Country Club and--and the Keeneland--it--whoever was the head person at Keeneland. And they'd have lunch on Saturdays at the Country Club at Idle Hour and--and they would set around and they'd make policy. And Peterson of the University of Kentucky. Peterson sat 01:47:00in with 'em.

BIRDWHISTELL: Frank Peterson.

BREATHITT: Frank Peterson sat in with 'em. And Frank was such a dominant figure up until he got kicked out by Combs and Clifford Smith and that group from the university, which happened just before I got there. He was a dominant figure in the community and the university. But it's sure changed now. And the papers now are very arm's length and--they won't let anybody get too close to 'em. Either one of 'em.

BIRDWHISTELL: I wanna go back just for a minute to the social side of Frankfort, with--during the Combs' administration. Young people, you know, in the early sixties and in power--John Ed Pearce, Ed Prichard, and Ned Breathitt, Bert Combs--you know, just a whole group of relatively young progressive politicians, what was the social side like 01:48:00in Frankfort?

BREATHITT: Combs had 'em over all the time for dinner.


BREATHITT: He'd have 'em over for dinner at night. And you'd have a table in the small dining room. He never would have over eight people 'cause anything more than that inhibited conversation. 'Course when you had "Prich" in the room, "Prich" would dominate. (Laugh) John Ed would--was there often--often for dinner. And often stayed in the mansion. And--and I was there because I didn't move my family up because I agreed that I would only be Personnel Commissioner for six months. I didn't wanna do it more than that. Once we got the bill passed, and once we got it organized and going, then I told him he needed a super bureaucrat. And then we got Felix Joyner to come in to really implement it and make it stick, and get everybody to buy into it. And then--and I picked him because I saw him as so outstanding. 01:49:00Clements trained.

BIRDWHISTELL: Why was he called "Yogi"?

BREATHITT: Well, he was--wasn't tall, and he--and Combs put that tag on him 'cause Yogi Berra was short and a powerful center of everything, and Combs named him "Yogi." And--and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Combs liked to give nicknames.

BREATHITT: Oh, he gave nicknames to everybody.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have one?

BREATHITT: --I don't think so. I don't think so. (Laugh--Birdwhistell)

BIRDWHISTELL: Well Mc--McChesner or McChesson ----------(??)?

BREATHITT: Well that was given to--McChesney was "Mouse."

BIRDWHISTELL: "Fieldmouse."

BREATHITT: "Fieldmouse." And that came from--all the way back to his college days at Western.


BREATHITT: Mac Sisk and--my former brother-in-law, Louis Holloman, my first wife's brother. Oh, they were real thick in an off-campus fraternity called the Barons. And they called "Fieldmouse--Phil 01:50:00McChesney, they called him "Fieldmouse" and--and then it--when it came--Wetherby called him "Mouse." He--he shortened it to "Mouse." And- -but they did. Combs would--he had--he had a name--he put the title "Philosopher" on "Prich."

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. That stuck.

BREATHITT: And that stuck. And--"Prich" put the title "Field Marshall" on Ockerman. He was campaign chairman--(Laugh)--and "Field Marshall Von Ockerman." (Laughter) Because--because Ockerman would--when "Prich" would write a press release or a speech for me in the campaign, Ockerman made him give 'em to him and he'd get a red line and redline all the inflammatory things out of it. "Prich" would stand right behind him and he'd say "Oooh! Oooh!." So "Prich" started throwing 01:51:00in some for him to red--(Laughter)--redline. ----------(??) He would throw in some obvious ones to redline. "Prich"--that--just laugh behind his back--(Laugh)--lookin' what he was doing. (Laughter) But he called him "Field Marshall Foster Von Ockerman" and--and but he always admired Foster. He said he always turned square corners. And--which he did. He's a very--son of a Methodist minister and had a very high sense of integrity.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well we've use up our allotted time for this morning, so--


BIRDWHISTELL: --we'll stop here, and pick up again--

BREATHITT: Thank you-all.



BIRDWHISTELL: --next time.

[End Tape #2, Side #1]

[End of Interview]