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Title: Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Scott, Robert W. (Bob), interviewee
Interview conducted by Fleer, Jack
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 204 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-02-18, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0336-1)
Author: Jack Fleer
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0336-1)
Author: Robert W. (Bob) Scott
Description: 284 Mb
Description: 68 p.
Note: Interview conducted on February 4, 1998, by Jack Fleer; recorded in Haw River, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998.
Interview C-0336-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Scott, Robert W. (Bob), interviewee


Interview Participants

    ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT, interviewee
    UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER
    JACK FLEER, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
JACK FLEER:
An interview with Governor Robert W. Scott of North Carolina, for Wake Forest University and the Southern Oral History Program at Chapel Hill, as part of a series of interviews with North Carolina's living former governors. The interview was conducted February 4, 1998, at the home of Governor Scott in Haw River, North Carolina. The interviewer is Dr. Jack D. Fleer, Department of Politics, Wake Forest University. Tape number 2-4-98-RWS. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
Governor Scott, I want to begin with some questions about your early political interest and development. When did you begin thinking about a career in politics?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I don't know that I ever thought about a career in politics; it just happened. At this point of time when we are discussing, I'm approaching my sixty-ninth birthday, and in reflection I've actually had four careers. The one that I was formally trained for at NC State University, in animal science—I grew up on the farm and returned to the farm, and my job was to manage the farm. My father, who was living at the time, made the comment to me that one politician in the family was enough and he would take care of that and my job was to run the family business, and what that meant in those days was farming.

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So the career in agriculture, and then the career in politics. We can talk about that a little later. And then, of course, like most folks, I had a period of time in the military, but that wasn't a career—I considered that, at one time. Then the career I guess on the periphery of politics—that is to say not running for and holding public office but being involved in governmental work. In this particular case it was the Department of Community Colleges, the community college system, where I worked for twelve years. I guess that was a career of education and administration. And then the fourth career I guess I'm in now, which is doing a little bit of everything and just trying to enjoy life and make some contribution and get at a less pace.
So, I mean, I never set out with the goal of having a career in politics, or to hold public office, or any of that stuff. I was always active in a political sense, even in high school and in college, being involved in student government activities, whatever's going on. But not with the idea of having a career track of any sort.
I grew up, of course, in a rural community that was very typical of Piedmont North Carolina. My mother and father—my father was acting politically, my mother was his helpmate, she was a very quiet, diminutive type of woman, very supportive of my father, but really didn't care for the public eye that much. So I grew up in a rural environment, agriculturally oriented. I'm a Presbyterian by faith—I didn't know there was any other denomination until I was old enough [unclear] , because the Presbyterian Church was the center of our activities in this

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little rural community. I went for my first grade to the little community school, and that was the last time that that school operated. The first round of consolidations was back in the 1930s, so the little community school where we had seven grades in three rooms, that was consolidated into a larger community school, with several other rural communities. And the church and the community are very old, historically. I had an aunt, who I just barely remember, but she remembered seeing troops, both Union and Confederate troops, going up and down the road in the community. This community was in the route from Hillsborough to Guilford Courthouse during the Revolution. The church was established about 1755, and our family have been members here, for all of that time. So our roots are very deep here. And later on in life as I had opportunities, maybe, to better myself, if you will, financially and in other areas, I never seriously considered it, because this is my home, and I understood my little pond here and I didn't really care to get out and swim in the ocean.
JACK FLEER:
What is it about the values of this sort of rural environment and rural community that you think appealed to you, that caused you to want to stay there initially and in fact for the rest of your life?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, the values—there's no question about it, the rural environment here and the influence of the church and the rural community school where everybody knew everybody—that had some intricate impact upon me and my decision-making in later years in public office. As I said in my inaugural address, in

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the closing comments of my inaugural address in 1969, that I wanted to serve in the office of governor—this is not an exact quote—that I wanted to serve in the office of governor in a manner that would reflect credit upon my parents, my family, my church, and my community. I did not want to disappoint them and the values that were instilled—and included in that, I think, were my teachers at the school. I didn't want to do anything that would lessen their expectations of me. I knew what those expectations were and I wanted to meet those expectations. And I knew those expectations included a set of values and ethics.
So it did have a great influence on me and I can talk at length about my church activities growing up and the rural community school and the closeness we had. Even when I entered the first grade, when we moved to the so-called consolidated school, known as Alexander Wilson School, located on Highway 54—it's still there, although it's only an elementary school now. There were only twenty-nine in our graduating class, and there were twenty girls and nine boys, and we boys loved that. Practically all of us—having only nine boys who were seniors, and old enough to drive a school bus, we all were driving school buses. If we had any kind of athletic team at all, everybody got to play, because we just didn't have that many people. Everybody was in the school play.
So it was a close-knit community of people, and that, too, had its impact on me. I think the community of Hawfields, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant—yes, we had minorities, African-Americans working here, obviously we had them in our farm here,

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but it was still a very close-knit community. And if someone is interested in writing about anything in my early childhood, if they would read the book which is in the state library and other libraries entitled The Church in the Gold Fields, written by Dr. Herbert Turner, who was a son of this church and this community—he's dead now, of course—and he was a professor of history and philosophy at Mary Baldwin College. But he wrote a book about this community, and I think it captures many of the—one can sense the elements there that came into influencing my makeup, as well my parents, because they, too, grew up here. They were just a couple of miles down the road from each other. They were childhood sweethearts, they went to the school closings together and all of that. And I met my wife here in the consolidation of that school in the first years.
JACK FLEER:
So you attended school together?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
She moved into the community in the third grade. Her mother died when she was very young, she was raised by her older sister. She was actually born down in a little community called Messy Hill, which is now part of Fayetteville. And all of her people were textile folks. They worked in the mills, and the mills were on strike down there during the Depression, and many of the families moved up into Piedmont North Carolina because the mills up here were still operating. So they got jobs up here, and her older sister raised her in the little community of Swepsonville, which is one of the communities that came into the consolidation of our school. So we've been holding hands ever since the third grade. And she dated other boys, I dated other

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girls, but I think we always knew that someday we would probably marry, and in fact the night of our high school graduation I walked her home and we sat on the back steps talking about our future, and what we would like to do in life and so forth, and all of a sudden it was four o'clock in the morning, and I knew I had to get home because that was when I was supposed to be getting up to get the cows in. And we thought about that a lot.
My wife came from very poor circumstances. She was the youngest of seven children, and the only one to finish high school, let alone go to college. And our teachers got her a fifty dollar per semester scholarship at what is now UNC-Greensboro. Back then it was a women's college. And she worked in the company store in the mill there for every summer and whenever she could to earn money. She was determined that she was going to get an education. It was very difficult for her. As a little side story—She has this thing today, and I kid her about it, of buying a chair. She'll go to a yard sale or something, she'll buy a chair. You can see all these chairs around here—a lot of them don't match, they don't fit in with anything. But the reason is that she, as a child—as the youngest child, there were not enough chairs for everybody to sit down. She always had to sit on the floor or on the bed. And she said, "If I ever get any money, I'm going to have a chair of my own." To this day she'll buy a chair.
JACK FLEER:
Isn't that nice.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
And the same thing—she talked about having to sleep four in a bed. So I don't say that in disdain of her, but she

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was always identifying with the unfortunate people, was very compassionate about them.
JACK FLEER:
Now, would her circumstances have been different from yours in that regard?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Yes, they were. The people who grew up in the mill community of Swepsonville, all of them worked at the mill, a typical southern textile mill. The Hawfields community, the adjoining community, was a farming community, and they kind of looked upon us as the landed gentry. And she said it took her years after we got married to realize I didn't have any money. [Laughter]
JACK FLEER:
A little late, huh?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
As a matter of fact, another story that I'm very proud of, for her. I was a student at NC State. I went to Duke for two years—if you remind me, I'll come back to that. I was going to be a country doctor. But anyway, I graduated from NC State. Well, we knew, my wife Jessie Rae and I, that we were probably going to get married. And during the last year, when it became time for her last semester, she said, "I just don't have the money to go back." She worked in the dining hall for four years, the four years she was in school, and she worked every semester in the dining hall to earn money to help get her through school. And she said, "I'm going to have to drop out until I can make enough money to finish." And I said, "If you ever do that you'll never go back." Well, knowing that we were going to get married, and thinking that we would—I had a part time job at NC State and I had been squirreling away a little money for our

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wedding, and so I said, "I'll lend you the money to pay all your tuition and to help," and of course she would keep working in the dining hall. And we drew up a little formal note—I've forgotten the amount; by today's standards, it wasn't all that much, but to us, it was a lot of money. And she signed it, and completed school, graduated. Because I was a transfer student, Duke to NC State, I had to go another semester to make up some courses that I didn't get because of the transfer. So I had to go back in the fall semester. But we had decided that we were going to go ahead and marry, and did, on September the first, and I continued and graduated in December. But I asked her in the spring to marry me, and she turned me down, and she said, "No, I'm going to get me a job this summer and I'm going to pay you what I owe you. I would not marry you owing you anything." And she did.
JACK FLEER:
So does this explain the story that I've heard that you are the only governor to have proposed to your wife in the governor's mansion twice?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
That's exactly right, and that was the reason for it. I proposed to her in the spring, and you know, I was young and naive and full of ego and thought, this is no big deal, you know, and so I proposed to her, and for the reason I just explained, she turned me down, and then later that fall, that summer, she had paid off her note to me, and I proposed again and then everything was fine.
JACK FLEER:
Now, you mentioned that you and your wife sat on the porch at your high school graduation and talked about what you

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were going to do with your lives. Did politics come into that discussion?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Oh, no. Never entered it. I just assumed that I would come back here, and I did come back here, and be a farmer. But we talked about going on to college at that time, and we knew that there was a lot ahead of us before we would ever get married. We just talked about the things we wanted to do in life, and of course her goal, her burning ambition, was to graduate from college. And she majored in secretarial science, and came back as a teacher, when she got her teaching certificate, to the local high school we both graduated from, and taught business education to students who were there, and in fact they wanted to call her by her first name because it was just four years and there she was back teaching. They always wanted her to be the chaperone when they went on class trips to Raleigh or to Washington, because she was one of them.
JACK FLEER:
Now, you mentioned that for your wife, going to college and completing college was—I think you said, first in her family to do that. But for you, was it expected that you would go to college, or was that an unusual situation for people in your circumstances?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
It was pretty much expected of me. My father was a graduate of NC State, as well as his brothers, and his sisters were all college graduates, so yes, that was just expected and assumed. In high school, my mother took me to Durham, to Duke, and I took one of these aptitude tests and so on, so she wanted me to be a physician. There were several in the family. And I

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enrolled in Duke, and I was lost. I was only thirty miles from home, but I might as well have been in California. It was a different environment. Coming from a small rural high school, with no science—I'd never been in a chemistry lab, had one course in physics that was taught by the principal when he was there—and I was not prepared for that level of university life. And it was a struggle with the mathematics and with the sciences. But I was OK in, I guess you would call it, the liberal arts—history, English, those kinds of things—I had been pretty well grounded in them, with my teachers in high school. I was not gifted in medicine much, but had no training in the sciences. So I flunked organic chemistry, and I knew right then that anything in medicine was probably going to be out for me. I observed that the med school only took seventy-five entries into their class—they had something over a thousand applications. And I knew that I'd never make it. The handwriting was pretty clear on the wall.
Also, I began to realize at that time that there was a fine opportunity for me here to come back and manage the farm and run the farm business. I had an older brother and sister—my brother's dead now as of this date, and my sister's still living in Ohio—but they were not interested in the farm, and although my dad never said anything to me about it, when I said I wanted to transfer to NC State, I think he was pleased, because there was nobody here to sort of take it over.
JACK FLEER:
Now, during this time, when you were in high school and then transitioning into college, your father was serving in public office as commissioner of agriculture, and eventually as

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governor during that period of time. Was politics a subject of discussion between you and your father?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No, not at all. As a matter of fact, I'm glad you asked that question, because it's probably something that I can comment on that I think maybe deflates a myth. I was not raised at my father's knee, in terms of politics. He was gone all the time, as commissioner of agriculture and as governor. I remember, as commissioner of agriculture, he would leave out in the mornings at about seven o'clock to drive to Raleigh. That was before interstates, of course, and he drove NC 54, a winding road into Chapel Hill and on to Raleigh. He would meet with the farm foremen and maybe his employees before he left. And then he would get in about six or six thirty in the evening, unless he had a meeting somewhere, which was rather frequent. My mother almost ran the farm; she kept the records and the payroll and all of that. But my dad was not there. Occasionally I would go with him on trips, particularly if he was going to one of the agricultural experiment stations where they would have field days, they would call them, I was free to run around and so forth, but I really didn't go with him much.
And we were not close, really, father and son. There was no animosity there, but my mother was the one who was at home, she was the anchor person, and so I was not raised at his knee. And even later, in college, again, he was gone a lot, plus the fact that as a young college student I really didn't want to be around my parents all that much. I preferred living in the dorm. And even when he was governor, except for a couple of summers—summer

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school, I didn't live in the mansion. I stayed in the dorm. I would go out there once in a while and get me some food, try to get a little extra money, something like that. But I was not that close to him. So the father-son relationship was not that close. Again, no animosity, no problems. He had expectations of me, and I respected and in some cases feared him, as a father. I knew if I didn't adhere to what he believed in, I'd have to answer for it.
JACK FLEER:
From a career standpoint, do you think his expectations were merely related to this Hawfields community, the rural part?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
That's conjecture on my part, but I would have to say yes. I think he envisioned me taking over the farm. Because his father was a farmer, he was master farmer in the days of Dr. Clarence Poe and the progressive farmer and all that. And farming was a tradition. My father had expanded our farm operation, and when I came back from the service I expanded it still further, in terms of what we were doing. And I was really into it. I thought that was the way I would go.
JACK FLEER:
Around the dinner table, with your mother and your brother and sister, or with other members of the family, or even when your father was at home, was politics ever a subject of discussion of any consequence?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Not in the family. I'm sure it was with my mother and so forth. But there's eight years' difference between me and my sister, and nine years' difference at least with my brother. So you might say they didn't want to fool with me as a young kid

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brother. And I didn't care to be around them. I was sort of a loner, in that sense. I had a happy childhood, but I didn't have siblings that I played with, because their interests were different, they were older.
Politics was not discussed that much around the table, or else I wasn't paying any attention to it—now, that could very well be. Now, my father had lots of people who would come here, to his home, where I was a child. There was a big oak tree out there, and his friends used to say he held court under the oak tree. What he would do, his friends would come on Sunday afternoon. Now, he took a nap after church, after lunch on Sunday. That was one thing you did not do: you did not wake him from a nap. Along about two-thirty or so, he'd get up, and people would come, and if they came before that, we'd just ask them to wait. They would sit out there [unclear] under that tree, and politics was talked, a lot of it. People came to see him about politics. But again, I was a young kid, I was playing, I didn't know about all this, didn't understand it.
JACK FLEER:
And among your own cohorts who were roughly your age, the fact that your father was involved in politics, was that noted or commented upon?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Not in the community. We were very democratic in this community, there was no feeling of, what am I trying to say, favoritism or another tier. We were all very much the same. My father was a populist, in a sense. He would get out there and do whatever the other men in the church would do in the community. One of the traditions of our community for years was that, quote,

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we bury our own dead, end quote. And by that I mean that the men in the community—I don't care what your standing in life was, socially or economically or anything like that—they would gather together and they would dig the grave for the person to be buried. As time went on, of course, that practice was stopped, and they had the professional gravediggers for the mechanical means of digging graves, but when my father died the men of the community came together and dug his grave. That always impressed me, that they would do that, because he was one of their own.
When I was in the governor's office, and I'm jumping ahead here a little bit but it relates to this point, it was an hour's drive from the state capital. We lived in the mansion. My children were small. And most Sundays, we came home to worship in this church. A lot of times we'd try to spend Saturday and Sunday here. And I remember one of my children asking about it one time, why did we come up here every Sunday? I said, "This is our home and this is where my friends are. These people will be the ones that will come to our funeral. They are our friends now, they have been our friends in the past, and they will be our friends in the future. There are friends that we have, a lot of them in Raleigh, when we are out of office, they are no longer your friends; they'll be acquaintances." And I've tried to instill that in my children, that this is where your roots are, don't ever forget it, don't ever get, quote, above your raisings, end quote. And I think [unclear] , because all of them are here, except one daughter who's a missionary, and she and her husband are in Africa.

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JACK FLEER:
So they continue to live in the community, so to speak.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
They are all within sight, here.
JACK FLEER:
Isn't that wonderful.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Yeah, yeah. Well, I take that back. My youngest daughter's in Durham, and she has a condominium, and she's not married but she longs very much to have her home here.
JACK FLEER:
You mentioned that your father was a populist and there are some people who characterize you as having some populist values. I don't know whether you subscribe to that assessment of your own—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Not really sure I'm populist. But in my way of thinking, my father was, maybe I am. But if your question is, Why?—
JACK FLEER:
Yes, that's it.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
—I think it is the influence of my father. Not by his talking with me, but by observing what he did and said and his focus on his programs. And also the community itself. This community is—well, today, it's radically changed, it's urbanizing. But up until twenty years ago, the values stayed pretty much the same, the people were the same, and it was not a poor community, but it was not a wealthy community. It's what one would call, I guess, middle America. So I think all of this environment that I grew up in—isn't that true with everyone? It shapes your. There's no way you can—
JACK FLEER:
Now, you mention at least two kinds of values that I can identify. One of them is this sense of community, and the

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other is a loyalty to that community. When you think about the values that you believe came from your growing up in Hawfields and Haw River, in this community, what are those values that you have in mind, beyond that sense of community and the loyalty to it?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, if I understand your question right, I think there was instilled a work ethic. My father was a prodigious worker. I mean, you got your job done, regardless of the hours or the difficulty, and you didn't quit as long as you were able to function. So the work ethic, and then—honesty. A person's word is his bond. That's very important to me. The ability to try—whatever your talents may be, the ability to try. And for those who had leadership traits, they have a responsibility to utilize those traits, not to enhance themselves so much, but to move along the community in a progressive way. That leadership has a responsibility. Part of my thinking was that I was to—I think I subconsciously realized that I had a responsibility, because of the family's history of leadership in various areas, whether it was in farming or medicine or in government.
JACK FLEER:
Did you, as a high school student or in your college experience, demonstrate leadership in any kinds of organizations, agricultural organizations or whatever?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, I cannot state that without sounding like I'm bragging, but—I've always had a sense of competitiveness. If I was on a basketball team, I wanted to win. If I was on a debating team, I wanted to win. And so on. I wasn't necessarily

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looking for a challenge, but if it came, you know, I was willing to take it on.
OK, then, in student government activities—we didn't have any student government to speak of in high school, I don't recall being involved with that. But I tend to be a joiner, as it were. When I went to school at Duke, I joined the Glee Club, and I wanted to be in what they called the Men's Triple Quartet in the Glee Club, but that was only for juniors and seniors. So my role then was to try to be good enough that when I got to be a junior, I would be in the quartet. Because they got to travel all over the East Coast and perform. Well, I didn't stay at the school that long. But I joined the YMCA and I had some office in that, I just don't remember—it was minor.
When I came to NC State, though, I was older and I began to get involved in campus politics. I was secretary of the student government. I worked on the Greater University Council, the student council, that is NC State-UNC Chapel Hill. And got involved in the Ag Club, my departmental club. Ran for office, those kinds of things. Without any—I just enjoyed it. And I guess I had that trait.
JACK FLEER:
Now, were those positions that you felt came easily to you, or did you have to compete for them, or did you have to—?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I had to compete, oh, yeah, and I would win some, lose some. I learned to lose. It's not handed to you with a silver spoon. I would do the things that any student would do to try to get elected to whatever office it might be, you know, put out posters, get friends to help you, all that kind of stuff. But

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again, I wasn't thinking in the back of my mind, this is the way it's got to be done politically. It was just a fun thing to do, [unclear] , and it wasn't a charted course, a career path. It was just where the challenge was at the moment.
JACK FLEER:
But in contrast with many of your cohorts in, say, Duke or NC State, presumably because your father was in the public realm, your name was known by maybe more people than the names of some of your cohorts. Did the fact that your father was in public office, and in a sense your family had that history of public service, benefit you, or was it a hindrance in any way?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I really don't think it, either—I'm sincere in that. I've thought about that some in later years. He let me alone, and I didn't trade on his name or position. I think I would have been put in my place pretty quickly if I had tried to, particularly by those I ran with. One of the favorite little things that my roommate would do, and others who did know of this connection, they would get some guy who didn't know about that and they would get him—we'd be in the room, sitting around in the dorm room talking, and they might get off on politics or something, and they'd try to lead him into a trap, you know, because that guy would not know of my relationship.
The story that is told about our stealing a watermelon from the governor's mansion involved a boy from Pennsylvania, who was killed in the Korean War. But he was one that didn't know, and we were sitting around the dorm one evening in the summer time. It was rather warm and so on and we were talking about how great it would be to have a good cold watermelon. Well, this guy—his

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first name was Cliff, can't think of his last name right now—he was one of the few that had a car. And so I said, "Well, fellows, I know where I can get a watermelon, if you all are willing to go with me." And I said, "I was downtown earlier today and I saw them unloading some watermelons at the governor's mansion." And I said, "If you all will take me down there, I'll see if I can't get one." Well, the other fellows knew immediately what was going on. But they didn't say anything.
So they got Cliff to drive the car. And we made a big deal out of it, we drove it down, four or five of us, and we circled the mansion and waited until it got dark. Back then they did not have a wall around the mansion. And so I said, "OK, you pull up here in the driveway, and park over here in the shadows; I'm going in and getting one of those watermelons. They put them out there on the back porch." And so he did, he parked out there in the shadows, where the light wasn't shining, and I just went on in. I acted like I was slipping in, but I just went on in and told them I wanted one of those watermelons. And I did, but when I came out, I came out running. And I had told them to leave the door to the car open, and I came out running and I yelled, and I said, "Get going, they saw me." And I threw the watermelon in the back seat of the car.
Well, it was like Keystone Cops—he took off, he got scared and he took off, and I wasn't in the car. And I started running next to him, and one of the other fellows says, "Wait, wait, you're leaving him." So he slammed on the brakes and I ran into the door of the car, nearly knocked myself out, and then hopped

Page 20
in and took off. And till the day he died, I guess, he thought he stole a watermelon from the governor's mansion. I never did tell him any different.
I stayed on the campus, I had a part-time job out at the university dairy farm to earn some money. My father would pay my tuition, books, all that, any necessary expenses, but my spending money I had to come up with myself. He could have done that, but he just disciplined me to—you know, if I earned it, then that was mine and I could spend it the way I wanted to. So that was what I was doing, I was earning money for the day we got married, my wife and I.
JACK FLEER:
Now, we've talked a lot about your early days. I have been exploring, as you can see, any roots of a political career here, and virtually few, maybe almost none, have been revealed. When did you begin thinking about politics as a possible, not necessarily career, but activity?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, it came much later. I'll preface that, my accounting for the turn, by saying that my activities in college and student government and other organizations was not geared toward basic training for a political career. It just didn't occur to me that that would be the route that I would take. And also, even after I graduated, came home, and began farming, and I began to work with farm organizations—the North Carolina State Grange, particularly—my father had been head of the state Grange in his early years, and I became head of the state Grange. But again, this was not—you had to be nominated for those offices.

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At the time I was in the service, of course, there was not anything political about that.
So what got me going about this was that when my father was governor, he had, every year in the fall of the year, the opening of the duck hunting season. And he would invite friends to come to hunt.

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[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
…Duck hunt. The opening day of dove season friends from over the state. And it got to be quite a big thing, they would hunt all day and then have a dinner or a late afternoon dinner. It grew to such large proportions that we eventually had to discontinue it. It was kind of dangerous, too—people out there in the fields shooting.
JACK FLEER:
Was this held here?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
It was held here, on the farm. And people came from all over the state. There were usually two or three political writers included in the group, and they always would write a little piece about it. After my father died, his brother, state senator Ralph Scott, continued the tradition for several years. My father died in 1958. Then Ralph Scott indicated that he—and did, and he hosted it over at his farm, which adjoins ours, for two or three years. The year following my father's death, or maybe two years after that—I'm not sure of the time, here—but this was the year that Richardson Pryor, Beverly Lake, and Dan Moore were running for governor. It was also—oh, the year prior to that. And the campaign was beginning to warm up. And everybody knew that the Democratic primary—that Richardson Pryor and Dan Moore and Beverly Lake Sr. were going to be the main Democratic candidates.
JACK FLEER:
This is 1963 we're talking about.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
OK, this would be 1963. Well, at the duck hunt, of course, political gossip was going on around, and I didn't know anything about this until later, because I was busy helping host

Page 23
the thing and seeing that food was out on the table and all of that. And as I said, usually after this there would be a little item in the paper about the gathering of political people.
So apparently there was some discussion that who were the so-called "Branch-head Boys", which was the term given to my father's supporters, who were they going to support in the Democratic primary for governor? And they weren't really that happy with any of the candidates, although as it turned out most of them leaned and did support Richardson Pryor, Judge Pryor. And somebody had apparently talked about, "Well, what about Kerr's son Bob?"—or Robert, they called me. And again, I didn't know about all this at the time. Well, there was a little item or two written in the paper about it, and the political column of the News & Observer, known as "Under the Dome", had some question raised about, what about Kerr's young son Bob? Well, the Associated Press kicked in, and it got about two or three column inches in two or three of the newspapers around. As a result of that, and this would have been in the early fall of 1963, I got, maybe, two phone calls and maybe one letter, and I thought that was a mandate. That's how naive and how egotistical I was.
So I jumped in the car and started driving over this [unclear] . And stopping at barbershops and service stations, and talking to people that I knew that were supporters of my dad's. Well, I continued this. That was the year that Jack Kennedy was assassinated. And we all remember what a traumatic experience that was. And that just stopped politics dead in its tracks. And there wasn't any need to be going to talk to anybody about

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anything, because that was all that was on the minds of people. Well, soon after that, it became the holiday season, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and people's minds were not really on politics that much. So by the time things sort of cranked up again after the first of the year, and I was still making some phone calls and going to see people, it was too late. There was a lot of feeling of goodwill towards me, but they were already committed to one of the other candidates, it was a little too soon for me, so forth and so on.
But in the meantime, of course, the newspapers knew that I was doing this, [unclear] and there was getting to be more speculation about it. Since I was inclined to support Richardson Pryor to begin with, he and the other candidates had already established their headquarters and were well on with their campaigns. I met with him, early in the year of 1964, at the Old Carolina—no, the Sir Walter Hotel, in Raleigh. And I told him that I was thinking about running for governor, but I hadn't made up my mind yet, but I wanted him to know that I was not opposed to him, but I felt I needed to explore that opportunity. Of course, he expressed his wish that I would not run, that I would support him, but it was an amicable discussion and we parted ways.
I came to the conclusion, though, that it was not due for me to run for that office at that time, because, one, so many people had already committed to the other candidates, I didn't have any money ways to run a campaign, and there was some hesitancy out there for it. There was all that, "Well, yeah, you know, that's good. But…" And there was always the caveat, there. So I

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came back then—excuse me, my meeting was not at the Sir Walter Hotel with Richard Pryor, it was at the Carolina Hotel. [pause] I think. Anyway, one of the two.
And I called a press conference. Shortest press conference I ever held in my life. And everybody was interested to know what I was going to say about the governor's race. So I told the press conference, "I have reached a decision that I will not be a candidate for the office of governor of North Carolina. To those who have expressed interest in my campaign and offers of support, I'm here to say, Keep the faith." And I walked out of the room. Well, the reporters just clamored, raising Cain. It was a two-sentence news conference, and I walked out, and went down the hall to where a handful of the people that I, my political advisors and so forth, were sitting. Included in that group was the late Ben Rooney. He was my father's administrative assistant and mentor. And he was, later on in life, administration for Rocky Mount. And Roy Wilder, Jr., who had served on my father's death in the U.S. Senate in Washington. Betsy Henton, who was from Clayton, and she had been in the office of Terry Sanford, who was governor, as a secretary, and was working with me and my efforts at that time. Anyway, we talked about it, and I said, "Well, there's support out there for me, but not for this race at this time. So what are the options?" Well, we talked about my running for Congress. I didn't really want to run for Congress, I didn't—it just didn't appeal to me. What about commissioner of agriculture? My father was commissioner of agriculture. Well, that didn't really appeal to me either, because the nature

Page 26
of the office had changed, it had become primarily a regulatory seat, and you couldn't exert much leadership there, really.
Then something was said about lieutenant governor. And I'll never forget what Ben Rooney said. He said, "Aw, who cares anything about being lieutenant governor? That's just a place where you're put out for pasture after you've served long and well in the general assembly. Four years and that's the end of it." So we talked on a little further, and we agreed, we adjourned and agreed that we would come back in one week, which we did. And Ben Rooney said, "You know, I've been thinking about the office of lieutenant governor. I believe that might be a sleeper. Nobody cares anything about that office, they don't pay any attention to it, and you might just be able to win it."
But two of my close friends were already running—Clifton Blue, from Aberdeen, who was a former speaker of the house, and John Jordan, Jr., an attorney from Raleigh. Both good friends of mine, and they were already announced candidates and already running. We talked further about it, in that little meeting we had there at the Carolina Hotel, and following that I made the announcement that I'd be a candidate for lieutenant governor. Well, that just came out of the blue. Now, that was my first interest into politics.
Going back to the time that they had the dove hunt, and with the subsequent article in the newspaper which generated the couple of phone calls and the letter or two—if anybody had told me at that point that I'd be a candidate for a statewide office, I would have laughed in their face. And a year later, when I

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took the oath of office as lieutenant governor, if anybody had told me that I would be doing that, or any other political office, a year prior to that, I would have thought it very amusing.
JACK FLEER:
But in those discussions that you had with Mr. Rooney, for example, he made the comment, which you found comical, that you sort of are forgotten after you're lieutenant governor, and that at least initially that was something that you didn't want to get into, because you might be forgotten. So it sounds like there was, in those discussions, some idea that, "How can I not just be lieutenant governor or commissioner of agriculture, but how can I have a longer life?"
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
That was not discussed and in my mind even thought of at that particular point. Now, it may have been in Ben Rooney's mind. Ben was not the one that really communicated his thoughts very much. He may have had the bigger picture in mind. But that seemed to be—at that time, the office of lieutenant governor was more influential than it is now, although obviously it wasn't the office that most people focussed on. It was an opportunity to, I guess, test the waters, though again I didn't think of it as that. I focussed on that job, and I guess out of that then, once I got into office, one began to think, "OK, what am I going to do four years from now?"
JACK FLEER:
But it wasn't certainly historically a launching pad for a political career.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No. No, even today—I got to take that out of there because it's superfluous, really. In the biographical

Page 28
information I give people who introduce me at meetings, it says, "Served as lieutenant governor of North Carolina, the first lieutenant governor to be directly elected to the office of governor." Well. So what. I think a far more interesting bit of trivia is the fact that Pat Taylor was the lieutenant governor when my father was there, and Pat Taylor, Jr. was lieutenant governor when I was there. I'd like to get some statistician to tell me what the odds are on that sometime.
JACK FLEER:
It's a fascinating thing. I have made a list, for each of the governors, what I refer to as distinctions, in terms of being in the office of the governor, and I of course have for you both those things that you just mentioned, the being elected from the post of lieutenant governor and being elected with the son—that's two sons of former governor and lieutenant governor. Let me explore a little bit—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
And also the fact that when I ran for governor, you know, I ran against the son of another governor—
JACK FLEER:
Oh, yes, I have that in here also. I also have the two proposals in the governor's mansion! But let me go back to this discussion.
When you got these couple of telephone calls and this letter or two, however it was, that you saw as a mandate, and you decided to go around the state, there must have been in your mind at that time some idea that at least politics and public service was a career, something that you might enjoy and do. Is that a fair assessment of that statement, or—what caused you to get in that car and go around the state and talk to these people?

Page 29
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Ego. [Laughter]
JACK FLEER:
Ego?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No doubt, ego. No, I don't know. I really—Again, we come back to this business of was this a planned career or something like that, and I can honestly say that it was not. I'm the kind a person that's interested in a lot of things. Sometimes I regret the fact that I'm a generalist. I wish sometimes I could focus on one thing as a career. I had great admiration for a scientist who can stay in the lab and try to find a gene or something like that, spend their entire life doing that one thing. Or someone like you who has got a career, and you stick with—you write books about it and you're known in your field and respected and all that. Yeah, I'm out here, you know, I can carry on a conversation about a lot of things, but not in depth about very many things. That's kind of worried me in the back of my mind.
So, going back to your question about—I guess it was the challenge, and it was there. Why do you climb a mountain? Because it's there. Why do you run for lieutenant governor? Well, it's there, you know. And there might have been a feeling, unconscious feeling, that this is family tradition again…
JACK FLEER:
Now, when you did get in the car and you did go out to visit people across the state, who were the people that you went to see? I don't mean names, but can you sort of characterize the type—?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Mostly people that—Two or three groups. People that I knew that were friends of my father's and had supported him

Page 30
politically. Secondly was people that I had known through the farm organizations and I worked with agricultural groups, and occasionally a few people I went to school with. But mostly my dad's [unclear] . Now, that's what I found out a lot of them were already committed to other candidates for governor, because they were interested in politics locally, they'd get lined up, you know. Terry Sanford and Burt Bennett—Terry Sanford's organization, as it were—you know, he ran my father's campaign for the United States Senate. I didn't have a list of people, I just knew who some of them were. And incidentally, my success in running for office, particularly just out of the blue running for a statewide office, yes, the Scott name was known, and I often said my father literally paved the way for me to hold public office. But—
JACK FLEER:
He had paved many roads.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
He had paved many roads. What most people didn't realize, though, that in my work with the Grange and other farming groups, the dairy groups, there were an awful lot of communities in this state that I had been into in connection with the agricultural organization and the community development work, and I'd eaten church suppers in the basement of Baptists churches in the mountains and out on the coast and in community buildings and so on, and I knew a lot of these people. They knew me. I got a large vote from the Republicans, because they knew me and they knew my dad and so on. A lot of people didn't realize that—I had already been out there and I knew what the people of Plumtree and Haywood County were thinking.

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JACK FLEER:
Had you known of other persons who were active in the Grange, other than your father, who had sort of told you about that community and those contacts and the possibility that that would rebound to your benefit politically?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No—
JACK FLEER:
There were no models—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
The Grange was really Republican. I gather 75 percent of the Grange was Republican. Real conservative people. My filing fee, by the way, for governor, was paid by a Republican here in this community. A man that never said anything much to anybody, very quiet, and he asked me in church one day, he said, "Are you really going to run for governor?" And I said, "Yes, sir, I plan to do that." And he said, "How much does it cost to run—to file?" And I don't know, it was three hundred some dollars, it was one percent of the salary. Well, he already knew, or found out, and he reached in his coat pocket and handed me an envelope and said, "I'd like to pay your filing fee." He was a neighbor of mine.
JACK FLEER:
Isn't that wonderful. That's a wonderful story.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
He's dead now. Ready?
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER:
Yes. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
JACK FLEER:
Governor, when you decided to run for your first statewide office, as lieutenant governor, what did you have in mind as far as what kind of vision or objective you would want to achieve in that office as lieutenant governor?

Page 32
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I think my goal—in fact, I know my goal—I think I stated this in my campaign—that I wanted to make the office more productive, more active, and that I would serve full-time. An analysis of that office, a rather cursory analysis to be sure, but—the lieutenant governor had historically presided over the sessions of the senate in the legislature, but had largely gone home and continued to practice law or whatever their profession may have been, like other legislators. And occasionally he'd come to Raleigh perhaps, for functions that a lieutenant governor would normally be expected to attend. And of course the salary reflected that. The salary was minimal—I think something over two thousand something a year, beyond the normal pay per diem that all legislators receive.
So I knew that the lieutenant governor, by virtue of his office, received a lot of invitations to attend functions, to participate in ceremonies, etcetera. I also knew that the lieutenant governor wasn't the first choice. People would call the governor or write the governor, to ask that individual to come, and the governor says "No, I can't, the schedule won't permit it," so they go down the list, lieutenant governor's next. I also knew, later on—I didn't think about it at the particular time, but later on when I did decide that I was going to seek the office of governor, that that gave—the lieutenant governor had an excellent platform, if you will, a bully pulpit, to run, because he could attend all these meetings and speak to these civic clubs, etcetera, and attend political gatherings, and make

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talks without, you know, really being out there as a lightning rod.
And that was another factor in my success in the race for governor, in addition to what I had mentioned sometime earlier about having been in so many rural communities in the course of my earlier work with farm organizations. The lieutenant governor had gone to Heaven only knows how many civic club lunches. We'd joke and say, "I can tell you within five percent how many green peas I'm going to have on my plate for lunch." And I could almost guarantee the menu, depending on what kind of function it is.
And I had a set of three speeches that I would give, they were canned speeches which didn't say anything particularly, other than to make people feel good. I didn't have a platform, as such; the lieutenant governor doesn't run on a platform, other than to try to be a good public servant. Because there's not that much a lieutenant governor can do. It's true, you talked about education, because the lieutenant governor was a member of the board of education, and a few things like that, but you didn't have to get too specific about anything.
So it turned out that it was an excellent office to hold if one was going to run for another public office, particularly the office of governor. Now, I'll repeat that I didn't have that in mind at all. Now, maybe my mentor, Ben Rooney, did, and simply didn't say that, but he saw that, perhaps.
Anyway, taking the office—at that time was considered a part-time office. One of the things I did do was get the general

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assembly to provide me a full-time secretary, so that the office could be staffed, someone would be there to answer the phone, and there was a considerable amount of mail that would come—to keep the office open, and I did make it full-time. The little cinder-block office over there in the legislative building was adequate, there was no question about it, but you'd go over there and most of the time you could hear your steps echoing around the building; other than the custodial people, that's about all you saw in there.
JACK FLEER:
I've been in that building under those circumstances.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
But that was one of the main things I wanted to do, to be a more active and visible lieutenant governor, and I really thought that the lieutenant governor could be of more service to the governor than had been in the past. But it turns out that that's not really the case unless the governor wants that individual to be more active and more involved.
JACK FLEER:
I know that in some subsequent situations, subsequent to your period of service, governors have asked lieutenant governors to take on various projects. Can you talk a little bit about your relationship with Governor Moore, who was in the position at the time that you were lieutenant governor?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Our relationship was friendly, not close. We came from different political wings of the party. Dan Moore, as it turns out, most of his people supported Mel Broughton in the campaign in 1968 against me. And that was natural, that was the conservative wing of the party that Governor Moore came from, having defeated Richardson Pryer, who with most of the people

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that I was identified with came from the more moderate or liberal wing of the party. Our relationship was cordial. He didn't shut me out, but nor did he really include me in too much. I never felt uncomfortable or unwanted in that sense. But he didn't ask me—except occasionally his office would call and want to know, could I go attend some function because the governor couldn't be there, but they felt like somebody from the state at a high level ought to be there. And this was particularly true in occasions out of state, when he didn't feel like it was necessary for him to be there or his schedule wouldn't permit it, so he would ask me to go.
JACK FLEER:
Were there any occasions where you were asked by him to do anything on behalf of his legislative program, as a member of the senate, so to speak—not a member, but being involved in the senate?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No, I don't really recall that he did. At that time, the governor kept a little office down there in the legislative building, and it was a place where they kept coffee and doughnuts and everything, and the legislators would come by. They kept the governor's liaison down there, he stayed and worked down there. I did the same thing when I was governor. I don't recall that he would call me and ask me, would I help move a bill along, anything like that. There may have been, at times, but I just don't recall—
JACK FLEER:
It wasn't a prominent part—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
—It wasn't a prominent part, certainly. Once the committees were appointed, then that pretty well set the pace.

Page 36
Now, we did confer a time or two on a couple of appointments, and I believe it had to do with judiciary committees, if I recall. But once those committees were set, it was up to the governor and his legislative team to move it on through.
JACK FLEER:
Was there any time during your service as lieutenant governor where you felt the desire, or maybe even the compulsion, to make any proposals of how to deal with public problems, where in a sense you took the initiative? Or was that just a forbidden option?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, I don't think I took any highly-visible role or leadership role in anything particularly. I was very conscious of the fact that, even though I was president of the senate and involved, I was not a senator. Jim Hunt made that mistake, early on when he was lieutenant governor. He went in there and started acting like he was the president pro tem, and they quickly put him back in his place. I was aware of that to begin with, and so I didn't try to go to committee meetings, I didn't put a heavy hand out there, as it were. I saw my role as trying to keep things moving, the process going. I never tried to interfere.
One thing I did do—we had a special session on redistricting, and I sat in on a couple of those meetings, because sometimes the committees would meet at night, you know, and they'd just be drawing all kinds of lines and so on. I remember once we were sitting in there, and I was really more just curious to know what they were doing, and it wasn't even a real formal meeting of the committee, they were just trying to come up with some solution. This is when the "one man, one vote"

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rule came into place, and some legislators weren't going to be back. So this was after that. Anyway, it was redistricting, where some counties are obviously going to have to give up a legislator, and they were trying desperately to protect those legislators. So they had some scenarios drawn up on the chalkboard, and then they all broke and went for lunch or dinner, and a reporter came by and we saw it the next day in the paper. And that taught us a lesson. That was the first time. In that particular case, then-representative Chunker Wallace of Montgomery County—that was the one being eliminated, and it showed it being eliminated. That was the first he knew about it, when he saw it in the papers. That caused all kinds of repercussions. You see, that was on the House side, he was on the house and we were on the Senate.
JACK FLEER:
But you wouldn't propose any legislation or take any initiative in public policy?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No. I did not have an agenda and I wasn't running for anything. One of the things that was interesting to me: it was during this period of time that the legislature set up its own retirement system. And of course— [pause] Wait a minute, now, I'm sorry, I'm getting the times confused. This was later, when I became governor. But it was being talked about in my last years as lieutenant governor. A retirement system for the general assembly, for legislators. The members of the senate staff, which would have been included in that, along with the house members and their staff, they were lobbying for it hard, and I remember getting involved in that and telling the staff

Page 38
that they needed to stay out of that, that they should not be, even though it would affect them. They were for it, very much for it, and I said, "That's not your role."
JACK FLEER:
Now, this was the staff of your office, as lieutenant governor, or the staff of the legislators?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
The staff of the legislators. I only had a staff of one, and that was the secretary. Now, later on, someone asked me once, "If you had had the veto power when you were governor, would there have been anything that you would veto?" And I said, "Well, I don't know but one thing for sure—now, there may have been some other things, but since I didn't have it, I didn't worry about it. But I would have vetoed the legislation creating the retirement system for legislators." Because I thought it was grossly unfair. They set up a retirement system for themselves far better than that for state employees or teachers. Much better. And I just didn't think that was right. I would have vetoed that. Not that I was against a retirement system, but the way they set it up.
JACK FLEER:
Well, given that particular fact about your concern on that system, how do you assess the relationship between you as lieutenant governor and the legislature? What did you see your relationship as being? What were you expected to do, from the legislative standpoint?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, from the legislative standpoint, I was expected to stay out of it, pretty much. But our relationships, I think, were much more cordial then than it is today. First of all, the house and the senate were both heavily Democratic, so we were the

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same political party. And the house and the senate worked much more closely together, because there just wasn't that competition, that conflict between the house and the senate on legislative matters. We often had joint committees—a joint appropriations committee, joint committees on whatever subject. And that hastened the process along, because they'd work it out in a joint committee and then it would go to the committees of the respective chambers and be passed rather quickly, because it had been worked out by both houses of the general assembly.
And we would have frequent conferences between the presiding offices of the two bodies; our legislative staffs worked more closely together, I think—in fact, I'm sure they did. And, you know, when the sessions were over, we'd have a traditional love-feast, you know, and gifts. That silver service set sitting right over there, I think that's the one that was a gift from the members of the Senate to me and my wife.
They don't do that kind of thing anymore, and one could say the "good old boy" atmosphere—well, maybe there was some truth in that, but the civility is not there anymore. And the house and the senate, you know, they're just going for each other's throats. And the same thing with the governor's office. We didn't have a huge staff-just a research staff, and all of that. We had some staff, but not nearly as much as they have now. And so we relied on the governor and the agencies of the state government for our information. But the legislature's grown much more independent now. They act like Congressmen, in Washington. During the time I was governor, and even as lieutenant governor,

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I think the state legislature was the fastest growing agency of the state government.
JACK FLEER:
I have traced that growth. So, as a lieutenant governor, in your relationship with the legislature, you were basically there to preside?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Preside. And yet it was more than that. You know, sometimes they would come and ask me, the members of the senate—My feelings, I had so much camaraderie with the members of the senate that they would always keep me informed, and my close supporters in the senate would try to prevent their being a tie vote where I would have to go show my hand. Only a couple of times, I think, I had to break a tie vote; I don't even remember what the issues were.
JACK FLEER:
I'm sure I can think of a number of reasons, but why did you think they didn't want you to have to show your hand?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Friendship, I guess, and I guess some of them said, Well, he may run for governor. And I would have one or two floor leaders, you know, and I'd say, "How's this vote going to turn out?" And they would move around and lean over and talk to this senator and then go around and talk to that one and then come back and say, "The vote's going to be thus and so", and they'd be pretty close to right.
Remember that, of course, during those days, the lieutenant governor had the authority to appoint committees and to refer legislation, and that made me much more involved as a part of the senate. So they wanted to be in my good graces, the members of the senate, so that if they had a bill, they could get me to

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refer that to a friend in committee. And they also, prior to the session, would like to serve on certain committees, and they would like a certain person to be named chairman of those committees. But the lieutenant governor had that authority, which was considerable. And if I was opposed to a certain piece of legislation, I could refer it to an unfriendly committee, or one that I knew it would never see the light of day in. So that enabled me to be much more a part of the process than the lieutenant governor today. And that power also—the governor's office was aware of that, and he would want to get his legislation through. And so yes, I did confer with the governor's legislative liaison, and so forth, but that was more a matter of process than it was initiating legislation.
JACK FLEER:
Was it felt at that time that it was appropriate for the governor or the governor's office to talk with you about those appointments or those legislative referrals, that was an acceptable thing to do?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Oh, yes. That was an acceptable thing to do. And you know, the governor in some cases had no feeling about it—say, the committee on agriculture and the committee on cities and towns, he didn't really care too much about that, you know. So they recognized the lieutenant governor's authorities and respected that, just as I would recognize the governor's authorities. There wasn't any pressure brought.

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[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
JACK FLEER:
The relationship between you and the governor and the possibility of the governor having some influence, say, on you, in making appointments to committees and making referral of legislation?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
You know, there was no problem with communication. The governor's desires would be made known, if he had any in a particular situation, and I would take that into account. I guess in terms of appointing committees and committee chairs, the greatest interest in that came from the senators themselves. I know the late senator Julian Allsbrook, of Roanoke Rapids in Halifax County, took great pride in the fact that, ever since he'd been in the state senate, he'd always been chairman of the judiciary committee number one. And it was just beyond any possible understanding of his that he would have anything else. Judiciary committee number two would not suffice. That was the only thing he wanted in the way of appointments. Of course, the longevity or seniority wasn't really a factor, in the end, but sometimes you do kind of respect it, if a person has done a good job and you have no objection to it, like Senator Allsbrook. I could care less, in that situation.
So again, as you well understand, in the appointment of committees, you're trying to get a certain balance geographically to the state and to certain interests. You want to be certain

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that the agricultural people have their representation on committees other than agriculture.
Where a lot of the influence tried to be placed—well, not pressure, but—came from the special interest groups, like the educators, the North Carolina Association of Educators. They were very interested in who was going to be on their subcommittees on appropriations. And the agricultural organizations, of course, were concerned about who was going to be, not only chair of the committee, but who was going to be on those committees. And they, the so-called special interest groups—which weren't called that in those days, that's a relatively new term—but they would not hesitate to come. Utilities, that was a big one. The utility companies wanted very much to have some say in who was going to be on the utilities committee. During that particular period of time, we were trying to work out an agreement by law between the private utilities and the rural electric cooperative associations. That was a bitter battle, back in those days, about territorial rights. So in those cases, it was anticipated there might be a legislative activity, perhaps very controversial activity, the commodity organizations, the special interest groups, would have a great deal of interest and would spend some time with the lieutenant governor trying to make their case, "We'd like to have these people on the committee."
JACK FLEER:
These were all very important activities. During this process of the four-year term as lieutenant governor, when did

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you begin thinking about what you would do after you were lieutenant governor?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I don't know that there was any one point. I suppose that I just—you know, sort of going in the back door, in a way. All of a sudden you begin to think about what's going to happen next, after four years as lieutenant governor. And I guess it probably came along maybe during the middle of the term. Back then they did not have the so-called short sessions that the legislature likes to have today. They met every other year for five or six months, and that was pretty much it. Occasionally there would be committees in town. I'm trying to think if we had any special sessions during that period of time, and I think we may have had one on redistricting, but I'm not sure. So—
JACK FLEER:
So about halfway through the term, you began to think- - -
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Yeah, I guess so. I began to think about that.
JACK FLEER:
Can you describe that process of how you came to making that decision, who was involved, what kinds of considerations you made?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No, I really can't, because I don't even know when it occurred, it was just all of a sudden. Campaigns didn't start quite as soon, back then. I expect it was well on—well, let's see: the session would have been in 1965 and '67. So I suppose it was sometime in the summer of '67. After the session, I began to think, "OK, what now?"
JACK FLEER:
Were there any groups or people or interests in the state that you felt you had to consult with or know the opinions

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of, in the process of your deciding to run for governor, that became important bases for you to touch, so to speak, to find out whether this was even a possibility?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Not consciously. Of course, as lieutenant governor, I was in contact with practically all the organizations and associations and groups. You know, I'd spoken before the teacher organizations—there was scarcely an organization I hadn't had some contact with. But it was more by the fact that I was lieutenant governor, I think, than anything else. I was never considered to be a part of the business community. I was an agrarian, a farmer if you will, a graduate of NC State, I was not going to move among the power brokers or the captains of industry—I just didn't move in those circles. I didn't belong to a country club or anything of that sort.
JACK FLEER:
And you didn't feel a need to get in touch with those people?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Didn't really know how, in a sense, because I really wasn't comfortable in that circle. I recall so well that after I'd run for governor and won the nomination, in the spring, Governor Moore—who had remained neutral in that, although most of his supporters and friends supported my opponent, he very, very carefully remained neutral—and he did invite me to his office one day after that, after the campaign, and said, "I want to do what I can to help you win the election in the fall."
JACK FLEER:
This was after the second primary.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
After the second primary. And he put on a couple of fundraisers. Back then—I'm amused at what's happening in

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Washington. He had them in the mansion, and he had the connections, having been an official with, ah…Champion—
JACK FLEER:
Champion Paper Company—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
—Paper Company. And he had connections with big business. And he had some of those people in the mansion on a couple of occasions for fundraisers, which I attended, of course. So he knew that was probably where I was—the business community, perhaps because of my father, didn't trust me all that much. I wasn't one of them, and I didn't have a record of being pro-business. Not necessarily anti-business, but just not pro-business. And the company I kept, perhaps, politically, was a little suspect. Now, keep in mind, at this period of time, there was a great deal of civil unrest and tension and so on, and a lot of our thoughts were on those kinds of things.
JACK FLEER:
I was going to ask, at this stage, in fact, in most of the history of the Democratic party, African-Americans, or probably at that time referred to as Negroes, were an important source of potential support, although many of them had just recently gained the right to vote through the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Did you make or feel that you should make any overtures to that community in your process of making your decision to run?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Not so much overtures. That particular segment of the rural population would normally gravitate toward me anyway, because of my father, who had appointed the first black to the state board of education, and again, being a populist, rural roads, rural schools, those kinds of things that benefited blacks quite a lot. It wasn't a given, and when we talk about the

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governor's race I'll talk about that a little more; but I didn't make any particular overt approaches to them, or any other group. Now, when I got into the campaign itself, I did, and I'll talk about that later, as well as to the Greek community in certain [unclear] .
JACK FLEER:
But for example, at the stage of the primary, you not only had Melville Broughton as an opponent, or another candidate, but you had Reginald Hawkins, who was, I guess, the first black to run for governor of North Carolina, in 1968. Did that cause you any concern about the possibility of getting the nomination, with the possibility of some of those votes, maybe a significant number of votes that you thought might go to you because of your father, not coming to you?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Yes, it caused some concern, but in a sense, and I'll have to say this is in retrospect, the fact that you had Reginald Hawkins out there running, and Melville Broughton, that positioned me in the middle. And so there was a feeling then on the part of some of the conservatives, "Well, you know, Bob Scott is not getting all the liberal vote, they're voting for Hawkins." And as you know, there are all shades and degrees of conservatism. And what I tried to do was broaden—if I was going to be in the middle of the road, then I was going to broaden that middle of the road, and crowd the conservatives over closer to that ditch, and the liberals over to that ditch, so that they didn't have much room except for over on the shoulder, and I had the broad center. That's the way it turned out. I'm not sure I had that straight to begin with; it just worked out that way.

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So Reginald Hawkins' entering into the race did not cause me that much concern. Of course, I would have liked to have had all the votes. I recall that I went before the—this is when I ran for lieutenant governor—the very influential and even powerful black leadership group in Durham, the Committee on Black American Affairs, they called it then, or Negro Affairs, I suppose. Well, you know, this was new to me, and I knew it was customary that the candidates go. So I went before their group, and I remember Nick Galifionakis, who was running for Congress at that time, was also there. And Nick is from Durham, and he knew a little bit about it, so he sort of coached me, and said, "You just go in there and don't try to be somebody, just be who you are and answer their questions, that's the way you're going to be likely to get their support."
Well, I went in there, and they called me in and started to ask me questions, how did I feel about this issue, how did I feel about that issue, and I told the crowd, I said, "Well, you know, that doesn't affect the office of lieutenant governor; the lieutenant governor has nothing to say or do about that issue." Most of them were national issues—voting rights, all those kinds of things. And, as it turned out, I did not get their support in the first primary. Now, some of the black leadership in Durham at that time, they were friends of mine, and they wanted me to get the support of that group. But I didn't get it. So, in a post-mortem of that, and before the second primary of the race for lieutenant governor, they said, "Now, you didn't handle that right." I said, "Well, they kept asking me questions about which

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I didn't know much about and had nothing to do." He said, "That doesn't make any difference. They wanted to know how you felt about it, whether you had any part in it or not, they wanted to know your feelings."
The next time, in the second primary, they didn't have a meeting of the whole committee, which was a large group. They had an executive committee. And so I appeared before the executive committee. And the executive committee kind of told me in essence what I ought to say about some of these issues, and they in turn recommended me to the full committee, and I got their support in the second go-round. Cliff Blue got their support in the first go-round, as I recall.
But anyway, at some point in time, in the latter part of my term as lieutenant governor, I began meeting and some dialogue with officials of the North Carolina Association of Educators, or Educator's Association it was back then, and other groups like that, particularly them, though. And I met with highway contractors, about roads and all that kind of thing. You know, naturally they wanted more money for roads, and I said, "Well, that's probably going to mean another gasoline tax."
And one of the things with educators was, we'd been talking for a number of years about public school kindergartens, and it seemed to me like it was time to stop talking and start doing something about it. So it was out of my discussions with them came the proposal for public school kindergartens. Well, how you going to pay for it? Well, that's when I put the tax on cigarettes, or asked for it, and eventually got it. Because the

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tax on cigarettes and soft drinks, the reason it was to be two cents, you know—excuse me— [pause] It was to be a nickel a pack tax on cigarettes, no soft drinks involved. That's another story, it would take a little while; if you'll make a note, I'll come back and tell you about that fight. But, anyway, it was to get close to a hundred million dollars into the general fund in order to finance public school kindergartens. And I think we actually got ninety-seven million, or something like that. But that was the beginning of that program, and that was why I recommended a tax on cigarettes.
JACK FLEER:
When you talk about those issues having come into some prominence when you were talking with educators, or when you were talking with highway contractors, did you at that time, in a sense, commit yourself to proposing those taxes, or were they just options that you raised, or—?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
We didn't talk about how we were going to pay for it. That came later, and that's the way politics often works: you make a commitment, and you have to figure out how you're going to meet it. I have a theory about that, about government in general, and I have a little talk I make occasionally, about misconceptions about the office of governor and the powers of the governor. One is that candidates get out and campaign on issues, and in the heat of the campaign they say, "I'm going to do this", "I'm going to do that", and so forth, and then if they get elected, all of a sudden they got to deliver, and they haven't really thought about where's the money going to come from to do that. And they are, sometimes, I think, in their first term at

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least, they are surprised by the limitations, the obstacles the governor has. There are legal limitations, of course; there are limitations of tradition; there are limitations of public opinion, some things you just don't do, and so on.
So, no—all I was thinking about, what would be a good program, and what would be some popular issues that people would want? I didn't worry about paying for it. I didn't even think about it. But the money's going to have to come from somewhere. You would think that a person who'd served as lieutenant governor would know and appreciate those factors. But again, as Governor Moore said, there's no training ground for governor. And though I knew the process, there was an awful lot about it that I didn't know, and I would suggest that's true today.
JACK FLEER:
Now, we talked about teachers, we talked about highway contractors, we talked about the business community, we've talked about African-Americans. Were there any other groups that you thought were important to touch base with, or know their concerns, as you were—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Now, we're talking about during the period I was lieutenant governor and preparing to race for governor?
JACK FLEER:
To run for governor.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
OK. One of the things that came to my mind, came to my attention: during this period of time was the first time that there seemed to be dialogue out across the state about concerns about our environment. So environmental issues were beginning to come to the fore. It was something kind of new. So when I ran for governor, I had a rather strong environmental program. I

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didn't confer with any organizations—I don't know that there were any, unless the Sierra Club was around. They certainly didn't have as many as they have now. And that concern grew out of two things. First of all, the fact that there was beginning to be talk about air pollution and waste treatment, those kinds of things—not nearly to the extent it is now, but enough to make me know it was on the public's mind. Number two, again, going back to my dad and the environment in which I grew up, soil and water conservation was always something that I knew about from my agricultural background. My dad used to talk about water quality all the time. He said that's the number one long-term problem in North Carolina, is inadequate drinking water supplies. So that kind of came naturally to me. And the time to me seemed to be right to push that kind of agenda.
Another was, of course, settling the problem with the utilities, the territorial issues between the rural electric cooperatives and the private utilities. Oh, and the other was planning. I was surprised to learn that there was no planning mechanism in state government, no process. Planning was another thing that was beginning to be talked about. Partly, this came as a result of the federal government sending down large sums of money to the states for various purposes: infrastructure needs, whatever. Water, sewer, that's infrastructure. But they were saying, "You know, you folks got to get your act together down there and do some planning on what's needed, we just can't shovel out the money to you."

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So out of all that, we set up the State Goals and Policy Commission, and began to do some long-range planning, set goals for the state and have a vision of how we want to get there. We did that, and we didn't really know what we were doing, how to do it, you know. They did some good work, but again, because that was a thing that I started, Governor Holshouser's administration didn't really cater to that. Anything that I had was suspect, of course. They kept it on, but really didn't use it. By the time I got it started, and they found out what it was they were supposed to be doing and actually get some planning going, I was about out of office. Governor Holshouser didn't follow through on it.
Governor Hunt set it up again, under another name, and incidentally I just attended a meeting at the Institute of Government where they're trying to decide what to do with it. Bill Friday's involved. They call it the Progress Board, now. But I thought then and I think now that to be institutionalized, it ought to be removed—it's been too much of a governor's, you know, it's his goals, his agenda. It ought to be removed from that political context and put over at the Institute of Government, someplace like that. That's another story.
But planning, environment, and, let's face it, the whole question of law and order was very much involved at that time.
JACK FLEER:
Whenever you, after you went to see these various groups, heard about these issues, developed your own ideas about what you thought was important for the state—how did you feel that you would, in fact, be able to win the nomination of the

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Democratic party? Because you had serious opposition: two persons, one of them with a family legacy of political power and influence. What made you think that you could, in fact, overcome and win the office, or win the nomination?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Once I really seriously began to plan a campaign for governor, and I'm not sure when that really occurred; there wasn't any time when I sat down and said, "Yes, I'm going to run." I have a theory about that: In running for public office, you don't just make it that clear-cut, you just don't wake up one morning and say, "I'm going to run"; you're thinking about running, and you do all the planning—back then, we didn't do many polls, didn't know how to run them, really—but you sort of planned, you kept taking steps further and further towards a decision, kind of like going fishing. You look out, you make all the preparations, you get your fishing gear all ready, you get your place in mind you want to go, and all of those things, and the last thing you do, you wake up in the morning and look out the window and see what the weather's like and decide whether you're going to go or not. And that's kind of the way it is in politics. You think about running, you get closer and closer, and first thing, you're in before you know it.
JACK FLEER:
And no turning back.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No turning back. You're caught up in the vortex of the whole thing. But the question was what?
JACK FLEER:
How did you think you would, in fact, be able to receive the nomination? Because there was, within the Democratic Party, at least these two factions.

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ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
OK. I knew that I had to, at least in the minds of the public, pretty much shatter the conception that I was a liberal. The pendulum was beginning to swing back to conservatism, law and order. We must stop the blacks from marching in the streets, and all that kind of stuff. Law and order was a big thing. Well, the perception was—I said conception, the perception was that I came from the liberal wing of the Democratic party. There was probably some evidence that I had favored the minorities in certain things, I don't know what they might have been. My father was considered a liberal, and so on. I had to get off of the liberal bit, more into the middle of the road.
So one of the first things I did, in terms of public speeches and those kinds of things in the campaign, I accepted an invitation to go to Dunn in Harnett Country, center of the KKK country, to make a speech. I got one of my dad's old speechwriters, Robert Redwine. He was a speechwriter for him when he was in the United States Senate. Robert—or Bob—Redwine could write, he could write a fireball speech. He couldn't write until he was about half-drunk, but if he got about half-drunk, he could turn out a speech, and I asked him to do that. I didn't ask him to get drunk, but I asked him to write a speech. Told him what I was going to do and what I wanted to do. And he wrote a speech that even I couldn't give it. I mean, it was so law and order that I just couldn't bring myself to even do that.
So I modified my speech, toned it down, and went down to Dunn, to—I forgot what city group it was, and I got the

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commander of the highway patrol. No, was he commander? No, he was not commander, but he wanted to be commander. He was one of the officers on the patrol, and he went with me, in uniform, which was something he probably ought not have done, but he went on the excuse that I was lieutenant governor and he was with me. And I gave that speech, and the newspapers just editorialized right and left that I had betrayed my background and my training in the Democratic party, and so on and so forth. But it had the intended effect, that I was not as liberal as perhaps they had thought, and that I was more in the middle of the road. So that was one of the things that I knew I had to do.
Number two, I realized that I had to build support in the business community. One of the things that Ben Rooney suggested I do was to go down to talk to Snow Holding, who was the president of the First Citizen's Bank and Trust Company. Louis Holding is his name, and of course he still is. I went down to see him at his office, made an appointment. And one of the reasons was that that was a family-held bank. When the three brothers set down for breakfast, they had had not only a meeting of the board of directors, they had a meeting of the stockholders. And their father, who founded the bank, was a good friend of my father. And my father ran in 1949 against the banks, if you will. But Mr. Holding was one of the few that supported my dad, one of the very few banks.
Anyway, I went down to see Snow Holding at the bank, and I was ushered in, got me a shoeshine walking through the carpet to his office, sat down, and the secretary brought in a silver tray

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with coffee and all of that. And Snow came in and we had some cordial chitchat. And I told him that I was thinking about running for governor, and that somebody had told me that I ought to come see him, that his support was awfully important. And he said, "I don't know who told you that, but he told you right." And so we talked on that, and he said, "Well, now, OK, you've told me what you want to do, but let me ask you this: what makes you think I don't want to be governor?"
Well, I had not thought about that, and he sort of stumped me for a bit. He said, "I have made a success in the banking business; I've got a home in Smithfield, one here in Raleigh, and one in Charlotte; how many places can I live? How many cars can I drive? How many suits of clothes can I wear? Banking is no longer that much of a challenge to me. I wouldn't mind being governor of North Carolina. Not being governor of North Carolina, that doesn't matter, four years and you're out of office, but what it can be is a stepping stone to the United States Senate. If I go to the United States Senate and play my cards right, then I can get to be chairman of a powerful committee. And that's where the power is." And I thought, "Man, I don't know that I'm making any progress here at all." Anyway, I said, "Well, if you decide to run, I hope you'll let me know ahead of time, because that would be powerful opposition." And that was the way we sort of left it. And I said, "If you don't run, I really would like to have your support." And of course he didn't, and he did give me his support. And he helped me with some other people in the business community, but I didn't get the

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big ones, really. I just didn't move in those circles, didn't have that contact, and I was still, you know—Mel Broughton and his background were much more business-oriented than I was.
JACK FLEER:
So you broadened your appeal, you made some overtures to the business community.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I might say too in addition that although the state was in transition, it was beginning the transition—ah, I guess it's always in transition, isn't it? But the political transition was beginning to occur because, you know, Holshouser succeeded me, it was beginning to change at that time. What I tried to do was, working in my organization, I knew that I had to work harder at the urban vote. I had the contact out in the rural areas. So Charlotte was a big challenge to me. Wilmington. Fortunately, I got a good organization among that group. I realized it in Charlotte. But Wilmington was a tough one, Salisbury, Asheville—I did fair, but I just didn't feel like I had what it took to win the popular vote in those cities.
Another thing, I realized too that since I was young, relatively speaking, as a candidate—at that time, I think I was the youngest person to run for lieutenant governor in modern times, although it was interesting, isn't it, that Holshouser and Hunt were both younger than I was. So—that's why you have so many ex-governors today, [unclear]
JACK FLEER:
[Laughter]
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
But what I was going to say is, I wasn't real active in the Jaycees, but I helped start a little chapter over here in Haw River, which gave me entree into the Jaycees, and several of

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the people who would help me were Jaycees, and I got two or three of the ex-presidents of the state Jaycee organization involved in my campaign, and we organized what we called the Young Voters' Campaign. Basically, these were the Jaycee age group—thirty-five year olds, thirty year olds, right in there—and those people were younger, they were active, you know, they'd get out and work, as Jaycees were prone to do if they took on something. And we got those folks organized—not as an organization, Jaycees, but we kept that manpower and womanpower, and I went to many a home, just to meet with fifteen to twenty people that would come in, in the city. And that wasn't through the regular political organizations; that was almost a separate setup.
JACK FLEER:
Neighborhoods and communities and personal contacts.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Yeah, right. Coffees and teas.
JACK FLEER:
Now, you ended up having, of course, a very tight primary race in the first primary. No one received sufficient votes to be nominated, except that Mel Broughton decided not to call for a runoff. In thinking about running in the general election against Jim Gardner, did the fact that you had not won a majority of the Democratic party serve as an obstacle or a problem?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
It may have, but I wasn't really aware of that and wasn't conscious of it in that sense. I guess Mel, I don't know this, but I suspect Mel Broughton and his advisors felt that since Reginald Hawkins was out of it, probably most of that vote would come to me, and, I don't know, that's what I would have thought at that particular point.

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Now, I may very well have lost that race in the general election against Jim Gardner, had not Jim Gardner been rather strident, and it was—I don't think he had the confidence of moderate Republicans. Plus the fact, again, I had worked with, back in my farm organization days, in these rural communities, and my father was well thought of by a lot of Republicans. And I got a lot of that vote that normally would have gone to a moderate. It would probably have gone to Jim Holshouser or somebody like that.
JACK FLEER:
Now, when you say strident, you're talking about ideologically conservative?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Yeah. Let's see. Help me with my times, here. Had Jim Gardner already run for Congress yet?
JACK FLEER:
Yes. He had run for Congress. He had served one term.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
That was part of it, I think. His folks thought he should have stayed in Congress instead of coming back and running for governor. And I think that didn't help him any. I don't know that it accrued much benefit—well, anything that didn't help him accrued to my benefit. But you see what I'm saying, there—I think there were just a few combination of factors there that—otherwise, I might not have made that race. The tide was turning in North Carolina.
JACK FLEER:
So it wasn't a stage, as had often been the case in the past, that having won the Democratic nomination, you could be assured that you would win the election?

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ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
No, not at all. Although I must confess—I say confess, I'll state it at this point—I really wasn't much aware of how much the change had occurred. Again, we didn't do a whole lot of polling. You'd do some, but we didn't know what questions to ask and didn't know how to interpret them when we asked them. So there wasn't that much polling going on. Particularly sustained polling that would show trends. Consequently, I don't think that I was aware of how much that trend had progressed. But it was close.
JACK FLEER:
But even the votes which people like Gavin, for example, had received, in prior years, would indicate that the Republicans were certainly gaining strength in the state.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Oh, yeah. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, if you look at the data over a period of a couple of decades. It's quite clear. And as a political scientist I'm sure you are very familiar with that. That's why I enjoy listening to you people who do track these trends in an objective and methodical way. It's enlightening to me and I wish more people would take the time to look at that kind of thing. They'd understand what's going on.
JACK FLEER:
I have one other question about the campaign that relates to the broader issue of the role of political parties in North Carolina politics. In your campaign—

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[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
JACK FLEER:
…in 1968 did you see your campaign as primarily a personal organization success?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, of course, in the primary, it was personal organization. It was my organization and Mel Broughton's organization. Dan Moore had a lot to do with bringing those two together, to help heal the wounds. And so it was a party organization in the fall, although I had my own. As was true during that period of time and I guess still is, the candidate for governor of necessity has his own organization in the primary. Well, you can't just discard that and go with the party organization; you run in parallel. And depending on who's running on the national ticket, and perhaps in the local races, determines whether you're going to pair up with a Democratic party organization or you want to distance yourself from it. And there've been governor's campaigns who didn't choose to get too close to the party organization. And here in 1998, in Alamance County, I see people maneuvering around with respect to state offices, state appointments and all like that, with the governor's office and so forth, and not going through the party organization. Party organization, about the time I was running for governor, was becoming less and less important because there's really, other than the office of governor, there's really nothing anybody can do for it, other than the satisfaction of being on the winning side. The patronage system was beginning to weaken considerably.

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Now, personally I've always had two views—Politics has two tracks. One track is the party mechanism. If you want to be involved in politics and you want to start at the ground level, you run for precinct chair. And then you may be a county chairperson. And then you may be on the state executive committee, you know. And you move up, and you participate in politics in the party organization, be it Democrat or Republican. The other track is running for office as a candidate, be it county commissioner, or state legislature, governor, what have you. I chose to go the route—and this wasn't a conscious choice; in fact, it was well on into my political career before I began to think about these things. But I ran for lieutenant governor and governor, and I was running down this track, and the party organization's over here on this other track, and we were staying in touch and all like that, but really they were separate. I've been isolated. To this day I have never read a party platform. And didn't really care what was in it, so long as it wasn't counter to what I was interested in.
Now, the governor and his political supporters get involved in the Democratic convention, or the Republican convention, as it may be, mainly to be sure that there's not anything in there that the governor can't live with, and to try to avoid there being any embarrassing kinds of things. And to try to get the governor's main points in the party platform. Well, sometimes I think it's not so much trying to get the governor's campaign agenda incorporated into the party platform as it is simply a power

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struggle. Who's gonna run the show? And the governor's staff people, you know, they're going to say, "We're it, we're going to run the show, and we're going to say who's going to be the party executive director", or the national committee woman, national committee man, all that kind of stuff. That was true back in my father's day—he had a rift with the Democratic party organization at that time, and refused to sit on the stage with the state party people, but sat down with his Alamance County delegation.
Well, to some extent I was that way. I just really didn't care for the intricacies of the party mechanism. I understood it, and appreciated it. The party, to me, was a mechanism by which I could run for office. In our democratic society, that's the way it's done. So I took advantage of that, obviously; had to. But it wasn't so much that I was on—I didn't get all bent out of shape too much one way or the other about the national party, except as it reflected the tenor of liberal versus moderate versus conservative and it made it difficult for me to run my own race if I was tabbed as a big-spending Democratic liberal.
JACK FLEER:
But you did mention, for example, that Governor Moore, you felt, helped bring the various divisions within the party together, and that benefited you some. And presumably he didn't do that from a personal motivation, but from a party motivation. Is that fair?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I'd say that's a fair assessment. You'd have to ask—well, you can't ask him now, you could ask some of his people

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about that. Wayne Corpening in Winston-Salem was close to him. But who knows? The fact that he did this, and that he raised some money for me, and he urged the business community to support me, and says, you know, "He's not as bad as he looks,"—all that weighed in to my being willing to support him for the Supreme Court. He may have had an ulterior motive. But I think Dan Moore was a loyal party man, I really think he believed in that, and regardless of what the future held for him with respect to a court appointment, I think he would have done that anyway.
Incidentally, for the fact that we were not politically close to begin with, we became very good personal friends, and I still stay in touch with Mrs. Moore. She's in extremely poor health right now.
JACK FLEER:
Another component of that fall campaign was the division in the national Democratic party between Hubert Humphrey and the Wallace component of the party. What, if any, impact did that have on your ability to win, as you eventually did, the general election? Was there any consequence, negative or positive?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, it was a very tight rope to walk, and like most candidates, I suppose, I stepped gingerly and tried to avoid getting trapped into extremes on either side. I was pretty well convinced in my own mind that I was not going to get the George Wallace vote, because, again, my political background and who I had been associated with, my father and all that. What I got of that type of thinking was more personal friendship, they knew me or knew my father or something like that. Ideologically, I don't

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think I really expected to get that vote. And I didn't try to wave the flag for Hubert Humphrey at that point particularly—
JACK FLEER:
Did you have to do anything in particular to avoid Hubert Humphrey's flag being put on your back?
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I don't recall, really. I think I just took the viewpoint, you know, I'm running my race, and good luck to them all. And that's sort of been historically true in this state, you know.
JACK FLEER:
Sometimes it's more easily done than at other times. For example, in 1972 I would guess that Skipper Bowles had more difficulty distancing himself from the McGovern situation than maybe you did in '68. I don't know if that's fair or not.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Yeah, that's a fair statement. Because McGovern was viewed as being even more liberal than Humphrey; Humphrey was the happy warrior, of course, and he didn't develop the negatives that McGovern did. But here in this county we laugh about it today, the former state legislator for the county, Fred Bowman, and Jessie Rae, my wife, and I were the only three who would admit that we'd vote for McGovern. [Laughter]
This county of Alamance, my home county, is a good example of the changes during that period of time. It was a watershed decade in many areas, including politics.
JACK FLEER:
Oh, the 1960s have had an incredible impact upon all subsequent years, there's no question.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
That's true. That was the watershed decade. It's an interesting thing to look back, as you would as a historian on the political side of things, and see, if you could project

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what's going to happen in the next twenty years like you were able to say what happened in the last twenty, wouldn't it be wonderful?
JACK FLEER:
It would be wonderful…
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
You probably can, better than those of us who haven't looked at it.
JACK FLEER:
But I don't know, because I think so many things happened in 1960 and '70, and change has been so dramatic, not just in pace but in character, over the last several decades, that I'm not sure even the brightest of us could foresee what was going to happen.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, I'm wondering if—you know, the pendulum swings, back and forth, as we all know, and during the decade of the '60s it was over on, shall we say, the left, obviously, and now it's back over on the right. The question is, how far is it going to go? Is it fair to say that, if you follow history, that it'll swing back again? Or has the time of the '60s embedded our, if you will, rejection of that so deeply that it's not going to go back?
JACK FLEER:
It might not go back to where it was in 1960, but even if it moves back toward 1960—I mean, that's essentially, say, Arthur Schlesinger's view of the periods of history, that you have these movements ideologically, and they don't necessarily go back and resume some earlier stage, but they can't avoid being influenced by those earlier stages. History's there, it's a factor.

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Governor, it's 2:30. I don't know whether you feel that you want to—
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
Well, I am getting a little weary.
JACK FLEER:
I thought you were.
ROBERT W. (BOB) SCOTT:
I do have some phone calls I need to make.
END OF INTERVIEW