Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Need for southern Democrats to obscure their connections to the national party

Scott offers a brief comment, and a laugh, on the connections between national and statewide politicians. He would never have admitted that he voted for George McGovern in 1968.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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 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]