Title: Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 4, 1998. Interview C-0336-1.
Interviewer: Fleer, Jack
Interviewee: Scott, Robert W. (Bob)
Abstract: Governor Robert W. (Bob) Scott, although he grew up the son of Governor W. Kerr Scott, describes himself as something of an outsider—"a farmer . . . a graduate of N. C. State"—and insists that he never intended on a political career. When his name surfaced in a newspaper item speculating about a run for the governorship, however, his political career began. Scott ran for lieutenant governor and won the seat, and while he downplays his political acumen and ambitions, he soon thereafter began to position himself for a gubernatorial campaign. After four years as lieutenant governor, he took his understated political posture to the governor's office, becoming the first sitting lieutenant governor to take the state house, where he served from 1969 to 1973. In this rich interview, Scott describes his early life and how he backed into a political career; his modest approach to the lieutenant governorship and his relationship with state legislators; his successful campaign for the governorship, which he won by reaching out to a diverse constituency, from African Americans to white conservatives; and his goals for statewide leadership. As he discusses these topics, he reveals a layered political life and shows, or cultivates, an image as a laid-back person with big goals but limited political ambitions. Modest and self-effacing, Scott presents a detailed political portrait and provides a look into the workings of North Carolina's political processes in the 1960s and 1970s.