Title: Oral History Interview with Robert W. (Bob) Scott, February 11, 1998. Interview C-0336-2.
Interviewer: Fleer, Jack
Interviewee: Scott, Robert W. (Bob)
Abstract: Robert W. (Bob) Scott was elected governor of North Carolina in 1969, serving until 1973. Although he was the son of former governor W. Kerr Scott, he had never seriously considered a political career until he found himself in the lieutenant governor's office. In this interview, however, as well as the other interview in this series, Scott reveals a political acuity and a thoughtfulness about his office that certainly did not spring from disinterest. The focus of this interview is Scott's term as governor. He considers the relatively constrained powers of North Carolina's chief executive—Scott did not have veto power during his administration—and how that power affects the relationship between the executive and legislative branches. He traces the root of his ethics back to his upbringing and describes the challenges and temptations of holding political office, or having the power of the state within reach. He ponders the role of the governor as administrator, and how that administrator must interact with the many people around him or her, from loyal aides to political rivals. Along the way, Scott reveals himself as a nonideological, nonpartisan governor who was not interested in building the Democratic Party organization past the point where it would win him elections and had little passion for the game of politics. This is a dense interview, thick with opinions and recollections, and will be useful to researchers and students interested in the operation of state government in North Carolina as well as Scott himself. Researchers and students interested in further material should look to the first interview in this series, C-0036-1.