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Tom Turnipseed, Wallace Staff on
the LeMay press conference

Tom Turnipseed Q:Talk about the LeMay press conference.

A: When General LeMay was put on the ticket, it really is an interesting story about why he was put on the ticket primarily because interest out in Texas, the Hunts and their money wanted him on there. And I understand that the deal was like, we got a million dollars to put him on the ticket. They were interested in Wallace being for strong defense, so to speak. It was announced in Pittsburgh, and General LeMay was drawn into a long conversation about nuclear weaponry. You know, General LeMay had been a hero in World War II in the bombing of the Nazis, old plants down in Romania and places like that, and then he was involved, of course, in the war in southeast Asia. And what he wanted to do was drop nuclear bombs on China. He came out and said that previously and so forth. But he was drawn into a long conversation about nuclear weaponry and the tests that had been done with the hydrogen bombs out in the South Pacific and so forth. And he started talking about, well, it really didn't harm the creatures of the sea and so forth. Says that studies were done on fish and the crabs and so forth. And actually, whatever the radiation did to me, made him fatter and healthier, and he went on and on and on. And Governor Wallace was standing over on the side, kind of looking, and just kind of shrinking up, you could tell he wanted to get out of there. And it was like a couple of days later, I had to meet with Governor Wallace about some of the scheduling about ballot position work. And I said, "What's wrong, Governor? You look like you're sick." And he said, "Well, Tom, I'm real concerned about General LeMay." We call him Bombs Away LeMay and I said, I said, "Why?" And he said, "Well, you know what he said up in Pittsburgh." He says, "One of the voting blocks that we have are people that live close to these metropolitan areas where they've have all the rioting and so forth. And you know, they're not going to vote for us if they think that we're going to drop bombs and things. They're afraid of the nuclear bombs." And back then there was much more fear of nuclear weaponry. You know, we've just been through the time where people built bomb shelters and stuff like that. But, he was very much concerned about LeMay going off on a tangent with all the military. Actually, Wallace wasn't very militaristic at all. In fact, he was the kind of guy that, I think he really wanted to get out of the war in southeast Asia. He would couch it in terms of, "Well, if we're not going to win it, let's just get out." He didn't like the long-haired anti-Vietnam protesters, anti-war protesters. And back then, you had the anti-war protesters and the civil rights movement kind of mixed a little bit in the minds of a lot of his constituents and people that supported Governor Wallace.

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