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Republicans: Fire from the Home Front

4 minute read

There was Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., off in his barbed-wire-protected Embassy tending to the war in South Viet Nam — and finding himself shot at from New Hampshire.

The reason was that Nelson Rockefeller was getting skittish about Lodge’s presidential potential, particularly in view of recent polls indicating that more than 30% of New Hampshire’s voters may write in either Lodge’s name or that of Richard Nixon. Rockefeller backers have urged Lodge to disavow, in no uncertain terms, any New Hampshire hopes. Last week one Rocky aide was overheard telling the Governor that still another staffer was “calling Cabot once more to tell him he’s got two days to put up or shut up.” And Rockefeller followed that up with a personal phone call to Lodge. He carefully refrained from disclosing anything pertinent about the conversation.

In any event, during a Goffstown, N.H., appearance, Rocky was asked: “Is Lodge to blame for Viet Nam in any respect? Has he done us any good?” The reply: “When a man is in foreign service as ambassador he has to carry out instructions from the Secretary of State and the President. He is not in a position to speak independently, except when he resigns. So he is either a part of what is going on, or, if he does not want to be part of it, his only alternative is to resign and to come back and say what is wrong. He hasn’t resigned and come back to say what he thinks is wrong.” Barry Goldwater was less delicate in assigning responsibility to Lodge for the mess in South Viet Nam. Lodge, he said, had “balled things up” and “has to share whatever blame there is.” Some Embarrassing Moments. Both Rockefeller and Goldwater had some embarrassing moments during their New Hampshire campaigning last week.

Rocky bore up gracefully under his— which came when former Governor Sherman Adams paid him a visit. Political associations with Adams have hardly been the vogue since he resigned under fire in 1958 as President Eisenhower’s staff chief.

The idea for the get-together came from Adams’ wife, who offeredto assemble a group of her friends for a coffee reception with Rocky in Lincoln.

Rockefeller advisers agreed. Adams went to the reception from Cannon Mountain, where he had been skiing.

Asked if he was supporting Rocky, he replied with characteristic brusqueness: “Why don’t you fellows have a cup of coffee?” Would Rocky accept Adams’ endorsement if it were offered? Said Rockefeller: “I’ve been after it all along.” An Improbable Argument. As for Goldwater, he trudged glumly through New Hampshire’s snowy villages, failing to keep several appointments, often acting as though political handshaking were an ordeal. As usual, he got in a few cracks at Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. “If he were my Secretary of Defense,” said Goldwater, “he’d be back making Edsels for Ford the next day.” Barry inaccurately quoted McNamaraas saying that long-range missiles are more reliable than manned bombers. That statement, said Goldwater, is “probably the stupidest ever made by a Secretary of Defense.” Goldwater also got into an argument with one of his most vociferous backers, William Loeb, publisher of the Manchester Union Leader, over—of all people—JimmyHoffa. Goldwater had accused Rockefeller of “not telling the truth” about Barry’s philosophies, charged that Hoffa’s New Hampshire Teamsters were supporting Rocky. Said he: “Of course, when you have Jimmy Hoffa running your campaign, you’re likely to say most anything.” As it happens, Bill Loeb likes Hoffa. Wrote he in an editorial addressed to Goldwater: “One of the reasons you have the support of this newspaper is thanks to Mr. Hoffa. When a group of ‘liberal’ Kennedy publishers ganged up on this newspaper, who saved it? Not a conservative, but a loan from the Central States Pension Fund of the Teamsters.”

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