Sunday, April 22, 2012

Great Photo and Funny Story From NC Political History

This is such a historic image for those who love North Carolina political history.  Left to right is "Old Buncombe Bob" Reynolds, Frank Porter Graham, and Willis Smith.  Dr. Graham was, of course, the  legendary liberal President of UNC.  Willis Smith, Professor of Law and Chairman of the Board of
Trustees at Duke, was the racist candidate who ran against Dr. Graham in 1950 for the U. S. Senate from North Carolina.  Jesse Helms was Smith's young, behind the scenes, campaign manager.  The senate race was the most bitter, historic, and interesting in NC history. For your interest, there is a March 15, 2011 blog on the Senate race here on ThePoint.

"Old Buncombe Bob" Reynolds was U. S. Senator from North Carolina from 1932 to 1945.  He was a character to say the least.  He was a "populist" candidate for the senate in 1932 during the beginnings of the Great Depression.  He was opposed by, and surprisingly defeated, the "machine" candidate, interim Senator Cameron Morrison. 

Reynolds was very popular with FDR early in his career, as he was a big supporter of FDR's "New Deal".  Later in his career Reynolds got way "off track", and , after being entertained a number of times in Europe by Adolph Hitler, became an apologist for Nazi aggression in Europe. This quickly ended his influence and career.

Reynolds was a dapper, smooth talking, rather flamboyant attorney from Asheville.  A great story from early in his career has him in the Oval Office with his friend and buddy President Roosevelt.  They spent much time together.  Reynolds was lobbying FDR hard to get a friend of his appointed to a judgeship in western NC.  FDR looked Reynolds straight in the eye and said, somewhat to Reynold's surprise, "Old Bob Reynolds, I'll not appoint that crony of yours from Asheville to that judgeship.  I've heard he keeps a fat whore in Charlotte."  Reynolds stepped back, and without missing a beat, said, with a smile,  "Well, Mr. President, she's not that fat!"  FDR laughed uncontrollably, and said, "give me the paper", and he signed it and the appointment was made. 

There are many great "Buncombe Bob" Reynolds stories..........stories from such a colorful era.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive