"Salute to Gov. Moore Dinner"

Charleston Daily Mail June 17, 1971

Nixon Revenue Policies Sound, Romney Claims

By Richard Haas of the Daily Mail Staff

The religious leaders spoke of him in terms befitting a patriarch or prophet, the political leaders called him a great American and compared his performance to President Nixon, but when it came time to acknowledge the praises, Gov. Moore could only choke back the tears and say "thank you" to the overflowing crowd of more than 2,000 that jammed the Civic Center last night for the gubernatorial salute.

In between the standing ovations, the witty remarks, the eating, the glowing tributes and Gov. Moore's emotional proclamation of gratitude, U. S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary George Romney took the occasion to defend President Nixon's policies on Vietnam, race relations, and general revenue sharing.

Departing from his prepared text, which focused primarily on the Vietnam issue, Romney described revenue sharing as a means of reversing the declining American confidence in governmental processes.

Romney explained that by channeling the flow of tax money away from Washington elected local officials rather than unknown federal civil servants would assume control of key programs.

As he spoke of decentralizing the national governmental processes, the crowd repeatedly interrupted Romney's address with bursts of applause.

On the subject of Vietnam, Romney indicated he took this week's disclosure of Pentagon documents on Vietnam as justification for his early attitudes on the war.

"I shall always be proud," he said, "that I was the first to say that not only George Romney but the American people were brainwashed on Vietnam."

During this section of his talk Romney quoted extensively from private letters of President Lincoln that reflected the GOP statesman's respect for the constitutional war-making powers invested in Congress.

Although he repeatedly expressed his approval for Nixon's handling of military withdrawals, Romney's forceful denunciation of American involvement in Vietnam earned him only minimal crowd response.

As for race problems, Romney said: "Because of the basic wisdom of his (Nixon's) approach, it is no longer the inflammatory issue that it was."

Romney's basic praise of Gov. Moore was that his efforts in West Virginia paralleled the national achievements of President Nixon.

The religious leaders who delivered the invocation and benediction issued some of the most sweeping praises of Gov. Moore. Bishop Joseph Hodges of the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling said Moore was one of the particular men God has chosen for particular jobs.

The Rev. Samuel Marshall of Parkersburg, president of the West Virginia Council of Churches, said Moore had the vision of leadership and service.

Written tributes came from three governors: Louis Nunn of Kentucky, John Bell Williams of Mississippi, and Russell Peterson of Delaware.

Governors Edgar Whitcomb of Indiana and Richard Ogilvie of Illinois were on hand with their wives to deliver personal praise.

Actor James Stewart complemented his praise for Gov. Moore with a few plugs for the movie "Fool's Parade" which has its world premiere tonight in Wheeling (See story on Page 25.)

The only major hitch of the evening was in the seating arrangements. While many persons who admitted they had not paid one cent for their seats chomped their prime ribs at the Civic Center, many top state office holders had to go to Rose City Cafeteria for dinner since there were not enough places.

A few businessmen who were also spotted at Saturday's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner allowed last night's tribute to live up to its bipartisan billing.

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