SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, SEPTEMBER 29, 1968
Despite a tardy arrival — he was an hour-and-a-half late by most schedules — the vice president of the United States literally charmed some 300 persons who turned out to welcome him to Seattle's Boeing Field yesterday afternoon. The effort soothed most of the hurt feelings developed by a mismanaged welcome program.
The charm in this case was the personal touch of Hubert Horatio Humphrey, hand shakes and small talk with those assembled in the roped and barricaded area set aside for the public. It was one of the tightest security procedures noted of all the political happenings in Seattle this year.
There were ruffled feelings aplenty as Democratic legislators were ordered out of the receiving line because of a communications snafu between the state Humphrey committee and welcome planners on the vice president's staff.
But last night the arena program with some 5,100 partisans and 200 dissenters in attendance was in extremely sharp contrast to the one man show at the airport. While the turnout brought smiles to Demo leaders' faces they bemoaned the action of the Seattle Fire Department in closing the doors and turning some 500 away.
The arena crowd roared approval for singer Billy Daniels, comedian Rill Dana, a rock'n roll group railed The Gas Company and Norm Bobrow's orchestra with vocalist Joya Miya.
In between boos and rival cheers the performers and politicians combined to give the full house one of the better free shows to play its boards.
The rally was marred by fist-fights which broke out among police and hecklers when security agents called for their ejection. Some 20 persons were given the bum's rush and another 75 left of their own accord to mill around In the street.
The day started like a mystery play with as many ETO's (estimated times of arrival) — as you could want from various "official spokesmen." And nobody seemed sure until the moment of arrival just who would be doing what to whom.
The only color for the welcome was the resplendid costumes of the Chinese Community Girls Drill Team who beat drums and cymbals in an otherwise musicless welcome. Official greeters were Atty. Gen. John J. O'Connell and his wife; Luke Graham, National committeeman, and John Wilson, state HHH chairman.
Any feeling of frustration in the group brought on by the long wait was relieved by the appearance of the candidate who smiled and talked incessantly as he stirred around the masses of people. But the telltale signs of campaign fatigue were in evidence when he turned to talk to aides about the schedule he faced.
A civic touch was added to the ceremony by the presence of Seattle City Council president Floyd Miller, Councilman Sam Smith and Mayor Braman's administrative aide Ed Devine.
As a prelude to the welcome, Hollywood TV actor Gene "Bat Masterson" Barry tried to warm up the crowd with a rehersal of a "We Want Humphrey" yell. Mr. Barry's forte is the tube and the less said about his effort as a cheerleader the better.
Organized labor made this a big sign welcome with 20 or more partisan banners from the Washington Machinist Council and 30 from the Retail Clerks Union which overpowered all the homemade placards. The opposition signs at the airport were small in size and number and didn't seem to offend anyone.
Some high Democratic officials, land commissioner Bert Cole, former national Committeeman Joe Gluck, former Gov. Albert D. Rosselini and legislators John Merrill and John L. O'Brien didn't make the official receiving line apparently because they were given the wrong kind of credentials. A telegraphed invitation which security people had not been told about and would not honor.
But all was forgiven at a gala reception in the Olympic Hotel's Bowl at 6 p.m. when the vice president personally greeted some 100 VIP's.
There was an octet of pretty girls, Becky Timpson, 19, Kathy Chaney, 19, Marian Clark, 25, Joan Dean, 24, Karen Madsen, 18, Joan Erikson, 30, Nancy Jimerson, 26, and Coleen Chaney, 18, who turned out in hopes of serving as an honor guard for the vice president. But the snafu problem continued and the girls wound up escorting national press people to their buses and distributing a somewhat meaningless schedule.
The airport scene was the strangest I have ever witnessed at an affair like this.
As the national press deplaned they didn't even watch the welcome ceremony. They just walked silently to their buses and seemed to collapse. The strain of the trip to San Francisco, Portland and the John Day Dam dedication just ahead of the Seattle stopover was apparently too much.
The absense [sic] of a band added to the somber note of their procession in contrast to the crowd warming efforts of the vice president just a few feet away.
One of the youngest greeters at the airport was Julie Rochester, 6, who wore a somewhat incongruous label, "I'm a Housewife for Maggie," a pin promoting Sen. Magnuson who missed the welcome because of a previous engagement elsewhere.
The delayed arrival actually helped Humphrey's airport crowd count. At 1:25 p.m. there were only 18 people on deck along with the drill team. At 1:35 p.m. the greeters had grown to 60 in number, and to approximately 125 at 2 p.m. when the vice president had been originally scheduled to arrive.
It was obvious that the emphasis by the welcome planners was on the rally later at the Civic Ice Arena. But there was a strong suggestion that the promoters had carbon-copied the plans for the Nixon welcome here last Tuesday which attracted 5,000 to University Plaza.
They printed handbills and distributed them downtown and used volunteers to promote the Arena crowd.
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