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Alben BarkleyA Life in Politics$
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James K. Libbey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167138

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167138.001.0001

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The Iron Man Keeps His Mettle

The Iron Man Keeps His Mettle

(p.259) 16 The Iron Man Keeps His Mettle
Alben Barkley

James K. Libbey

University Press of Kentucky

Media headlines followed the May–December love affair between the widower Barkley and the widow Jane Rucker Hadley. The couple married in November 1949. The wedding was only a brief interlude in the larger story of the Cold War that was marked by the Berlin blockade, the Communist victory in China, and the Korean War. Barkley participated in the National Security Council decisions on the war, including MacArthur’s removal as commander of UN/US forces in Korea. When Truman indicated that he would not run for reelection, Barkley chose to become a presidential candidate despite severe eyesight problems. At the 1952 Democratic national convention, age and his rejection by labor leaders ended Barkley’s effort to secure his party’s nomination. He delivered an amazing swan-song speech at the convention. In retirement, he starred in the “Meet the Veep” television show on NBC, prepared with Sidney Shalett his autobiography, and won election in 1954 to the US Senate in a contest with John Sherman Cooper. Barkley died after delivering his last speech at a mock convention at Washington and Lee University on April 30, 1956.

Keywords:   Barkley and family, Jane Rucker Hadley, Cold War, Korean War, Harry S. Truman, Douglas MacArthur, Sidney Shalet, John Sherman Cooper, failing eyesight, Washington and Lee University

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