Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen campaigned Saturday in tiny Gilmer, Tex., before one of his largest crowds of the campaign--but it was an East Texas passion for sweet potatoes, not politics, to which he owed a debt of gratitude.
In Gilmer it was the day of the 51st annual “Yamboree,” and more than 7,000 Texans munched sweet potato pie and lined a parade route to honor the much-maligned tuber. Bentsen and his wife, Beryl Ann (who sported a yam corsage), rode along in an open convertible, attracting wild cheers from the party faithful but little recognition from the rest.
“Raise your hand, Mr. Bentsen, so we can see who you are!” one bewildered voter shouted as a flatbed truck carrying reporters passed in front of her. A campaign sign on a local hardware store put it all in perspective: “East Texas loves Mike, Lloyd and Yams.”