POLITICAL NOTES: Feud in the Palmettos

Florida's florid Senator Claude Pepper, a man with an eye for political talent, took a shine to young George Armistead Smathers as soon as he spotted him back in 1938. Smathers, a handsome, athletic law student, had been captain of the University of Florida basketball team and president of the student body. Pepper made him a sort of junior-grade campaign manager, later helped him get a job as an assistant U.S. attorney in Miami.

Smathers came through handsomely. He made a big name for himself in prosecuting a Florida white-slave case. During...

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