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tv   The Contenders Thomas E. Dewey  CSPAN  October 14, 2020 8:01pm-10:05pm EDT

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lost against roosevelt in 1920. before that he was one of the most famous prosecutorial attorneys in the country he remained powerful in -- enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-span 3. gov. thomas e. dewey which is over california on his campaign around the nation. striking at communist elements in government, the gop governor, of new york, governor of new york reaches california. making a bra for world peace, the gop leader draws a big audience. next step is portland, oregon
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with miss dewy by his side. he makes another strong bid for the northwest ballots. it appears he has at least one supporter. those are some of the region's finest sentiment specimen. we'll know soon. november is just a rant the corner. president truman continues his swing around the circuit. meeting former president in texas. the chief executive gets a president which he says he passed around the white house lawn for the next four years. he goes to the home of his friend, where he has breakfast and it's a warm welcome. later in nearby san antonio heat vista alamo, historic sure i'm of texas independence. in austin, a big crowd reads the president as he continues his campaign for lone star state's 23 electoral votes. civil, writes the president stuck at republican say they
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don't want unity. on his tour the president spoke with the former speaker of the house. at port, worth hundreds of thousands turned out as he fights to win the southern vote. >> do we defeats. truman the famous photo of the chicago tribune headline from the 1948 presidential campaign. of course we know of harry as truman pictured here won the election and his rival thomas do we had to accept defeat. this week on the contenders were live from the roosevelt hotel in new york city, which in 1948 most of the republican headquarters and republican governors do these sweet -- he's this wheat, whenever he was in new york in his 12 years as governor. he and his family and closest aides gathered in these rooms an election.
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right joining us is -- richard norton smith, author of many books. so it's 1948 in the roosevelt hotel. what happens here? >> the day began with virtual unanimity in the nation's press corps that this election was over. it was thomas eat due east to lose. there were pollsters who would in fact stop pulling after labor day. there were so convinced that there was no contest, really. >> governor dewy and mrs. do we went to vote at midday not too far from here. they were cheered all the way on. he got out of his car. decided to walk back to the hotel reports that there was a good sign. the new. doing the warmer, more personable dewey the people have seen on the campaign trail
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in 48. they had an election night tradition of having dinner with their near dear friends, a publisher. and the family went to their home for a early dinner. and when they were there some disturbing returns came in from connecticut in particular. and dewey gangbuster had relied upon accountants as much as anyone else -- they always had great great respect for the numbers. and the numbers were already a little bit out of sync with what the pollsters had predicted. and that was the beginning of a night long ordeal in the sweet. the secret service had sent their top agents. here they thought that dewey would become president like everyone else seemingly. it went on and on and about
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3:00 in the morning, the agents began to slip away. which was their nonverbal way of communicating truly historic upset was taking place. and at one point before don, the governor of new york poked his head through that door, and said to a friend, what do you know? that little son of a bleep one. his formal concession came later in the day. >> before we get to the point where he looks at sweet, and sees that secret services. gone is a confidence at the roosevelt hotel. describe that. >> the confidence was based upon, very understandably, based upon the fact that there was a consensus among people on the, right people on the, left not only that dewey was going to win. this is what is fascinating. of course when you see the iconic image, the fact that
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dewey is rumored primarily as the man who snatched defeat from the judge victory. but if you go back and read the contemporary, press everybody from true person to wall witman, they not only expected him to win, they had praise for the campaign he had run. they thought it would statesman, like they thought it was state high minded, and there was a lot of criticism for the campaign harry truman had run against him. it's a fascinating example of how a snapshot of history often contained in journalism can be superseded very quickly. >> we want to show our viewers, from that, night early on when the returns are starting to come in, thomas dewey, s campaign manager in the confidence that they had in the campaign early on. take a look. >> victory is in the air.
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the first return for dewey in the lead but republicans aren't worried. and then republican campaign manager brings good news. >> we now know that governor dewey will carry new york state by at least 15,000 -- 50,000 votes and he'll be the next president of the united states. >> [applause] >> so richard norton, smith why are republicans so confident that they could get the white house in 1940? eight >> by the way, carrying new york state was no small feat. it was the first time in 20 years that a republican mad niche to do it. new york was the home of roosevelt liberalism, so for him to announce that and predict based upon that the victory was in the air was perfectly understandable. 1948. what we didn't know going into 1948, what 1948 confirmed was
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that america had in fact become a needle. country the death of franklin roosevelt had ended one presidency. but their approach to government, the expectation that government would be more involved for example in ensuring prosperity. that government would be used to fight economic downturns as the new deal had in the thirties and forties. whether or not you believe the grave doubts about the success of those efforts. but nevertheless, the assumption was when fdr died the new deal died with. him and the set of expectations, the relationship between the average american and his government, which had been transferred by the new deal. turns out that wasn't the case. on election day, 1940, eight americans enjoyed record prosperity, record employment. the reason why republicans in spite of that thought they could win in 1948 is very
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simple. harry truman. we forget today but truman and his first term was a very unpopular president. the cracked air is truman. there was talk about the little man from missouri. someone dwarfed by the ghost of franklin roosevelt. truman had a very difficult assignment. every president after a war has the process of readjusting economically, culturally the economic sector. it's difficult. inflation strikes all that can do on truman's watch. and in 1946 in 1947 he wasn't handling it well. it was so bad that republicans took congress in 1946, which of course only fed their expectation that the presidency would fall in the lap of dewey. >> so how are republicans viewing the truman administration at this point heading into 48?
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>> it's a great question. the problem is there's no such thing as the republicans, and that was part of dewey's problem. the republican party then much more than i was evenly split -- establishment, the old teddy roosevelt wing of the. party charles evans hughes who was profiled earlier in the series was very much in that tradition. top dewy represented that in the thirties and forties. and into the fifties. then eisenhower handed dewey the baton. opposed to that where the conservative midwesterners, many of them isolationist's rolling around bomb, cast the son of former president taft, who with dr had precipitated the split. that never healed. so in 1946 what to congress, it was the conservatives who became the face of the party. then on the other hand, you had
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people like dewey, many of the governors for example who are much less hostile to the media. much more willing to work with this process. >> thomas dewey with our contender. tonight he ran, he lost, he changed political history. anyway here is thomas eat dewey launching his campaign in 1948 and his criticism of the trump administration. >> the campaign will unite all americans. on january 2020, will enter in a new era. next january 2020 -- there will begin in washington the biggest unraveling, untangling operation in our nation's history. [applause] >> richard norton smith. what do you make of what he says there? and snarling. >> that goes into dewey his's
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heart of weakness, dewey had been governor of new york for several years and he untangled and ensnarled and an rivaled a lot of bureaucratic cobwebs. he had taken what many people would see as a hybrid of conservative of and liberal ideas to make government more responsive, in some ways to make it smaller. texas were reduced to make it more friendly to the private sector. so what he had done in new york. he proposed to do on the national level. one critical element that sets dewey apart, that of course a civil. writes dewey is on the forefront on that issue. new york state is the first state in america to pass anti discrimination legislation. and you know, dewey took that very seriously. it didn't necessarily meet
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among universal agreement among republicans in new york but it's something that myth a great deal. we're talking about dewey's campaign for president -- right to be joined by dewey's son. we're gonna be taking your comments and phone calls this evening. so you can start dialing in for richard norton smith and tommy dewey jr.. let's go to the campaign and the issues that are there. is truman popular? >> tremendous not very people and beginning of the campaign. it's a curious reversal of what we have seen since then. the present was more -- less popular than his policies. in other, words people were perfectly content with record high employment. but they didn't necessarily attributed to harry truman. of course global issues were a huge factor here. one of the things that dewey has been criticized in retrospect, but at the time was
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widely praised was running a campaign of national unity. in which he tried first of all, the whole idea of bipartisan foreign policy is part of dewey 's foreign policy. and in the 1944 campaign and the carried. it he for example supported truman on the airlift to berlin. he supported truman and recognizing the state of israel. at the same time, he wanted to increase the defense budget by five billion dollars. there's no doubt that he would've been, he supported the marshall plan, but he would've asked more questions before just turning american tax dollars over to uniquely -- so it was a campaign in many ways, that is what we claim we want in a candidate.
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it wasn't huddling below about. there wasn't a lot of personalities. there wasn't a lot of name calling. the president says alexa vote and locks specifics. >> and it's not showing up in the polls. in it dewey versus truman. >> -- he was totally taking surprise by what happened in the sweet that tonight. the fact is, he knew. he was the first political national candidate to have a polling unit as part of his campaign. he listen to the pollsters. he had a real appreciation of their art. he was well aware of the fact that his lead was slipping. there are people that kept him in the last ten days of the campaign, and he acknowledged that lead was slipping. to one of them he said but remember don't ever talk when your head. >> what happens next?
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then are the democrats behind truman? are they solid in their unity behind -- >> -- one of the contributing factors to dewey's loss, the republicans had passed a act that organized labor, quite rightly saw as a lot of the rights and privileges developed under the new deal. and it put dewey in a really awkward position. by in large, he agreed with much of the. bill at the same time he was the governor of new york. this is a labor, state this is a state. so in some ways he was walking a fine line there. but what the taft act did was energize organized labor is nothing about it. 1948 was probably the single election in which organize labor played the biggest role threat, america and in receptor east after race, the democratic
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ticket run ahead of trim it, in part because of trumans relative unpopularity, but also because organized labor to a man turned out in record numbers and what a democratic. >> who are the main players in the democratic -- at the time? >> on the left you have vice president henry wallace who believes that truman has started the cold war. that truman is insufficiently a tune to the possibilities of peace with the soviet union. and on the far right you have thurman who walked out of the democratic congressional because he young african american had passed a strong civil rights plank. so the conventional wisdom was that this would hurt. truman he would lose votes from the left, he'd lose votes from
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the. right in fact what it did was make trim in the man in the middle. and neither thurman or wallace turned out and and having any impact that it was believed it would. have >> the economy at the time, what was it? like >> the economy is trumans great strength. as i said, record employment and more than that what truman did very -- he did against dewey what he did against the republican congress and the ghost of robert uber. the fact of the matter was that a democratic president riding the crest in 1940, eight point a finger at the republican congress, and in effect suggest to people, and truman wasn't bashful about doing. get that if you return republicans to complete control in the white house in congress,
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you can expect to see a return to the economic policies that produced the great depression. and you know it wasn't that long since the great depression, . peoples memories were very sharp. and that came into play without a doubt. >> what about the role of communism in this campaign? >> it's fascinating, dewey had taken some heat in 1944 for introducing this charge that fdr head in advert lee allowed communist employs to take root to some degree in his administration. in 1948, -- >> gal let's show that. >> the first nationally broadcast presidential debate revolves around one issue. show the communist party in america be applaud? and thomas dewey, the old prosecutor takes the civil libertarian view that no shouldn't be out a lot, for reasons he expands.
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disappointed to actually took the lead in that primary race, harold, this is before the oregon primary to the surgeon that it should be outlawed, it was a turning point because of course those of the same year that he's introduced the american people, and dewey has to figure out how to handle the issue. >> we are going to get to that debate a little later here coming up. first i want to show a reviewers what tom dewey had to say to communist in 1948. let's take a look. >> communists here in our midst. -- some people get panicky about, it i don't belong to either of those. groups we must neither ignore the communists, nor outlaw them. if we ignore them, we give them the vote of immunity that they want. if we out a lot of them, we give them the han and that they
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want even more. we will in the government that we get next january, we will keep informed and will keep the american people informed of where they, are who they are, and what they're up to. >> richard norton smith. that is classic dewey. some would say setting up the strongmen of the left and, right and curving at the middle of the road for. himself but that's very much what his approach. was it raises the fascinating prospect, i think distinct possibility what if had he been elected in 1948, that among other things we would never have heard of joe mccarthy. mccarthy -- who was in many ways a product of republican frustration, over losing a election that they thought was a sure thing. tom dewey was a political boss,
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among other things. you control the republican party in the state. he would've controlled the republican party nationally. and i can tell you would have never allowed joe mccarthy to rear his head. >> we touch on domestic issues, internationally what's going on in 48? >> of course we're well into the cold war. dewey is again supportive of the marshall plan. he supports need. oh truman for example we organize the war, department the defense department. created the intelligence agency. in some ways put the american economy on a cold war footing. dewey supportive of all. but if anything he believes we need to spend more money on our defenses. he also, it's interesting. he thinks we've neglected
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conservative forces, for example charles to go with out of power. he was seen as a board against communism in france. do we think that am american diplomacy could put people at that great use. >> how does he differ from other prominent republicans at the time, and who are? they >> bob taft, republican from ohio is fair to say was the champion of the isolationist wing of the republican party. that is to say, the weighing profoundly suspicious of international organizations, like the un. suspicious of later on the korean war. suspicious of protecting american military power around the world as opposed to building up american defenses
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here at home. former president herbert hoover would have certainly been in that camp as well. dewey on the other hand was someone who had morphed. as a young man he had been a quasi-isolationist, and one of the great things is to watch him become eight committed isolationist and a champion of foreign policy. >> given that, what's the impact of that policy on all of his presidential bids? he runs in 44 and 48. >> i think it's safe to say it was statesman like and i not sure that it won lot of votes. it certainly didn't when have the presidency. in 1944, there was a significant conflict between dewey and fdr. even though, dewey agreed to the idea that politics steps of the modern's edge. the disagreed over the united nations, and specifically what the united nations heavy army
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that it could employ without first securing the permission of member states like the united states. and roosevelt said yes. he supported that. dewey was not supportive of that. and dewey said later on, roosevelt won the election and history has proven i'm right. >> you talk about the divide there in the republican party over the international issues. do they come back together in time for the 48 campaign? do that taft and dewy wings come back together? >> it was papered over. in fact, it was very shrewd on truman's part to see that as the achilles heel, that republican -- and to try to almost eliminate dewey, and suggest that if you vote for this man, which you are going to get, is bob taft.
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and the midwest conservative republican party. to be frank, dewey did very little. he and taft despised each other. their rivalry is one of the great intellectual and personal contests in american history. it's on the scale of jefferson and hamilton. it's about something. it's not just about personal ambition. it's about a different view of the world. a different view of government at home. a different view of what the republican party stands. for different view of what abraham lincoln's legacy isn't in a different view of the future. >> tonight we're coming live from you for the roosevelt hotel here in new york city to talk about thomas e. dewey our eight contender, in our series looking at folks from american history who ran, lost but changed political history. we want to get your phone calls. the first one is bright in springfield, illinois. brian go ahead. >> good evening.
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thanks so much for the series. mr. smith we miss you so very much here in springfield. >> very kind of. you thanks. >> no problem. i actually a question about 1952. i remember reading about illinois senator, a taft supporter, and a convention that was here in chicago. he went on to nominate taft and dewey in the crowd, saying something like you let us twice down the path. please don't do this again. of course, taft lost the nomination fight to eisenhower. my question is what -- in a convention to pick nixon and what will doesn't play in eisenhower's thought campaign? >> that is a huge suspect. -- subject. let me try to tackle it as quick as a. can he was instrumental in getting eisenhower in the. race when eisenhower was in paris, commander of, nato and
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he didn't want to leave. he didn't want to come home. he don't want to sell himself by campaigning for the nomination. and by that point, dewey the astute student of psychology. he writes the letter, she emailed it. it went to general eisenhower in paris, and in it dewey says eisenhower, if you don't come home and actively seek this nomination, my fear is the delegates won't nominate mcarthur. that was the ultimate hot button to push with eisenhower. shortly after that letter was, received he heard the call of duty and he came home. you are absolutely right. we're talking about the split between taft and dewey. it was never more apparent. more dramatic than that night when he wagged his finger at
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tom dewey and said you took us down the road of the feet. -- dewey had revenge because the next night he was able to announce 70 of 82 delegates for eisenhower. finally, yes he was more responsible than anyone else for richard nixon getting on the ticket. he had spotted nixon as a young talent, first during his case, in 1948. he brought him to new york to speak to the annual dinner of the republican party, which was a try out when nixon finished, he sat down, he had a cigarette hold out of his mouth, he said make me a promise, don't get fat, don't get lazy, and someday you can be president. >> we'll go back to those moments, later on in the show. we'll talk a little bit more about thomas e. dewy legacy, in the republican party and what he was able to accomplish, even though, he did not -- was not successful for the white house. but first, let's hear from
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michelle, she is in kansas city, some sorry. good evening. >> good evening, the dewy campaign did it actually exploited truman's ties with the organizations in kansas city's? some of the things that suggested get, that truman how the position he was that, thank you. >> that's a good question. no actually, they did not. that was again, part of dewy's approach, particularly in 48, which was very consciously to stay away from personal attacks, to keep the stakes are very high play. some would say, vapid, content free. but certainly, bearing little resemblance to modern attack campaigns. >> let's go back to the primary, and sort of work are way back from the campaign to the general election. let's go to the primary. set the stage for us, who else is running? >> well of course, bob taft. and has a very substantial fall
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away, not just in the midwest. but throughout the country. harold's tacit, who before he became something all the comical figure, who ran every four years to various levels of his disdain, was in fact a very formidable candidate. and then you had been work from michigan, who reminded a lot of people over character of a senator hog or, and he was a quintessential pompous, but he became a statement. after work had undergone the conversion from isolationist, internationalist, that tom dewy was to emulate. and, so you had, it was a pretty distinguish field. he was by no means a sure thing, one of the persons who wanted to run, although he never formally announced his
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candidacy, he was mccarthy. who of course was in the jungles in asia, but in wisconsin, sought to it, that his name was on the ballot. and of course, one other candidate, who went to wisconsin and saw his campaign and there, was a 1940 nominee of the, party when the wilkie. >> let's talk about the impact of the oregon primary, and the debate that you touched on a little bit earlier. why is it important? >> it's important for now reasons. first of all, i'm sure it's on youtube, i'm sure it's easy to get, anyone who is watching what passes for debates, at the moment, among the republican candidates, or quite frankly who has watched the fall, quote, debates in recent years, between the opposing parties. i would just urge you, go and listen to the dewy staff and debate it. is as close in a modern context
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to lincoln douglas, as anything could be. it is not a collection of soundbites, on the contrary, it is an opportunity -- i believe it was an hour, for developo men to thoughtful opposing viewpoints on a very critical and polarizing issue in america, and to do it in a way that raised the public standard of discourse, as opposed to lower it. >> we have a little bit of the debate, let's listen in, we will come back and talk about it. >> there is no shut thing as a constitutional right to destroy our constitutional rights. there is no such thing as a freedom to destroy freedom. there are right of man to liberty, is inherent in the nature of man. to win it, and to maintain it, requires courage and sacrifice, and it also requires
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intelligence, and really-ism, and determination. in the establishment of the laws and the systems of justice, to serve mankind. i submit, as a communist organization in america, and in the freedom, loving countries of the world, should be a blond. >> here's an issue of the highest application, people of this country are being asked outlook communism, that means, shall we in america, in order to defeat at the tally therrien system which we detest, voluntarily, adopted methods of that system? i want the people of the united states to know exactly where i stand on this proposal. because it goes to the very heart of the qualification of any candidate for office, and to the inner nation of the type of country want to live in.
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i am wholeheartedly, inaugural, glee against any schemed right laws, outlying people because of their religious political, social, or economic ideas. i am against it because it's a violation of the constitution of the united states, and the bill of rights, and clearly so. i'm against it because it's immoral. i had nothing but the kelly therrien is in itself. i am against it because i know, from great many years of experience in the enforcement of the law, that the proposal would work, and instead, it would rapidly advance the cause of communism in the united states and all over the world. >> richard smith, what is the impact of this debate, on dewey's primary bit? >> well the media says he won the victory in oregon, which had been critical, he had fallen behind and hot in as the preemptive favorite. having been the nominate in 44. and that staff and had done
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well in the early primaries. so it really came down to this extraordinarily dramatic confrontation over this one issue. now that is dewy at his best, and there were a lot of people i think after the, fact, who thought if you only talks like that, with that degree of specificity and conviction, in credibility until november of 1948, then maybe they're result of the election would have been different. >> how many people are listening to this debate, at the time? >> 16 million. 16 million people. >> on the radio? >> it's estimated to be that. just phenomenal. >> and the role of radio at the time? >> well, you know, radio was the chief medium by which the news was disseminated. and of course, this is another aspect of tom dewy, he had come to new york in the twenties, not necessarily wanting to be a lawyer, he wanted to be an
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opera singer. which surprises people. and you heard his voice, it's a very cultured voice, a very trained voice. some people thought it lacked spontaneity, but it's also true that it was the one republican voice that on the radio was able to hold them magical roosevelt, to something else. >> what if people could not see the debate? >> that's a great question. dewey like television, dewey thought television via was like a courtroom. as a young man, he become famous, as a man who broke up the records in new york, who became the game buster. who inspired all of these hollywood movies, and radio shows, like mr. district attorney. if you stop if you start to think about, it a television studio was not dissimilar from a courtroom. the strength he had in the courtroom, the ability to make his case, to connect, whether
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it was with a jury or with viewers, there were some early television telescopes in his third race for governor, for example. there are he is very effective, in front of the camera. and i think he probably wished in retrospective, he couldn't run the 40 campaign, in front of a television camera. >> let's go to the gop convention in philadelphia, 1940. eight how does he get the nomination? where their ballots, how did it work? >> yeah, there were several ballots. in fact, dewy was the last republican candidate who required more than one ballot to be nominated. even though he had turned the tide, if you will, in oregon. there were still determined opposition led by above all, senator tapped, and to a lesser degree at that point, herald staff and. who by the way, made a name for himself, as the governor of minnesota, in his early thirties, a real prodigy. of course, dewey was a real
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prodigy. so anyway it took i believe, three ballots, tip and then you had to pick up vice president. he wanted this man who is very popular governor who was a governor of california, and they would not agree, four year later's he would, to his regret. but instead, to unify the party, dewey pick the governor of ohio, taft friend, fellow conservative, a man named john record. and one of the solvents was with two on record. let's get a phone call. here marvin in los angeles. go ahead. >> hello, thomas e. dewey was a reasonably young met in 1953, and he was of course very influential and eisenhower. running was dewey offered a job by eisenhower -- was offered the drop of chief
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justice? >> that's a great question. there are some debate over it. i believe he was on firmly approached shall we put it, about the supreme court. when you stop to think about it really nothing else made sense, except perhaps secretary of state, and there he had perhaps the next best thing, maybe better. his longtime political ally kissinger, john, one of the things about dewey that's often overlooked is the extent to which he bought in to the american political process a whole generation of very talented people. i mean dwight eisenhower, richard nixon are the most obvious. but there is a whole host of people who would remain, some here in new york, but others, hagerty was the white house press secretary to the state is regarded as the greatest press secretary while he worked under
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dewey. the attorney general under eisenhower was dewey's campaign manager and the list is a very long one. >> >> -- in virginia. you're next. >> hello. you're on the air go ahead. >> can you hear me? >> we can. >> okay. this is a very interesting subject. this is the first presidential election my mother, republicans voted in. one of the things she told me is that she found dewey unattractive because of his greasy hair and his mustache. could you comment on that? my main interest was understanding the role in the future player in the democratic party lyndon johnson played in this election. >> well lyndon johnson tried to get himself elected into the senate of texas, he wasn't
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significant in the presidential race. dewey's is revealing in a number of ways. dewey is somewhat today would be a despair of the hand horse. dewey couldn't be handled. there were people thought his career who said tom, if you shaved off that mustache and put your feet -- teeth fixed, he kept the mustache -- and he kept the 19th for very simple reason. francis dewey liked in the way he was. you're right there were times people in print compared his appearance to charlie chaplain or adolf hitler. and in 1948 or 1944, little brand mustache is we're probably not a particularly politically potent weapon. >> let me give you a look at the 1948 gop convention in
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philadelphia, when thomas e. dewey accepts the nomination for president from his party. >> it's an honest contention, spirited disagreement, and i believe considerable arguments. but don't let anybody be misled by that. you have given here, in this hall, and moving at dramatic proof of how americans who honestly differ move ranks and move forward for the nation's well-being shoulder to shoulder. [applause] let me assure you, the bayonet dinning mixed january 2020 there will be teamwork in the government of the interstates of america. when these rights are secure in
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this world of ours, the permanent ideals of the republican party, shall have been realized. [applause] they ideals of the american people are the ideals of the republican party. we have tonight and in these days which have proceeded us in philadelphia, light of the, beacon in our own independence as a great america. we've let in the begin to give eternal hope that men may live in liberty. with human dignity, and before god and loving, him stand erect and free. [applause] >> thomas e. dewey
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our contenders this evening accepting the gop nomination at the convention in philadelphia in 1948. we're coming to you live this evening from the roosevelt hotel, where thomas e. dewey in 1948 was here, with his family, with his closest aides to watch and listen for the election results to come in. joining us now is thomas eat dewey junior. sir bring us back to the 1948 election. were you there? >> no. >> you weren't there? what do you think it meant to your father to win the election both the 1944 and 1948? >> did he want it in 44? >> you know i'm not gonna be able to answer that, because we didn't talk about who wanted what and who was going to do. what i mean we were teenagers, and we were in school.
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my parents, neither of them was particularly forthcoming about i really want that. it's just you went forward, and you did what you are supposed to do or what you thought you're supposed to do. were you and commercial ads, were you out with the family posing and adds? >> why not? what was the dynamic? >> school is our job. his job was government in politics, and you were kids. >> what did you talk about around the dinner table though? >> not much memory there. i think maybe more of what we are doing.
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he didn't really talk about what was going on in the campaign and that kind of thing. >> so it wasn't a household diffused with politics? >> it wasn't. >> and even after he lost in 48 and 44, years later did he ever talked about politics? >> he wasn't very reflective about that. >> he wasn't? >> and your mother? what do remember her telling you about politics? >> no memory of that. do you have memories of the campaign in 1948? >> not really. no. >> were you here on election night? >> yes. >> what's the memory of that? >> watching the terrence. being set to bed. the next morning i forget. it was relatively early in the
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morning, i remember that coming into the bedroom were john and i were. he was like we lost. that was that. >> and you didn't talk about it after that? he just said we lost? >> right. do you think it was something he carried with him. like a ball and chain for the rest of his life? i mean there are people who move on, and, you know that's that. >> ball and chain. no. i don't think he ever thought very much like the biography we're currently waiting, never thought oh that's something that i could've done differently. maybe he did but we did hear that. i mean he went on, to do his job, which was being governor of new york, until -- fully hoping to retire in 1950,
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which his then sense of duty was when the koreans went to war. his sense of duty impaled him to take four more years of what would've been a very good legal practice, and run for another term, to make sure that he could hold his republican coalition of mostly governors. together, to get an untapped candidate in 1952, which he thought was necessary to get the presidency. >> it's consistent with what you say, one thing that i think might surprise people, your dad, in his early days certainly never thought of himself as embarking on political career. that is to say someone seeking office, as a way of making a living. when he first came to new york as a common law school, when his friend asked what you want to do in life, he said he wanted to lead a law firm, and
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make a hell out of money. and he did, but there was the 20 detour park, along the way. >> 24 years. >> what kind of man was your father? >> and what respect? >> well i mean, what what his style like? how would you describe him? >> or how might he surprise people, the images have come down, the ban of the wedding cake, and the stereotypes that have been produced by a large for because of what happened in 48, if he were to walk in, you know, that door, what would he be like to be around? >> well, you know, it's a type that i think, i'm not sure we see any more. he came from a small town in michigan, his father had died,
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in quite very early in his life, he had a very strong mother, and he emerge from michigan, with what used to be called the protestant ethic, and those ideals. and they never change >> was a workaholic? >> he was that. he loved his golf games, and
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literally drafted, to run for district attorney for new york county, for the grand sum of 20,000 dollars a year. >> right. >> and we're gonna get to the rise of your father, and how he came to national prominence, but richard, given what tom junior has said about his father, take that in this crime forest his campaign style. >> well, it differed,. frankly, it's interesting for someone who has sort of been often caricatured, he's actually a much more dynamic campaigner. when he ran for district attorney, for example, in new york county, new york county is one county, and there were people all over the boroughs of new york city that day, who wanted to vote for tom dewy. even if he wasn't on their ballot. he had electrified the city,
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with his exploits, taking on the rackets, and because new york, even more than him now, was the heart of american communications, here had to lose press, obviously the radio networks. i mean, to become a phenomenon in new york, and then to potentially a national phenomenon. you know, conduit was the inspiration, i don't if you ever saw him as days, but hollywood was ranking out a movie a week, at one point in the late thirties, inspired by his exploits. in 1939, 37 years old the district attorney of new york county is leading franklin roosevelt on the pole by 16 points, in a mythical matchup. it's hard to imagine, it would be your own hero worship. but it's hard to imagine, i
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can't think of any line since. i mean, when work in his own way, in his own fear, at one point had that kind of universal appeal. but, you know, your dad still, i think a unique figure. some people compare rudy giuliani as a prosecutor to your dad. >> well rudy does. >> i was gonna ask, what do you make of that comparison? >> let's leave it at that. there was an aesthetic there, and the good baritone boat voice, and of course a courtroom, theatrical, which was perhaps -- certainly was a revulsion against the excesses of the twenties. which were still very much in memory at that point. >> short.
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>> and, against the continuing mob scene headquartered in many respects, in new york. >> and the alliance between the mob, and the political machine. i think that's what people often miss. there was a, a relationship of mutual dependence, that maybe grew out of probation. jimmy walker, you know have knocked it out of city hall, that longtime, ideas a boy in michigan, your dad had drummed into his head, by his father, that tammy hall represents all that is evil. >> right. >> and who could have predicted at that point, you know -- but there's one other aspect, one quick thing about your dad. which is clearly a limitation, in an era of popular campaigning. , when your godfather, i believe his best friend, elliott bel, and economics
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writer from the new york time, would've been the secretary of treasury in a duly administration. when he left the administration to make some money, governor dewy counsel came to him looking at the lever -- letters that have drawn up to mark this, and he said, these are all wrong, they are two formal there's no intimacy there, there's no want here. and your dad said something to him, i think it's so revealing, he said i'm not gonna display my emotions and public. >> okay, well i didn't. >> i was not privy at that. but it doesn't surprise me at all. >> but it's a kind of integrity to that, but also political limitations. >> yes. >> we need to go ahead with the election night, 1940, eight because we want to talk about the national prominence coming up here. so what happens, what are the results? >> well the results, truman is
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reelected by about 2 million votes. i think it's three or three to one 89, in the electoral college. doing, if you look at the math up 1948, there would be little resemblance to today. so do we swept east, he did very well in the industrial midwest, he lost a farm bill. and he always said, when people asked him, to explain 48, he said you can analyze the results from anyone you want, but the farm vote changed in the last ten days. >> -- >> thurman did several carry other state, 39 electoral votes, not 1 million votes popularly, wallace came in fourth, did not carry any states. >> what about the coverage of that night? the media is covering it, how long is ago? >> it goes to, say it's really the first election where
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television is a factor at all. it's a minor factor, but the nbc studios had cooked up this huge model with the white house, and they had a parade of donkeys, already to go through, and around the white house, as soon as if formalities were observed, and your dad was proclaimed the winner. no one had thought about the donkeys, democratic donkeys, they had republican elephants rather. but that, in a knot, chill was what the media expected, that night. >> richard norton smith and thomas e. dewey our our guest this evening as we take your calls live, from a hotel in new york city. we are talking about tom dewy jr., for the presidency in 1944 in 1948. our next discussion here is about his rise to power, national prominence. and part of that, is his role as a prosecutor, here's a
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little bit from the 1937 bid, to become district attorney in new york. you've been given the most difficult task. an opportunity to be of great help to the people of the city. what can we do for you? i need a small squat of the tech thumbs, who will go to work on this job a's they never have before. who will know that the mayor and commissioner are behind them personally all the time. >> he's got a full. lest the gangsters and mobs -- >> he signed a lease and they don't suspect a. thing pick up the 15 ringleaders. first here for the man. what cracked me up detective. -- mob after mob was taken by surprise. simultaneously, all over the
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city the underground was read about. >> we've made a real start on cleaning they gangsters out of new york. for 20, years the underworld has prayed on our people and rob, them and then frightened them and to silence. but now the day of fear of the gangsters coming to an end. >> richard norton smith. how does he become a prosecutor? >> well as tom said, -- he came to new york originally thinking he loved music. it was a life long love. i think when you are surrounded by music growing up, and that's where he met mrs. dewey as well, she had a love of music. eventually he settled on the law. and he wound up working as assistant u.s. attorney. a man named george, in many
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ways his mentor, trained him above all and thoroughness. the dewey hallmark was we talk about him as a workaholic. in one of the early cases he had one of his men go, they traced 100,000 fell telephone calls and 200 bank slips in order to get a bootlegger called gordon, proprietor of the beverage company, in many ways symbolic of this alliance between this corrupt well prohibition defying elements, and the government. local government. >> so i want to get to a phone call here, but i want to go through some things real. quick in his fight against organized crime. schultz. >> schultz, in the pecking order you had him at the bottom and schultz moved in and basically took away gordon's
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empire, which was largely based on alcohol. but not only alcohol, there was something called policy. the numbers game. it was gambling for the masses. this helps to explain dewey's appeal across the demographic range. millions up in harlem in particular. millions of poor people were being taken advantage of in the. racket the money was flowing in the under racket and schultz was making 20,000 dollars a day. >> luciano? >> luciano is the next significant step above. doug scholes is excited that he would assassinate tom's dad, when the heat got two great, and actually the underworld decided that was a step too far. so before dutch could carry out his plan, it's to channel and
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crew took care of that. >> tom dewey junior the impact of this on your family? where the threats to her family? >> sure. >> what was that? like did you know about it? >> you're talking about, i'm three years older than. john what's happening here in 1930, six 1937, i'm for going to be five. being the people who they were, they wouldn't share that with us. >> did they leader tell you about that time? >> no. no. there was allusion to, it but one found up for oneself. >> what did you find out about that time? what were others doing to be able to protect your father and your family? >> he had 24 hour protection and a car and a driver. i think it was later, the only
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incident that we did find out about, was the missed opportunity to kill him. he went across the street. 96 street where we lived, to a diner near him. for breakfast every morning. doug schultz had arranged have the ruiz there on a morning. that would have been curtains, except that day, he got up early and went to the office and he missed it. shortly thereafter, they took care of doug schultz. >> do you think you weren't aware of it because your dad didn't let it bother him? he kept his routine? was that his personality? >> yes. >> he just went forward? >> it said, maybe this is exaggeration but i remember when i was doing research for the book that your dad had developed the habit quite understandably, that he
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maintained throughout his life, when he was at a restaurant he would sit with his back to a wall. >> all the time? >> yes. i can't go back to the thirties, but every time we went somewhere, in later years, it was always back to the wall. >> let's get to a phone call. here august has been waiting for us patiently in parkland, florida. >> well that's an amazing story. and i did 48 my family woke up to duchess county, new york. during that time when i was going to school, after school i used to work with governor dewey on his farm on reservoir road. it was amazing because his form was one of the force that came out with -- for the cattle. mr. dewey had her own beautiful
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garden that she maintained for many years. i remember he had his own personal guardhouse, on the court of reservoir road on his mansion. i think 1960, for 1965 there barn burned down. there was a terrific fire. i'm believable. i worked for him, in new york, it was amazing. those farms were so large and so big, they had crops of corn. we build hay. it was amazing. i listen to the program and i couldn't believe. it i'm 68 years old, and i worked on his farm bailing hay and farming. >> thanks our guest. let's talk about the farm. your father runs for governor in 1948, he loses and then buys
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a farm your caller has talked about. he decides to make a run for governor? why richard norms smith? >> i could only imagine it was a throwback to his youth. his childhood. he had come from a farming in vermont. in fact, during world war i he was too young to enlist. he worked on a farm in the area. my, senses you obviously know much better. he was very happy being a dairy farmer. it was a side of him that would probably surprise the public. i'm not sure you are wild about living there. >> what was it like living there? >> we were given a choice and i guess to some extent she wasn't. either a remember she was very very pleased, as the caller said, very pleased to have the early stage milking machines.
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because i remember the period before that. i mean in the very beginning, when i think we rented in 30, seven bought in 38. people would be horrified today, but we were drinking i'd pasteurized milk because that's what one did on a farm. then of course when he became governor, that guardhouse was insisted on by the state police right down there by the entrance. you have a very good memory of all of that. except, i wouldn't put thomas in the same category as farmers. they were people who had some land, but they were basically broadcasters and they were there for weekends. >> the color referred to a. mansion that house had-y mortgage on it for a very long time. >> which? house >> it wasn't a very big one but it did get paid off.
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>> why was it so important it his father? >> i have no. idea he liked farming. it was his number one hobby. >> what's the significance of the county where he buys his farmhouse? >> -- 1944 is only election in american history were both major party candidates come from the same -- >> let's hear from john next in eugene, oregon. john, you're on the air. >> hello? >> we're listening. john go ahead. >> thanks. this is a great series c-span really enjoying. it quick comments and then a question. first of all professor smith, always here enjoy hearing you and i learn a lot about him. i didn't know that -- in the primary year but i must critique on one thing. in oregon we pronounce it
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oregon oregon. >> i stand corrected. not the first. >> second, a question. can you nominate -- comment on the race for the republican nomination. particularly from the public inside? thank you -- >> there was a race in 44 which is interesting because i'm not sure dewey that the nomination was necessarily worth all that much, but certainly he wanted a second shot at the presidency. as i say mcarthur's admirers, the general himself would have liked to be nominated. tuft flirted with it for a little while, but john brokered who we already mentioned ran it. so suppose there was always a halfhearted contest.
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governor dewey didn't announce his candidacy until i think the last minute. i think it was a quasi-draft. and it's a unusual, year because of course is wartime. and the great issue. anyone who won the republican nomination would have a challenge. it's not just that shear running against a formidable wartime commander in the middle of the, were but you don't know when the worst gun. and and if america was in peace in january of 1945, it was believe that dewey would have a much more stronger electoral keys than if the country still at war. >> we'll go to naples, florida. stewart. >> good. evening thanks for having me. i just want to commend richard norton smith and tim burns for serving in the history, which is so important to america. they both do a great job.
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in regards to mr. dewey, his passion for music, music isn't about notes on a page. it's about having fun and passion. that's what dewey. a lot of passion which is missing today. today it's texting, and nobody communicates. i think we're losing, we're losing that. i think what mr. norton is doing, god bless him. i work with governor, i've met, him being in politics and part of. that and also the history of the roosevelt hotel is important. i was fortunate enough to work with the owner french connection. we shot in the hotel and what i was at the hotel you felt a part of history. the roosevelt has a hidden train station and teddy roosevelt used to come in,
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because of him being in a wheelchair they don't want to photograph him. so you are all doing a great job. god bless dewey for what he did, because those are the times when people are in a close working situation. people pull today are tweeting and it's very distant. >> thanks stewart. >> we in the boomer generation have a sense of great stories. the next generation, they can't even converse with you sometimes. >> all right we're going to leave it there. we'll leave it there cause we're going into another area. here >> how important was music in your parents household? >> as you remarked earlier, dad went to law school, my mother came to new york to study singing. having won a contest in oklahoma, where she came from.
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they met at the studio where they both started, dad also supplemented whatever he didn't have any income i, guess or supplemented by singing in synagogues, and churches, etc. and of course, my mother, upon finishing the course, went on the stage. sinking actress, kind of thing. i would say, it was very important then, and it diminish for both of them. >> really? >> well, i mean, they were great opera fans, and they had a box at the metropolitan opera, which i still have, and they enjoyed the opera, very much. i don't think they went to the symphony that, large in their later years. and so, while it was extremely important to get them together, i think it wasn't all consuming later on.
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>> yeah. where the big theater goings? >> fair, not terribly often. >> thomas e. dewy is our contender tonight, he is our eight in our 14-week series, he ran in 44, and 48, he also ran in 1940. i want to show you his campaign announcement, in 1939. >> i appreciate your confidence, in that is my confidence in the republican party in the state of new york. i appreciate your support, i shall lead the fight. >> there was tommy doing in his campaign announcement, 1939, goes on to run for governor again, in 1942, and winds. why does he resign -- decide to run again? >> one thing that should be mentioned about 1940, he made
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history 1940, he had the first female campaign manager that year, a woman named ruth sims. her father was mark hanna, political operative himself, but it's revealing, you mention his singing in synagogues, one of the things he did, when he was in his legal career, particularly the rocket days, where he put out, 20% of the lawyers in new york applied, a disproportionately member of higher jewish, in a time where all the law firms didn't necessarily hire jews. i mean, that's one revealing aspect of him. >> and let's talk a little bit more about his record. he runs for governor in 1942, what does he do with that position? >> oh gosh. i would call governor dewy a
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thrifty liberal. and a liberal sort of in the 19th century since, in a lot of ways. he used to say that before there was government, there was man. and government of rose to meet man's needs. and in the modern industrial society, that we had then, that means as a much economic security, as is consistent with individual freedom. so it was that constant balance, in terms of the operations, he cleaned out the cobwebs. albany had been run by one party for 20 years. there was waist, and fraud, and abuse. but in a more creative way, he kept -- cut taxes, every year he was governor. anna >> and his record on civil rights? >> he was out in front, new york state, because of governor dewey, past the first antidiscrimination legislation, at the state level, in america. it was to ban discrimination for religious, or racial
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reasons, unemployment. >> los angeles is next, joe. >> i just want to state that i really enjoy haze commentary on history, and when he speaks on tv. my question is about polling. i had heard, during the 1948 election, and i don't know it dewey was the first one to actually harder posters, but one of the reasons why the polls were wrong, is that they sampled from people who own cars, and had drivers licenses. this led to a wrong result about what the actual election results could be, i just wanted more information about, that thank you. >> that is a fascinating question. one of tom due east best friend, it was not a professional friendship, there's no doubt dewey was fascinated by the science of polling. and that's how he referred to him, this man. the big problem in 1940, eight i think, it's that they stopped
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polling, they stopped early. even the late polls, which by the way showed -- if you look at the polls at the end of the 48 race, they were anywhere from five point lead, two in one case a nine point lead. that's substantial. but it's not the kind of overwhelming cut and dry, that one would believe. but the demographic issue was legitimate. 1936, the reason the famous literally died just pull went out of business, it belonged predicted that franklin would be beat, because turnout, it was a telephone poll. and in america, in 1936, the people who did not have telephones, were disproportionately likely to vote for fdr. >> david, in iowa. >> first, time collar for me, i'm a little bit nervous, do we knew everything about law, and he knew everything about
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agriculture, when he ran for president, did he know other issues like commerce, health, a kind of thing. what were his, streams and what kind of issues was he lacking in and would've needed help? that's my question, thank you. >> all right, what were his vulnerabilities? >> oh i think a curious way of the flip side to this, there were a lot of republicans, conservative republicans. they never forgave him for being a new yorker. new yorkers have always been the city that some people like to hate. or at the very least, to misrepresent. >> hold at. with your father consider himself a new yorker? >> oh he did, absolutely. that was back in the days, and i didn't get this from my parents, so many of the people at the top, in commerce, and other areas, in new york, where
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transplants from somewhere else, as they both were. and they sought that did not bar them from being real new yorkers. >> yeah, i think there was a cultural divide, in some ways. which you know, it's still with us in some senses. i think, in 44 he had a very difficult situation, he had two hands tied behind his back. the 800 pound gorilla, was roosevelt. we now know that fdr was dying, in the fall of 1944, but it was not something that you could possibly touch. and of course, there was a contact of the water, and a whole issue with pearl harbor, and the speculation that still swirls around it, as to what if anything the president might have known? and your dad had, i think, some very pronounced views on that subject. >> that's correct. there was, not ironclad, but
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presumptive proof, that we had broken in the japanese code before pearl harbor, and we did nothing about it. and that was widespread at the time, and in fact, i think you have a chapter on this in the book, where roosevelt sent a corona up from washington, to see him during the campaign, and said you know, i trust you're not gonna mention this because they are still using the same code, which is an absolute lie. and it's gonna cost a lot of our boys their lives by doing it, and then sucked it up and never mentioned it. >> yeah, general marshall, it's a logical assumption that general marshal would not have acted on his own. >> that would be my sunshine. >> yes. >> jay, from los angeles. >> yeah, i was 20 years in 1947,
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and the top secret cryptographic technicians, it was also lincoln advocate general, almost president and 64. do we was way ahead in the polls, he rented down his campaign of ever seen, and he ran as if he was already president, and he started the korean war, and the block again, you know pearl harbor was the spreading said by roosevelt, and the communist spreading in the cabinet, and all that stuff, dewey was acting like he was gonna win. truman was broke, and didn't recognize it in 47, and made 800,000 dollars from his campaign.
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but dewey had the worst campaign in the history of american presidents. >> richard norton smith? >> i've always said, tom dewey was one of those people who i think without a doubt would've been a better president than he was a president -- candidate for president. >> why? >> well, if you look at his record as governor of new york, i mean it is universally recognized today, he along with maybe alice mitt -- >> recognized as what? >> as one of the absolute finest governors, in a state that just had a history of bad leadership. it's interesting that when your dad became governor, one of the first people he invited up to albany, was all smith. who of course had a falling out with fdr, and all that. and the two could not be more different, and the absolutely clicked, and afterwards the reporter said when you think of
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that guy, he said there's only one thing wrong with that guy, he said he's a republican. and ironically, for all of the differences, if they were great administrators, who were, what i recall, practical liberals. operating, in the ballots budget, without concern for the texas payer, and a productive, private. >> and what does that do for the republican party at the time? >> it made new york one of the most republican states in the country, from being one of the most democratic states, to state that gave us fdr, that gave us all smith, that gave us the new deal. i mean, do we had, you know, he was a man that almost defeated in 1938, the man who had appointed him as gangbuster, somewhat years earlier. he was very distinguished and very popular governor who was a
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huge favorite to win another term, and as a tribute to the campaign excitement that dewey created, he ended up winning by 1%, and four years later, there was no doubt that dewey would win. the first republican in 20 years. and he went on to build that organization, some might call it a machine, but it was an odd organization, it was a good government. if you can imagine such a thing. >> john in -- . go ahead. >> i'm not sure, and organization, yes machine no, because it did not lead to nothing. >> yeah. you're right, it didn't outlive him. but machines can be personal, rather than ideological, or
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enduring, for that matter. >> like the subject of your next book. >> yes. >> he appreciates the book. let's hear from john, indiana. >> yes, during the 1944 campaign, tom dewey delivered i think one of the best speeches of his career, in oklahoma city. he really took off and hit roosevelt. prior to that, he delivered rarely 1948 type of speeches, where he talked about his home, mother, god, the american flag, but after that oklahoma city speech, i think that convinced most republicans they really had a chance to be roosevelt. i wonder if you are familiar with that speech in 1944, and the effect on the republican party, thank you. >> thank you, for the call, it's fascinating. that speech, i was forgot today, reverberated in ways that no one could have imagined at the time. it had been remembered as a
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famous foul speech, fdr delivered in d.c.. someone said afterwards from that on there was a contest between roosevelt dog, and dewey's goat. in the fact is dewey had been running this kind of high-minded campaign, and he was, in the responding, and it was the prosecutors. he brought everything together. all of the allegations of, the new deal, incompetence of the new deal, economic failure, on and on and on. >> this was at what point now? >> in late september, about a month before the election, 1944. >> okay. >> it is true, i think a lot of republicans at that point were caused to display or, they thought -- they saw how badly he wanted to win, they gave the speech, the campaign was broke, do in his friends raised 27,000 dollars, in order to put together a massive radio network. he delivered the speech, it was
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galvanizing. a poll of 40 newspapers correspondents afterwards said 23 of them that he had come out ahead of roosevelt in the exchange. but the irony is, he later decided, he said. , and i think the importance of the speech and its impact on the road, four years later. if you want one reason why he ran the campaign here running 48, he had decided he told a friend that was to her speech ever gave. he was just terribly uncomfortable. he didn't want to be the prosecutor. i mean, i think there was an element that he didn't to be elected, as, you know, as the honest cobb. he wanted to be, more than that. and there was something about that speech -- and i would like to believe that your, mother also thought it was somehow a departure in terms of dignity and the
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respect that you show the office, etc. did you sense that tension at all? >> well first of all, i was not 12 yet. >> right. >> no. >> you are not consulted. in this >> now. so i had no personal knowledge, but that would've been her view. >> let's take a moment -- >> where did she come from? where did that you come from? >> i think, she and this other mother disagreed practically on everything, but they both had a strong sense of you have to be dignified, and whatever you're doing and don't do mean yourself by attacking the other guy. not necessarily smart in politics, but you know, they were who they were. >> let's show a moment from time to week criticizing their
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new deal. >> this administration is one long chapter of failure. but still, some people tell us we agreed that the new deal is a pleasure at home. but it's foreign policies are very good. let me ask, you cannot administration who is so disunited, and unsuccessful at home, be any better abroad? >> no! >> canon administration, which is filled with quarterly and back fighting, be any better abroad, where we cannot see it? >> these things we pledge to you, and administration in which you will not have to support three men to do one man job.
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an administration can rely on ways to bring an end to the present chaos. an administration which will give the people of this country things a receipt for the taxes they all pay. what administration free from the impulse of communism and the domination of corrupt big city machines. an administration for the single-minded purposes of the jobs, and opportunities for all. >> richard norton smith, where in the 1944 campaign, how does tom dewey position himself to take on fdr? >> well, again, it's really a question that he can't answer. as to what the status of the
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war will be. at the beginning of the next term. there is no doubt, he went against fdr in what he called the tired old man, which was i think probably as close as you could get to raising the health issue. but certainly there was a sense of intellectual exhaustion after 12 years. and, what do we represented was youth, and vigor, and energy. i mean, in a way that john kennedy symbolically represented more than the turning of a page from an older president william a president. tom dewey had that as a quality 1944. plus, he had the record in new york. he had not gutted the social programs, that people had come to expect from government in new york. but he make them work better, and he managed to cut taxes at the same time. >> and who was his vp pick, and why? >> john brokered.
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his fellow governor, not someone that i think was guided as an intellect, but on the other hand, he had bad luck with running mates. he was not a big fan of them, even after 1948, priority he referred to them as a big dunk -- dump sweet. and i don't think he was particularly plan of the supreme court. >> but you know better than. i >> did you talk about this ad all in the years? >> no. >> so what are the results of the 44 election? >> he came closer than anyone else, you know out of the four people who run against fdr, dewey came considerably closer in margin. he won 99 electoral votes. and some people did math afterwards and found out the shift of 300,000 votes, in the right states, what have actually given dewy a majority in the electoral college. so it was the closest race since 1916. >> let me add bail, to the
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conversation. >> thank, you high. i think i'm right about this, you talk about someone who is the governor of california in 48, and do we had a vice presidential running mate, if he had one california, which i think he lost maybe by a few votes, would it have swung the election if he had one? >> the answer is no. you are right, he came by close to 18,000 votes, he was very close. but you have to remember california was much smaller in 1940, eight and it is today. and another theory could be argued, that the man he thought he was gonna be as running mate, a main named charlie, from indiana, republican in the house, who later on served in
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that role until 1964, charlie was a representative of the front built. and it could be theorized, if there had been someone on the ticket, who was sensitive, as he was to the latent unhappiness of the farmers, that perhaps some things might have been done differently. but who knows? >> let's go back to the 44 campaign. he loses, he makes a concession speech, i want to show her viewers a little bit of, that we will come back and talk about it. >> it is clear that mr. roosevelt has been reelected for a third term. and every good american will wholeheartedly accept the will of the people. i extend to president roosevelt my hearty congratulations. and my earnest hope that his next term we'll see speedy victory in the war. the establishment of lasting
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peace, and the restoration of -- among our people. i am confident that all americans will join me in the hopeful, because in the difficult years ahead, divine providence will guide and prevail. the president of the united states. >> richard norton smith when does he make the speech? well >> he made it a day after. and there was some ground going in the park, that you know, he hadn't gotten the concession on election night, in fact fdr famous story says -- he really worked himself into a ladder over your dad, i show everyone who runs for president discovered that their opponent has all sorts of hidden defects. but, i think it is personal, in this case. anyway, the last words on election night, before fdr goes to bed was, i still think he is
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a little -- . did your dad talk about roosevelt? >> no. >> never? >> no. >> that's fascinating. >> just another example, turning the page. >> yeah. >> he's not tomorrow's concern. >> it's a practical outlook, it's not that it was a painful chapter that he didn't want to revisit. >> well you know if there was pain we didn't see it. >> well or talk about it. >> you couldn't talk about, it unless you saw it. and your back to his mother, his wife. >> yeah, can ask you one -- quick because i was told by someone who is at the law firm, and it sounds almost too cruel to be true, but it's a pretty good stores that one year he went to the christmas party, he wants a christmas party
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regularly i guess, but when your for some reason, and the band played this song, and the story is he turned around and didn't go back to another firm christmas party. does that sound possible? >> that sounds out of character and impossible. >> sounds out of character, why? >> had the band, remember this was his law firm, very much capital age with a capital, had to ban lug -- done that they would not have had the temerity to do it, and had they done and i think you would have just gone out but he certainly would not have walked out. but you forgot, earlier, his major walk out, in the 56 convention. after another man distant so vigorously in 52, where i was, i forgot to mention. in 56, he was introduced to
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make a speech, this man, my dad got up, walked out of the aisle, down the other turin. gone. take that. >> and i think he said afterwards he had been waiting for years to take that walk. >> he did say that. >> that must have been very gratifying. >> tom juniors referring to the law firm that his father was partner after his political career was over, his partner in a law firm here in new york, successful law firm. what about his role in that? >> i think that was a great whoa. the law was what he wanted to do, and as i said politics for something of a detour. and i think the idea of creating, or recreating, affirm. i guess he didn't found it technically, but he remained
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it. >> it was an old law firm, which he joined and became under his name, and ahead of that he joined in 1955, and he attracted many of the big companies of the united states, foreign governments. when he died prematurely, in 1971, they had different lawyers. >> let's go to a phone call, paul, from indiana, is that right? >> it is, the birthplace of a minority leader charlie. talking to a leader he had said that charlie was honored the belief that if you support behind mr. do a he would be the running mate in 48. this did not happen, it might be the only regret he had politically, with dewey.
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[inaudible] >> paul you're breaking up, i think we lost two. you wanted what you heard there? >> i mean i heard the same story. i mean, there's no doubt that charlie thought he was double crossed. he thought, you know, people hear what they want to hear, but there's no doubt that charlie had like believed in that convention that he had a misunderstanding with the force, and that he would be on the ticket. >> duncan, in ohio. >> hi. is how did thomas do we feel about -- ? >> you know what, i didn't hear. that duncan, we didn't hear the question. i apologize, let's move to cheryl, bakersfield california. >> yes.
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i've been following the series, and one thing that comes to my mind was what was his relationship with the town many hall people, in new york city, during that time. because my mother comes from berke land, and my father was a form going california. and they always flipped their votes, during the fifties and sixties, as i was growing up. she being a committed democrat, juan my father changed for republican when he dewey ran in 1948. thank you. >> interesting. well you might say that that place was making of dewey in some ways. as we said earlier, from a very young age he had drawn into his head, that that hall was the epitome of political and civic either -- evil. and as states would have, it it was a significant part of his public career, and he was fighting the truth of that desertion. >> adam, long island, new york. >> hello, my name is adam.
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and i'm actually a college student from new york, and i actually read part of the book, that mr. northam wrote about the series. and i was just wondering, what did dewey you think of his chances going into the 1940 campaign, about winning the race? i mean, i know that dewey was supposed to win, maybe you can talk about, that what were his prospects about winning the 48 campaign against roosevelt? >> the 48 campaign, against truman, i think the 44 campaign against roosevelt, i'm not sure. he have a really expected to win. i think you certainly expected to win, four years later. but again, as we talked a little bit earlier we might have missed, it he was not the complacent figure sitting,
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unquestioning lee, upon his lead. that i think you might think from some of the textbook accounts. he was very cognizant of the fact that public opinion was a dynamic saying. he sensed slipping in the last days of the campaign. and, i think he found himself in some ways trapped. he had a strategy, and it brought in this far, there was no reason to believe that it wouldn't carry him across the finish line first. >> and as tom dewey junior has told us several times tonight, his father turned a page, he moved on. so after he loses, in 1944, and 1948, he goes on though, to still play a role in party politics, what is it, what is his influence? >> first of all, imagine being an older statement in 1946. that is something. >> and he continues to be governor of new york. >> he remains governor of new york for another six years. and as tom said, he wanted to retire in 1950, he wanted to
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create a law firm, but the korean war came along, and the party had no one else. and so he was nominated, ran again, and was reelected. but he was very glide, i think, to leave four years later. in between, of course, you have this extraordinary show on political strength. and i don't think anyone would've predicted anything the day after the 1948 election, where he and his organization, his national organization, really puts dwight eisenhower over the top, right to platform to the liking of the moderates, in the republican parties. he brings richard nixon, on the national scene, at the age of 39. and i always thought your dad saw some of his younger self, in young nixon. you know, they had some temperamental similarities. >> they did.
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i think it's easy to say that geography had a lot to do with it. just as it did with earl, in 48. but, it was also important that he modify the taft wing of the party, and while they're not selecting someone from the taft wing and midwest, nixon was seen as the closest plausible guy. i was there, the night that that said okay, there is your vice president. to eisenhower. >> where were you? >> i was at the convention. i wasn't in a room, i was opening doors and carrying notes as their college sophomore should do. but i know that's what happened. >> right. >> i don't know whether it was temperamental likeness, or it was getting the taft wing on board and everybody used to
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talk about geographical balance, it was a big thing back then. >> you know, one thing about your dad, he used to say, he said this about the scene himself, i don't impossible young age. at the end of his life, he said, everything came too early for me. which is a pretty true observation. but he always like to surround himself, with people who he said his careers were ahead of him. and the fact that nixon was 39 years old was a way of, not only mollifying the taft, but also projecting out into the future, his vision of the republican party. >> and he is successful at keeping the top to wing of the party at bay. >> well yeah, i mean, first of all, senator taft, unfortunately died, early in the eyes and our presidential campaign. it was a tough time. when do we go to the hospital, without telling anyone, he goes in, he visits taft, that must
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of been a somewhat surreal final meeting, in the hospital. and, i would have loved to be a fly on the wall. >> do you know anything about that meeting? >> no. >> let's hear from bob, next. new york. >> good evening, what did governor do a thing of governor rockefeller as an inheritor of the dewy eastern republicanism? >> i deferred it to tom who is there. >> you go first. >> well, i think there is some debate over that, in the book i'm working on, i haven't quite made up my mind. but i'll tell you this, tom dewey was more of a fiscal conservative, van nelson rockefeller was. and there is a wonderful kneeling -- needing towards the end of his life, where i think they're in a party of some sort, maybe a party of events, and do he says to rockefeller, you know nelson, i like you, but i'm not sure i can afford you.
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and dewey's approach to government was much more fiscally orthodox. he hated depth. he hated that. and nelson, of course, as we know, was it a deal, less restricted in that regard. >> that's a very nice way of saying that. as far as the nixon fee rockefeller, dad did not attend the 1968 republican convention. because the rockefeller's going way back, had been maybe his largest campaign contributors, they worked hard for him, they were good for him. but my take from that was he thought the party should be nominated with nixon, in 68. and he wasn't gonna get involved in it. >> it also suggested that,
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quite frankly, his law firm, he had reasons not to alienate rockefeller. >> well i don't know if it had anything to do with a law, firm the law firm was never involved with the rockefeller's. so i don't think there were economic reasons. but i think, by that time, he felt uncomfortable with the amount of money nelson was spending. >> let's hear from danny -- debbie, new york she's been waiting. >> go ahead. >> yes there is a subject to talk about i'm going with this, we have been conversing on this -- and you see occupy wall street just started, you know the second victory session started,
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-- >> debbie can you relate this to a topic? what is your question about tom dewy? >> my question is about haven't democrats provided an office inside of a bomb is back to africa, where he was born? >> john, pennsylvania. we're gonna move on. go ahead. >> 1944, out of world war two veteran, i'm 96 years old i still have a good brain and i still remember things. and i feel the 1944, it was roosevelts time i, think do we was a very smart person but i think the people just wanted to keep him in office, because we were at war. i figured if we were not a war, i think dewey would've won.
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when you think? >> that's exactly what i said earlier. that was a conundrum. you couldn't know. but it's interesting that that comment all these years later reflect what dewey himself believed. the strategy was that in a peacetime environment, people grateful as they were to fdr, remember what they did to churchill, grateful as they were to fdr, they were ready to turn to change and embarked on a different kind of domestic policy. >> let's go to new york, phil. >> yes, good evening. i'm resigning virginia now, but there's 13 or 14 years, old i grew up about three miles away from doing farm. i had an occasion in more than one time to caddie for the governor on baker hill, called scores, and one particular time i remember after the air to
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afternoon was getting late, and his golf partner, some from new york city, they wanted to play, continue playing, at the park. so they asked me to caddie but it was getting late, and i said well i'm about eight miles away and i need a ride. one gentleman spoke up, don't worry i'll take you. we won't be going much longer. when they finished, is that man got in his car and left, and i was stranded there. well governor dewey sought to it, that i had a ride back to the village. and i'll never forget that, i was very grateful for it. that's all. >> all right, that was bill, from new york. mike, strengthen, island york. >> yes, i'd like to ask if he
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had won the 1944 election what would his policies as far as pending the war? >> 1944, did you say? >> yeah. >> okay. >> i think, you know, it's a fair question, but i think if you look at the calendar, and you see where the armies were in january of 1945, i think at that point, obviously, they would that defeat was only a question of time. the larger question, of course, for example, how do we might have conducted diplomacy, differently, if it had been ham? >> and what about the atomic bomb? do you think dewey would've done that? >> it's hard for me to believe that any president, after we spent 2 million dollars to do
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this thing, knowing that if he didn't used to bomb, and if the war would prolong, quite frankly would might lead to impeachment. what was a point, i think this retrospective argument over truman, it was moral too used to pomp and so bomb, it's hard to believe any american president not take advantage of the opportunity to end the war, that the bomb represented. and i can't imagine tom would dewey have thought differently. >> yes, and to add, on your earlier comment. dad was bitterly critical for years thereafter, about giving away all of those eastern european countries, into the slavery, of the soviet communism. he was consistent on that subject. >> i would give anything to see your dad, sitting across the table from stalin.
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>> someone who had prosecuted gangsters on his life. >> right. >> let's try to get, in a couple of more phone calls and here are as we wrap up tonight's contenders, taking a look at thomas e. dewey. let's hear from charles, lexington, virginia. >> first of all thank you very much for this wonderful program, part of a wonderful series. and i'm glad that towards the end here we did get some question about foreign affairs, and my question has to do with professor smith reference early on to dallas, his role as an adviser to governor dewy, in foreign policy and what the relation between the two was, and what that had to do with dallas becoming the secretary of state, in eisenhower's cabinet? >> well, i think you're absolutely right. i mean they all fit together. the relationship between dallas was uniquely close one, intellectually substantive, actually at one point, i remember your dad appointed dallas to the united states
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senate. to a seat. which he was unable to hold on to, in the election. but there is no doubt that dallas became dwight eisenhower secretary of state as an outgrowth of the long record of association, creative, foreign policy association that he had had with tom dewy. >> yeah i would agree with that, he was one, maybe the most senior on the group of dads advisers, who went to washington. others were appointed secretary, and there were quite a number of them. >> i don't think we have mentioned the three way. a lot of governors to use if penetrations was the new york state three-way, which now mater grow without a traffic light, from new york city to buffalo. the probably did more for upstate new york economic development than everything sense.
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but the man who built the throwaway went on to build the inter way -- interstate highway system under dwight eisenhower. >> i want to throw it a couple of names here as we finish. hubert humphrey and tom dewey's relationship with him. >> one of the many surprising aspects of a surprising life. in 1964, tom dewey was at the white house. lbj wanted to get him to chair a national crime commission. and in the event, he backed off of that. but he pointed out to lbj, he said have you seen the schedule of your convention in atlantic city. anyway, there was a day set aside to -- as a tribute to president kennedy. it was up front.
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dewey pointed out that if this happens, jackie will be there in the whole family will be there and people will be cry and there will be this enormous emotional -- before you know it, bobby kennedy will be your running mate before you like it or not. the story is he got on the phone and said move kennedy day from day one today for. hubert humphrey became the running mate instead. humphrey was in dewey's debt until the day he died. >> and they were social france. >> they were social friends. >> both friends of doing andrea's. they spent part of winter's together. i even went to the races with them. with the companies and the dewey once. >> we are all out of time, gentlemen. i want to thank both of you for being our guests tonight and talking to our viewers. talking about tom dewey and his 1948 campaign. our contenders in our 14-week series. we want to thank all of you for watching tonight and calling in and the staff at the roosevelt
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hotel here who have been very helpful to our crew tonight. a big thanks to everyone.
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up next on american history tv. a june 1940 fort news reel from the office of war information. it includes stories about the 1944 presidential election, the fall of mussolini and franklin roosevelt signing the gi bill.


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