Election 1940: Roosevelt Campaign to Open Sept. 2 (8-23-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 23, 1940)


Roosevelt Will Dedicate Tennessee Dam and Outline His Public Power Policy; Later Extended ‘Non-Political’ Tour Anticipated

By Thomas L. Stokes, Scripps-Howard Staff Writer

Washington, Aug. 23 –

President Roosevelt will open his re-election campaign Labor Day in a speech dedicating Chickamauga Dam near Chattanooga, Tenn., new link in the TVA power system.

Though the President might not confess that this address has any “political” implications, it is generally expected here that he will use that occasion to emphasize the New Deal’s public power policy and outline the public utility issue as it will be developed against Wendell L. Willkie, his Republican opponent.

It was over TVA that Mr. Willkie, then Commonwealth and Southern Corp., first clashed with the New Deal.

He won much acclaim for the way he traded punches with the New Dealers against the advice of some older heads in the utility business who preferred peace to such rough-to-ready tactics. During the controversy over the TVA rate structure, the President and his rival for the White House had quite a session with each other in Mr. Roosevelt’s office.

While Mr. Roosevelt is dedicating the Chickamauga Dam, his third-term running mate, Henry A. Wallace, will be addressing the Afro-American Exposition (Negro World’s Fair) in Chicago.

Labor Talk Planned

In his brief Southern venture, the President also will make a speech in the Smoky Mountain National Park, and he is expected to have something to say about New Deal labor policies.

These are two domestic issues - public power and labor protective statutes - which Democrats expect to emphasize.

It would be surprising to New Deal advisers if President Roosevelt mentioned his opponent by name, or attacked him directly, though the inference of his remarks will be clear enough. His strategy, it is expected, will be rather to state the case positively for New Deal measures, and leave the rest to his audience.

Trip of Missionary

Mr. Roosevelt’s journey into the South has a political missionary aspect. Republicans are planning a Willkie speaking tour in a bid for Southern votes.

President Roosevelt was scheduled to dedicate the Chickamauga Dam last spring, but he canceled the engagement on account of developments in the European war. However, Senator McKellar (D-TN) found him receptive to the trip yesterday.

The Southern trip indicates the nature of the campaigning which will be undertaken by President Roosevelt this year.

He is expected to find numerous such occasions for speech-making in dedications – for which invitations pile up constantly at the White House – and in inspection trips to all types of Federal projects.

Everybody here expects that about October 1, the list will be found so heavy that Mr. Roosevelt will find it expedient to go on an extended “non-political” tour that will take him to practically every section of the country.

Return To His Desk

Mr. Roosevelt returned to his desk yesterday after a tour of the First Army maneuvers in upper New York state and a brief stay at Hyde Park. He had lunch with Mr. Wallace.

The President will leave Washington Tuesday for a brief visit at Hyde Park, entraining for Tennessee Sept. 1. Following his Great Smoky Mountain address, he will motor to Maryville, Tenn., and entrain for South Charleston, W. Va., to inspect the armor plate and gun factory there Sept. 3 before returning here.


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