Election 1944: Bitter words due to fly in vote drives (9-25-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 25, 1944)


‘Who’s a liar?’
Bitter words due to fly in vote drives

Dewey to answer Roosevelt tonight
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

Russians publish Roosevelt speech

London, England (UP) –
Radio Moscow said that President Roosevelt’s campaign speech was published today in the newspaper Pravda.

Washington –
President Roosevelt and Governor Thomas E. Dewey are about to jolt the electorate wide awake in the next six weeks with a campaign of extraordinary bitterness likely to be marked by ejaculations of “who’s a liar?” and “you’re another.”

Mr. Roosevelt’s political advisers were enthusiastic over the sound and reception of his Saturday speech here to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (AFL) in which he charged Governor Dewey with lying in the Nazi pattern in his attacks on administration policy.

Dewey answers

Governor Dewey came back in a statement from Belen, New Mexico, in which he said:

Since the man who wants to be President for 16 years has now dropped the mask for a non-political campaign… I shall feel free to examine his record with unvarnished candor in the future, beginning with a national broadcast from Oklahoma City tonight.

Governor Dewey’s address tonight will be broadcast at 10:00 p.m. ET over KDKA and KQV.

Unless the President abruptly changes the tenor of his campaign and Governor Dewey backs away from the implications of his own statement, the 1944 presidential campaign will be one to be remembered for ill-feeling.

On his arrival this morning in Oklahoma City, Governor Dewey, aroused by President Roosevelt’s use of “epithets and mudslinging” in his opening campaign speech Saturday night, promised to deal with the President’s speech “point by point” in his own address from here tonight. He said he thought it was a “tragedy” that a “nominee for President finds it necessary to bolster a waning cause by importation of the language of our enemies and sinking to the level of mudslinging and the use of such words as ‘fraud and falsehood.’”

Candidates get jitters

It is logical to expect, also, that within another fortnight the actions of both candidates will be affected noticeably by the gnawing doubts which afflict statement as polling day approaches.

It is a matter for laughing recollection among persons closely associated with Mr. Roosevelt’s 1936 and 1940 campaigns that Democratic Headquarters began to get jittery in early October of those years. It was about then four years ago that the President abandoned his no-campaign program to embark on the inspection tours of national defense plants which Republicans so bitterly assailed as campaigns in disguise.

Next speech Oct. 5

This year, Mr. Roosevelt has said that he will not campaign for reelection “in the usual sense.” His advisers, however, will press for an active campaign. As the days pass, the pressure will increase, especially for Mr. Roosevelt to show himself in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. If they can get him to Detroit, so much the better. The only future speaking engagement so far announced is a broadcast from here Oct. 5.

Governor Dewey’s next swing will take him into New England. And there are reports that Mr. Roosevelt is also urged to speak in Massachusetts.

After his New England tour, Governor Dewey will make a swing into the rich and political potent Lake states, just where many of the President’s advisers believe he should go, too.

At this early stage of the political contest, the bitter feeling already approaches that of the final week before election.

Republicans find comfort in the fact that, in the President’s first political address he found it necessary to answer Governor Dewey on several points, notably the charge that he was an indispensable man that the administration intended to retard discharge of war veterans, that the Roosevelt administration was responsible for depression. And it was noted, too, that the President resurrected the “New Deal,” a descriptive phrase which he told press conference listeners last winter had been outgrown and outmoded.

Democrats assessed the speech as a bell ringer that formally opened Mr. Roosevelt’s fourth term effort with a spectacular whoosh. Veterans of the Roosevelt press conferences have rarely seen him in better spirits than on last Friday when he was turning all his attention to his campaign.

He frankly explained that he was putting a lot of work on the speech. It was observed, too, that Robert E. Sherwood, one of the ablest collaborators in preparation of Mr. Roosevelt’s state papers, had returned from England and was being seen around the White House.