Election 1944: Both nominees on air tonight in final talks (11-6-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 6, 1944)


On election eve –
Both nominees on air tonight in final talks

Entire world watches U.S. election
By Lyle C. Wilson, United Press staff writer

New York –
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thomas E. Dewey end their bitter presidential campaign today and the polls begin to open next sunrise for a United States election in which the entire civilized world has cut itself a slice of apprehensive interest.

A nationwide forecast of weather for tomorrow revealed no unusual weather conditions anywhere – none that should keep voters away from the polls. The only major section where it will not be clear, according to the forecast, is the Upper Mississippi Valley and eastward into the western lake region where “general widespread rain will occur.”

Both candidates will be on the air tonight.

All networks will carry Mr. Roosevelt’s speech at 10:00 p.m. EWT and they likewise will broadcast Mr. Dewey’s at 11:00 p.m. EWT.

Mr. Dewey, the Republican entry, will do a last-minute campaign whirl around Albany before coming here to vote. Mr. Roosevelt will motor among his Hudson Valley neighbors giving his famous campaign hat another farewell appearance. His polling place is Hyde Park.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Harry S. Truman and Republican vice-presidential candidate John W. Bricker are back home in Missouri and Ohio, respectively, to cast their ballots. A comparative silence calms the hustings.

World watches

On five continents and most of the world’s islands, urgently interested persons are awaiting our election returns. And there doubtless are many individuals on the face of the globe who wouldn’t know Kansas from Pennsylvania at this moment but who would come up accurately with the electoral vote of both.

The foreign consensus is that this United States election will have terrific impact on foreign affairs. It has been an angry, bitter contest, one of the most unkind in our recent history. It may easily be the closest election since 1916 when the vote of Eureka, California, had finally to be tallied before it was known whether Woodrow Wilson or Charles Evans Hughes had won that state and the election in which its votes were decisive. Wilson won.

Close race forecast

Final returns this year will be delayed for weeks until the absentee armed service vote has been counted. If the poll of civilian voters is close, the presidential winner may not be known until the battlefield ballots have been checked.

Eleven states will delay the count of absentee armed service ballots. They are California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington. The delay ranges from a day or so to Dec. 7 in North Dakota.

Pennsylvania, whose 35 electoral votes, may be decisive, will not count its armed service ballots until Nov. 22. Altogether, the 48 states have distributed an estimated 4,894,225 ballots and expect 2,855,865 of them to be returned.

Polls indicate the closeness of the presidential contest. A New York check puts the two contestants almost on the 50-50 line. National polls list 15 or more doubtful – very doubtful – states.

Tradition at stake

This election, therefore, is getting off to an uncertain start after a bitter campaign prelude under tradition smashing circumstances. Mr. Roosevelt is seeking a fourth term, the first President in our history so to offer himself for such extended service. Governor Dewey, the young Republican Governor of New York, would, if he should win, be the youngest Chief Executive in our history – younger by a matter of about three weeks than Teddy Roosevelt.

Tomorrow’s polling is expected to have a big impact on foreign affairs. Not only control of the White House is at stake, but control of the House of Representatives and the political complexion of the Senate. House and Senate standings are:

SENATE: 58 Democrats, 37 Republicans, 1 Progressive.

HOUSE: 214 Democrats, 210 Republicans, 2 Progressives, 1 Farmer-Labor, 1 American-Labor, 7 vacant.

Senate seats sought

There are sufficient safe and Southern Democratic seats among the 36 for the Senate at stake tomorrow to assure that the Republicans will not be able to increase their membership to 49 which would be necessary for them to obtain control of the Upper House. Of the 36 Senate seats up now, one is for a short term which ends Jan. 3, when the new 79th Congress meets.

Republicans insist, however, that they will be able to win the eight or more additional House seats which would give them a numerical majority of the whole House and control of that chamber.

As of now, 51 Democratic candidates, including Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas, are unopposed, and five Republicans are without opposition. In addition, three Republicans were elected to the House in Maine’s jump-the-gun election last September.

Democrats are depending on Mr. Roosevelt’s vote appeal to reverse an anti-New Deal-Democratic trend. The trend became emphatically evident in the 1942 general elections and has persisted through a series of subsequent byelections in which the slim Democratic House majority has been whittled down. There are 432 House seats at stake tomorrow – and three already seated from Maine equal 435.

Gubernatorial races

Maine also elected a Republican governor last September. Gubernatorial elections are fixed for tomorrow in 31 states in which 19 governors now are Republicans and 12 are Democratic. The states outside the Solid South among which the Republicans may hope to increase the number of GOP governors are Arizona, Rhode Island, Utah, Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.

This presidential election looks close and it appears that both major parties have a real chance to control the new House of Representatives, Although control of the Senate will not shift, the scattered senatorial contests have aroused blazing worldwide interest.

The President to be elected tomorrow and the legislators who win seats in the 79th Congress will make the decisions by which this country’s role in the post-war world will be decided. The President and Senate are charged variously with responsibility for our foreign policies but the House has been increasingly declaring itself in on such matters in recent years.

But win who may, both candidates have promised that the war will continue with increasing tempo until the Germans and the Japs are licked – and under the same generals and admirals who have been directing the fighting heretofore.

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Dewey and Roosevelt broadcast ‘last word’

Democrats have midnight period
By Si Steinhauser

Turn your radio on at 8:00 tonight and from then to 12:30, you may hear the Democrats “point with pride” and the Republicans “view with alarm.”

The Democratic National Committee has placed President Roosevelt’s spokesmen in a position to have the “last word” by reserving the 12 o’clock midnight quarter-hour “across the board” on all networks. But even after that, WJAS and CBS have “to be announced” looking rather important and mysterious in the 12:15 period.

There are also “blanks” at 11:45 on WJAS and KQV, and 15-minute periods are not to be sneered at this hotly-contested Election Eve. As proof, that’s all the time Governor Dewey has reserved at 11:00 to 11:15 tonight on all network stations. He will follow President Roosevelt and “other speakers” on all stations from 10 to 11 o’clock. Senator Truman will speak on WCAE at 11:15.

At 11:15, WJAS has a quarter-hour network spot reservation for the Labor Non-Partisan League. Prior to that, there are several local and state political talks listed.

For quick reference, here are the “big league” listings for tonight:

  • 10:00 p.m.: All stations – President Roosevelt.
  • 11:00 p.m.: All stations – Governor Dewey.
  • 11:15 p.m.: WCAE – Senator Truman.

The Democrats have decided to give their listeners a real “grand finale.” Norman Corwin, famed CBS dramatist, is in Hollywood rehearsing tonight’s curtain-lowering broadcast. So, you can bet there will be some trumpet-blowing about bedtime.

Station managers report that national political committees are buying up time at 12:15 noon tomorrow, figuring that they will catch voters away from their regular duties and about to vote, so maybe the “last word” won’t be said until then.

Many letters have come our way during the political campaign accusing us of having deliberately failed to schedule this or that candidate’s talk, of being “pro-Roosevelt” and “pro-Dewey.” Any omissions were due to carelessness by national committees and programs, were carried precisely as networks provided them to stations and the stations to us.

Tomorrow, everyone may go to his voting booth and have his “say” and then we’ll get back into the old groove and listen to singing commercials, awful jokes, screeching “singers” and, best of all, good old forums on which free speech reaches its height. And America will be bigger and better than ever even though you and I may vote for the “wrong guy.”

Arthur Treacher, who clowns with Jack Carson, will cast his first vote tomorrow. A native of England, he became an American citizen a few months ago.

Another “first voter” will be Igor Gorin, radio and concert baritone, who made his first broadcast on the Hollywood Hotel. He was discovered singing in Vienna by a Los Angeles furniture man, over there on a visit who brought him to America and helped him to attain stardom. Gorin was also recently naturalized.

Vox Pop was born 12 years ago tonight over KTRH, Houston, Texas. Everybody is happy about it, including the listeners, everybody except Parks Johnson, a swell guy and one of the founders. Parks doesn’t like to hear his program called a quiz show. It’s an “audience participation” program and from it sprung a host of similar programs ranging from spelling bees to battles of brains and parlor hijinks.

Parks argues that Vox Pop is no more a quiz show than a crossword puzzle is an inquiring reporter column and we guess he’s right.

Anyhow, since July 4, 1940, Vox Pop has dedicated every broadcast to war work. It had added up 27 defense broadcasts from factories, colleges and camps before Pearl Harbor. Since then, it has been an exclusive camp, air or navy base or defense plant broadcast, entertaining about a million men in uniform or overalls at 190 different places, not including canteen, hospital and other benefit appearances.

Come peace, Vox Pop will become the voice of the people in victory. That’s for sure, says Parks, and we congratulate him and his buddy, Warren Hull, for the grand job they’re doing.

Tonight, you’ll hear Gladys Swarthout replacing Richard Crooks, José Iturbi on The Telephone Hour, Frank Morgan and little Margaret O’Brien on The DeMille Theater.

Ben Grauer won the Davis Memorial Award and KDKA’s capable Paul Shannon was awarded an honorable mention, in nationwide competition. We applaud the awards but Shannon deserved more than honorable mention.

Pittsburgh’s Eugenie Baird will be a guest on The Bing Crosby Hour Thursday.

Democratic National Committee Program (CBS):

The Chicago Daily Tribune (November 7, 1944)


Jazz closes campaign

New York – (Nov. 6, special)
A strange medley of jazz, jingles, and wisecracks, interspersed with political potpourri put the finishing touches tonight on the New Deal’s fourth-term campaign.

For three-quarters of an hour over all major networks, writers, singers, comedians, politicians, and movie stars from Hollywood and New York followed each other in bewildering succession in the Democratic National Committee’s vaudeville jamboree.

After Frank Sinatra had spoken and others in the heterogeneous array of performers had done their bits, President Roosevelt came on in a serious mood.

Groucho Marx adlibs

Speakers included writer Quentin Reynolds, U.S. Ambassador to Russia W. Averell Harriman, Dorothy Parker, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. Groucho Marx adlibbed a few quips on behalf of the New Deal. So did Milton Berle. Several comedians recited bits of doggerel about Dewey and Hoover.

Chants of vote, vote, vote were heard at intervals during the program and an overlay of continuous jazz music made the words of some of the speakers almost indistinguishable. Voices came on the air said to represent typical farmers, union members, aircraft workers, and working girls.