Election 1944: Remarks by Roosevelt in Bridgeport (11-4-44)


Remarks by President Roosevelt
November 4, 1944

Delivered at Bridgeport, Connecticut


This is not a formal campaign speech. It’s just a visit from one neighbor to a lot of other neighbors, because, you know, from my place up on the Hudson River when I look east I can see into Connecticut, and it doesn’t take me very much more than an hour to get down to Bridgeport from my house.

So let me just tell you as a neighbor that I am glad to be back.

This being war, though I am told not to mention that subject, I always remember back in 1917 or 1918 coming to Bridgeport when I was in the Navy Department, and seeing the building of ships, the manufacturing of munitions, guns, and bullets. And I remember very well the reputation that Bridgeport had in those days in the first war. And it has got the same reputation for a magnificent industrial effort and help to our troops in this war.

I hope that, while we are alive, Bridgeport will never be called on again to make munitions in a world war. And it is interesting, at this time, for the first time since the days of Lincoln, that we are conducting a war and carrying on a presidential election at the same time.

Some of us are trying to get excited about politics. Some of us become even rather agitated. You ought to know. Yes, there are a few politicians, even men and women, who work themselves into such an emotional state that they say things I hope they will be sorry for before they die.

There isn’t very much that I can say, except to talk about the record. You know that. A lot of people don’t like me to talk about the record. They don’t like to be reminded that people have been taken care of by the Congress through the passage of all kinds of social legislation. When I talk about those things again, some people say, “Oh, why do they have to bring that subject up?”

I think we have made a pretty good record in running this war, and they don’t like that talked about either. They like to talk about some kind of a wild, weird future. Well, believe me, you see it and then you don’t see it. One candidate says one thing and, in another place, simultaneously, another candidate says another thing. I get tremendously amused by some of this – not all of it – because I wish in a way I were back in 1910, when I was running for the State Senate in the State of New York, and I had a particularly disagreeable opponent, and he called me names. Well, I wasn’t anything in those days – I wasn’t President – and I answered him in kind. And the names that I called him were worse than the names that he called me. So, we had a very joyous campaign.

In this campaign, of course, all things taken together, I can’t talk about my opponent the way I would like to sometimes, because I try to think that I am a Christian. I try to think that someday I will go to Heaven, and I don’t believe there is anything to be gained in saying dreadful things about other people in any campaign.

After next Tuesday there are going to be a lot of sorry people in the United States.

I want to say, looking into the future, that I hope some of my good friends who happen to be running for office – your candidate for Governor, your candidate for the Senate – both of them old friends of mine – will be elected; and I hope, too, that very soon after the first of January, Mrs. Roosevelt and I will have a call – in the White House – from the charming lady, Miss Connors, on my right.

So it’s good to see you all, and I’ll be back some day, very soon I hope, as President.