Election 1944: Truman raps GOP promises at Pittsburgh rally (11-2-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 3, 1944)


Truman raps GOP promises at rally here

Candidate headlines ‘variety’ program
By Kermit McFarland

Headlining a “variety” program offered by the Democrats as the closing rally of the election campaign, U.S. Senator Harry S. Truman, Democratic candidate for Vice President, last night in Syria Mosque charged that the best Governor Thomas E. Dewey, Republican candidate for President, had to offer is “promises that the Republicans will not destroy what they never would have created.”

Senator Truman asked:

Even if you could rely on the campaign promises of the Republican candidate, why should you? The best that he offers you is a belated acceptance of the great liberal program which we Democrats already had forced through.

Mr. Truman, making his last campaign speech before he goes home to Independence, Missouri, to vote, headed a speaking schedule which included such diverse personalities as the movie notable Orson Welles, former Republican Governor of Pennsylvania Gifford Pinchot, Mrs. Kermit Roosevelt (widow of the son of Teddy Roosevelt) and representatives of the CIO and the AFL.

Draws bobbysoxers

This was the third Syria Mosque rally of the campaign and the Democrats, in point of size, turned out the best audience (After all, they do control the City and County payrolls, and Orson Welles drew a humorous contingent of bobby-sox girls and checker-jacketed lads who stormed the platform for autographs when he finished speaking).

Mr. Truman dug up the Harding, Coolidge and Hoover administrations again, claiming all had “failed to carry out the campaign promises made to obtain their election.”

Phony prosperity

He alleged:

The attention of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover was lavished upon the bankers and Wall Street speculators. A phony prosperity was created for them at the expense of the working man and the farmer. Andrew Mellon and his favored friends made millions.

Senator Truman said the voters Tuesday must determine whether they want “the President and the Democratic administration which carried out those [liberal] reforms over the opposition of the Republicans in Congress to continue them or whether you want to elect the candidate of the Republican Party which so recently became converted to those reforms.”

He charged the Republican “reactionaries” don’t like “some of the things Mr. Dewey is saying,” but “they do not believe he means what he says.”

Charges ‘straddling’

“They have heard him talk out of both sides Of his mouth on foreign policy,” the vice-presidential candidate said, “and they know that he is an expert on straddling.”

To provide jobs after the war, Mr. Truman said:

We must see to it that all the great planta and facilities that were built to win the war are put to work producing peacetime goods to establish a better life for all of us.

Senator Truman inserted in his speech a special reference to U.S. Senator Joseph F. Guffey, who sat on the platform. He said Pennsylvania is “very ably represented” by the Senator from Pittsburgh, by whom he said he has sat in the Senate for nine years and nine months.

Pinchot speaks

Mr. Pinchot, twice governor of the state, charged that if Mr. Dewey’s “friends” had had their way, “America would have been helpless when Germany and Japan did attack us.”

And that is not the worst of it. The President’s opponent not only has the support of the isolationists, but he himself, according to the papers, has actually been backing some of the worst of them and urging their reelection to Congress.

Strange contradiction

Mr. Pinchot said there was a “strange contradiction” between Mr. Dewey’s promises and “some of the men who are trying to get him elected.”

He said:

Dewey promises everything the farmer wants. Yet the men who grow fat off the farmer are in is camp.

He promises everything labor wants. Yet the chief labor baiters of the nation are for him.

He promises to do away with monopolies. Yet the great monopolists are backing him up.

He says he is for little business. But the big business leaders are carrying his banner.

He tells us, although in very limited and guarded words, that he is for cooperation among the nations. Yet the leaders of isolation, and the isolation newspapers, are his supporters and have been from the beginning.

Defends Hillman

Mr. Pinchot belittled the Communist issue raised by the Republicans against Sidney Hillman, chairman of the CIO Political Action Committee.

He said:

In the first place, nobody runs Roosevelt. He paddles his own canoe. And in the second place, Hillman is not now and never was a Communist. Hillman is an old friend of mine and I know he’s not a Communist.


Monahan: Orson, amateur politico, proves BO (box office)

Drama critic finds actor packs more appeal at rally than in stage realm
By Kaspar Monahan

As a self-confessed amateur politician, actor Orson Welles holds more box-office appeal in the hurly-burly realm of politics than as a practitioner in the sock-and-buskin trade.

That was demonstrated conclusively last evening at Syria Mosque which was jammed from top to bottom with folks who came to see and hear Mars’ most notable, not to say its most indispensable, citizen.

Of course, there were some high-ranking politicians on hand, including Senator Truman, who is running for Vice President on the Democratic ticket. But obviously, last evening it was Orson Welles who was the major drawing card, no matter what the program had to say about top billing, as they used to call it in the old vaudeville days.

In the words of the better drama critics, actor Orson wowed ‘em. He wowed ‘em so completely that even Mr. Dave Lawrence, an old and experienced gladiator of the political arenas, wound up the occasion by refusing to make an oration of his own.

Lawrence foregoes talk

Quoth Mr. Lawrence, slated as last speaker on the program:

It would be an imposition to keep you good folks here after you have listened to that orator of orators, Orson Welles.

The huge assemblage cheered at Mr. Lawrence’s succinct summary of the situation – then the young females on hand made a wild rush for the exits. They wanted to get Orator Orson’s autograph before he vanished from his scene of triumph.

This reporter couldn’t help but contrast this local reception for actor-orator Orson Welles to the one accorded him not many months ago when he made his initial entrance in Jane Eyre, which is a movie.

Then – in shadow – Mr. Welles was wearing a flowing, ebony cloak and he was riding a horse, a real horse. And by his side was a huge dog, the size of a small cow, and the dog was baying and snarling and scaring the daylights out of poor Joan Fontaine, who was playing the title role in this movie.

The audience – comprised solely of Dewey supporters, of course – snickered. Snickered, hell – they howled and guffawed.

Such uncouth conduct did not mar last evening’s triumphant debut of Orson the Orator. This time he did not wear his flowing, ebony cloaks. He had no horse and no wolfhound. Furthermore. he had – for him – a close-clipped haircut. Nothing bizarre about him, except, perhaps his big, bulging tie, tucked beneath his flaring collar points.

He was broad-shouldered, burly, impressive. And his Shakespearean voice boomed valiantly as he flung hefty verbal broadsides at Tom Dewey. Unlike the other major speakers of the evening, Orator Orson, the erstwhile boy wonder, spoke extemporaneously. No notes. He made it up, it seemed, as he went along.

It was a swell performance – his most effective in the opinion of this reporter, who has observed him, not always favorably, in many a movie and stage piece.

Right off he slashed violently at an editorial appearing in this newspaper the other day – an editorial which implied that, maybe, it would be better if Hollywood’s beautiful people would stay in Hollywood and just go on making endless variations of boy-meets-girl fables, instead of traipsing about the nation making campaign talks.

The slumberous eyes of Orator Orson blazed. One big hand shot out over the rostrum. And he tossed into this political rally a classic bombshell by bringing up the name of Pericles (At this point the party’s big shots on the stage stirred uneasily – for up to now Pericles’ name has not been made an issue in this campaign, and some wondered which side he was on).

“It reminds me,” boomed Orator Orson, “of Pericles speaking over the Athenian dead.” Now I don’t know Greek but he said something like this: “We hold those men who do not meddle in affairs of state as worse than nothing.”

Welles explains

That meant, as Mr. Welles was quick to elucidate, that plumbers, dentists, boilermakers and even movie actors had a right to get up on their hind legs and take sides in a political campaign.

There were cheers from the packed audience – more than 4,000 inside and a couple thousand outside. Pericles knows his onions – and no fooling.

“I suggest” (still quoting Orson) “the Republican Party doesn’t exist.” Then he swiftly sketched highlights of the 1940 campaign, commenting on “the men who scuttled the Republican Party in 1940,” and everybody looked sad and shook their heads over his skullduggery of four years ago.

His resonant powerful voice lit into the GOP claims of Communist infiltration into the Democratic Party, the alleged Hillman-Browner alliance, saying “Why, Hillman and Browder have never met each other.” And he said, “Isolationism isn’t dead – it haunts the speeches of Dewey and Bricker,” and he drew a parallel between Lincoln and Roosevelt, and bitterly blasted the “professional wreckers of peace.”

He would up for a stirring “curtain line” by calling not only for a Democratic victory but for a “Roosevelt landslide,” urging everyone to sit up with their friends who insist on voting for Governor Dewey. “They are sick,” he said. “Do something for them.”


Truman ‘stumps’ to help friend’s bid for Congress

Vice-presidential candidate makes 4-hour tour of Fayette County with Snyder
By Robert Taylor, Pittsburgh Press staff writer

Uniontown, Pennsylvania –
U.S. Senator Harry S. Truman, Democratic candidate for Vice President, included a four-hour trip through Fayette County in his Western Pennsylvania campaign tour yesterday to help a friend, Democratic Rep. J. Buell Snyder, in his campaign for reelection.

Mr. Truman praised the Fayette County Congressman in a speech yesterday afternoon at the Courthouse here in which he urged an audience of 1,000 not to “place an inexperienced man in office today.”

Earlier, Mr. Truman’s official party, escorted by a squad of Pittsburgh motorcycle policemen and a delegation of Allegheny County officials, had called at Rep. Snyder’s home at Perryopolis. The Congressman introduced Mr. Truman later to the Uniontown audience.

Speaks in McKeesport

Still earlier, the Missouri Senator told a McKeesport gathering that three members of Congress present – himself and Reps. Thomas E. Scanlon and Samuel A. Weiss – were not isolationists, and denounced the voting record of U.S. Senator James J. Davis, Republican candidate for reelection, against Democratic Rep. Francis J. Myers.

He said at a luncheon at the Penn-McKee Hotel:

You’ve got an isolationist running right here in Pennsylvania and I hope you won’t have another isolationist Senator after this election.

If the Republicans were to get control of the Senate, which won’t happen, Jim Davis would be chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs. After the last war, the Republicans sank our Navy and Jim Davis was a member of the administration that sank it.

Raps GOP votes

Calling attention again to Republican votes against Selective extension and other pre-war measures, Mr. Truman told his audience: “If we had gone the way they wanted, we’d have been slaughtered by now.”

In little more than an hour, Mr. Truman yesterday spoke before audiences totaling some 9,000 persons in the Turtle Creek Valley – 5,000 in East Pittsburgh, 2,000 in Braddock and 2,000 in Wilmerding, at rallies at mill gates and a street corner location.

Thousands of persons lined streets in the industrial suburbs through which the campaign party passed, and the welcome Mr. Truman got was pronounced the best of his campaign trip.

Seeks seventh term

In Republican Uniontown, however, the crowd was smaller and less responsive, although Fayette County, with its large miner population, is counted on to produce a sizeable majority for the Roosevelt-Truman ticket.

Rep. Snyder, beneficiary of the side-trip by the vice-presidential candidate, is chairman of the subcommittee on War Department appropriations of the House Appropriations Committee, and is seeking his seventh term in Congress.

Last time he ran, Mr. Snyder narrowly escaped defeat in the light vote of 1942, winning by only 1,466 votes out of 65,494 over Carl H. Hoffman, Somerset businessman.

Mr. Hoffman is again the Republican candidate for Congress this year, and the 1943 Congressional reapportionment may better his chances of winning.

In 1942, the district consisted of Republican Somerset County and Democratic Fayette and Greene Counties. This year, Greene County, with its certain Democratic majority, is transferred to the old Washington-Greene district and the 23rd district now consists only of Somerset, certain to go Republican, and Fayette Counties.