OCTOBER 9, 1952
NEW YORK, Wednesday—I want to speak again on the question of registration for voting.
In New York City one enterprising public servant, State Senator Enzo Gaspari, has started something new to help the ordinary citizen. He says he has heard many ask: "How do I find out exactly where my registration polling place is and what is my election district?" Therefore, he has arranged for a telephone center where maps of the assembly and senatorial districts are tacked on the wall and spotlighted. Girl volunteers man the telephones and are guided by the maps. They are able to tell anyone who questions them exactly where his polling place for registration is, so there is no excuse for not knowing where to go and getting through this registration business quickly.
This idea seems good enough to be copied in other areas where people have difficulty finding out where they must go.
It is very gratifying to find, however, that the campaign being put on urging people to register so they will be able to vote is actually meeting with success. Everywhere I read that registration is at record highs, and I think this shows that with a little reminder our people are willing to do their job as citizens in our great democracy. It also shows that more people realize that this is an important election.
The next four years may bring to the country and to the world decisions of vital importance. Therefore, the man who is our President in Washington should be elected by as big a vote as possible.
When you look at the newspapers these days you cannot help being struck by the fact that Senator Nixon and General Eisenhower say as many disagreeable things as they can about the President and then act surprised and hurt when he answers in the same vein. Senator Nixon bewails the fact that the campaign has sunk to such low standards, but anyone who has heard or read Senator Nixon's speeches will not be much surprised.
Governor Stevenson and Senator Sparkman have kept to a pretty high level, I think. It is rather natural that the President has resented criticisms of his Administration and his policies, and it is just as well that he should do the answering, as he is doing.
Governor Stevenson is discussing the issues and telling the people of the country where he stands. That is essential information and information the people are entitled to have before November 4. I hope the governor will continue to do this, and only answer the Republican attacks when he feels it impossible not to set the record straight.
General Eisenhower started this campaign as a well-known and glamorous figure—a hero. As a general, he deserved the respect and gratitude of every citizen, not only for his leadership in World War II, but for the difficult work he undertook in setting up the NATO forces. He had more influence than anyone else in Europe because everywhere he came to talk to the people as the liberator who had finally driven the enemy from their lands.
As a candidate, a politician or a statesman, whichever you choose to call him, the name and glamor are still there. People know him and want to see a war hero, but, as the weeks go on, Eisenhower as the politician seems less able. He seems unfamiliar with all the subjects with which he has to deal, and his advisers seem more important than he is. As a campaigner he has been forced into a role that must seem strange indeed to him.
On the other hand, Governor Stevenson was very little known to the country as a whole. He has been a good Governor of Illinois. He has filled a number of government positions with ability and integrity, but the public knew little or nothing about him or his qualifications, nor whether as a politician he could measure up to be a statesman of Presidential stature. Day by day as he speaks to the people it seems to me that his stature grows. And I want him to go on telling the people where he stands and what the issues are, for I have great faith in the good judgment of our people.