AUGUST 17, 1956
NEW YORK—Adlai Stevenson, Mrs. Edison Dick, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Finletter, and my son, Elliott, and his wife, accompanied me to the plane in Chicago on Tuesday evening.
I begged Mr. Stevenson to stay and use the hour for a little sleep, but he insisted he would be more rested by the drive and getting out of the hotel. In some ways, I can understand that, for no matter what room you are in, there is a constant ringing of the telephone—you get through with one call and the bell rings again, there is a constant flow of visitors and all of them have some special pet contribution to make.
I often wonder if a Presidential candidate would keep track of all the suggestions made to him, he would have any time to include any thoughts of his own.
I arrived in New York about midnight and have been surprised to find that wherever I go, everyone—taxi drivers, people in stores, in the bank, and, not so surprisingly, at home and in my office—tell me they listened and watched the convention on Monday night.
One taxi driver told me that he just had to go to sleep, because I came on so late, but most of them said that their wives listened, and all of them were so kind in their expressions of interest.
I felt myself most inadequate to follow Governor Frank G. Clement, even with an interlude between, but it certainly is pleasant to have had everyone apparently at least interested by something I had to say.
I went out at 9:10 Wednesday morning and was so busy all day that I entirely forgot about lunch. But I did go to tea with Mrs. Albert Lasker, who was kept in New York by illness and was much upset at missing the convention.
During the day on Wednesday I talked, off and on, with Chicago and I was much encouraged to hear that the bandwagon was beginning to roll, giving me hope that the nomination of Stevenson on the first ballot was assured.
Of course, I was caught on the sidewalk outside my house on Wednesday afternoon by a television camera and an interviewer and was asked what I thought about former President Harry S. Truman's statements. They seemed to me to be the last desperate cry of a man who knew he had backed the wrong horse.
This was a little like a horse race between Stevenson and Governor Averell Harriman, though it was never a very equal one. From the beginning it was evident which was the stronger.
When Mr. Truman says that those around Stevenson, as well as Stevenson himself, are "defeatist" campaigners, he must have forgotten that we elected in 1954 a good many Democratic Congressmen and Senators who had been defeated in 1952, and that was done with the help of Adlai Stevenson's campaigning for all of them.
Stevenson gave much of his time to travelling throughout the country to help wipe out the deficit from the 1952 campaign and I think it gave him an increasingly greater knowledge of the United States and its people.
If you needed figures to attest to the fact that he is a successful vote getter, it might be well to remember that in 1952 Stevenson received 500,000 more votes in New York state than Harriman received when he ran for Governor in 1954. And yet Stevenson was running against General Eisenhower, a great hero who had promised to bring the boys back from Korea and whose popularity was certainly far greater than the candidate against whom Harriman won the state!
And, even when Stevenson lost in 1952, he received three million more votes than Mr. Truman received in 1948 when he won.
No, Mr. Truman, this isn't the record of a defeatist campaigner. It is the record of a good fighter who, with a united Democratic party, can win even against President Eisenhower, I believe.