SEPTEMBER 19, 1962
NEW YORK—Now that Robert M. Morgenthau has been chosen by the New York state Democrats to run for Governor, I can say unequivocally that the party selected the very best candidate it could possibly find under difficult circumstances.
His nomination probably would have been assured on the first instead of the second ballot if our Reform movement people from New York City had been more politically sophisticated. They have much to learn yet about foreshadowing the future.
Many a person might covet the nomination for Governor only because it might offer a stepping stone to further political advancement, and therefore might not lead a strong campaign for the Democrats in the knowledge of formidable opposition by the Republicans.
Mr. Morgenthau is a man of integrity, however, and is going into this campaign to win if he possibly can. He has enough vision and understanding of national politics to know that even though a Republican victory might seem assured, it is vastly important not to allow Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to roll up an unprecedented majority.
Governor Rockefeller is not only fighting for the governorship of New York state this fall; he is fighting for the nomination for the Presidency. He feels sure that an overwhelming vote for him this fall will mean that he can win over any of his adversaries in the next Presidential nominating convention.
There are many Republican voters in New York state who are not completely satisfied with their present Governor. But I do not count on the change of many Republican votes. The Democratic registration in the state and city is higher than the Republican's, so winning in November would mean a high degree of organization to get out every possible Democratic vote.
That will mean that the Democratic party will have to get together and work together.
I have great confidence that as the people of the state and city meet Robert Morgenthau, they will be impressed by his incorruptibility, his simplicity, his sense of humor and his balance. He is tall and thin and young. His eyes are clear, and he looks straight into yours.
He is thoughtful in his answers, but never does one feel that he is trying to think up a way out of answering. He is a good fighter. I doubt if he is a great orator, but I think what we need is someone who will tell us what are the problems facing our state and our city and then relate these problems to the national and international situations surrounding us.
Mr. Morgenthau has grown up in an atmosphere of political and historical interest at home and abroad. He absorbed from his grandfather, from his father, and from the innumerable interesting people who were constantly in and out of their home, the kind of knowledge which could be a great asset to a public official.
Of course, he knew my husband only as a boy and as a young man. He was in the Navy in World War II. And my husband watched with interest not only what happened to his own children but what happened to the sons of members of his official family. He had a great respect for the way both Henry Morgenthau III and Bob Morgenthau fulfilled their war obligations. Their records were excellent.
This is a good background for Mr. Morgenthau to start now on a political career. Admittedly, as a politician, he will make mistakes. The best of them do. But honesty, convictions and flexibility will help to minimize the mistakes.
I hope Mr. Morgenthau can get a strong team to run with him. It is particularly important that the party select a good candidate to run for the Senate against Jacob Javits—a nomination not yet made at this writing.
Many people, in speaking of Senator Javits, do so as though they felt he was completely invulnerable and nobody could possibly find a flaw in anything which he has done. He has been extremely good on foreign affairs; in fact, in some cases his Republican colleagues have felt that he was more of a Democrat than a Republican in this field. However, the Democrats would prefer to have the field covered by a Senator who could also be counted on when it came to certain domestic legislation.
I want, above all, to assure everyone of my warm support for Robert Morgenthau. I have known him since he was a small boy. With the years, my respect and admiration have grown. What influence I have I want to give wholeheartedly to his cause because it will help our state and our nation.