When President Eisenhower suffered his first heart attack in 1955, concerns mounted over the health of the President; would he step down due to health reasons, would his vice-President Richard Nixon fulfill the programs Eisenhower was trying to achieve.
The heart attack passed – the concerns were allayed and the thought that he might not seek a second term were put to rest when he ran for, and won a second term of office.
But on November 25-26 of 1957, when the President complained of a chill and not feeling well, along with impaired speech, it was determined that the President had suffered a stroke and the old concerns came front and center. The White House spokespeople did their best to downplay the situation, assuring the Press, who were chafing at the bit for concrete answers, that President Eisenhower had “some sort of neurological condition” and that he was resting comfortably.
All certain indications something was more serious that being alluded to, but not being explained. And once again, thought that vice-President Nixon would assume the role of Commander-in-Chief was worrisome to many, even to those in his own party.
The concerns didn’t go away – even after the President had been given a cautiously clean bill of health a few days later, his first Press Conference since being hospitalized gave the distinct impression that Eisenhower suffered a stoke and that his speech was impaired. Whether it was permanent of temporary most didn’t know. And the big question arose over what was going to happen over the coming three years of Eisenhower’s remaining term of office.
So as a reminder that sixty years ago we were facing a crisis of uncertainty, here is the first bulletin as it was broadcast on November 26, 1957 over the NBC Radio Network, cutting into one of the few remaining dramatic shows carried by the network at the time.