September 23, 1944 – Fundraising Dinner – Campaign’44 – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Even during Wartime, an election year was a veritable battleground of accusations and ideologies and the 1944 election was no different. This Presidential campaign was between the GOP candidate Thomas E. Dewey and incumbent FDR. And true to form, the mudslinging was dense and furious and no one was immune. Not even the First Dog.
President Roosevelt: “For another example, I learned – much to my amazement – that the policy of this Administration was to keep men in the Army when the war was over, because there might be no jobs for them in civil life.
Well, the very day that this fantastic charge was first made, a formal plan forthe method of speedy discharge from the Army had already been announced by the War Department – a plan based on the wishes of the soldiers themselves.
This callous and brazen falsehood about demobilization did, of course, a very simple thing; it was an effort to stimulate fear among American mothers and wives and sweethearts. And, incidentally, it was hardly calculated to bolster the morale of our soldiers
and sailors and airmen who are fighting our battles all over the world.
But perhaps the most ridiculous of these campaign falsifications is the one that this Administration failed to prepare for the war that was coming. I doubt whether even Goebbels would have tried that one. For even he would never have dared hope
that the voters of America had already forgotten that many of the Republican leaders in the Congress and outside the Congress tried to thwart and block nearly every attempt that this Administration made to warn our people and to arm our Nation.
Some of them called our 50,000 airplane program fantastic. Many of those very same leaders who fought every defense measure that we proposed are still in control of the Republican party – look at their names – were in control of its National Convention
in Chicago, and would be in control of the machinery of the Congress and of the Republican party, in the event of a Republican victory this fall.
These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family doesn’t resent attacks, but Fala
does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find
him – at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or twenty million dollars- his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself – such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut
that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.
Well, I think we all recognize the old technique. The people of this country know the past too well to be deceived into forgetting. Too much is at stake to forget. There are tasks ahead of us which we must now complete with the same will and the same skill and intelligence and devotion that have already led us so far along the road to victory.
Here is that complete address, including opening remarks by Daniel J. Tobin, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, warehousemen and helpers as it happened on September 23, 1944.
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