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The following program is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. If the people of this country should elect me I shall continue to serve in the office and I hope and the vice president if he seems to sail down with me no matter which way the wind blows there is no political campaign that justifies the declaration of a moratorium on common sense. It was this in Polish faith and trust in Eisenhower as a man of goodness that made him utterly impossible to defeat. He was the unbeatable. The Eisenhower years a chronicle in sound of the life of Dwight Eisenhower. Produce by extension Radio-TV at Kansas State University. This week the president and politics.
On September 24th 1955 the nation was brought up short by bulletins on radio and television. And you know we interrupt the Kansas story for this moment from the KSA si NEWSROOM. The White House has just announced that President Eisenhower has suffered what is described as a My own a heart attack. They announcement came from Press Secretary James Haggerty who said that. President has been hospitalized at Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver. Ike and Mamie had been vacationing in Denver. The attack came during the night. Ike's personal physician General Howard Snyder was immediately called he diagnosed a heart attack the next morning and electrocardiogram confirmed that Ike was taken to FITZSIMMONS General Hospital Denver. The first announcement described the element as a mild heart attack. That was later changed to moderate. And now the
nation waited listened to the medical reports and prayed but I could recovery was rapid. Within a short time Eisenhower was seeing officials and writing reports from his hospital bed in Denver. Within a few weeks he was walking and exercising was photographed wearing those bright red pajamas given him by the press corps. On the pocket were five stars on the words much better thanks. And on November 11th he was released from the hospital and returned to Washington. His doctors said he was normal again only that he must not get fatigued and must watch his weight. That meant giving up some of his favorite Eisenhower cook dishes. Now the question on everyone's mind would I could run for a second term. He considered and on the last day of February in 1956 made the announcement to the nation. I wanted to come into your home this evening because I feel the need of talking with you directly. About a decision I made today after weeks of the most careful and devoutly prayerful consideration
I have decided that if the Republican Party chooses to nominate me I shall accept that nomination. It was official Ike was a candidate and there was never any question but what he would be nominated and that he probably would get a second term. So Eisenhower sat out the primaries but his 1952 Democratic opponent Adley Stevenson was locked in a struggle in the Democratic primaries with Sen. estus Keefe offer. Stevenson who had not wanted the nomination in 52 was determined to get it in 56. Biographer Ken S. DAVIS One time Stevenson speechwriter says Stevenson was disillusioned after that picture to campaign for Governor Davis and was very disillusioned. 50 tool he had really been a sort of practitioner Tron had had at the party was getting a little core up there as a lot of Mickey proper
investigation was on there and there were a lot of evidences of the Democratic machines being allied with it. Was this game mysteries end and crime and. I think in fact I know that Steve was and thought it might be best for the country to have it if you if if the if the Republicans would run a good man not tapped in on the isolationist but that they are an internationalist who was it was a liberal fairly liberal and he thought Ike was it was a good man but he was very swiftly disillusioned in the 50 to campaign. But I was astonished that he didn't do better in 56. He didn't run the campaign well after the sex it wasn't as good a well-run campaign for some reason 56 I've never quite understood what went wrong. Well I don't know what went wrong in a sense you had to fight this terrific primary battle for almost a year before before the convention and he was pretty well used up whether he knew it or not. You know mentally emotionally and he
didn't look good during the 56 campaign it wasn't it was never the birth that he had in 52 or 54 before either Stevenson or Eisenhower were nominated and event on the world scene erupted that would play a large role in public attitude on Election Day. On July 26 Egypt's President Nasser seized control of the Suez Canal is to blame Britain and France reacted threatening to take the canal back by force. British Prime Minister Anthony Eden issued the warning. Each one of us would be optimising one their eyes upon which we live. We could never accept them with dictators. Raise your ass to a high oil price later on. If you can't even stress that Britain would use force only at the last resort to ensure international use of the canal. Secretary of State Dulles conferred with British and French officials at all modest 16th a 22
nation conference on the canal was called in London. That same day in Chicago Adley Stevenson was nominated as the Democratic presidential standard bearer. His running mate his primary foe Senator rescued offer but I did not think he honored this time as you may have noticed if not entirely on the ticket. And there's another big time the last time we will be a week later in San Francisco. Ike was unanimously nominated as a GOP standard bearer and Richard Nixon was again his running mate. But there had been some pre-convention attempts to dump him. Columnist Roscoe Drummond on the Eisenhower Nixon relationship. I don't think they were bright clothes I don't think they they were two different types of personality Hiers Nixon and the very texture of the skin in blood is political.
And here is I who is positively descent arrested in politics and I think that he recognizes that Nixon had a good mind and he is sad and I heard him say that there wasn't anybody in the cabinet who did a better job of summing up the arguments pro and con that had been brought out on a new show than Nixon was. And but I don't think there was any very much of a warm personal relationship. Between them and I would suspect that Eisenhower in 1956 were probably quite open minded as to whether or not Nixon would necessarily be the ideal running mate you know there was a good you know Stassen trying to dump Nixon and Stassen was in the administration and sure madam it wasn't above a plating and then maybe Nixon would serve his own best
interests if he didn't run but took a cabinet position and I think deliberately let all this go on. Not good not being well he's my boy and I want him above everything else in Ike's acceptance speech he told the story of a new arrival in Washington who saw a public building which read what is past is prologue. The fellow asked his cab driver what that meant. The campaign was on Stevenson the attacker the defender issues included foreign policy public versus private power and Ickes helped every president. But we cannot understand turning the government over to men for the wrong
group of pique. This situation will get worse because the president has the Republican leaders in Congress has depended on his running again from here on. The future of Republican leader will depend not the Republican. And the vice president seems to sail downwind no matter which way the wind blows. Stevenson raised the issue of nuclear fallout called for an end to atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. Ike answered. They are big risk realistic policy towards a communist empire
and they suggest that we begin in our relations with the Soviet Union by trusting our national safety to agreements that have no effective safeguard and no control. They heard the American defense of freedom and they urge us to try achieving that by starting to plan the way a military draft. I respond to such propositions with one don't believe there is no political campaign that justifies the declaration of a moratorium on common. Interestingly enough I cam software to suggest an end to atmospheric testing two years later. Stevenson remained on the attack. Ike seemed content with defending his presidential record of peace and prosperity. He never delivered an off the cuff campaign speech with very much substance. He didn't campaign on the basis of his
intellectual greatness he campaigned on the man that he was. And I think that he really didn't have much what the nation would do well I want he embodied that now. In my experience and I can remember watching him with crowds. And the warmth and trust and affection for that man. We're just well up people on this group from just two weeks before the election. World events again grab the headlines on October 24th rioting at anti-Soviet demonstrations began in Budapest Hungary and on the twenty ninth the Israeli army invaded Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. On the thirty first the British and French began aerial bombardments of Egyptian airfields and other military targets. Ike spoke to the nation said the U.S. would not get involved militarily in the Mideast but denounced the attack on Israel. On November 5th British and French paratroopers and commandos landed at Port saïd and port fought in Egypt the Suez Crisis
served to further solidify the American people behind President Eisenhower. Ken. It's I think Christine most of my conceivably have beaten him in 56 with it with a different with a somewhat different campaign he was coming out very very fast. You're really worth it. People forget this but of course if we're beginning to reflect it and tell us the worst crisis you know one of those just really wrecked in just a week before the election and and the Suez Crisis was a Ike's fought as much as anybody. I mean this is the dullest policy you first your beloved Nasser and then you know I mean I don't have to Nasser was brought up in and Israel scared stiff and Britain scared stiff about Gaza going in those canal then the thing blows up and then I mean the typical who gets all the credit for being the Great White Father was going to save us from a situation for which he was responsible. But that's really that's really I don't really care. Probably still to win one anyway. But without that I think it's possible he might have
if he had come out swinging once awareness when he was 20 his instinct told him he should which was in August or July. But he didn't so that when he did he did give a great speech one of the greatest speeches there can be right I think the best was was when the Suez crisis which he traced its genesis and just what was done wrong one error after another by the Eisenhower administration. I thought that he was right in principle in opposing the attack on Egypt by France Israel and Great Britain I don't see I can't see any American secretary of state being an ally the military tack. So I thought the dollars was right on that. I do think that in the end Dallas came to have second thoughts on the last one dime decision and I think he made a decision on too narrow a basis probably in retrospect it's namely on the basis of whether or not the Egyptian economy in the
Egyptian currency could stand to to carry out its end of what it was attempting to undertake. And I don't know what the premises should have been bigger than that. And I have heard it said but I never got it direct from Dollar said that one thing that he felt was a mistake was. That decision when the votes were tallied on November 6th. Ike had racked up the largest popular vote in history to that time. Thirty five and a half million votes. Four hundred and fifty seven electoral votes to Stevenson's 73 the majority and now you know 56 was overwhelming. Something I think over 9 million votes a majority. But at the same time we lost both the Congress and the Senate. And I have come to this conclusion that our people have matured somewhat in their own habit and in their political thinking. I honestly believe that they make a difference in their minds the kind of man they want as a
national leader their president. And they do the man that is going to represent them in localities the districts in the States. I don't even use it. This is the mental picture of each American has publicized either in the gallery on the television screen or in the newspapers or are in any other way. I think he was a kind of mirror in which the common man could see himself reflected in the colors and shapes of greatness a symbol which of course is nice I think heroes in general are that everybody identifies with a hero and thinks of himself in terms that he was himself in a sense but he was a special kind of hero he said in the Saturday Evening Post type of Norman Rockwell kind of American boy really was fitted perfectly. Also he had a great publicity. If I don't know how much of it was I can how much it was a sandwich in fact. Though I think the image was a fairly accurate
reflection of the single. Foremost quality President Eisenhower's private public life. It. Is this element of trust that people have in him. The key to a man's public life. Is when people trust you. That is a quality that exceeds every other one. And President Eisenhower had that quality. I saw it in my mother and her reaction to him. I'd hear from her once a while and she always liked President Eisenhower well now. The reason I'm telling you this is that and lots of these so-called unsophisticated people in America they call him on sophisticated There are really the many ways the strength of this nation. They just liked him. They didn't know anything about his politics and he had that will that friendly smile that kind of informal manner. About him which dared him to a lot of people and gained him a great deal of respect and
affection. I think there was trust affection and respect even beyond admiration I mean I admire you admire sometimes some people but don't particularly like him. And but the people respected him and they held him in warm affection and basically in trust he had something which which two presidents had had the absolute implicit abiding trust of the American people. I just think I can make a mistake but he couldn't do an e-book of a certain kind of politics he was an absolute genius. The politics of popularity are is he knew exactly. I think you know exactly what impression he was producing on people almost every moment. It's often said that President Eisenhower really wasn't much of a politician. Just depends on what you mean by politician would that I had the political attraction that he had they could call me any kind of a name they want to do it because he was undoubtedly one of the most popular political figures in American life.
It was this. Place faith and trust and I can how are you a man of goodness. That may be utterly impossible to do. He was the unbeatable Ike then immensely popular with the people. But what brand of politician wasse he himself scorned the labels of liberal or conservative in dealing with problems and issues he would do whatever he deemed proper at the time based on his philosophy and what he considered to be good for the nation. His domestic policy was described as dynamic conservatism based on private enterprise personal incentive fewer government controls and a balanced budget. His foreign policy moved from unyielding communist containment to the spirit of Camp David. And although partisan in his support of Republican doctrine I didn't care for the practice of partisan politics. The late Senator Everett Dirksen. I don't believe you could re Eisenhower as a part of the political breed. It did in the military solo.
And you did not come to it naturally. Certainty of hours I know and I can base it on nothing else. On my efforts with him say in and month out except meetings of a strictly political partisan character. At that time I was a chairman of the Republican National Senatorial Campaign Committee. We had a standing date of one breakfast every month for that purpose. And I always had a list. Now I said Here is a meeting you should take. Yes but he said it's just strictly partisan. And I don't like meetings of it. Now why don't you find me something you know. When I said here's a Jefferson dedication he says. Now that's something that I would like. Because then I don't have to. Oh
you do look really good now. He had a kind of a copybook cliched concept. Politics is kind of being kind of dirty he didn't want to get messed up in politics when politics is the way we govern a democratic nation. And there are instances when legislation hung in the balance in which I always felt that there were things the president could have done which he didn't do and this now reminds me of one of the part I have always thought was along with many strengths was one of the respectable witnesses and that is he hoarded his popularity instead of expanding. He always wanted to be the president. Above the battle. And sometime you've got to be in the mix of the battle to accomplish what you want and I think Kerry is more than a few instances in which if the president if Eisenhower had been willing to lose time as
popularity somebody's prestige in a good cause maybe he would accomplish something that he he hadn't he didn't otherwise accomplish. He didn't have what I thought was a strong legislative leadership. Yet President Eisenhower presented a program and that was more or less it. He depended on his friends in the Congress to deliver and quite frankly the people that delivered most for him where the Democrats for six years I had a Congress controlled by the other party. So naturally everything I got done I had to do by a kosher ration almost. Using every kind of persuasive thing you could possibly could a Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson were really close friends of President Eisenhower the president understood where the power was in the Senate there's no doubt about that he understood that very well and he worked with. I mean in the Congress understood where the power was. He worked with the Rayburn he worked with Lyndon Johnson all three of us freshmen from Texas had one in Texas. Sam Rayburn was in Texas Lyndon Johnson takes it.
I used to get the two other men along and then in the evening and we would do it over a highball or something we would talk about the affairs of the country. And that long as I could convince them that something I was doing. Was not. Political in its effect on the government. Usually I get to go along. Now of course if they thought that it was just suspicion that it is going to help the Republicans. What are the Democrats going to different story. I don't think he ever had as much bait and William Noland as he had in the in the Lyndon Johnson when I say faith and we need to recognize that Johnson really ran the Senate. I don't think he ever felt that he could do as much with Joe Martin or with Alex as he could with Sam Rayburn and John McCormick. I saw he had a kind of a bipartisan relationship there with certain key members of the Congress of the United States. But that's what I had to do all the time from everyone behind the scenes. Tom I couldn't get
out around the desk and every cause I put it discretely just to forestall it for me. Eisenhower critics say he relied too heavily on his staff system the cabinet and national security. But they interfered with presidential decision making. He was a great quote committee man he'd like to have a committee and get a consensus and then whatever the consensus was it was it. This makes for I think for bad decision making and you've got to get all the advice you can. But Cheri to you is very different you know I think this free market his the buck stops here well the buck never stops at night. He passed it on time and again he passed on. I doubt that he really tended to all the details of the presidency like a Truman or Johnson would. He was trained military man and he had staff organization. And he depended a great deal on staff organization. He's often criticized by those of us who are in public life for not attending to all the duties of the job the little things. I think that that is really a false criticism. When I look back on it
because if you tend every little duty you don't have any time to tend to the big ones. And he did rely a great deal on staff. He wanted greater Independence Avenue suited to be taken by the cabinet. But in my judgment in my observation the idea that he sat around and just said Well you boys get together and work this out. I don't think that was I don't think that reflects the reality. He closed the cabinet and the National Security Council in a much more orderly way in a much more consistent way then than probably either JFK or LBJ who had their own personal way of operating. I do not attach a great deal of importance to to the mechanical devices of how you run the presidency. I'm more concerned with what comes out at the end. And and I think that. Some methods one president and some methods
suit another. The ideal presidential style seems to me to be fundamentally trivial and irrelevant. I'm much more interested in presidents of substance as far as the. Making of decision. I have my training was dead prepared me beautifully for the press because that's what you had to do with all the facts in front of him. All the analyses they can make all the recommendations you have now you have to do it. He would participate because they have a discussion about a particular item he would listen to all points of view normally right that Barry would say Well I think we are up this way once in a row he would use a favorite expression and say well I'm not going to shoot from the hip or going to sleep on this one. But that meant that we would get the decision. Typically the next day. But I think people do have the impression that it was difficult for him to
be decisive. I certainly never experienced the staff system has just one purpose and that is to study and analyze the problem and present it before the man has to make decisions. Let's just pass system. Is there no impediment we postpone decisions and we missed opportunity after opportunity for greatness. Can never say I've never made a decision. I'd rather you really listen to all of it as you make a decision. I thought of it as a decisive decisive type of history as 1956 drew to a close. The situation in the Mideast remained tense it would continue in 57. The Soviets had quelled the Hungarian Revolt. The United States had refused help despite earlier Donna speeches admonishing in slave nations to throw off their bonds.
Ike had weathered four years in the White House another campaign and election and was ready for four more. Your life isn't it. Do solemnly swear. I do I know I do solemnly swear that you are faithful. The Eisenhower years produce by extension Radio-TV at Kansas State University on a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The produce or narrator is Ralph tikus research buy and write music for the Eisenhower years was composed by Gail Kubrick performed by the Kansas State University Chamber Symphony conducted by Luther unleavened. Our thanks to w o f o n radio Philadelphia Metro Media
Incorporated National Educational Television and the Eisenhower Presidential Library. For providing materials used in this week's broadcast next week. The White House years. The second term. This is Paul T week. This is the national educational radio network. He had a kind of a copybook cliche concept that politics is kind of being kind of dirty didn't want to get messed up and columnist Roscoe Drummond on Dwight Eisenhower as a nonpolitical president. Ike was a people's president but not particularly a political one. When legislation hung in the balance in which I always felt that there were things the president could have done which he didn't do and the president and politics this week
on the Eisenhower years.
The Eisenhower years
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The President and Politics
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “The Eisenhower years; 11; The President and Politics,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 29, 2024,
MLA: “The Eisenhower years; 11; The President and Politics.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 29, 2024. <>.
APA: The Eisenhower years; 11; The President and Politics. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from