Typewritten Letter Signed, one and one-half pages, quarto, Independence, Missouri, October 5, 1960. On his name-imprinted stationery, to Congressman Michael J. Kirwan of Youngstown, Ohio.
“This is an urgent plea that you do everything you possibly can to help the Democratic ticket and the Honorable John F. Kennedy and the Honorable Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic nominees for President and Vice-President. Now, as never before, it seems to me, there is a need for us to submerge whatever differences may exist among us within our own Party and fight for a Democratic victory, National, State and Local.
“I simply do not believe that the United States can stand four more years of another Republican president in the White House. We have lost much ground in the last eight years under a Republican President-in foreign relations, in domestic affairs, in the national financial situation, in the agricultural situation and in general welfare. Another Republican Administration and a Republican President could only be expected to produce continued stagnation and a backward policy to continue an 1896 program and this is 1960. With Nixon in the White House, there will be a complete breakdown in the domestic and foreign affairs of our Government. I wonder if you want another 1929?
“As you know, Jack Kennedy was not my first choice for the Presidential nomination. However, he is a very able young man, and, in my opinion, a man of integrity and honor. These qualities I regard as essential in a President of the United States. Also, it is very important to remember that in choosing a President we not only select the man who occupies that office, but we also determine the Party in control of the Executive Branch of the Government. History proves that it is better for the Nation and the people of the United States when the Democrats are in control of the White House and the Congress.
“It seems to me that our choice is clear. We know how important it is to have State and Congressional candidates who will support the national ticket. The better the national ticket runs, the more it helps State and Congressional candidates. From my viewpoint, there is much to be gained and nothing to be lost by working together and doing our best for the whole ticket. I will be campaigning, just as I have done in times passed, not because I want anything for myself, but because the country needs a leader in the White House and leaders in the Congress. I ask you to join in all-out support of the Democratic ticket. ”
Of the Democrats in the running in the 1960 presidential campaign, “Truman’s favorites were Stuart Symington and Lyndon Johnson, neither of whom had much of a chance. Truman refused to consider [Adlai] Stevenson for a third try. Nor was he enthusiastic about John F. Kennedy, whom he considered too young and inexperienced. He did not want a Catholic-it was not that he was against Catholics, only that he was against losing. He also thought Kennedy had been too approving of Joe McCarthy and he disliked Kennedy’s father quite as much as ever. Joe Kennedy had spent over $4 million to buy the nomination for his son, Truman told Margaret. To others he quipped, ‘It’s not the pope I’m afraid of, it’s the pop.’ [By August, however, after it was obvious that JFK had the nomination in hand, the seventy-six year old Truman was ready to help him.] Traveling by plane, train, and automobile, Truman covered nine states, delivered 13 speeches. He rode in parades, held press conferences, shook hands, waved, smiled, kept everyone with him on the run, and as always thrived on it. The one thing he insisted on was his midday nap” [David McCullough, Truman].
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