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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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suggested it to both the House and the Senate, and we brought them for? written legislation with slight changes from the Cancer Institute Act. And then we found one day, just after the bill had passed,-- I called up Oscar Ewing, who was then the Federal Security Administrator, and said, “When will you appoint the Heart Council?” He said, “I don't know.” And then he called me back and said, “The bill hasn't been signed yet. There's some problem about it.” I found that the problem was a one-word difference between the House and the Senate versions. Truman was on a campaign train--this was in June of '48--trying to campaign and be President at the same time--and I think I've described how we got the bill sent to him by plane and how Clark Clifford and Matt Connolly handed it to him to sigh and thus avoided a pocket veto.

Truman had great difficulties with Congress, as you remember, and he bitterly. He made it perfectly clear that he disapproved of them. He was a poor speaker, as you remember, until late in the campaign of '48; he didn't seem to be interested himself in what he was saying or reading, and naturally didn't make other people interested. But Clifford arranged to give him some notes and make him speak more informally, and Truman gradually became a very lively speaker.


Do you think his poor vision, which he must have, was a factor in that?


I don't know. I really don't think so. I think he was basically a shy man and just didn't understand the technique of

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