Previous | Next
365366367368369370371372373374375376377378379380381382383384385386387388389390391392393394395396397398399400401402403404405406407408409410411412413414415416417418419 of 755
Chicago and take over that job.
When would that have been?
Oh, a year or so before. Stevenson was on the short list, and I had taken myself
out, because (this sounds strange, I'm sure, but) I thought what I was doing was so much
more important than being editor or publisher of the -- no, it wasn't the Chicago Times, it
was the Chicago Daily News. That was Frank Knox's paper. But, I had had dinner with
Stevenson along about that time, because he was interested in the job. I barely knew him,
but his campaign headquarters in 1952 were in New York City at the Roosevelt Hotel. I
went down to see him, and told him I had this idea of debates. I wasn't sure I could bring
it off, but if we had them, would he be willing --? Well, absolutely. No question about it.
He thought it was a capital idea, etc. I went out on cloud fourteen. Then, I realized I had
the problem with the General [Eisenhower]. I had some friends who were very close to
Eisenhower, but I didn't know him. His campaign manager was Ben Duffey, who was then
chairman of BBDO, and I knew Ben very well. Both of us grew up in market research and
advertising. I went down to see Ben, and he gave me a very benign smile and said, “The
General isn't going to do anything like that. Why should he? He won't stoop to debate, he's
above all that.” Very imperious, and I knew Ben well enough to say, “Come on, knock it off.
At least ask him,” and he said, as a friend, sure, he would do that. He called me right
away and said, “As I told you, obviously, he won't do it.” So I had to drop it. I really
couldn't fly my kite if I couldn't say that I had two candidates to debate.
Do you think that really was Eisenhower's perspective? That he was just above it, and
he was riding high and didn't need it?
© 2006 Columbia University
Libraries | Oral History
Research Office | Rights and
Permissions | Help