Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Campaign Comedy

By Sue Schuurman

NOVEMBER 9, 1998: 

46 Years Ago This Week

Finally, the '98 election season is over. Pundits will now pontificate over, among other things, the negative campaign ads, the number of dollars spent per vote and the "Lewinsky factor." Back in 1952, a Scripps-Howard reporter waxed nostalgic over the just-completed campaign, writing what he considered to be a humorous piece of quaint recollections of flying around on the heels of presidential hopefuls Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. In the following excerpt, we sense a less adversarial press corps, understood to be entirely male, with generous doses of good ol' boys' club camaraderie.

"Lots of Fun on Campaign Jaunts.

"WASHINGTON--Behind the seriousness of a presidential campaign is a lot of fun for those who go along on the coast-to-coast, border-to-border jaunts.

"There'll never be a more flabbergasted young lady, for example, than that employee of a Springfield, Ill., radio station who hauled a reporter before a mike and began an impromptu quizzing: 'What's the most pressing problem the next president will have to deal with?' she asked. 'A new coke machine for the White House press room,' was his earnest reply.

"The Stevenson party generally traveled in three planes--dubbed Assault, Battery and Rape. The crews always got a large dose of well-meant but bad advice. When a pilot brought his plane down safely, he got a hearty round of applause from those aboard. Once, the landing was fluffed and the plane bounced hard three times. 'Howja like that landing?' the pilot called back to his passengers. 'Which one?' was the unanimous cry.

"The plane routine occasionally overtaxed the newsmen's organizational ability. Departure time each day was early, for the first hop was almost always a long one. And baggage had to be in the hotel lobby at least an hour before the party took off. That meant, of course, that many sent down their bags before they dressed. This system produced disarrayed reporters who would find out--too late--that they had not held out adequate clothing. One had to solve a sockless problem by buying the bellhop's. ...

"Other memories--The local Miami reporter who, assigned to do a 'crowd' story, got in a press bus to ride in the parade. The driver lost his way and the reporter never got within miles of the crowds. ... The time Governor Stevenson 'bummed' an extra egg while breakfasting with Mrs. Roosevelt. ... The many times Wilson Wyatt, Stevenson's campaign manager, was mistaken for the presidential nominee."

--compiled by Susan Schuurman

Source: The Albuquerque Tribune;

Nov. 4, 1952


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