The Boss Loss?II
22 Candidates for Mayor of New Orleans? Preposterous!
April 25, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 32
IN THE NEWS
Nagin, Landrieu in New Orleans Runoff
With 85 percent of precincts reporting, Nagin topped all candidates with 37 percent or 25,954 votes. Landrieu had 29 percent, or 20,274 votes. Nonprofit executive Ron Forman followed with 18 percent, 12,503 votes, and 19 other candidates trailed far behind.
—Michelle Roberts, Associated Press Writer, The GuardianUnlimited (UK), April 23, 2006
In 1945, my father, historian and biographer Alden Hatch, was signed by Henry Holt & Co. to write a biography of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He had interviewed a number of people around Roosevelt, including the iconic first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, but never the president.
My father was scheduled to attend a presidential news conference in April 1945. Unfortunately, Roosevelt suffered a fatal stroke on April 12, 1945, while on vacation at the Little White House in Warm Springs, Ga., and a virtually unknown former senator from Missouri, Vice President Harry S Truman, was sworn in as president.
Roosevelt had reluctantly settled for Truman—a product of Boss Tom Pendergast's corrupt Kansas City machine—because he was acceptable to Southern Democrats. Roosevelt spent no time with his vice president and kept him in the dark about everything from the progress of the War and post-war plans to the development of the atomic bomb.
Shortly after he was sworn in, a bewildered and distraught new president said to a cluster of reporters, "Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don't know whether you fellows ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me yesterday what had happened, I felt like the moon and stars and all the planets had fallen on me."
My father attended Truman's first press conference, which in those days was held in the Oval Office where reporters stood around the president's desk firing questions and taking notes.