Obama's $750 Million Juggernaut
"I wouldn't like that," I said.
"Good, I knew you would," Mr. Cole answered. "I told them you'd be down there this afternoon."
So in 1952 I went to work for the Citizens for Eisenhower-Nixon, and I might add, I quickly became an enthusiastic supporter of Gen. Eisenhower.
We decided that the experience we had had on the Taft campaign gave us a beautiful model for doing direct mail on behalf of Eisenhower and Nixon.
At the start of Eisenhower's campaign, he didn't have a clear-cut political theme, and he was burdened with all kinds of conflicting advice from well-meaning, self-appointed experts.
The politicians who surrounded him implored him not to say anything, it being their philosophy that campaigns are won by not taking a stand on anything. They suggested his theme should simply be, "It's time for a change."
Others were incensed over the "deep freeze" and "fur coat" scandals, which had plagued the Truman Administration. In the latter days of President Truman's Administration, various accusations about political graft involving some prominent Democrats had surfaced, and our Republican political advisors suggested that a simple, dignified phrase like, "Throw the rascals out" would make a good mail-order theme that would hit home.
And, of course, the war in Korea was much on everybody's mind.
Al Cole asked me to write 10 letters, each based on a different campaign appeal.
With these letters, we reasoned, we could test different campaign appeals and find out exactly what issues really did arouse the voters. Were they really upset over corruption in Washington? Was it inflation and the high cost of living that troubled them most, or government regulation (a favorite Republican issue, even in those days)? We would ask for money, just as we had in the Taft campaign, to check the relative effectiveness of various appeals. We would then mail millions of letters, using the most successful appeals, and the mailing would be at least partially self-financing, because it would pull for contributions.