• U.S.

The Press: The Colonel’s Dilemma

3 minute read

Refreshed from a week’s vacation and 72nd birthday celebration at his paper mill in northern Quebec, Chicago Tribune Publisher Robert R. (“Bertie”) McCormick last week came back to work. He stepped briskly out of the elevator of Chicago’s Tribune Tower into his oval-shaped office on the 24th floor, greeted his secretary and asked: “Will you please call WGN [the Trib’s radio station’] and ask them for the correct time?” A moment later she announced that it was 11:21. McCormick carefully set the gold-banded watch on his right wrist and the silver-banded one on his left. Then, watches synchronized, he sat down beside his big marble-topped desk to face the Trib’s big problem. The problem: Whom shall it support in the 1952 presidential campaign?

The Trib’s heart was broken when Bob Taft lost. After Ike’s nomination, the Trib said he “can’t win,” is a “poor creature” manipulated by “Wall Street . . . Buster Dewey the cheap trickster, and Lodge the New Dealer, who pretends to be a Republican.” When the Democrats came to town, the Trib had some kind words for Senators Byrd and Russell. It fancied the idea of supporting a Democratic presidential candidate—for the first time in its 104 years—if either of the Senators was nominated. But after Stevenson was named, the Trib began to come to its senses, even though the colonel still speaks of Ike and Stevenson as “a couple of pigs in a poke.”

While he grapples with his problem, the Trib will run a daily “battle page,” giving each candidate space “to write his views in his own words.”

The colonel will get some help in making up his mind from his attractive lady, whose interest in politics is as deep as his. Mrs. McCormick’s own candidate was General MacArthur. but now she is reconciled to Ike and will vote for him.

“I’m the only one in the family,” said Maryland McCormick, “who sat up all night to watch television the night Stevenson was nominated. In the morning, the colonel asked me how it was. I told him Stevenson’s acceptance speech was one of the greatest speeches I’ve ever heard. But at the same time I told him you can’t support Stevenson. If you do you are supporting Truman and Arvey.” Mrs. McCormick is certain the colonel’s dilemma will be resolved. Said she confidently: “I’m rather sure that eventually he’ll come out for Eisenhower.”

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