The Presidential Bees
Some of Hopkins' associates recall that it was early in 1935 that he first began to consider the possibility that he might become a candidate for the Presidency — not, of course, in 1936, when Roosevelt would surely run for a second term, but in 1940, when Roosevelt would retire. It was taken for granted by everyone in the Administration, the President included, that the second term would be the last one. Few if any were those who could conceive that the pressure of world events might become strong enough to break the third term tradition, although some of Roosevelt's opponents charged repeatedly that he was plotting to make himself permanent dictator. So far as I know, there is no actual proof that Hopkins had the Presidential bee in his bonnet before 1936 but, as has been seen, he was an extremely ambitious man and once he had established a position for himself he started restlessly to look toward the next step upward.
He was becoming increasingly prominent as a front-page figure and increasingly close to the President and to Mrs. Roosevelt, who was undoubtedly more deeply interested in the Relief Program than in any other phase of government activities. In her constant, tireless trips about the country (the subject of so many repetitious jokes at that time) her principal concern was with the "ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished," the beneficiaries of the work that Hopkins was doing, and it was this work that she brought repeatedly to her husband's attention. Most appealing to Roosevelt were Hopkins' repeated, widely publicized fights with various dignitaries in the States — Huey Long of Louisiana, Gene Talmadge of Georgia, William Langer of North Dakota, Martin Davey of Ohio — for in these the Federal Government appeared as the champion of probity and the State authorities as players of politics.
On March 15, Hopkins noted: