THE DYING CHAMPION
In the United States, the 1944 presidential election was churning toward a climax. The contest started out badly for the Democrats. On FDR's return from his Pacific trip, the president all but revealed he was a mortally ill man. At Bremerton, Washington, at the end of August, Roosevelt gave a speech reporting on his journey, which had included a stopover in the Aleutian Islands, now cleared of Japanese troops. FDR had written the speech without the aid of Sam Rosenman or Robert Sherwood; instead he had dictated most of it to a navy stenographer. It was a flabby, rambling affair.
Standing on the forecastle of a destroyer to accentuate his commander in chief role, FDR wore his braces for the first time in months. Because of his weight loss, they did not fit very well. The sloping deck and a high wind added to his instability. The crowd, mostly workers coming off a shift at the navy shipyard, stood on the shore and was obviously bored. In the middle of the speech, Roosevelt experienced agonizing chest pains that radiated to