Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman

By Joann P. Krieg | Go to book overview

2
Eisenhower and Robinson: The Candidate and the Publisher in the 1952 Campaign

Steve M. Barkin

The 1952 presidential campaign transformed the process of running for national office in America. It was the first national campaign in which the airplane, television, and professional public relations were significant factors. 1 The Republican campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower was particularly sensitive to these innovations, especially to the role television might play. Still, the cultivation of newspaper support was an important part of the Eisenhower strategy, initially to gain the nomination and later to defeat the Democratic nominee, Adlai E. Stevenson.

Much of the nomination campaign was waged in Eisenhower's absence. Saying that he had no intention of initiating a run for the presidency, Eisenhower chose to remain in Paris as Supreme Commander of NATO until June of 1952. As a consequence, public opinion was crucial in building momentum for an Eisenhower candidacy. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and television were all utilized to persuade the General to run (or at least give the appearance of a national mandate) and enable him to wrest the nomination from Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft.

The pillar of the newspaper strategy was the New York Herald Tribune. The Herald Tribune's editorial policy represented the moderate wing of the Republican party, more specifically the views of Thomas E. Dewey, former Governor of New York, and the leadership of the New York State Republican Committee. 2 The president of the Herald Tribune, Helen Rogers Reid, was an influential behind-the-scenes figure in Republican politics in the East. 3 The Reids, along with other moderates in the party, were interested in finding an alternative to the conservative Taft in 1952. Personally, Dwight Eisenhower had an even stronger

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This research was supported by a grant from the University of Maryland's General Research Board.

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