THE PRESIDENT had pretended to ignore the Republican convention, and, after it had ended, he gave it only one public reference. When he arrived late for a press conference, he explained that the power for his elevator had been turned off. With a laugh, he expressed the hope that the incident had no connection with what had happened the previous night in Philadelphia.
The Willkie fervor of those early post-Republican convention days is difficult to exaggerate. Even Herr Thomsen, in a melancholy telegram to his bosses in Berlin, acknowledged that the opposition party had chosen "a distinct leader personality on the political stage," a choice that greatly enhanced their chances of winning. Harold Ickes confided in his Diary that the GOP candidate might be too much for the President because Willkie would "force the fighting all along the line." Another Democrat and future Secretary of War confessed in a letter to a Willkie aide: "I may have to vote and work against him;