Donald Dawson, 97, Dies; Master of Truman Whistle-StopBreaking News
Mr. Dawson was personnel director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, created by the government to help fight the Depression, when Truman took him on in 1947 as a special executive assistant. He became perhaps the nation's first modern political advance man, acting as ubiquitous scout and troubleshooter, a master of the subtle but insistent politics that characterized the president's bid for a full term in the White House and became essential ingredients for many other successful campaigns thereafter.
The whistle-stop that Mr. Dawson organized and commanded was a 22,000-mile cross-country stumping on the rails in which Truman, widely expected to be defeated by the Republican challenger, Gov. Thomas E. Dewey of New York, gained victory with a relentless attack on the Republican-controlled Congress.
"My job was to be a jump ahead, getting kids out of school early, finding free buses, whatever it took," Mr. Dawson told The New York Times in 1992, reminiscing in his law office a short walk from the White House. "When the president caught up with me at each stop, I'd brief him on the local situation, and he'd quickly adapt his direct comments. His spur-of-the-moment stuff was so good. He always wanted to talk about things the people wanted to know. Wonderful."
"If the boss saw 20 people out of the window, he'd stop the train," Mr. Dawson told his interviewer. "The back platform of the train is where he really hit the people. Off the cuff, he was the best. And he was never afraid of politics."
comments powered by Disqus
- Marine Corps investigating photo of iconic flag-raising on Iwo Jima
- Scholars Blast New Study Tracing Ashkenazi Jews to Khazars of Ancient Turkey
- Legendary Explorer’s Long-Lost Ship May Have Been Found Off Rhode Island
- More Doubts, Opposition To Sale Of Unique, Hartford Collection Of Political History
- How the Curse of Sykes-Picot Still Haunts the Middle East
- The Historian Whitewashing Ukraine’s Past
- Andrew Roberts wins $250,000 prize from the conservative Bradley Foundation
- Daniel Aaron, Critic and Historian Who Pioneered American Studies, Dies at 103
- Liz Covart's amazingly popular podcast helps her audience understand early American history
- Justus Rosenberg is still teaching at age 95