For the first time in two months, President Truman had a full Cabinet. After four days of public hesitation, Massachusetts' tall, personable ex-Governor Maurice Tobin accepted appointment as Secretary of Labor.
Tobin's hesitation was understandable. In all probability, the job was good for only five months. It had been hawked around to almost every wheelhorse in the Democratic stable. Harry Truman had offered it to John Steelman, to the A.F.L. Teamsters' old "Uncle Dan" Tobin, to New York's ex-Senator James Mead. Caught by surprise when Congress decided abruptly to adjourn, Truman told Democratic Chairman Howard McGrath to call Tobin in Boston and to tell him-not consult him, but tell him—that his nomination was going up to the Senate.
For both Tobin and Truman, the deal was good politics. In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Tobin faced probable defeat by ex-State Attorney General Paul A. Dever. Even if he won, in November he would have to face Republican Governor Robert F. Bradford, who beat him badly in 1946.
For Truman, Tobin meant votes. Tobin was Irish, a Catholic, popular in New England, strongly supported by labor. He is an able campaigner. Truman badly needed Cabinet members who were willing & able to get out and stump for him this fall. With the Labor Department shorn of most of its functions by Congress, Secretary Tobin will have little else to do.
More important than all these considerations, Truman had done Boston's ex-convict Mayor James M. Curley a favor. Curley had been nursing a grudge ever since Truman let him spend five months in jail before commuting his sentence. Dever was Curley's man. With Tobin out of the race, Dever was assured of nomination, and Jim Curley, thanks to Harry Truman, was given a free hand in Massachusetts Democratic politics.
Last week the President also: Blasted and signed what he termed the "socalled Housing Act of 1948," passed by the.special session (see BUSINESS).
¶ Called the GOP anti-inflation bill a "tiny fraction" of what was needed, but signed it anyway. It authorizes controls on installment buying and increased bank reserves.
¶ Disagreed with Ohio's Senator Robert A. Taft's prediction that "we are reaching a stabilized price level." Prices, said the President caustically, level off each week but always at a higher level.
¶ Received a pledge of 100% support from Harlem's "unofficial mayor," Sherman Hibbitt, told him: "If you can carry Harlem, I'll win."
¶ Decided to launch his campaign on Labor Day with a speech in Detroit under the joint auspices of the A.F.L. and C.I.O.
¶ Offered, for the second time, the job of Assistant Secretary of Agriculture to New Jersey's State Senator Elmer H. Wene, was turned down for the second time.