The Democratic National Convention was less than six months away, and party leaders were bewildered about a question that hadn't really bothered Democrats for nearly 20 years: Who will the candidate be?

A blizzard of rumors swirled around the White House, blew out to Illinois and spread across the country. There had been talk that Harry Truman wanted Fred Vinson, Chief Justice of the U.S., to run. But now Vinson's close friends said he had told the President he wants to stay on the bench. Another Justice, William O. Douglas, had written Truman...

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