In the second week of his campaign, pushing down the West Coast, Tom Dewey fought on in cold, logical and precise fashion. He had a difficult task: to be New Dealish enough to hold the vote of all those who do not want a reactionary administration but are weary of New Deal mismanagements; yet to attack powerfully enough to please those who are just plain mad at Franklin Roosevelt.
In Seattle, he laid down a precise barrage against the New Deal's labor-coddling, against WLB's timidity, red tape and politicking. (Said onetime WLBster Wayne Lyman Morse, now Oregon's G.O.P. Senate candidate: "It is the truth. I know . . . that there was political interference in WLB cases. . . .")
In Portland, his poise unruffled by the morning's train crash, he had lashed out against "the danger of one-man government."
In San Francisco, he made the clearest statement to date of his domestic program. Frankly, he "bought" most of the New Deal social gains. But he made a careful line of separation: "We must create an economic climate in which business, industry and agriculture can grow and flourish. . . . Studied hostility toward our job-producing machinery must cease."
See the Stars. Tom Dewey had come into Los Angeles into the most fabulous and phony, yet effective, political demonstration of the campaign. All day long the Los Angeles radio commercials had trumpeted: "Hear Thomas E. Deweyand see the stars."
That night, at least 90,000 Angelenos came to the Coliseum to hear & see. Republicans Cecil B. de Mille and David O. Selznick produced the two-hour show, on a script written for split-second timing. Giant spotlights stabbed into the sky to form a giant "V"; the platform backdrop was a 40-foot flag. The Coliseum's playing field, a cool green under the thousands of baby spots, swarmed with performing Indians and cowboys; Actor Leo Carrillo rode energetically back & forth on a white horse, banging his six-shooters into the air. And all the time Radio Announcer Harry von Zell chattered over the microphone, introducing an impressive list of movie stars.
With a great splash of Dewey-like efficiency, the Hollywood GOPsters had dished out advance copies of 50-word speeches by the Big Names; then failed to call back the speeches of some who did not appear. Thus, next morning, the arch-Republican Los Angeles Times reported:
"Barbara Stanwyck, who is Mrs. Robert Taylor in private life, got a cheer when she told the vast audience that at last a man has stepped forward to lead us out of twelve years of doubt. . . ."
But Barbara had not been there.
Continued the Times:
"And Lionel Barrymore, who heads a Hollywood committee backing Dewey and Bricker, was given an impressive reception when, speaking from a wheel chair, he told the crowd they were soon to hear the voice of a new, vibrant, forceful and courageous leader."
Lionel, too, was somewhere else.
But hundreds of stars were there, in jewels and furs and brand-new hats. And, as Announcer von Zell steered them to the microphone, they spoke their ten-second pieceGinger Rogers, Hedda Hopper, Edward Arnold, Walt Disney, Eddie Bracken, Gene Tierney, Frances Dee, Joel McCrea, Ruth Hussey, etc., etc.