Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on the Misuse of the President's Name in the Pennsylvania Political Campaign

October 26, 1938

My dear Mr. Doyle:

I appreciate very much your calling my attention to the misuse of my name and the name of my Administration in the Pennsylvania campaign.

Many months ago, I made it clear that while I am not asking voters to vote for Democrats, next November, as opposed to Republicans or members of any other Party, nevertheless, I have the right to speak out in those instances where there has been a clear or deliberate misuse of my own name. That has happened in Pennsylvania.

I recognize that my name and the name of my Administration cannot wholly be eliminated from the campaign. Candidates for Congress ought to express their views on the vital national issues. Candidates for state offices ought to express their views on the vital issues respecting the cooperation of the state administration with the national administration.

But I also recognize that there are local and personal issues wholly distinct from the national issues. I have endeavored to the best of my ability to keep away from such local and personal issues. No one human being, particularly if he is occupied with numerous and important national problems, can be expected to be able to inform himself sufficiently to pass upon local and personal issues in many different states and districts.

But in my own relations with the Earle administration I can truthfully say that I have found it at all times willing and eager to help in carrying into effect a liberal program for social and economic justice. I therefore feel that I have every right to object to Judge James' saying in his speeches that I have deliberately refrained from meddling in local issues in Pennsylvania because I was unwilling "to put my hands in that muddy water." That deliberately misrepresents the facts.

As Judge James has misused my name in the Pennsylvania campaign I do not think it is amiss for me to point out that, to put it mildly, there is a clear inconsistency in his position in appealing for the votes of opponents of the New Deal on the ground that he is opposed to the New Deal and in appealing for the votes of liberals on the ground that I am not actively participating in the Pennsylvania campaign.

That does not make sense.

As against his inconsistency, it seems to me that liberals in Pennsylvania, irrespective of party, can scarcely place their trust in the liberalism or desire for social justice of any candidates who are sponsored by such obvious reactionaries as the well-known Messrs. Annenberg, Grundy and Pew.

So much for that.

Very sincerely yours,

Mr. Michael Francis Doyle,
1500 Girard Trust Building,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on the Misuse of the President's Name in the Pennsylvania Political Campaign Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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