Harry S. Truman photo

Rear Platform Remarks in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri

October 30, 1948

[1.] BELLEFONTAINE, OHIO (12:15 p.m.)

Thank you very much. I appreciate very much and very highly this wonderful turnout here this morning. I have had quite a trip around over the country visiting the various sections of the United States, and explaining to them the issues in this campaign. Of course that is the only way you could find out about the issues in this campaign, because our opponents don't seem to want to discuss the issues. They talk about unity, and efficiency, and other things.

But, after having visited nearly every State in the Union, and all the great cities, I have come to the conclusion that the Republicans are on the run.

The Republican candidate started out by saying that he was going to make 10 political speeches in this campaign. Instead of that, he has been following me around the country, and he is still following me around--and he is still behind.

What you people are principally interested in is a Government of the United States that is run in the interest of all the people, and not just a few.

I think that the Republicans have only made a start on what they intend to do to farmers and to labor. The Taft-Hartley Act was the first blow at the laboringman's great charter, the Wagner Labor Relations Act. They have tried to tear that up, so far as they thought they could possibly go--and they had to do that over my veto.

They have started in on the farm program, to make a travesty out of that. And they won't do it directly. In the rechartering of the Commodity Credit Corporation, they have tried to take the floor from under farm prices. Corn, right now, in the Middle West is selling below what the support price ought to be, because they have prevented the Commodity Credit Corporation from furnishing the storage necessary to make the loans on that corn.

I am asking you only to look out for your own interest on election day. Your interest is the interest and welfare of this great country. All you have to do is to exercise the privilege which the Constitution gives you, and that is to vote.

If you will all vote, I won't have any worry about the result, for the simple reason that you can't vote but one way, if you vote in your own interest.

That is to get up early on the morning of the 2d of November and go to the polls, and vote a straight Democratic ticket--then you will be voting for yourselves.

[2.] TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA (3:30 p.m.)

Thank you--thank you very much. It certainly is a lot of pleasure to be in Terre Haute once more. You know, I have been here at least a hundred times, and I didn't attract nearly so much attention as I am now. I was in the Senate for 10 years, and the shortest road between Washington and Independence, Mo., goes through Terre Haute; and we used to stay all night here, start out from Independence in the morning and stay all night in Terre Haute, then drive on from here to the East and go to Washington. So I am familiar with this great town, I am familiar with the fact that this great town is Democratic, and you are going Democratic again.

I have had very fine visits with your next Governor Schricker, and your next Congressman, Mr. O'Grady. I know you are going to elect both of those gentlemen--just as you are going to elect me this time.

During the past 6 weeks, I have been going around the country talking to the American people about two different ideas about government. I have been proving by the record that the Republican Party, no matter what its candidates may say during election campaigns, works for the benefit of special interests. They have always done that.

I have been proving by the record that the Democratic Party works for all the people, and that is the reason I am a Democrat.

I have been asked a lot of questions, and I have always given straight answers, and honest facts, and correct figures. By this time, I think all of you know where I stand. There is a good reason why I can be frank and honest with the people. That is because I have made no secret deals with the lobbies of big business. I have made no commitments except to the people. I don't have to resort to double-talk to conceal what I stand for or what I propose to do.

I have told the people time and time again what I think about high prices, and the housing shortage, and social security, labor laws, minimum wages--I have told exactly what I think ought to be done in every instance.

Maybe my way is not the way to run an election campaign. Some people say I would have a lot more money for publicity if I was not so frank. But I would rather have the people know where I stand, I would rather have the people know where I stand than to be President of the United States, because I think I am right.

They say that the radio commentators and the newspapers would not be against me if I hadn't stepped on the toes of so many big corporations and so many lobbies.

But, keeping quiet on the issues that are important to the people is not my way of doing business. I would rather be defeated for trying to do what is right than to hide my views from the people and get in there under false pretenses.

I never sit on a fence. I am either on one side or another.

I saw a picture the other day that gave me a good laugh. You see, I spent the best 10 years of my life on a farm, and I saw a picture of Dewey and Warren leaning on a farm gate, and the gate was upside down.

The picture itself was a fake, just as the fake farmers were.

One issue on which I have made my position unmistakably clear is high prices. I believe that the Government ought to take definite, positive action to curb high prices. I called the Republican 80th Congress back into special session twice. I explained how serious high prices were, how much suffering that was causing the ordinary families of this country, and I told the Congress exactly what kind of laws we needed to stop rising prices.

The Republicans did absolutely nothing about it. The Republican leaders are too interested in helping big business make bigger profits. They know, just as well as I do, that unchecked inflation can lead to a depression. They know that, but they are shortsighted and selfish, and they are willing to chance so long as corporations can continue to make profits up to 20 billions a year.

You know, this country has got the greatest national income in the history of the world. Last year that income was $217 billion. It was so distributed that the farmer got his fair share, the workingman got his fair share, and business got its fair share. Now, this year, corporation income has gone up from 17 billion to 20 billion, and that is due, my friends, to special privilege, and to that rich man's tax bill, which was passed over my veto. They had to pass it three times. I vetoed it three times. They finally got enough votes to pass it over my veto, but that tax bill is one of the most outrageous things that has ever happened in this country.

You know, the fellow with a big income gets a big saving, but the fellow with the little income gets nothing out of it. A fellow getting $60 a week saves about $150, which I think is the exact figure, but prices have gone up so that that is wiped out; but the fellow getting a $100,000 a year gets more than $16,000 of his income back. That is more than four times the net income of the President of the United States.

The next time you go to the grocery store, remember that you are paying Republican high prices.

If you want Democratic low prices, you have got to go to the polls next Tuesday and vote the Democratic ticket straight--and you can't make a mistake when you do that. You are voting for yourselves when you vote the Democratic ticket.

If you vote the Republican ticket, you will vote for special interest and special privilege.

I don't need to tell you people here in Terre Haute how to vote, because you always vote right, but I want the people of Indiana to vote the straight Democratic ticket. Vote in your own interests.

[3.] MATTOON, ILLINOIS (4:53 p.m.)

Senator Lucas, ladies and gentlemen of Mattoon :

I wish I were half as good as the distinguished Senator from Illinois says I am. He and I served in the Senate for a long time together--8 years. You have an able public servant in Scott Lucas, and I hope you will send a Junior Senator from Illinois to Congress with him by the name of Paul Douglas--and a Democratic Governor, Adlai Stevenson, to Springfield.

Now, I have been in this great State on a lot of occasions. I was here about a month ago, and drove through southern Illinois, and stopped at a number of cities in southern Illinois--and the welcome was just like this one down here today.

You know, it warms your heart when people will come out in a drizzle like this to listen to me discuss the issues of the campaign. I can't tell you how very much I appreciate that.

I wish I had time to discuss all the issues with you, but I made key speeches in Carbondale, in Springfield, and in the great city of Chicago, not long ago--last week, in fact--the 25th of October. But, I am going to say just a word or two about some of the things that the Republicans intend to do to you, if they get control of this Government.

You know, the Democratic Party took over the Government in 1933, and they began a positive system of approaches that would help every section of the population to get what is coming to them in this great Nation Of ours.

We inaugurated a farm policy, we inaugurated a labor policy; and we inaugurated a policy for small business. We are against monopolies. We believe that every man ought to have the opportunity to go into business if he wants to, and to work it out to his own satisfaction.

The farmers were about as low as they could possibly get in 1932. Their income at that time--their net income was about $2 ½ billion that year. Their gross income was a little over $4 billion.

Last year, the farmers net income was $18 billion--their total income $30 billion.

Labor is getting three times as much for their work by the hour now, as they got in 1932--and then, everybody was hunting the streets looking for work. There were 12 million people hunting for jobs then. Now jobs are hunting for people. There are 61 million people at work in this country today.

As soon as the Republicans got control, they began to tear up the farm program and the labor program. They seem to think that labor is a commodity and that the farmer can get along as best he can, no matter what the Government does. That is not true, as has been conclusively proven by the incomes of labor and the farmers now as compared with 1932.

One of the first things they did was to pass a law to tear up labor's bill of rights. They passed the Taft-Hartley law, with the idea in mind of taking the collective bargaining power away from labor which had been given to them under the Wagner Labor Relations Act.

Then they rechartered the Commodity Credit Corporation, and they rechartered that Corporation in such a way that the Corporation cannot lend storage for the grain on which to make loans.

When I was in southern Illinois the other day--a month ago--corn was selling at 47 cents below the support price, because the Commodity Credit Corporation could not get storage on which to make the loans. That is the way the Republicans treat you when they get control of the government. What would they have done if they had had complete control ?

I sat there with the veto power, and kept them from passing law after law that would not have been in the public interest. In fact, I used that veto 'power more than any other President except Grover Cleveland-I vetoed, I think, 92 bills--most of them were policy bills in which your interest was at stake.

Now, I don't think you are going to take any chances in this election next Tuesday. I think you are going to get out and vote for yourselves.

If you do that, you will have a Democratic administration here in Illinois, you will have a Democratic administration at the White House in Washington, and you will have a Democratic Congress to take the place of this "do-nothing" Congress, good-for-nothing 80th Congress.

[4.] ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI (On arriving, 8:25 p.m.)

Thank you--thank you very much. I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this welcome to my home State. It is grand.

I have been from one end of the country to the other--north and south, east and west--and none of them has been any better than this. And that is the way it ought to be in Missouri.

I was born and raised in the "show me" State, and I learned how "show me" works, and I have been showing them--the Republicans are on the run.

On Tuesday there is only one thing I want you to do, and that is to go out and vote for yourselves. If you will vote for yourselves, you will vote the straight Democratic ticket, and everything will be safe for the world, and for Missouri, and for the United States.

Now, don't forget that. Just do a little thinking.

I am going to discuss the whole campaign tonight, and I hope you will listen to me. Then, if I am convincing just go and vote for your own best interests.

I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this most cordial welcome to my own home State.

Thank you.

Note: In the course of his remarks on October 30 the President referred to Democratic candidate for Governor Henry F. Schricker and Democratic candidate for Representative John J. O'Grady, both of Indiana; and Senator Scott W. Lucas, Democratic candidate for Senator Paul H. Douglas, and Democratic candidate for Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, all of Illinois.

Harry S Truman, Rear Platform Remarks in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234031

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