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tv   Race for the White House  CNN  April 16, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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wa way. >> it's a fundamentally different approach to politics and it lays the foundation for what we would consider modern politics, driven by personality and adventure and theater. >> it could then be extensively reported in the newspapers and that was really the point of it, it's not just to have this celebration but to have news of this celebration spread around the country. >> andrew jackson learns a lesson that politicals around the world would learn, a lot of people vote based on their dput, on -- gut, a sense of i like this person, i trust this person. >> having a sense of this person, that they like you, they will joke with you. if you have them you have them forever.
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>> the new orleans event was all over the pages of the newspapers reminding everybody that this was the hero of new orleans. looking at it now you would say this is the first mass campaign rally in american history. >> jackson fever grips the nation as the fearless warrior who saved america now invades its hearts and minds. >> jackson represents the new politics. i believe in america, the way things are being run for washington are wrong. vote for me because we can bring change. john quincy adams didn't believe in meeting with people. he wouldn't do it. he felt that was pandering for votes. the adams
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people realized that they had to make their candidate into a popular guy which with john quincy adams was for the easy, because he did not have a popular touch. >> it was observed that the first step. >> adams is persuaded to travel to maryland where he will break ground on the chesapeake and ohio canal, a waterway that will link east and west. >> he actually took the shovel and stuck it into the ground and hit a root. then according to the adams newspapers he threw off his coat and attacked that root again. the jackson newspapers predictably ridiculed this. >> adams may well have dug his own grave. it's time for
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secretary of state henry clay to step in. >> clay, in so many words, said do you want to win or not? and adams saying in so many words i'm not going to disgrace and degrade myself to win. >> they had to throw everything that they could think of at andrew jackson if they had any hope of adams retaining the presidency. >> the way politics works is you attack your opponents's strength, you may find a weakness, good. but you must attack his strength. so it was very logical to attack his military record. don't let dust and allergies get between you
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henry clay's researchers are digging into andrew jackson's military record. >> you do see in the 1828 campaign the beginnings of what today we would call
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oppo-research, or opposition research. that is employing people or delegating people to go sniff out dirt about the opponent. >> and among the yellowing documents they hit pay dirt. 16 years ago as jackson's depleted army were gearing up to fight the british, one recruit got into a fight. >> he ended up taking a weapon and brandiing it around. he was given a hasty court martial and put to death. they found story after story after story alleging
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that he had been inpetuous, that he was brutal, he had had his own men executed. >> henry clay sanctions a hand bill to be printed in philadelphia. the material describes the execution of six militia men, an execution ordered by andrew jackson. >> across the front of it were the silhouettes of six coffins, representing six militia men who jackson had shot. >> this morbid document soon becomes known as the coffin hand bill. >> andrew jackson was known to be particular to his enemies, but now he was questioned for killing his own men or having them put to death. >> if you could assault a man's character that is the unanswerable attack. if you can
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get his character, that is where it hurts. >> the message of this is simple, you know, do you want this violent unbridled, perhaps crazy man, do you really want him as president to the united states? >> the life blood of his countrymen flowed by his order. made more noticeable with the way he hangs or stabs his victims. >> jackson believes it comes from his enemy, henry clay. >> jackson seeing these people attacking him was the most distressing things. she does make the statement that i would rather be a door keeper in the palace of the lord than in that
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palace in washington. >> with three months to go until the next presidential election, andrew jackson is in no mood to turn the other cheek. >> he managed to calm himself enough to counter-attack. >> you see jackson and his correspondence, he was surrounded by supporters who knew how to use it. >> attack is the only form of defense and the more vicious, the better. >> the jacksononians main line of attack was that adams was a fop, an aristocrat, a snob. a newspaper charged that when
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adams had been minister to russia had set up an american girl for the czar. they were calling the president of the unit states a pimp. to him, it showed how unfit jackson was to be president. that he would have these mongrels around him doing this type of thing. >> adams' boys hit jackson in a most unexpected way. with a spelling bee. >> some adams newspapers uncovered jackson letters pointing out that jackson had misspelled a number of fairly elementary words. misspelled words like government, congress with a k, it was of all the accusations perhaps the one that
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john quinn adams held most closely to privately. clay and adams believed that you ought to be something of an intellectual to lead the people. jackson's people said well, you know, george washington misspelled a lot of words. what difference does it make? >> adams showed himself to be a man disconnected from the people. >> it was incredibly stupid, he said that is right, i have imperfections, so does he, and i'm voting for a guy just like me. >> time for the voters to decide between the patriotic hero and the born leader. (laughing)
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the 1828 presidential election. voting is under way. john quincy adams takes his morning dip in the potomac. he is not feeling confident. >> adams himself became increasingly convinced that he was going to lose. he was appalled at the idea that this boob, this hick, could become
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president. >> but adams, like the rest of america, will have to wait a month for the results to come in. meanwhile, rachel jackson is finding life in the public gaze increasingly unpleasant. >> she was in nashville in a shop and overheard women talking about her. she said from what i have heard these people say i realize what a pitiful old woman they think i am. i am not sure if i can go to washington. >> rachel jackson is alone in her anxiety. the ambitious henry clay is all too well aware what an adams victory will mean for him. >> a pattern had developed in
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the early years of the country in which each succeeding secretary of state rose to the presidency. >> following john quincy adams, henry clay felt like he would be the next president. >> but clay's job prospects are now in the hands of the voters. and by early december the results are in. >> jackson took the entire south. and he also carried pennsylvania and most of the electoral vote of new york. >> four years after his first bitter loss andrew jackson is now elected as america's seven's president. >> he believed entirely that the country had been rescued, that democracy had been, as martin
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van buren said, set back on course. >> jackson appoints van buren as secretary of state. eight years later he would succeed jackson as president. >> andrew jackson is representative of a new era in american politics. they wanted a president they could identify with, that they could understand. what you have here is the beginning of americans wanting a president that they could have beer with. >> rachel was happy for the country but she felt it was her loss. with a heavy heart, i'm sure, she is preparing herself to go on to washington and take her place by his side because the people have demanded it. the date has been set for when the jacksons are going to leave for
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washington city. but instead, rachel suffers a heart attack. >> for four days, jackson does not leave rachel's bedside. on december 22nd, she dies. >> jackson is crushed. he is beside himself. he just cannot believe that this woman that he has loved and defended all of these years has left him. >> jackson held the adams and clay people responsible for killing her with their slanders. >> on february 11th, jackson begins his three-week journey to washington, d. washington, d. washington, d.c. to be inau
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inaugated. the harsh and bitter campaign has wounded both candidates. >> adams refused to attend the inauguration. he left going back to boston. jackson supporters flood into washington, a human tide keen to see the people's general. sworn in as president. >> jackson encouraged it, because jackson and his supporters had encouraged members of the non-political elite to feel a direct connection to the presidency. >> hundreds of people descended on the white house, while there was free food and booze. and it turned into quite a mob scene.
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>> you can date many of the characteristics of the modern presidential election system to 1828. the sense that americans want a president they're comfortable with. that they can identify with. >> jackson has lost the love of his life. and won the biggest battle of his career. and along the way he has changed american politics forever. >> for 40 years, american presidents were largely selected by the american political elite. the shift that occurs between 1824 and 1828 is the american people don't want their representatives to choose presidents anymore. they want to choose presidents themselves. andrew jackson is the beneficiary of that huge change
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in the american presidential political system. you are the president nobody wanted. in office by default. now you're the candidate no body believes in. in a race you're expected to lose. do you have the guts? the political cunning? the sheer determination to prove your enemies wrong?
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♪ ♪ ♪ the hearse bearing the body of franklin delano roosevelt rolls past on his last journey to the nation's capitol.
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>> april 12th, 1945, president franklin d. roosevelt is dead. for millions of americans, it's like losing a father. >> oh, fdr had been our leader for so long. he was such an effective leader. that it was a terrible blow to the country at large. >> 11-car presidential train departs from the warm springs railroad station. sorrowing throngs line the tracks. >> those of us close to him in the white house could not conceive of the country without him. >> a flag-draped coffin carried on a black caisson. drawn by white horses begins the mournful trip to the white house. >> in washington, there were half a million people in the streets. to greet the cortege. people of all ages, races, backgrounds, turned out. many openly weeping.
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>> the vice president, harry s. truman, was among the first to learn of roosevelt's passing. >> word came that grandpa was wanted at the white house immediately. and so grandpa wasn't quite sure that was for. he was like, okay, i'd better get over there. when he arrived, he was ushered into the family quarters and mrs. roosevelt greeted him and said, "harry, the president is dead." and he said he felt like the sun and the moon and all the stars had fallen. he was floored. my grandfather replied, "is there anything that we can do for you?" and she said, "i think the question is, is there anything we can do for you, because you're the one who's in trouble now." >> to fill the place left vacant by the sudden death of franklin
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d. roosevelt, harry s. truman became the 32nd president of the united states. >> franklin delano roosevelt was the great giant who had dominated politics for 12 years, through the depression, through the second world war, and so truman looks like a little pygmy compared to fdr. >> especially when he opens his mouth. >> we are depending upon each and every one of you. >> he had a terrible speaking style. >> the cause which claimed roosevelt also claims us. >> he had trouble looking down, focusing, picking up the right spot. and he was just generally not good at reading. >> he never faltered. nor will we. >> and he had a habit of chopping the air with his hands, like this. >> peace, my friends, is the goal of my public life. i'd rather have a lasting peace -- >> he looked very robotic and very stiff.
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>> truman, missouri farmboy turned missouri senator, was a member of roosevelt's administration for just 82 days. the president and the vice president only met twice. >> roosevelt didn't tell my grandfather much of anything. so he went in cold. >> he didn't even know about the manhattan project. he didn't know about the multibillion-dollar effort to develop a nuclear weapon, an atomic bomb. >> speaking to the press, one of the first things he said was pray for me, boys. if you've ever prayed for anybody, pray for me now. >> he never aspired to be president of the united states. it was i've got this responsibility, i'm going to work hard, i'm going to try to do the right thing, and i trust the american people. it was just that simple. >> americans realize that slums like these can no longer exist. where 10 million of our people still live in squalor and darkness.
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>> truman made the america's post-war president but there's no peace for him. american veterans are coming home to a land not fit for heroes. a tidal wave of strikes overwhelms the country. >> the unions called him public enemy number one, because to keep the country moving at all he had to break some enormous strikes. there was inflation. there were housing shortages. there were shortages of meat, eggs, bread. >> people couldn't buy enough gasoline, couldn't buy rubber tires, couldn't buy nylon stockings. i mean, all kinds of sacrifice that people put up with. >> the nation's discontent comes to a head with the congressional elections of 1946. >> the republicans had the simplest, clearest slogan ever.
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"had enough?" >> the republican-controlled congress takes the helm in the house. the gop now possesses a clear working majority in both branches of congress. >> after 18 years on the political sidelines, republicans are back in control of congress. >> it's the first time since the depression that the republicans had real power in washington. and they were raring to go. they really wanted blood. >> galvanized, the republicans now target the white house. their candidate is tough, slick and camera-savvy. >> thomas dewey was an incredibly impressive guy. when he was a prosecutor, he went after the former head of the new york stock exchange, he went after lucky luciano. he was an incredibly successful governor of new york who created the state university system. who cut taxes. thomas dewey was a political superstar.
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>> in 1944, dewey had run against roosevelt, but nobody beats a popular president in war time. >> now roosevelt is dead and the country holds truman responsible for its economic woes. >> dewey is already seen as a man who can save us, a man who is heroic. >> what's the outlook, governor? >> the outlook is excellent, sir. >> and with the republican congress blocking his policies. truman looks doomed. >> there's a sense that not only is he a lame duck for the country, there's a sense that his party is very disappointed that a man who had been a hack from missouri is now the president.
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the words that were most common used were incompetent, unappealing, and unelectable. >> is the race for the white house over before it's even begun? then one day, hr schedules a meeting with you out of the blue. and it's the worst 19 minutes of your career. but you don't sweat it because you and your advisor have prepared for this. and when the best offer means you're moving to the middle of nowhere, the boys say they hate the idea. but you pretend it's not so bad. and years later at thanksgiving, when one of them says what he's thankful for most, is this house, you realize you didn't plan for any of this you wouldn't have done it any other way. with the right financial partner, progress is possible. they give awards for awards for rolling balls.s. awards for spelling words nobody uses. we get it. you're smart. they give awards for haircuts for dogs. awards for scientific theories. i've got a theory.
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you're no son of mine! or perhaps it's time to seize the day. don't just see opportunity, seize it! (applause) the republican party chooses its candidate for the world's biggest job. and gives philadelphians a glimpse of convention razzmatazz.
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♪ >> 1,000 delegates are crammed into the municipal auditorium to choose the next republican presidential candidate. >> i was 21, almost to be 22. i had just gotten out of the marine corps. i was a republican, mainly because my family had been republicans. there was great fanfare when we came and it was very exciting. >> big, noisy. a lot of music. people running around with placards and banners. it was a mess. >> for the first time in history, they have to make room for television cameras. >> they were so brightly lit that delegates were advised that they might want to bring sunglasses to protect their eyes against the glare of the
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artificial lights within the convention hall. women had to wear brown lipstick, so that in black and white tv it looked natural. so had you people walking around with heavy makeup and brown lipstick, in the middle of a convention hall while sweating profusely. >> it was hotter than the dickens in philadelphia. >> the convention will now come to order. >> dewey arrives confident of his party's nomination. but there's a strong challenge from senator robert taft. senate leader, senior conservative and a president's son. >> taft and dewey were natural lifelong and enthusiastic enemies. they were profoundly different men in vision.
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they were put on the planet to piss each other off. >> dewey has 350 delegate votes in the bag. but he still needs 200 more. >> preparation was dewey's middle name. dewey made sure that he had a card file on every delegate, who their friends were. who might be in a position to influence them. >> dewey's campaign manager is herbert brownell, a man who will go farther than most to get what he wants. >> he operated to get things done and he had his own style and knew what he was doing. >> brownell's mission, to get delegates to vote for dewey. easy when you know their darkest secrets. >> the taft people, with a touch of paranoia believe that the vaunted eastern establishment knew your bank accounts.
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probably who you slept with. all sorts of things with which to compel you to vote against your interests and your philosophical inclinations. >> brownell targets the uncommitted, making them offers they can't refuse. >> pennsylvania was a huge uncommitted state. guess what? congressman hugh scott from the philadelphia area was named his republican national chairman and dewey got pennsylvania. >> before the evening session opens, frantic conferences continue. >> brownell's tactics prove effective. >> senator bricker with a dramatic message from senator taft, conceding dewey's victory, urging that it be made unanimous. the other candidates follow suit. >> i am profoundly sensible of the responsibility that goes with this nomination. in all humility i accept the nomination.
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>> dewey was an excellent speaker. and he did a wonderful job explaining what the whole concept of the republican party and what his cause was. >> we must solve the problem of establishing a just and lasting peace in the world and of securing to our own and other like-minded people the blessings of freedom and of individual opportunity. >> dewey chooses as his running mate california governor earl warren. >> talk about a dream ticket. the governors of new york and california. >> i was confident that that was an absolute top winning team in the country deserved it and it knew it and it was going to elect him. >> three weeks later the democratic convention comes to philadelphia.
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>> the donkey replaces the republican elephant. it's the democrats' turn now and the city of brotherly love considers president truman's nomination a foregone conclusion. >> as a sitting president, truman's nomination is secure. but his party is sure he'll lose the election. >> people smell defeat. and they thought truman was headed to defeat. >> truman won't attend the convention until the very last day. but stays glued to the television. >> the time has arrived in america for the democratic party to get out of the shadows of states' rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights. >> rising star hubert humphrey electrifies the convention. he urges the democrats to support the burgeoning civil rights movement.
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>> 172 years late. >> i was 22 years old. he gave that speech with such enthusiasm and such vibrancy. i was enchanted by it. >> and we courageously support our president and leader harry truman in his great fight for civil rights for america. >> truman knows civil rights is a powder keg issue for the democratic party. >> the response of the southern delegates in the hall was just outrage. they start booing, they throw off their hats in anger. they throw down their signs. >> mr. chairman, we bid you good-bye. >> it was very personal almost to us. sitting right there in front of him. and it was very dramatic.
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>> truman's horrified as the southern democrats walk out of the convention. defeat in november is looming. >> but even as the bolting delegates call good-bye, harry, harry truman is preparing to leave washington aboard a special train for philadelphia to accept the nomination. >> truman's got no margin for error. he's faced with the prospect of losing some states that are traditionally democratic states. he's got to find some way to tend to his party. hey, we're opening up a second shop and we need some new signage. but can't spend a lot. well, we have low prices and a price match guarantee. scout's honor? low prices. pinky swear? low prices. eskimo kisses? how about a handshake? oh, alright...
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the greatest collection of shows free with xfinity on demand. at the left window to the left of the door, you can see the back of mr. truman's head. >> in just a few hours, in front of his party and a television audience, truman will be fighting for his political life. >> this convention address would be the first truly national address where it would be listened to by everybody in the country, so we were very nervous about it. >> accompanying truman to philadelphia is his team of speech writers, including george elsie. >> all of us who were on the train with him worked with him.
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he would sit with all of us, and read aloud or talk aloud and ask for our suggestions. >> the only thing between truman and defeat is this one speech. >> we would not give him texts with long paragraphs and that sort of thing. they were more like a series of topic sentences with large spaces in between. >> we wanted truman to talk to the people in their own terms. not make a formal top-down speech. >> here we are, the presidential car coming right up now. president on this side waving to us. >> truman doesn't actually ascend to the podium to give a speech till nearly 2:00 a.m. in the morning. so people are tired. they're hot.
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>> everyone was sweating, everyone was wanting to get out of the damn place as soon as possible. >> and i can remember him striding up on the platform in that white suit. which was a little bit droopy at the time. >> it was a tough situation to get up and try to persuade a large audience to listen closely to what you have to say. nearly everything was hanging on his speech. >> thank you, thank you very much. >> things start badly. >> i can't, i have to have them up where i can see. >> people can't see the president. they begin to heckle.
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>> we were very, very nervous. on the edge of our seats. >> i'm sorry that the microphones are in your way, but they have to be where they are because i've got to be able to see what i'm doing. >> truman plows ahead, rallying for the party to unite. >> there have been differences of opinion and that's the democratic way. now it's time for to us get together and beat the common enemy. >> he went at it with a strong, vigorous manner. >> i'll win this election and make these republicans like it, don't you forget that. >> we'll do that because they're wrong and we're right and i'll prove it to you in just a few minutes. >> i thought he did exceedingly well. i thought it was a superb, for him, a superb performance.
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and the way it was accepted and received by the convention showed that it was the right approach, the right manner. >> oh, everybody stood up and applauded. he just electrified the audience, coming in at that time of night and giving that speech, yes. >> finally, his ace card. an attack on the republican congress. >> our republicans came here a few weeks ago. and they wrote up a platform. >> truman accuses congress of hypocrisy. just months before, republicans blocked truman's legislation intended to revive the economy. now the same measures are part of the republican election platform. >> they promised to do in that platform, a lot of things i've been asking them to do and that they've refused to do when they had the power. >> he says, look, the republican
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congress has prevented me as president from doing all these things that we think we should be doing as democrats. it's not my fault as a president. it's their fault. >> they were in charge in congress and if they had america's best interests at heart, why weren't they doing something? why weren't they fixing anything? why were they intent on actually accomplishing nothing? >> truman throws down the gauntlet. >> i am therefore calling this congress back into session on the 26th of july. >> i'm going to call that congress back and i'm going to ask them to pass laws halting rising prices. and to meet the housing crisis, which they say they're for in their platform. >> here's your platform, we can't wait until after the election. let's pass it now. it's possibly the greatest call
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>> if the republican congress refused to pass legislation aimed at boosting the economy, truman hopes it will prove to the american people that the republicans can't be trusted. >> lots of action by this government is long overdue. it must be taken now. >> he looked strong, he looked like he was in command. he looked like he was seizing the agenda. and i think that particularly coming in post-roosevelt that had sort of eluded him. >> our people need legislation now. >> congress blocks the call for action. truman's plan is working. >> they sit for 11 days and that's basically, that describes what they do. they passed no legislation of consequence. >> harry truman put the blame where he thought it should go. which is a congress that is doing nothing. so he called it the do-nothing congress. it was an effective message. >> he turned the tables.
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he had very much been on the political defensive domestically, anyway. so that was a very forceful way to take command. >> truman's tactics have damaged republicans in congress. but governor dewey is unaffected. >> dewey's team make a campaign film to be shown in movie theaters around the country. >> he's the product of a small town in the middle west. having been born over a general store in owasso, michigan in 1902. >> scheduled for an october release, it's a real hollywood production with thomas dewey as the lead. >> if you were going to cast someone in a movie, as a presidential candidate, he's the guy. >> tom dewey likes to take whatever time can he from his busy public life to spend with his two boys, tom junior and john. >> dewey is promising america a
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fresh start. >> they took a poll of the 50 most respected journalists that wrote about politics in america and asked them about who was going to win, dewey or truman. it was 50-0 for dewey. not one journalist predicted that harry truman would win. >> we recognized he was relatively unknown to the american people. and he would have one heck of a chance of winning the election. he needs to. on september 17, 1948, truman's campaign train pulls out ouft union station. >> truman's journey takes him through the midwest where he trails dewey by as many as 11 points. >>

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