JULY, 16 1956
HYDE PARK—On Thursday evening I stopped for my cousin, Miss Laura Delano, and together we drove up to Copake, in Columbia County, where a Stevenson outing was being held at the Copake Country Club. This club is beautifully situated on a lovely lake, with every facility for water sports and all kinds of activities. Dinner was at six, and very good, which perhaps should not have surprised me. But when one goes to political rallies, one cannot always say that one has enjoyed a good dinner. After dinner we wandered around for a time until the 8:30 meeting, at which the local candidates and I were to speak.
I was surprised at the enthusiasm and hard work being put in by some of the Democrats in Columbia County in order to show their delegates that, while they know their first ballot must go to New York's favorite son, Governor Harriman, they hope sincerely that the second ballot will see the change to Stevenson. The regular Democrats who hold office, of course, must be a little wary in their expression of preference as to a candidate in the convention. They will support their Democratic nominee, whoever it may be. But it is increasingly evident to me that a large number among the Democratic voters, and even among what might be called independents, are not only anxious to see Stevenson nominated but want to work for his election.
In New Paltz, for example, I found an active group for Stevenson had opened headquarters on Main Street and were getting out a newsletter published by the local Democratic club. They asked me to speak for Stevenson at their regular Democratic picnic a few days later, but unfortunately I was already committed to speak the same afternoon for a Democratic club elsewhere.
In their little publication, the "New Paltz Democrat," they have a quotation from the second volume of President Harry S. Truman's memoirs which seems to me an interesting comment from a man on his own experience. It read: "Within the first few minutes I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed—a President either is constantly on top of events, or, if he hesitates, events will soon be on top of him. I never felt I could let up for a single moment."
The other day I had a talk with a fruit stand owner who is active in local politics on the west side of the Hudson River. He told me that he wished more political bigwigs could get down and understand the local picture. His problems were local and yet, when he went to the state capital at Albany, there was only one man he had met so far who could understand them. He had never had a feeling that he could reach the top in Washington except when my husband was President, though he thought Mr. Truman was more reachable than most. This desire for identification with the people who are actually dealing with important events in our country is something quite understandable and I think something that all candidates should take into consideration.