Liveblogging World War II: November 7, 1944: Franklin D. Roosevelt: Remarks to the Torchlight Paraders on Election Night. Hyde Park, New York.
FDR Wins Fourth Presidential Term:
I see some youngsters up a tree which reminds me of earlier days, when I wanted to get away from the discipline of the family, and I climbed that very tree up where that highest youngster is now, and I disappeared and I couldn't be found. And they got everybody—I think they got the fire department up trying to find me. And I realized that I was causing a good deal of commotion, so I said 'Yoo-hoo,' or something like that, and I came down.
Well, I remember my first torchlight parade right here in 1892—Cleveland's election. And I was asleep, or supposedly asleep, right up in this window, a little room at the head of the stairs; and I was listening, and I didn't know what was the matter —a queer light outside the window, with people coming up on farm wagons—before the days of the automobile. It was Hyde Park—a large part of it—coming down here to have a Democratic celebration.
And I got up and appeared down here in an old-fashioned nightgown of some kind, on this porch, and I wrapped up in an old Buffalo robe that came out of a wagon. And I had a perfectly grand evening.
Now if Elmer were old enough, he would know about that. But he has done pretty well himself. He has been an awfully good supervisor for this town, and we are all mighty proud of our neighbor Elmer Van Wagner.
And then there are all kinds of people that I remember, which only very old people like myself can remember. And I remember, once upon a time, I was fascinated by old Dan Barrett's brewery. And Dan, after meeting the train, which came in about twice a day in those days, used to bring people down here in his old bus, and I would go out there and I would talk to Dan Barrett by the hour. Now we have got a young Dan Barrett and he is down here on this place, here on the right.
The reports that are coming in are not so bad—but I can't concede anything. Oh, I couldn't concede anything—much too early. I can't make any statement at all. The State of New York as a whole seems to be going pretty well—pretty well, but it's much too early to say anything. We won't get the final returns on these so-called pivotal States for, I suppose, another hour. And they are working out all right, so far, and it looks as if I will have to come back here on a train from Washington for four more years.
And it's worth while still, and always will be, to leave Washington on a Friday night and get here Saturday morning, and go back to Washington on a Sunday night, just for two days up here. It will always be worth it.
And so I am glad to be here on this election day again—I might say again and again and again! But I'll be perfectly happy to come back here for good, as you all know. I don't have to tell you that.
It has been grand to see you. Thanks ever so much for coming down, but I have been on the telephone all evening to almost every part of the country. I have got a ticker in there, and I get the returns on that. I am trying to keep in touch with all these people—calling up a few people.
One person I haven't called up—I am waiting and holding my breath—and that is a lady [Margaret Connors] over in our neighboring State, in Connecticut. She is running against another lady [Clare Boothe Luce] over in the adjoining State, and my friend seems to be winning—she is ahead at the present time. And if she can only hold on to that lead, and they don't hold back the returns too long, we will have a new Congresswoman down Bridgeport way. And so we have real hope, which will be rather excellent for our own feelings—and I think if they prove true, a mighty good thing for this country. And that's a rough thing to say—about the other lady.
I haven't had any word about the present Congressman from this District [Hamilton Fish], but as I remarked yesterday somewhere, when I was taking a drive around, there is more than one way of getting rid of a Congressman. You have known about it being done by redistricting the State and putting the Congressman over in another county, but in the last returns that I have just got, he is doing very well in Rockland county—I mean his opponent Bennett. Bennett is also doing pretty well in Orange, and so there is a real possibility of our having a new Congressman in the lower Districts. Of course, we are in a different District this time—Thank goodness!
It has been good to see you, and I will have to go on back and do some more telephoning."