“Mr. Coolidge Tells Them.” So read the headline on a story covering former President Coolidge’s speech back in another October, that being the October prior to the fateful election of 1932. Speaking at Madison Square Garden, President Coolidge loyally backed his fellow Republican, saying of the incumbent Herbert Hoover, “The more this campaign has progressed, the more I am convinced that he should be elected.” The editors of the paper, the Daily Herald of Biloxi, Mississippi, described Coolidge’s speech as full of “stock arguments” and wrote that Coolidge “re-put-forward old saws.” The paper wasn’t exactly friendly to Coolidge, Hoover, or the GOP.
As you all know, we are in the midst of a contentious presidential election, among the most contentious in American history. Yet recently the two major party candidates met for an evening of mostly well-mannered frivolity at the Al Smith Dinner in New York, for the benefit of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation. This occasion brings to mind the race to succeed our own President Calvin Coolidge in 1928, when Republican candidate Herbert Hoover faced off against Democratic candidate Al Smith.