October 4, 1952: General Eisenhower visits Duluth, blasts opponent, receives a big fish

On this day in Duluth in 1952, presidential candidate General Dwight D. Eisenhower campaigned in Duluth. According to the Duluth News Tribune, Between 3,000 and 5,000 Duluthians awaited Ike’s arrival at the Duluth Civic Center, where he gave a stump speech after Louis and Sharon Kemp of Duluth’s historic Kemp’s Fisheries presented the war hero with a 15-pound lake trout caught in Lake Superior. In his speech, the Republican blasted what he considered the foreign policy blunders of the Truman administration in China and Korea, then launched into an attack on his opponent, Adlai Stevenson, for his “bizarre conclusions” regarding foreign policy.. “If [Stevenson] wants seriously to discuss foreign policy issues, he must stop his ventriloquist act of arguing with an opponent of his own invention who speaks only nonsense of his own imagination.” An example of that nonsense? A week earlier, Stevenson  told a crowd that Eisenhower had advised Congress that “Nothing guides Russian policy as much as a desire for friendship with the United States.” Duluthians, it seemed, were more interested in the whereabouts of the potential new First Lady. Mamie Eishenhower had stayed on the train. When it was announced Mrs. Eisenhower would not appear at the event, the crowd “gave out a long “ohhhh.” Mamie, according to the News Tribune’s Women’s Activities Editor Peggy Cheppel, was taking the day off to catch up with family finances by paying some bills. She told Cheppel she sleeps just five hours a night and “loves trains” which she felt was the same as “being rocked in a cradle.” Cheppel found it important to describe Mrs. Eisenshower’s appearance, noting that she wore “a floor-length hostess coat of checked turquoise and blue taffeta with yoke and sleeves of black velvet”—it was, after all, her day off. Cheppel also noted Mrs. Eisenshower’s height, her sparkling blue eyes, and even guessed how much the future first lady weighed. A month later, Ike won by a landslide.