TRUMAN, Harry S. Typed letter signed (“Harry”), as former President, to Dean Acheson, Independence, Missouri, 9 October 1960. 2 pages, 4to, personal stationery, with carbon of Acheson’s 3 October 1960 letter to Truman.
“NIXON…IS A DANGEROUS MAN. NEVER HAS THERE BEEN ONE LIKE HIM SO CLOSE TO THE PRESIDENCY”
At the height of the 1960 campaign between Nixon and John F. Kennedy, Acheson sent Truman a blistering attack speech that he hoped his former chief would deliver. “You have the truth on your side,” Acheson pointed out, “and no contrary statements to embarrass you when you lambast Nixon.” Truman was more than up to the task, telling Acheson he planned to deliver it in California, “without an erasure.” He appreciates Acheson’s efforts to “give the facts and figures on Nixon. He is a dangerous man. Never has there been one like him so close to the Presidency.” Truman says he is scheduled for a campaign swing through Texas, North Carolina and Virginia. He is optimistic about the prospects for “our side,” but he “will certainly be happy when this rat race is over and we can have our usual associations, socially and otherwise.”
The speech Acheson sent him was no genteel affair: “There is only one product of this state,” Truman told the crowd in Oakland on 28 October, “that does not measure up to its high standards—and that is Richard Nixon, Trickie Dickie, the political opportunist. Trickie Richard Nixon is not admired by the rest of the country; he is not respected in the Senate…and on November 8th…the American people I hope will write ‘finish’ for his political career.” He closes by suggesting the defeated Nixon look for employment in Southern California, where he can set up a rival amusement park to Disneyland, and call it “Nixonland.” “He has considerable gifts of showmanship, and the ability to create all kinds of illusions.”