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Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Motorcade traveling West on lower Broadway with President Truman, Congressional candidate Clinton McKinnon (center) and Harley Knox, Mayor of San Diego.
Image courtesy of the San Diego Public Library Special Collections

ONE HOUR WHISTLESTOP--On this day in 1948, President Harry S. Truman toured California and Arizona aboard the Presidential train dubbed “the Magellan.”  He began in San Diego, where he spoke twice.  Once from the rear of the campaign train and at a campaign rally held inside Lane Field (Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway), a baseball field where the then minor league San Diego Padres played.

He participated in a whirlwind motorcade along downtown San Diego streets (mainly Sixth Avenue and Broadway) before reboarding his train.  Along the motorcade then Congressional candidate Clinton McKinnon and incumbent Mayor Harvey Knox joined him.

After an hour in San Diego, President Truman also stopped in two other California locations: Oceanside and Colton. He stopped briefly in Yuma and concluded his day (September 24) with a major address in Phoenix from the rear platform of his train at 10:45 PM.

The Magellan was a 17-car train and was the President’s preferred mode of campaign transportation.  He often made eight speeches a day from the platform of the rear train car.  Aside from the Truman family quarters, the train had sleeper cars for the entourage; two dining cars, including three lounge cars where people could sit and talk or read. Also, the train had a press car where the media traveling with HST could compile stories.

At the end of this blog is the text of his remarks made in Oceanside, California at 10:45 am.  The President wrote this speech for the people in the southern California area. The population in the Southern California area was growing and this caused a water shortage.

The solution to the water and housing problems was brought to Congress again and still nothing was done. Truman said that the democrats were for the people, and if elected into office, the problems of the people would be heard. Democrats would hear the voice of Southern California and solve the water shortage. Truman urged the people of Southern California to vote a straight Democratic ticket.”

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate Very much that most cordial introduction of Mr. Clinton McKinnon, who I under stand is going to be your next Congressman I am very happy that you are going to send a Democrat to Washington. In your own selfish, special interest you ought to send a Democrat to Washington.

The Democratic Party stands for those things in which you are most interested. The Democratic Party has been responsible for the development of water Power, and the other things in which the West is vitally Interested. If you read the record, you will find that all these great projects originated under Democratic administrations, and you will find that this Republican 80th Congress has done everything it possibly can to sabotage the West. And they are still at it. You can't afford to allow that to happen.

Now, your great need in this part of the world is water, and we are trying to develop a plan for the whole of the State of California which will to some extent, and I hope completely solve the water problem which you are up against, and which the whole State is up against, because of the shortage of water. 

When you go through this beautiful country, it almost makes you weep to think of what could be done if you just had the water to put on this land.

Now, if you will remember, when President Roosevelt was down here, he ordered this aqueduct to be built because it was necessary to furnish water not only to this part of California, but to keep the naval works and airplane factories going that were in San Diego. The first thing the Republicans did, as soon as they got into office, was to try to sabotage that great project, but we succeeded in getting it restored; and we - the Democrats-are now working on a plan which we hope will increase the water supply to this part of the country.

You are interested in housing. The Republican Congress sabotaged the housing bill. That bill passed the Senate and went over to the House, and the Chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee and the Chairman of the Rules Committee prevented the House from voting on that measure. I am sure that the House, if it had been allowed to vote by the Republican leadership, would have passed that housing bill.

That bill was introduced nearly 3 years ago and it was called the Wagner-Ellender-Taft bill. It passed the Senate at that time and was defeated in the House. In the 80th Congress it was introduced again in 1947, and it was called the Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill. It passed the Senate, went over to the House, and Senator Taft himself helped to kill that bill-his own bill with his name on it.

That is customary with the present Congress and its leadership, and you want to bear in mind that if you send another Congress back there with a Republican tinge and a Republican majority, you will have the same old bunch of mossbacks in charge that are in charge now, and you won't get a thing.

You ought to bear all these things in mind. In Los Angeles last night, I went into detail as to what the Democratic Party stands for, and you know how I stand on these things.

Try to find out where the rest of the people stand who are in opposition to me. See whether they will tell you or not. I don't think they will, because they are trying to make you believe one thing when they are really going to do another. It's a case of double talk.

You don't have to find out what I mean when I say it. I say it so you can understand it. The record speaks for itself. All you have to do is study the record.

Now, it is up to you to decide whether you want to turn the clock back and leave the saboteurs in the Congress or whether you want to go forward with the Democratic Party and accomplish what is necessary to make this country great.

To do that, you must exercise your Godgiven privilege to vote. That is the greatest privilege that you have in this great Nation, the freedom of the ballot. That means that you are the Government. When you don't vote, and you get something like the 80th Congress, you are to blame for it. If you don't go out and vote the 2nd of November, and you have this backward-looking outfit in complete control of the Government, then you won't have anybody to blame but yourselves.

If you do go out and vote, as I am sure you are going to, I am not going to worry about the result, because the people know what is right. The people are usually right if they can get the facts-and I am trying to give them to you. That is the reason I came out here.

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