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A defense of the "third term" and a comparison of the executive abilities of Franklin Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie gave 400 Harvard Democratic supporters their first chance for a major demonstration last night at a meeting in Emerson D.
Henry F. Grady, assistant secretary of State, was the featured speaker of the evening, but the talk by Arthur N. Holcombe '06, chairman of the Government Department, maintaining that "the third term tradition should not be interpreted as making an experienced statesman ineligible for a third successive term at a time of national crisis," seemed to impress the crowd as much as Grady's denunciations of the Republican candidate.
"Willkie is no more an executive than the other two recent Republican candidates," Grady stated, claiming rather that he was a promoter and a public relations men. "He is selling himself with a prospectus like one used in selling stock in a company that exists only on paper."
Referring specifically to foreign affairs the State Department official declared that "The President has lived with the problem for seven years and has the knowledge and ability to cope with it, which Willkie completely lackg. The only issue is the comparative competency of the two candidates."
Throughout his address Grady asserted that Willkie is unfit to run the government, because of temperment, inexperience, and lack of ability.
His audience cheered the blasts which were made against Willkie's inconsistencies and misstatements. In particular he dwelt on the Republican candidate's remarks before a cattle raising audience that he would prohibit importation's of Argentine canned beef for the navy.
"Actually," the foreign trade expert declared, "the amount imported annually was no more than is sold in a large store in one day, and the imports ceased a year ago anyway."
Holcombe Cites Precedents
Professor Holcombe made an initial statement that every Republican president who has ever served two terms has either wanted or tried to run for a third, and then proceeded to back up his claim with facts about Grant, Theodore Roosevelt '80, and Coolidge. He noted also that McNary had not been opposed to a third term in 1928.
Going on to discuss the theoretical grounds for and against a third-term, Professor Holcombe mentioned that the Founding Fathers did not intend to disqualify any incumbent of the office of president from reelection, if desired by the people
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