Past & Present: Harry Truman's 1948 Comeback Campaign

Harry Truman managed the greatest political comeback ever, Robert Schlesinger writes. Find out how.

U.S. President Harry S. Truman holds up an Election Day edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, which, based on early results, mistakenly announced "Dewey Defeats Truman" on November 4, 1948. The president told well-wishers at St. Louis' Union Station, "That is one for the books!"

President Harry S. Truman holds up an Election Day edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune, which, based on early results, mistakenly announced "Dewey Defeats Truman"

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Obama partisans and McCain partisans can choose their lessons from the Truman story: a warning against complacency, final courage for a flagging campaign. No one has yet matched the feat. The next chance comes Tuesday.

Robert Schlesinger is a deputy assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report. He is also the author of White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters (Simon & Schuster, 2008).

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