President Harry Truman couldn't seem to catch a break during his final year in office. His attempts to bring an end to the Korean War were going nowhere, and his government was embarrassed by corruption scandals that hurt his administration's image. Truman didn't improve matters when he took drastic measures to break up a steel strike that threatened the war effort. He took the constitutionally dubious approach of having the federal government temporarily take over the steel factories. A couple months later, the US Supreme Court ruled that the president did not have the power to take such heavy-handed action without Congressional approval. Meanwhile, the Republican primary contest pitted veteran conservative Senator Robert Taft of Ohio against the relatively moderate General Dwight D. Eisenhower of Kansas. Eisenhower's popularity as a WWII hero helped him win the contest, but he had to choose the more right-wing Richard Nixon as a running-mate & make nice with Joe McCarthy in order to appease the party's conservative faction. Ike's moderate economic & foreign policy views nevertheless helped him prevail over erudite "egghead" Gov. Adlai Stevenson of Illinois in the general election. The episode concludes with a preview of the Eisenhower Administration's approach to maintaining the image of a placid & prosperous USA during the 1950s.
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