Oct. 19, 1947: Times Political Editor Kyle Palmer Waves the Banner for Earl Warren


L.A. Times, 1947
L.A. Times, 1947 Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.

RIVERSIDE, Oct. 18.—Gov. Earl Warren was formally and officially called on here today by the executive committee of the California Republican State Central Committee to become a candidate for president of the United States.

Resolutions urging Warren to consent to the selection of the delegates pledged to place him in nomination at the GOP convention in Philadelphia June 20, 1948, were adopted without a dissenting vote.

Earlier in the day the candidates and fact-finding committee of the California Republican Assembly, meeting in Riverside’s Mission Inn coincidentally with the executive committee session, adopted a similar resolution…..

L.A. Times, 1947

Time was when the weather of national politics could accurately be determined by the political barometer of Maine.

Now by common consent top strategists among Republicans and Democrats are proceeding on a theory that the next president of the United States must carry California and most if not all the other Pacific Coast and Western States in the 1948 elections.

Thus, as the predetermined field where the decisive battles of the presidential campaign will be fought, the entire West assumes unprecedented importance in the calculations of the opposing political camps.

Thus, Earl Warren, twice elected governor of California, Republican keynoter in 1944, will be a major factor in next year’s contest for the presidency, whether as a potential or actual SOP nominee or as a powerful influence in the final election.


Kyle Palmer was an institution at The Times for many years, the embodiment of a reporter as backstage powerbroker and kingmaker, and his front-page story and opinion column were the opening salvos of his campaign to put Warren in the White House.

An ardent Republican at an ardently Republican paper, Palmer not only covered the 1948 Republican convention, he played a key role during 12 hours of negotiations in which Warren was accepted as the vice presidential candidate for nominee Thomas E. Dewey.

Raymond Moley wrote on July 3, 1948: “Throughout the proceedings [in which Warren was selected as vice presidential candidate] which ended in the nomination Friday, Palmer was a major figure. He had the full confidence of both Dewey and Warren, although he represented neither. But Palmer was in a position to say positively that although Warren was not a candidate he would allow his name to go before the convention—if that were the wish of Dewey and if it met the approval of the party leaders.

“Palmer was the chief source of information about the California governor and according to those present, his lucid and objective description convinced the conferees that they had found their man.”

On the eve of the election, Palmer predicted a comfortable victory for Dewey and Warren: 33 to 37 states, with Truman taking 2 to 4 states outside the South. Of course, Palmer wasn’t alone (remember a certain famous headline in a certain Midwest newspaper?)

In his post-election column, he said: “President Truman himself is virtually the only American who, with good grace and persuasive logic, can lean back, smile and say: ‘I told you so.’ ”

Shortly before his death from leukemia in 1962, Palmer devoted a column glowing with adulation to Richard Nixon, who had stalked off the national stage after losing the presidency to John F. Kennedy.

He said: “What political fate holds for Dick Nixon is not clear, but the likeliest immediate turn of fate is a candidacy for governor in the crucial year of 1962.”

Nixon returned from his gubernatorial campaign in Santa Rosa to attend Palmer’s funeral and served as a pallbearer. He said: “In my entire political experience I have never known a man who had more superb political judgment than Kyle Palmer. His counsel and friendship were invaluable to me in my campaigns and in my years in Washington.

“But I was even more fortunate, particularly in the last months of his life, to know him on an intimate, personal basis. He was one of the kindest, wisest and most generous men I have ever met.

“I have seen many brave men in my life, but no man ever displayed greater courage in the face of what he knew was a losing battle for his life than Kyle Palmer. His magnificent courage [he underwent more than 100 blood transfusions during treatment for leukemia] will be an inspiration for all who were privileged to know him during this period.”

Bonus factoids: Truman’s vice president was Sen. Alben Barkley of Kentucky. They carried 27 states, while the Dewey-Warren ticket carried 15. (303-189 in the Electoral College). The Democrats finished with a 93-seat majority in the house and 12-seat majority in the Senate.

Quote of the day: “When the lights went on and Coffyhead looked into four automatics, he turned a deep purple.”

Dick Tracy, on the death of archfiend Coffyhead.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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