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  The Story Behind "Dewey Defeats Truman"
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DescriptionThe 1948 presidential election campaign was a hard fight for Truman. By traveling thousands of miles, Harry Truman talked and spoke to many people. He spoke out his feelings on the issues rather than double talk his way out of giving a direct answer. The people that listened to him started the now famous phrase "Give 'em Hell, Harry". Harry Truman said he was just telling the truth. More and more people began to come out to listen to his speeches. The famous "whistle stop" campaign drew the farmers and small town people out by the thousands. The Democrats were so badly split that they didn't think Truman had a chance against Dewey. There was very little money behind Truman.

Tuesday, November 2, 1948, Truman and his family voted in Independence, Missouri. Later he went to Excelsior Springs, Missouri and spent the evening at the then famous Elms Hotel waiting for election returns. He retired early and not knowing that history was about to be made in the form of a headline in a newspaper being printed about the outcome of the election -- "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN".

There were many factors involved in producing this error edition. Returns were coming in slow and they were running out of time before the printing deadline. The staff, based on early returns, "felt" Dewey would win. In addition, many of the regular Chicago Daily Tribune staff were out on strike so inexperienced people were setting the type. They did the front page, and portions of a few others, on a typewriter. Rather than erasing typos or incorrect numbers, they simply "x"ed them out with the "x" key on the typewriter. In the far right hand column, there are even 5 lines of type upside down! All issues went out this way.
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