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“I do not remember.”

September 23, 2013

The July 1952 Republican National Convention met in Chicago and nominated Dwight David Eisenhower for President.  In mid-July Eisenhower flew to Denver for campaign strategy meetings.  In the first volume of his memoirs, page 49, he wrote: “I have never been able in recent years to recall a single incident of the return journey, not even the method of travel.”

Now, why would Eisenhower mention such a trivial detail?  “…because I have often noticed in reading about investigations that the answer ‘I do not remember’ seems frequently to draw from the questioner exclamations of incredulity and pseudo-amazement, as well as insinuations that the witness in not telling the truth.”

During Eisenhower’s first term he worked behind the scenes to oppose the methods of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy.  Perhaps Ike was still thinking about the Army-McCarthy hearings when he wrote: “Since I am living testimony that the answer ‘I do not know’ is sometimes absolutely correct, even when referring to so important a detail as a journey of hundreds of miles during which there must have been important conferences, I have always felt sympathy for any badgered, truthful individual forced to give such a reply.”

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