Interview with Seth Taft

After the first debate, that was the one at Alexander Hamilton on the east side, how did you feel after it was over? What was your assessment?


Oh, my assessment was not very comfortable. It was not, not a, uh, it was difficult. Carl did a much better job of introducing his family and, uh, yeah. Of course it was in a area where the audience was ninety percent pro-Stokes so that it was a, wasn't very easy for me to make any kind of a presentation. Anything I'd say they'd sort of get hooted down. So that it was a very uncomfortable situation. He's, he's very good on his feet. He's very articulate. He did a, uh, nice job of, uh, presenting the issues and, uh, uh, no. I did, I did not feel that, uh, I was any better off afterwards. Though I should say that early in the campaign, I had to be sure we had debates because he was the guy who was well known. Polls had shown in early spring that he would beat me three to one in a general election. By June it was down to two to one. Ah, by October it was about three to two in his favor. Ah, and I knew that I had no chance of success unless I got him on a debating platform. Not that I was such a great debater but I had to get that, that amount of attention. Now, I knew Carl well enough that I was pretty sure that I could challenge him in a way he wouldn't refuse, because this young whippersnapper isn't going to talk, say, "I'm afraid debate, to debate." It, and so our, our technique was to be sure that we got debates. And, uh, so I, a lot of places, I said, "This guy, uh, uh, hasn't got the nerve to stand up and, and debate the issues of this city."