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FDR and Fala, October 1944
Early in the presidential campaign of 1944, the Republicans attacked FDR for wasting thousands of dollars of much needed government money transporting his dog Fala with him as he traveled around the country. Roosevelt took the opportunity of a speech before a Teamsters Convention in Washington, D.C. to defend his dog and rebuff his critics.

There was little doubt that FDR would run for an unprecedented fourth term in 1944 even though he wrote the Democratic National Chairman that he did so "reluctantly" and as a "good soldier." The Democratic Convention in Chicago that summer overwhelmingly nominated the incumbent president. However, they rejected FDR's choice of Henry Wallace as his running mate and instead tapped Senator Harry Truman for the slot. Truman had gained national prominence as the head of a Senate Committee investigating government waste during the war.

The Republicans flirted with the thought of running General Douglas MacArthur as their candidate, but he withdrew his name from contention. They then turned to New York State Governor Thomas Dewey and awarded him all but one vote on the first ballot. Dewey attacked the Democrats' longevity in office saying they had "grown old in office" and had become "tired and quarrelsome."

Rumors spread during the campaign that FDR's failing health would not allow him to complete another term as President. We know today that Roosevelt's health was failing, but statements at the time from his personal physician disputed this. The doctor asserted that there was "nothing wrong organically with him at all...He's perfectly OK...The stories that he is in bad health are understandable enough around election time, but they are not true." Roosevelt easily won his fourth term but died less than three months after his inauguration.

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