chapter  10
30 Pages

The Selling of A1 Smith

ByElisabeth Israels Perry

Mrs. Belle Moskowitz had been Al Smith’s tutor and mentor to an extraordinary degree. His labor program had been sound because Mrs. Moskowitz was thoughtful, well informed, and incisive. In a nation torn by such polarities of ideology and place, it is a wonder that Alfred E. Smith—urban, Catholic, and wet—received the presidential nomination of a major political party. It is an even greater wonder that his expert in public relations, Belle Moskowitz, thought he could win a national consensus. Moskowitz was in the thick of the 1924 contest. Both she and Smith felt that a convention in New York would not be to his advantage. By April 1928, Moskowitz’s operation had outgrown its quarters and moved to a six-room suite at the Biltmore. In addition to publicity work, Moskowitz also took part in strategy decisions. In Moskowitz’s view, a national news story she had sent out “would have been classed as propaganda and had no effect at all.”