Concession Speech 101
November 4, 2008 2 Comments
At this moment, political candidates across the nation are facing the prospect of embarrassedly facing their supporters and admitting they blew it. At such times, it’s best to remember the words of twice-failed candidate Adlai Stevenson upon being taken out by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The HISTORY CHANNEL brings us this touching tale.
Adlai Stevenson was a popular governor of Illinois, a two‐time Democratic nominee for president, and, eventually, the US ambassador to the United Nations. After losing the 1952 presidential election to Dwight Eisenhower, Stevenson made this brief concession speech. He is gracious in defeat, but also honest about the pain of losing.
I have a statement I should like to make. If I may, I shall read it to you.
My fellow citizens have made their choice and have selected General Eisenhower and the Republican party as the instruments of their will for the next four years.
The people have rendered their verdict, and I gladly accept it.
General Eisenhower has been a great leader in war. He has been a vigorous and valiant opponent in the campaign. These qualities will now be dedicated to leading us all through the next four years.
It is traditionally American to fight hard before an election. It is equally traditional to close ranks as soon as the people have spoken.
From the depths of my heart I thank all of my party and all of those independents and Republicans who supported Senator Sparkman and me.
That which unites us as American citizens is far greater than that which divides us as political parties.
I urge you all to give General Eisenhower the support he will need to carry out the great tasks that lie before him.
I pledge him mine.
We vote as many, but we pray as one. With a united people, with faith in democracy, with common concern for others less fortunate around the globe, we shall move forward with God’s guidance toward the time when his children shall grow in freedom and dignity in a world at peace.
I have sent the following telegram to general Eisenhower at the Commodore Hotel in New York:‘The people have made their choice and I congratulate you. That you may be the servant and guardian of peace and make the vale of trouble a door of hope is my earnest prayer. Best wishes, Adlai E Stevenson.’
Someone asked me, as I came in, down on the street, how I felt, and I was reminded of a story that a fellow townsman of ours used to tell – Abraham Lincoln. They asked him how he felt once after an unsuccessful election. He said he felt like a little boy who had stubbed his toe in the dark. He said that he was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.