‘When a Catholic terrified the heartland’
December 13, 2011
Robert Slayton, author of a biography of Al Smith, recounts instances of anti-Catholic prejudice encountered by Smith during his failed 1928 presidential campaign.
Opponents blanketed the country with photos of the recently completed Holland Tunnel, the caption stating that this was the secret passage being built between Rome and Washington, to transport the pope to his new abode. Countless copies of a small cartoon appeared on lampposts and mailboxes everywhere. Titled “Cabinet Meeting — If Al Were President,” it showed the cabinet room, with the pope seated at the head of the table, surrounded by priests and bishops. Over in the corner was Al Smith, dressed in a bellboy’s uniform, carrying a serving platter, on top of which was a jug of whiskey.