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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

In the course of an address in Jersey City in 1939 Mayor Hague had occasion to compare two Republican leaders, the Reverend Doctor Lester H. Clee and former Governor Hoffman. He made some remarks about the impractical nature of such reformers as Doctor Clee, but of Mr. Hoffman he said, feelingly, `That little fellow, he's a million.'

Not since his speech to the legislature in 1935 has Harold Hoffman discussed his conception of leadership in representative government; nor has he denounced Mayor Hague. Late in January, 1940, he announced that he was going to run for governor to silence the charges made by other Republicans of 'Hague-Hoffmanism,' a statement that appears to be as neat a non sequitur as could be wished. At a birthday dinner in his honor in New York in February he said that `Mayor Hague has done some things for which I admire him. I shall go along with Hague when I think he is right; I will fight him when I think he is wrong.' The admitted willingness to `go along with Hague' under certain circumstances may be an indication of the nature of the understanding: no hard-and-fast alliance exists, but rather there is a treaty of friendship and consultation under which any matter in which either is interested may be brought up for consideration and possible co-operation.

The newspapers reported, incidentally, a curious list of guests at that birthday dinner to a Republican leader. Among several hundred Democrats appeared Frank Hague Eggers, the Mayor's nephew and secretary; Judge Louis N. Paladeau, his legislative agent; Colonel Hugh Kelly, Governor Moore's secretary; Arthur Potterton, Jersey City commissioner, and Bernard Lamb, state finance commissioner under both Hoffman and Moore. Mr. Lamb announced during the evening that he would, if requested, undertake to manage Hoffman's new campaign.


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