Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Columnist Drew Pearson used his popular column and radio program to criticize many leading political figures, notably Sen. Joseph McCarthy. His allegations against Sen. Thomas Dodd of diverting campaign funds to personal use prompted the formation of the Senate Ethics Committee. Pearson was often controversial, and it was not always limited to words. An excerpt from the Post of June 19, 1952:
By George T. Draper
Columnist Drew Pearson yesterday stormed down to Municipal Court and swore out a warrant against Charles Patrick Clark, $75,000-a-year lobbyist for Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, charging assault.
The assault, according to Pearson, took place in the Mayflower Hotel lobby about 2:30 p.m. and consisted of one lightning left thrown by Clark which grazed the columnist's cheek and landed on his neck.
"At least the blows are getting a little higher," Pearson said later, referring to a 1950 encounter he had with Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.). Pearson has brought a $5,100,000 assault, libel and conspiracy suit against the senator, charging he was kicked in the groin.
Clark, the target of two recent Pearson columns, marched from the battleground to his plush airconditioned offices at the World Center Building and declared he had engaged in "a fight of honor."
"I'm sick and tired of your innuendos and untruths. I've come here to fight you -- a fight of honor. Get 'em up," Clark said he told Pearson as the columnist left a hotel restaurant.
Clark told reporters he then hit Pearson right on the eye with his left and added that "I should've let him have the right, too." However, Pearson said his injuries amounted to a small red spot on his neck and a slight soreness thereabouts.
Attorney George McNeil said he would present Clark in Municipal Court at 9:30 a.m. today in answer to the warrant for his arrest.
Pearson's attorney, William A. Roberts, will submit statements from witnesses, he said. McNeil said he would ask a continuance.
Clark said he told two men with Pearson the blow was struck "for General Vaughan, Senator Brewster and myself." Pearson said Clark shouted "take this one for what you did to Brewster."
The lobbyist, who said Franco raised his pay from $50,000 to $75,000 yearly last year, told reporters he was 44 and his "boudoir weight" was 180. Pearson weighed in at 175. He is 54.
Pearson's column, published in The Washington Post and other newspapers on June 14, charged Clark had turned up both in Spain and Venezuela in 1949 with Sen. Owen Brewster (R-Maine), defeated for renomination in Maine last Monday and Rep. Eugene J. Keogh (D-N.Y.).
The column said the Senator and Representative suddenly became interested in promoting Franco's cause and getting Marshall Plan and other financial aid for Spain.
Asserting United States foreign policy was actually being moulded by Washington lobbyists, Pearson wrote:
"One skillful lobbyist in particular, Charles Patrick Clark, has helped wangle money for Spain at a faster rate than Franco has been able to spend it."
Pearson told reporters Clark called his office last Friday and told his secretary that he would "get me if I wrote about Brewster."
Clark was former assistant counsel to the Truman Senate War Expenditures Investigating Committee and is known to be close to Maj. Gen. Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide.
This series is available at www.washingtonpost.com