Warren agreed to the plan since as the Favorite Son of CA, by tradition, he held all 70 delegates unless he released them. Nixon seemed content that he did the best he could for Ike with the CA delegation. However, Nixon did all he could to rain on Warren’s parade, issuing a mailer that stated that Warren had no chance of winning the nomination while also pointing out that the only candidates that had a chance were Ike and Taft. At the last minute, a few delegates were replaced, and they were pro-Nixon; even Kyle Palmer became irritated with Nixon and his tactics.
Ike played the “Boss Card”, stating that Americans were sick of political bosses, and that Taft’s Inside Game was the epitome of the Boss system, meaning that Taft was trying to thwart the will of the people. Nixon was on the Platform Committee, and he chimed in saying that if Taft was nominated, he would be a sure loser to the Democratic candidate. Nixon was not alone believing that the Republicans needed a hero like Ike to get as many voters as possible to vote the GOP ticket.
Nixon then left Chicago and joined the CA delegation so he could enter Chicago with them for the start of the convention. As the train continued east, Nixon’s men kept telling delegates that if they believed that Warren could keep Ike from a 1st ballot victory, they were living in a fantasy land. The Nixon folks kept at it, saying that it would be wise to support Ike so CA wouldn’t be left out in the cold, politically speaking. Warren was furious at Nixon’s attempt to recruit delegates for Ike under his nose, and it became known as the “Great Train Robbery”, which added support for Ike at Warren’s expense.
The Taft GOP Old Guard steamroller became stalled, and then it was too late when Warren figured out what really happened, that Nixon had sold out Warren to advance Ike’s nomination. Warren and Senator William Knowland (R; CA) were beyond-bitter; a seething Warren sent a mutual friend to Ike to express his extreme displeasure at having an Eisenhower spy in their midst. But Ike didn’t need the CA delegation in order to win the nomination, and he basically ignored Warren while also telling him, via intermediaries, that Nixon looked good for VP.
Warren eventually saw (and rued) his folly, in that by focusing on Taft he had not only hurt himself, but also advanced the cause for Ike and Nixon; from that day on, Warren’s hate for Nixon was epic. Ike let Warren have his moment with the CA delegation, letting all 70 vote for their Favorite Son. Ike could do so since he knew that Warren Burger, a Stassen man, had succeeded in switching the Minnesota delegation to put Ike over the top for the nomination.
Given how often a Vice-President became President, it was odd that Ike didn’t give much thought to his running mate. Since Martin Van Buren in 1836, the Vice-Presidency had become a political Boot Hill unless there was a death in office (George H.W. Bush in 1988 was the first sitting Vice-President since MVB to win a Presidential Election). What Ike et al wanted was for the General to take the high road, and the VP candidate (Nixon?) would be the campaign’s attacking pit bull. Chotiner advised Nixon to take the VP if offered, arguing that the worst thing that would happen was that Nixon would have four more years of his term as Senator if Ike lost the election. Shortly after Ike was nominated as President, Nixon was nominated as VP by acclamation.
By the General Campaign of 1952, Nixon had nailed four political scalps to his wall: Voorhis, Hiss, Gahagan Douglas, and Warren . . . and Nixon had his sights on a fifth, Adlai Stevenson, the nominee of the Democrats. Nixon was eager to go after Stevenson in part because he had been a character witness for Alger Hiss during the HUAC hearings in the late-1940s. With the blessing of Ike’s inner circle, Nixon et al compiled information in a file called “Stevenson’s Communist Affiliations”. Nixon refused to use any personal information that was gained (e.g. the possibility that Stevenson was a homosexual). In the years that followed, Nixon developed an intense hatred for Stevenson, who to Nixon was the epitome of the liberal intellectual elites that had a condescending attitude to any politician that they considered below their level/status. Also, Nixon hated it that Stevenson was a political messiah to the Georgetown Set in DC as well as the Ivy Leaguers. Nixon saw Stevenson as all veneer and no substance; in essence, without even knowing it, Nixon was perhaps triple-dog-daring his political foes to strike.