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And Why, Pray Tell, Do You Want to Stop Me? drawing by Herbert Block, June 4, 1959

Lewis Strauss’ course through his confirmation hearings was erratic. As this cartoon illustrates, Strauss’ record as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, conflicts of interest, and evasive testimony damaged his standing in the eyes of the Senate. Strauss appears oblivious to his self-generated problems, asking “Why, pray tell, do you want to stop me?”

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

And Why, Pray Tell, Do You Want to Stop Me? drawing by Herbert Block, June 4, 1959

Congress Rejects Eisenhower’s Cabinet Nomination

President Dwight D. Eisenhower precipitated one of the most contentious confirmation hearings of the Cold War era when he nominated Edwin L. Strauss as secretary of Commerce in 1959. Strauss’ controversial decisions as the former head of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), his arrogance, and his condescending attitude toward members of the Senate during his confirmation hearings ultimately led the Senate to reject his confirmation on June 18, 1959.

I was impressed by Mr. Strauss in the first days of the hearing. . . . It was only after that he began to unfold the step-by-step evasion and snow us with words instead of direct answers to questions, and sometimes use downright deceit and falsehood, in reply to questions which had been asked.

Senator Gale W. McGee of Wyoming, Speech to the U.S. Senate, June 9, 1959