I adore this film. Michael Curtiz is one of my favorite directors, certainly of this period, and perhaps of all time. Having said that I'll try to be objective in my response to two of the three questions.
Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer.
Beginning the scene in the foyer of the White House and moving up the staircase to FDR's office focuses our attention on the grandeur of the White House. The shot stays fairly wide throughout, and we get the sense of the openness of the place. The portraits lining the stairs are of earlier presidents (Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, and Thomas Jefferson stand out to me.) who watch over the characters as they move past; certainly, that would be a comforting thought to Americans at the time that our forefathers watch and approve of the task we've undertaken. Patriotism and a positive sort of nationalism are evoked there. There's also the interesting contrast in costumes at the beginning of the scene. The valet's uniform is elaborate and calls back to an earlier period of formality and opulence when "gentlemen" had manservants in livery. Cohan, on the other hand, is dressed in a simple suit, one that could easily be a working man's Sunday best. Hard work and respect for authority and the solemnity of the moment are implied by that suit.
2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response.
There are two portions of dialogue that I'd like to highlight. The first is the valet's exchange with Cohan. They are discussing the fact that the valet served as valet to Theodore Roosevelt who got him tickets to see Cohan's production George Washington Jr.. He tells Cohan about seeing him sing "You're a Grand Old Flag" and how "Mr. Teddy used to sing it in his bathtub." There's an intimacy here between the personal and the public that's important. "You're a Grand Old Flag" is patriotic but not militaristic. It's about national ideals, not national power. That's the public part. The intimate part is the revelation that President Theodore Roosevelt would sing it in the bathtub. While perhaps meant as comedic (it is kind of funny to think of TR singing in the tub), that knowledge of TR's love of the song reveals that patriotism is with us even in our most vulnerable moments. The second exchange is between FDR and Cohan. FDR comments "That's one thing I’ve always loved about you Irish-Americans. You carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open. It’s a great quality.” There’s a certain irony to FDR’s comments as it wasn’t so long ago, in fact around the time that George M. Cohan’s father ran away to join the Union Army during the Civil War, that the Irish weren’t welcome as immigrants. In 1878 (the year Cohan was born) you might still see signs that say “Irish need not apply.” World War II will make for some dangerous times for immigrants; showing that immigrants are patriotic and true to their adopted nation could ease some of the potential tensions. It’s a piece of dialogue that includes everyone, native born and immigrant alike.