That’s actually almost certainly from President Gerald Ford’s administration. He asked Americans to “Whip Inflation Now" ("WIN") - calling on individuals to do their part with responsible saving and spending to combat inflation and a rise in the cost of living. He encouraged people to wear "WIN" buttons to show their support for the initiative. Big shock: it didn’t work and people just made fun of the whole idea.
I went antiquing today (despite the snow) and found this campaign button. I like its directness.
Here are all the articles you could ever want on the history of the presidential turkey pardon. Until next year!
Theodore Roosevelt reading aboard the Imperator, returning from Europe, 1914
Roosevelt was a lifelong prodigious reader. In her new book, The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin writes about William Howard Taft’s amazement at Roosevelt’s ability to find time to read: “He always carried a book with him to the Executive Office, and though there were but few intervals during the business hours, he made the most of them in his reading,” Taft said. Charles Washburn, a classmate of Roosevelt’s from Harvard, remembered, “If he were reading, the house might fall about his head, he could not be diverted.”
Roosevelt himself wrote to his parents during his freshman year at college: “My library has been the greatest possible pleasure to me, as whenever I have any spare time I can immediately take up a book.”
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division (Flickr)
Stupid sexy Taft …
A few months ago I drew a sexy George Washington. My friend liked it so much I decided to draw her a sexy Taft today.
President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list" of political opponents became public knowledge during the Watergate hearings. Nixon Counsel and soon-to-be-convicted-felon John Dean said the purpose was to figure out “how we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”
There were 20 names in the original 1971 memo, compiled by White House special counsel Charles Colson, but a larger list was later developed, naming everyone from senators to journalists to celebrities to … well, it was a long list, let’s just say.
Soon, appearing on the list became a badge of honor for those named. And for those not on the list? “I would almost have preferred a vindictive tax audit to that kind of crippling exclusion,” said Hunter S. Thompson, in The Great Shark Hunt.
Teddy Roosevelt speaks at the 1902 Charleston South Carolina Exposition
” … and in England, health care is free at the point of service.”
Ronald Reagan laughs at a joke made by Queen Elizabeth II during a state dinner, 1983.
"God Knows" Taft
In January of 1908, before he was officially a candidate for the presidency, then-Secretary of War William Howard Taft took questions after an address at Cooper Union in New York City. One man reportedly asked: “What do you advise a workingman to do who is out of a job and whose family is starving because he can’t get work?”
To which Taft is said to have replied: “God knows. If he cannot get work the charities of the country may be appealed to, but it is an awful thing when a man who is willing to work and who scorns the charity of any man is put in this condition.” The exact wording remains unclear. The question and answer do not appear in a New York Times article detailing the event, but they do in another account in Robert Lee Dunn’s William Howard Taft, American. But other questions that appear in both (notably one regarding Brownsville) are transcribed differently.
(Interestingly, in Paul F. Boller’s Presidential Anecdotes, there’s another version of the story altogether that takes place after Taft’s election. Here, Taft replies “God knows” to a reporter, who, “referring to the hard times following the Panic of 1907, asked him what would be the outcome of high unemployment.” This seems unlikely, since it was already a “thing” in May, months before the GOP convention, where Taft would be nominated.)
"God knows" stuck with Taft and he was ridiculed for what seemed like an insensitive remark at the expense of the working class. He was disparagingly referred to as "God Knows" Taft during the 1908 presidential election, and the Socialist Party newspaper, Appeal to Reason, printed buttons with Taft’s face and quote in support of Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs.
Sorry, that was only supposed to be a paragraph but it got a little lengthy as I tried to track down that quote!
Presidential Anecdotes by Paul F. Boller
Great Presidential Wit by Bob Dole
William Howard Taft, American by Robert Lee Dunn
Los Angeles Herald, Volume 36, Number 29, 30 October 1908
New York Times, January 11, 1908
Los Angeles Herald, Volume 35, Number 224, 13 May 1908