How to Become President: Chapter 4

September 1, 2009


YOU remember me. I’m Gracie Allen. I’m the candidate who forgot to take off her hat before she threw it in the ring.

Furthermore, I’m the only candidate who got the idea of running myself. All the others had to have somebody else think it up for them, or anyway they say the only reason they’re running is because their many friends kept after them and after them until they finally gave in.

Personally, I think they just wanted to be coaxed.

But no matter what people say about them, or what they say about each other, candidates are human beings, and we need them.

If you didn’t have any candidates you wouldn’t have public officials. And if you didn’t have public officials you wouldn’t have any cornerstone layings, you wouldn’t have any buildings. And if you didn’t have any buildings, what would you park in front of?

So try to understand them. Try to understand me. Nothing is impossible.

Columbus made an egg stand on end. People thought it was a yolk when he sat down to play with it. But where would we be today if Columbus had failed? He wouldn’t have gotten a sponsor and gone on tour, thereby discovering America.

And all the people that make American flags for George M. Cohan would be out of work. So would George M. Cohan.


Are there any other questions? Are there any answers at all?

All right then, let us proceed.

Some people just naturally attract no more attention than the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. Others start as a mere Alderman’s toothpick and end up as Presidential timber. It’s all in your approach, so spend a little more time on your wood shots.

Many candidates begin life as reformers. First they promote a little reform, then a medium reform, and then a great big reform. What they really need is chloroform, though this condition can be relieved by taking a couple of aspirants in a half-glass of water.

Others bust up rackets, and without mentioning any names, I wish they’d come out of the clouds and do something practical about my neighor’s radio. Still others first attract public notice because they forget that only tweed suits should be worn with dandruff.

Being very shy by nature, I was all at sevens and elevens as to just how I should announce my own candidacy. I finally decided on a campaign song, and if you’re sure you feel all right, I’ll sing it for you. It was written for me by Charlie Henderson. And then he wrote “How to Sing for Money,” which I still think should have been called “How to Vote for Money,” on account of because so many more people are interested in that right now.

I’ll sing the first chorus myself so you can can get the tune.

Vote for Gracie,
Vote for Gracie,
She’s the best little skipper in the land.
Vote for Gracie,
Vote for Gracie,
Won’t you please give this little girl a hand?
Even big politicians don’t know what to do,
Gracie doesn’t know either, but neither do you,
So vote for Gracie,
I don’t mean Saks or Macy,
And for a thrill that’s new
I’ll tell you what to do,

VOTE FOR GRACIE, and she’ll shake hands with you.

Come on, now. Everybody! Stand up and sing the second chorus.

Vote for Gracie,*
Vote for Gracie,
If the country’s going Gracie,† so can you.
Vote for Gracie,
Vote for Gracie,
Uncle Sam, let me paddle your canoe.
I’m just like Joan of Arc–I hear Destiny call.
It’s a call to the ball park to throw out the ball,
So vote for Gracie
To win the Presidential racie
A hundred million strong.
That’s right, you can’t go wrong.


Mr. Henderson can be rented for private parties. Let him write your campaign song, too. Just give him the melody and lyric, and he does all the rest. Two flights up, two dollars down, and tell him Gracie sent you.

* The song “VOTE FOR GRACIE” is used by permission of the copyright owner, Charles Henderson. This is not a gag.† Pun. Going Gracie…going crazy. This is a gag. My sister Bessie made it up.


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  1. Hey folks, I happened upon your site while researching background for a book about Burns and Allen and other old time radio couples who were married both on the air and in real life. I’m thrilled to find the words to “Vote for Gracie,” which I’ve found mentioned in several other places. Is the rest of this Gracie page taken from a book or other publication that came out with Gracie’s byline? If it’s in the public domain, I’d like to use a portion of it.

    • This is a chapter from a book that was published at the time of Gracie’s campaign. To my knowledge the copyright has not been renewed and no new editions have appeared. Feel free to us what portions you would like.

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