Posts Tagged ‘FDR’


How to Become President: Chapter 3

August 1, 2009


IF a woman isn’t qualified to be President, why is it you never see anything but pants on scarecrows?

Personally, I think that now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of a certain little party. After all, Mr. Roosevelt has been President for eight years, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind getting up and giving his seat to a lady. That old saying about not changing horses in the middle of the stream is ridiculous, when you remember that people have been changing babies in the middle of the afternoon for years and everybody takes it for granted.

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How to Become President: Chapter 1

June 1, 2009



Draw up a polling booth.

Or better still, sit on my lap. There, isn’t that nicer? If anybody objects we’ll tell them it’s just Progressive Education. And now, unless you think of a better idea, I will tell you how to become President long after Mr. Roosevelt is forgotten. Not before.

Who am I to talk? That’s a fair question, and one which deserves a better answer than I can give you. But after all, you know, Frank Kent says, “The Democratic Party has no suitable candidate.” Walter Lippmann says, “The Republican Party has no suitable candidate.” Dewey, McNutt, Taft, Garner, Vandenberg, Farley and Norman Thomas all say, “Nuts,” which of course nominates me by acclamation.

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NPR Remembers Gracie’s Presidential Run

April 25, 2009


In 1940, the United States was just emerging from the shadow of the Great Depression and war loomed in Europe.

Into these serious times stepped Gracie Allen, part of the popular comic duo Burns and Allen, who launched a campaign for president.

Allen’s Surprise Party began as a publicity stunt, but during a whistle-stop tour across the country the campaign took on a life of its own.

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Gracie for President 1940

April 2, 2009

4presGracie Allen, the female half of the runaway comedy team of Burns and Allen, announced one March evening over the radio her intention to compete for the presidency at the head of a new third party, the “Surprise Party.” Why the Surprise Party? As Gracie later explained, her mother was a Democrat, her father a Republican, and Gracie had been born a Surprise.

Gracie’s presidential bid had originally been conceived as a simple radio gimmick with the expectation of a short half-life. George Burns later recalled its moment of birth: “Gracie and I were at home in Beverly Hills with our children [when she] suddenly remarked, ‘I’m tired of knitting this sweater. I think I’ll run for president this year.'”

The idea wasn’t particularly new. Other radio personalities, notably Eddie Cantor and Will Rogers, had made slapstick runs in the direction of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Gracie’s unique campaign, however, acquired a unique momentum.

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