Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today -100: April 26, 1912: Sometimes a man in a corner fights

Taft made several campaign speeches in Massachusetts, going negative on Roosevelt, reluctantly, or so he claims: “This wrenches my soul... I do not want to fight Theodore Roosevelt, but then sometimes a man in a corner fights.” Roosevelt, he says, can’t be trusted because he promised never to run for president again (which is arguable), and that if he considers himself so indispensable now, he might continue to do so and can’t “safely be intrusted with successive presidential terms.” He complains about TR’s “appeals to discontent and class hatred” and accuses him of distorting Taft’s words and taking them out of context. He says that if there was fraud in the NY primaries as Roosevelt says, the courts are open to him to seek redress. He also denies Roosevelt’s attempts to link him with the corruptly elected Sen. Lorimer of Illinois, TR’s charges that his supporters have been fired from patronage jobs (they have), and other charges, in a point-by-point rebuttal.

Taft also gave an address to a dinner of newspaper publishers, by telephone (they were in NY, he was in Boston). They each had to listen on their own receiver. Also addressing them telephonically were the prime minister of Canada, the actor Lewis Waller, who read Kipling’s “If” to them, and José Collins, who sang to them, and a couple of women whose phone conversation leaked through the line while the prime minister was trying to speak.

Another Republican convention, another fight. In Pulaski County, Arkansas (which includes Little Rock). The nephew of the chairman of the county Republican organization was hit over the head with a tomato can by one of the Roosevelt supporters trying to gain admission to the convention. This was followed by a general melee.

Venice inaugurates the Campanile of San Marco. I had no idea that the current Campanile was a replica (the old one fell down in 1902), only a couple of years older than the replica on the UC Berkeley campus.

Titanic Butt Headline of the Day -100: “Students to Honor Butt.” Oh, Titanic Butt headlines, how we’ve missed you! (Elsewhere in the paper, a near miss for another Titanic Butt Headline when Taft sends an army major to Halifax to look at the recovered bodies and see if one of them is Maj. Butt: “Taft Orders a Search.” They could have gone with “Taft Orders a Search for Butt,” but no.)

Love Story or Whatever of The Day -100: A German dude, J. Paul Schabert, in Reno to get a divorce, hears that his wife was on the Titanic and was rescued, abandons his divorce suit and races to New York where they are reconciled.

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