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book review

‘Just Plain Dick’ by Kevin Mattson

During the 1944 presidential campaign, Franklin Roosevelt made a speech in which he referred to Republican attacks on his dog, Fala. “Well, of course, I don’t resent attacks, and my family don’t resent attacks — but Fala does resent them,” FDR said, eliciting much laughter from the press. So effective was the president’s sly use of his pet that his opponent Thomas Dewey felt forced to respond to it in a speech.

A young Richard Nixon is said to have filed the incident away in his phenomenal political memory, and he eventually found a time to employ a variation of the technique.

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