In autumn 1944 Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential campaign was losing momentum. Then, in Congressional debate, U. S. Representative Harold Knutson of Minnesota accused Roosevelt of extravagance, claiming he sent a Navy destroyer to the Aleutian Islands to retrieve his Scottish terrier. FDR parried these charges with "the Fala speech," a mocking and acerbic attack on Republicans ("No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala") that reenergized his campaign. "The Fala speech" also indirectly rescued Richard Nixon. Under attack in the 1952 campaign, Nixon saved his vice presidential aspirations and political career with the "Checkers" address. However, the origin of "Checkers" in FDR’s "Fala Speech" has been ignored. These rhetorical rescues offer insight into banality and pathos in political rhetoric.
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"Paws, Pathos and Presidential Persuasion: Franklin Roosevelt’s "Fala Speech" as Precursor and Model for Richard Nixon's "Checkers Speech","
Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Journal: Vol. 37
, Article 5.
Available at: https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/ctamj/vol37/iss1/5