RNC Attacks Bo the Obama Dog? Time to Take a Page from FDR

The president should look once again to FDR.


By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

The RNC has gone to the dogs. Or rather gone after the dog. In a new Web video released today satirizing the well-known Visa card commercials, the RNC tasks President Obama with using $2,000 in taxpayer funds to purchase his "new best friend": Bo the dog.

(Seriously? $2,000? Apparently so. That's nuts.)

Anyway, given his well-known affinity for Franklin D. Roosevelt, this seems like a logical opportunity for the president to take a page from FDR's playbook.

Recall that in 1944, Republicans accused Roosevelt of having sent a destroyer to pick up his dog Fala after he had been left behind on a trip to the Aleutian Islands. (For the record: The dog wasn't left and the destroyer wasn't turned around.)

As William Safire notes in his invaluable Political Dictionary, "More factual policy charges were being made but FDR seized on this one to ridicule and cast doubt on all the others."

Kicking off his campaign in a speech before the Teamsters on September 23 (you read that right—he started his campaign in late September), FDR memorably said:

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them. You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I had left him behind on the Aleutian Islands and had sent a destroyer back to find him ... his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since. I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself ... But I think I have a right to resent, to object to libelous statements about my dog.

Let's see if BHO follows FDR in defending his d-o-g.

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