Taft, Roosevelt, and the Fall Campaign


 “He Needs To Be”
  Cartoonist:  William Allen Rogers
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   October 10, 1908, p. 3

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
President Theodore Roosevelt played a crucial role in the nomination and election of his successor, William Howard Taft. Although Roosevelt was a popular president, this cartoon reflects the opinion held by some political observers that he was a burden to Taft in the fall campaign.

Roosevelt edited Taft’s formal acceptance speech of July 28, and led the vocal charge against Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan in August while the GOP nominee avoided the press and public. The president sent a steady flow of letters admonishing Taft to be aggressive. “Do not answer Bryan, attack him! Don’t let him make the issues… Hit them hard, old man!” A popular joke of the campaign was that “T.A.F.T” was an acronym for “Take Advice from Theodore.” During the Standard Oil scandal late in the campaign, a hostile exchange between Bryan and Roosevelt made headlines for several weeks. However, on September 23, Taft took center stage from the president by embarking on the first of two national campaign tours, during which he traveled 18,000 miles and delivered 400 speeches.













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