Taft: Avoiding the Press

  • Stephen Ponder


William Howard Taft long has been regarded as among the twentieth century’s least successful presidents, despite an extensive public career that later included nearly ten years as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Taft was elected president in 1908 with broad electoral support and the enthusiastic backing of his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt. But when he sought reelection in 1912, he received only eight electoral votes and finished third in the popular vote behind the Democrat Woodrow Wilson and Roosevelt, who ran against his protégé as an independent Progressive candidate.


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  1. 1.
    On the contrasting philosophies of presidential leadership, see Donald E. Anderson, William Howard Taft: A Conservative’s Conception of the Presidency (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1973), 289–306,Google Scholar
  2. and Paolo E. Coletta, The Presidency of William Howard Taft (Lawrence, Kans.: University Press of Kansas, 1973).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    New York Times, 5 March 1913, cited in Henry F. Pringle, The Life and Times of William Howard Tafl, 2 vols. (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1939), 1:855.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The quotation is from George Kibbe Turner, “How Taft Views His Own Administration,” McClure’s 35 (June 1910): 221. Hilderbrand, Power and the People, 76–7.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    The quotation is from Edward G. Lowry “The White House Now,” Harper’s Weekly 53 (15 May 1909): 7.Google Scholar
  6. 30.
    The quotation is from Frances E. Leupp, “President Taft’s Own View: An Authorized Interview,” Outlook 99 (12 December 1911): 812.Google Scholar
  7. 49.
    J. Frederick Essary, “The Presidency and the Press,” Scrihner’s 27 (May 1935): 305–7.Google Scholar
  8. 57.
    “Washington: Gus J. Karger at the Helm of Taft Administration Publicity,” Editor and Publisher 10 (15 April 1911): 1. See also David Lawrence,”Shop Talk at Thirty,” Editor and Publisher 11 (21 May 1944): 64, and Essary, Covering Washington, 88, 98.Google Scholar

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© Stephen Ponder 1998

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  • Stephen Ponder

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