FDR opens campaign for fourth term with hilarious ‘Fala’ speech 70 years ago this hour (Sep 23 1944)

Video: 'FDR's Fala Speech Restored'

(Saturday, September 23, 1944, 9:31 p.m. EWT; during World War II) — U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt opened his campaign for a fourth term tonight, derisively defending Fala, his black Scottie dog, against a Republican political attack.

In a speech to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, FDR addressed accusations that he had mistakenly left his beloved terrier behind during a visit to the Aleutian Islands in 1943, after their recapture from the Japanese. Opponents alleged that FDR had dispatched a destroyer to bring the dog back.

Amid laughter, the president 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 — at a cost to the taxpayers of 2 or 3 or 8 or $20 million — his Scotch soul was furious. He has not been the same dog since.

“I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself — such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent [and] object to libelous statements about my dog.”

Video: 'FDR's "Fala Speech" to the Teamsters, 1944'

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