References to Fala continue to be found in the modern media. The latest is this Businessweek story about pets in presidential politics (think President Obama’s Portuguese water dog Bo and Mitt Romney’s former car-roof-riding pet Seamus).
The magazine’s Julianna Goldman writes:
Dogs have played a significant role in presidential culture, helping to humanize the nation’s top executive for people by making him seem more like themselves or their neighbors. They also serve as best buds: former President Harry Truman, who had Feller, a cocker spaniel, stated: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniel, Millie, was the first presidential pet to write a book. Richard Nixon had King Timahoe, an Irish setter. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had Fala, a Scottish terrier he defended against a Republican attack in the 1944 “Fala Speech,” saying: “These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or on my wife or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala.”
“It creates the picture of the family man who has a pet and is kind and gentle,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian. “The contrast being made is that Romney is a rather stiff-back, harsh character, and he made the dog ride on the roof of his car.”
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