February 9: Time to Wake Up Taft

This article is from the archive of our partner .

After weeks of excitement for Theodore Roosevelt and drama over Robert La Follette and Woodrow Wilson, the Taft campaign finally gets underway. Luckily, the President has a rich brother to pay for it. (Click here for an introduction to The 1912 Project; click here for previous installments.)

Taft Wakes Up For the last few weeks the names dominating the coverage of the presidential campaign -- Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Robert La Follette -- have not included the President. With primary season under way, the renomination of President Taft has not looked like a certainty. Well, not to most. The Los Angeles Times editorialized on Monday under the headline "A TAFT CERTAINTY," that "Within the last month the Republican current has from every quarter set strongly in the direction of the renomination." But as far away as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the outlook is decidely more bleak: The Daily Phoenix's update on Tuesday on the American presidential race lead with the "Roosevelt boom," giving second mention to the fact that "Taft men are waking up" -- the problem is that no one knows how great their boss has been.

Today comes the first big effort to whip up the Taft boom: news that he's opening a campaign headquarters in Washington D.C. The news makes the front page of The Atlanta Constitution under the booming headline: "TAFT TO FIGHT; HE GIVES ORDERS TO BEGIN BATTLE; President at Last Awakes to Fact That He Must Fight for Renomination." It's mostly a symbolic move, as the coverage in The New York Times does not tell us much about this headquarters, but explains the decision to establish a D.C. headquarters "means that from now on an increasing aggressive campaign will be fought for the Presidency, and it indicates the encouragement that has come to the Taft forces the last few weeks." But those encouragements have apparently not come with campaign donations: "A question that has confronted the Taft supporters so far has been one of ways and means." It seems Roosevelt has locked up the Wall Street donors because the Taft Administration alienated them with prosecutions. Luckily, though, The Times writes, "Mr. Taft's brother, Charles P. Taft, paid most of the expenses before, and may be doing so again."

All in all, the President sounds a little offended at having to work so hard to get a second term:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.