Two Coolidge carpet anecdotes

When Coolidge’s first cabinet appointee, Navy Secretary Curtis Wilbur, visited the White House and noticed Coolidge had chosen a new rug, one with an elephant displayed squarely in the centre, he asked “Mr. President, what will be done with this rug if they elect a Democrat?”

“Don’t elect Democrats,” Coolidge shot back.

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In her campaign to pester Coolidge into appointing a Chicagoan of Polish descent to a federal judgeship, Illinois Congresswoman Ruth Hanna McCormick once brought a group of Polish-Americans to visit the White House. The meeting didn’t go too well; the visitors didn’t really know what to say and Coolidge followed his usual policy of keeping as silent as possible while studying the floor. Finally he spoke: “Mighty fine carpet there.” His audience was relieved to hear the president converse and expressed their assent. “New one,” Coolidge added, “Cost a lot of money.” The group again nodded and smiled in agreement. Then Coolidge delivered the coup de grâce, pointing to the Congresswoman: “She wore out the old one trying to get you a judge,” thus ending the meeting.

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