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Grover Cleveland

In 1884 Grover Cleveland was running against James G. Blaine for the presidency of the U.S. Blaine supporters discovered that Cleveland, who was a bachelor at the time, had fathered a son by Mrs. Maria Crofts Halpin, an attractive widow who had been on friendly terms with several politicians. Subsequently, Republicans tried to pin an immorality tag on Democrat Cleveland by distributing handbills showing an infant labeled “One more vote for Cleveland” and by having paraders chant, “Ma, Ma, where’s my pa? Gone to the White House, Ha, Ha, Ha!”

The move, however, backfired badly. Rather than deny the story, Cleveland decided to tell the truth and admit the intimacy. This candor helped defuse the issue, and Cleveland was elected president.

From the Book of Lists, #2, p. 35