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Repnow: The importance of measured words

By Staff | Feb 13, 2015

As President’s Day approaches, let us pause and think about words that have come from the White House. Every official word from the White House is carefully considered by the entire world and especially now when we can have news 24/7. There are decisions presidents have made that have forever changed the world. They could be as light hearted as president-elect Kennedy rejecting the wearing of a hat during his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961. This so-called minor decision was felt immediately by the brim of industry – and they have been napping ever since under a sluggish sombrero. Or maybe you were taken by the decision that President Obama had chosen a mica-clad coffee table and that he preferred a fruit arrangement on this table rather than a floral. That decision has made it much easier now to find plastic fruit again. (Although no Carmen Miranda signature fruit hats have been spotted in either house on Capitol Hill.) Can you recall which president did not like broccoli?

What about extraordinary presidential decisions that forever changed the world: Lincoln freeing the slaves, FDR sending destroyers to England, Truman deciding to use the atom bomb or JFK making a choice about Cuba. What pronounced presidential decision will you reflect upon this President’s Day? It is something to think about as presidents have led and shaped America ever since the country’s commencement – and some with astonishing leadership! The scope of presidential power and the policies of their administration extend beyond our 50 states: For example, Kennedy’s method of revealing to America and the world the importance of equilibrium and resolution in the nuclear age. Lincoln is remembered for writing the Emancipation Proclamation, but he should also be remembered for his admiration for the value of an education.

Please put on your thinking cap and recall some presidential decisions or inspirations that you admire or are simply interested in. Anyone recall Reagan’s comments on overreliance on the federal government? Or do you remember that he, too, liked having Lenox china trimmed in red and gold for use in the White House? (By the way, each place setting consisted of 19 pieces!!)

Gathered here is a collection of some of our presidents’ measured words. These quotes exhibit ideas that were important to them, struggles they endured, their sometimes wry sense of humor, the texture of their temper, and for sure, their personalities. May you have time to ponder on Feb. 16 these gems and more, and feel free to have the plastic fruit on the coffee table to start – and then halfway through, change it to the spring floral!

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” – Harry S. Truman

“I am part of everything I have read.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” – George W. Bush

“Being president is like running a cemetery; you’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening.” – Bill Clinton

“Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but to stand there and take it.” – Lyndon Johnson

“One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to do is supply light and not heat.” – Woodrow Wilson

“Old men declare war. But is it the youth that must fight and die.” – Herbert Hoover

“I bring to this great work a heart filled with love for my country and an honest desire to do what it right.” – Abraham Lincoln

“We become not a melting pot, but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes and different dreams.” – Jimmy Carter

“I conceive that a knowledge of books is the basis on which all other knowledge rests.” – George Washington

“I cannot live without books.” – Thomas Jefferson

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“What men owe to the love and help of good women can never be told.” – Calvin Coolidge

This recipe my mom received from her maid of honor, Vi Boreen-Carlson, at her bridal shower 63 years ago. She must have known that Marian was going to someday have a lot of apples to use. We most often served this plain, but it can be also presented with a warm butter sauce. This cake takes extra time, but it is well worth it. I am sure it would serve well on the mica-clad coffee table in the Oval Office or at your dining room table as you discuss great presidential decisions and quotes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan and set aside.

Bowl 1

1 cup of drained, chopped maraschino cherries

1 cup of chopped dates

1 cup of chopped walnuts

1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

Bowl 2

1 cup of light brown sugar

1/2 cup of butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Bowl 3

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Add as directed:

1 1/2 cups chunky applesauce

In a mixing bowl No. 1, combine drained, chopped maraschino cherries, chopped dates, chopped walnuts and 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour. Mix well enough to coat fruit and nuts in flour; set aside.

In bowl No. 2 which should be large, combine brown sugar and butter and cream until light. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly.

In mixing bowl No. 3, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.

Next, move bowl No. 2 back into main mixing position and add dry ingredients, alternately with applesauce, to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with dry mixture. Beat just enough to mix well, but don’t over beat. Add prepared fruit from bowl No. 1 which will also contain some extra flour to the batter and stir just enough to mix well. Pour into prepared Bundt pan and bake in oven for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.

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