TWENTY-TWO

Grover Cleveland
1885-89 1893-97

Seconding the nomination of the short and chubby Grover Cleveland ( 1837-1908) for President at the Democratic convention in June 1884, General Edward S. Bragg cried: "They love Cleveland for his character, but they love him also for the enemies he has made!"1 What kind of enemies? Corrupt politicians in Buffalo, for one. As Mayor of that city, Cleveland had turned down so many crooked appropriation measures proposed by the city council that he came to be known as the "veto mayor" and as "His Obstinacy, Grover of Buffalo." Tammany Hall spoilsmen, for another. As Governor of New York, the "buxom Buffalonian" (who loved his food and beer) refused to accept bills passed by the state legislature to benefit Tammany's friends, handing down one veto after another from his desk in Albany.

Cleveland was called "ugly-honest," that is, truculently honest. When people coming to Albany seeking favors began whispering to him, he would answer them in a loud voice that everyone around could hear. And when an office-seeker whined, "Don't I deserve it for my party work?" Cleveland would say coldly, "I don't know that I understand you."2 His "you-be-damnedness" became famous. 3 So did his hard work. One newsman sighed that Governor Cleveland "remains within doors constantly, eats and works, eats and works, and works and eats." 4 Once someone asked Samuel J. Tilden, "What sort of man is this Cleveland?""Oh," said Tilden in his squeaky

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