Button Questions: Wendell Willkie And Spinach : It's All Politics A question about a campaign button used by Wendell Willkie against President Roosevelt in 1940.
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Button Questions: Wendell Willkie And Spinach

Starting today, I'm going to add a semi-regular feature of questions and comments I've been getting about the various campaign buttons I use for this Political Junkie blog or about campaign buttons in general. Here's one from Ron Longarelli:

I have a pin from Willkie when he ran against Roosevelt. It says: "That's right Franklin, Spinach is Spinach." Any idea what that is referring to? And, did Willkie run against Roosevelt twice?

This button, used by Republican Wendell Willkie in his 1940 campaign against President Franklin Roosevelt, is often traced back to a New Yorker cartoon, where a mother and daughter are sitting around a dinner table. "It's broccoli, dear," says Mom. The daughter pushes the plate away and says, "I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it." The inference on the button is that Willkie would "tell it like it is."

Willkie only ran against Roosevelt once. Even though he stood up to isolationists in his party and often defended FDR's war effort, he did declare a second presidential candidacy, in February of 1944. He won most of the delegates in the New Hampshire primary in March. But a surprising last-place finish in the Wisconsin primary three weeks later forces him out of the race. On Oct. 8, Willkie will die, at the age of 52, of coronary thrombosis.