After several slanted stories seemingly designed to cripple the nascent Scott Walker-for-President campaign before it has even been launched, the New York Times descended into utter silliness in its latest snipe at the Wisconsin Governor: He's allergic to dog dander, and it could come back to bite him in 2016.
Yep that was the subject of Wednesday's front-page expose by political reporter Jason Horowitz, "Governor, Allergic to Dogs, May Run Against Political History."
According to Horowitz, it's doubly unfortunate, because "Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with 'worry,' perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own."
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and his wife, Tonette, had planned to spend a recent Friday night at the Nashua home of Jennifer Horn, the New Hampshire Republican chairwoman.
Then he heard about Al, the Horns’ beloved Dalmatian-Catahoula Leopard mix.
The dinner was promptly moved to a restaurant in nearby Bedford. “The governor’s allergic to dogs,” Ms. Horn said. “And we have a very hairy dog.”
The attention to Mr. Walker’s likely candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination has focused on weighty matters such as his battles with the left, faltering forays into foreign policy and conservative stances on social issues including abortion and gun rights. But little notice has been given to an area in which he faces a different sort of constitutional challenge: overcoming his aversion to man’s best friend.
Jeb Bush can lament how he lost a Labrador (named for his brother Marvin) to cancer. Marco Rubio has a Shih Tzu, with a name like a gift from heaven: Manna. Ted Cruz goes one better: His rescue mutt is called Snowflake. (“Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEASE bring us a puppy,” his daughters prayed, according to Mr. Cruz’s Facebook page.) And if Mr. Walker makes it to November, he could face Hillary Rodham Clinton and her toy poodle, Tally.
Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.
And in that, he is running against the long sweep of United States political history.
If the ritual for presidential candidates wooing American voters had a handbook, “must love dogs” would be somewhere near the front.
At the Newseum in Washington, the “First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Pets” exhibit is listed as “on display indefinitely.” On the National Mall, the memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt depicts his Scottish terrier, Fala, forever at his feet. Puppy love in presidential campaigns dates at least to Herbert Hoover, who loosened up his stiff image by posing, paws in hands, with King Tut, his Belgian Malinois, on the way to victory in 1928.
In a possible sign of his will to win, Mr. Walker has managed to suppress his allergic reactions in the past. In 2010, during his initial run for governor, he greeted Lisa Bell, a Republican activist who had been tossing her wire fox terrier, Diva, in the air during his speech. Ms. Bell recalled that Mr. Walker was “very nice” to the dog and “pet her.”
After reminding readers that "Lyndon B. Johnson appalled reporters by lifting his beagles, Him and Her, by their ears," Horowitz took a bite out of the last Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Horowitz skipped Barack Obama's own dog controversy, one documented in his first autobiography Dreams From My Father, in which he mentions eating dog as a child in Indonesia.
....It was often noted in 2012 that Mitt Romney once drove from Boston to Canada with the family Irish setter, Seamus, on the roof of the car.
Seamus survived. But presidential dogs have met their ends in poignant ways. Abraham Lincoln’s Fido, a yellowish-brown mongrel, was killed by a knife-wielding drunk not long after the president’s assassination. George W. Bush’s dog Spot had a series of strokes, and Mr. Bush communed with her on the South Lawn, stroking her head to say goodbye before having her put down.
Horowitz ended with a warning to Warner:
Likewise, said Ms. McLean, of the Presidential Pet Museum, Mr. Walker would be wise to deflect attention from his allergy.
“Nobody would let on if they didn’t like dogs,” she said, matter-of-factly.