William Howard Taft as President Part 2 of 2 No story more indelibly imprints the persona of President William Howard Taft as a fat man and compulsive eater than the claim he became stuck in the bathtub of the lavatory in the presidential bedroom suite, located in the southwest corner of the White House second floor. The Taft Tub Tale is now so embedded in American Pop Culture, it seems futile to question it; at the least, evidence it is untrue might be resented by teachers trying to find any hook that might interest students in history. Some facts lend credence to the story in congregate and may be the genesis for what technically remains an unproven myth, mixed in the public’s never-ending search for humiliating stories of the great and mighty. One fact is absolute truth: Taft was an honest and open-hearted human being who worked hard to accomplish all that he did. His values were upset by deception. He never saw himself as above the law. In an era when bigotry was part of establishment thinking, Taft was a radical in his rigorous affirmation that Filipinos be treated as social equals and that their native culture and customs be respected when he ran the American-controlled government of the islands as its first civil governor-general. Catholic Cardinal Gibbons and Jewish Rabbi Wise, close associates of William Howard Taft He formed close, personal friendships with many of the Jewish leaders in his native Cincinnati, defending especially the controversial rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, considered the father of American Jewish Reform movement. He was equally close with the Catholic Cardinal James Gibbons and further deepened his understanding of the Roman Church when his sister-in-law converted to that faith. As a Unitarian, Taft had been viciously attacked in the traditional Protestant press for denying the divinity of Christ – but never felt the need to apologize or justify his personal beliefs or the faith he followed. He made some unpopular blunders regarding tariff rates, irritating consumers and big business alike, but all in his striving for fairness. Taft in his open car touring through Savannah, Georgia. He was
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