Morning Joe | February 04, 2013
>>> out of these troubled times, our fifth objective. a new world order can emerge. a new era freer from the threat of terror.
>> north korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction . iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror. iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward america and to support terror. states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil .
>> half a century ago when the soviets beat us into space with a the launch of a satellite called sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. this is our generation's sputnik moment.
>> all right. 47 past the hour. welcome back to " morning joe ." from sputnik moment to axis of evil , remember that?
>> how did your parents deal with that?
>> they jumped out of their beds. they were in bed with their pajamas on.
>> they got angry.
>> they were very angry. my mother was infuriated.
>> the new book, "words from the white house ," looks at the words and phrases that are now part of our everyday vocabulary thanks to past presidents and their speechwriters and advisers. joining us on set, the book's author, paul dixon . i love this. i'm going to make my children read it. a great way of looking back in time.
>> paul, let's talk about some of the more famous phrases. start with harry truman 's "the buck stops here." where did that come from? when did truman put it on his desk?
>> it was actually a sign that somebody bought at a prison. the buck that they're referring to is the buck used in poker. that was one that he picked up. some of the presidents -- with other famous trumanism is trocar, he wanted to use a trocar in congress. it was an instrument used in farming when a cow or a bovine being got too much gas from eating clover. they would use the trocar to eliminate the gas.
>> he said what congress needed was a trocar.
>> okay. founding fathers , this was very interesting that founding fathers was actually a term that came about in the 20th century .
>> which really -- that's what got me going on the book. when i found out that warren harding , who's also known for normalcy and bloviate. two of his coinages. in 1918 , harding -- the term then was founders or the framers. framers of the constitution . harding in 1918 starts using " founding fathers ." in the campaign he keeps talking about the founding fathers often in the negative. he said the founding fathers never meant for us to do this. when i really started looking at that term, i started looking at what other terms have come through presidents? i found remarkable things including jefferson. there are 113 terms.
>> give us a couple terms.
>> belittle. he did that to basically anger the british. he would create words -- he and adams --
>> so he made up "belittle."
>> he made up ottoman for the footstool, not the empire. he writes a letter to john adams in 1820 . saying that it was our job as americans to neologize. the early patriots believed almost as an act of defiance that we had to create an american language. so you had noah webster writing it all down. and you had benjamin franklin coaching him. so there's this package of benjamin frankl in coaching him. lot of these guys did it on purpose.
>> fdr followed in that great tradition, he created the word "iffy" and when he used finalized in a second state of the union address critics went crazy.
>> that was eisenhower.
>> finalize and a lot of presidents got in trouble for example, fdr once talked about chisellers in a speech and the critics got crazy about that. woodrow wilson is the first president who really gets in trouble for using slang and wilson had been a football coach at two colleges so wilson would say we got to get a move on, we got to get going out there and he would talk to the country as if he was a coach. the critics would say he should never use this kind of english. lot got in trouble including george w. bush for imbetter and things like that.
>> keeping the ball rolling william harrison there was a ball.
>> they moved from town to town.
>> for what purpose?
>> to create buzz. it was a campaign game mick, a giant ball made with paper mac hi er and wire. the early presidents, john adams ' caucus. madison came up with squatter. these guys saw the language as something we had to create on our own. webster kept saying we have to create an american language. it's not the king's english, the language of the trader and the trapper and the farmer.
>> fascinating one martin van buren , ok.
>> old kinderhook. the first summer in august everything in washington gets all wee-wee'd up.
>> teddy radios development caoosevelt cam e up with loose cannon and sees the armor in new york and sees the descending staircase and comes up with packrat, one of his trips to south america he sees the rat picking up pieces and comes one the word packrat which is not a scientific name when you address that. he came one malfactors of great wealth. there are just one after another. when he's running, the final time he runs for presidency he said i'm going to throw my hat in the ring.
>> teddy roosevelt , t.r. baby.
>> do you use these afternoon? do you and your family? i could see how you might not be able to stop.
>> no, you can't and it's like a compulsive collector of baseball cards .
>> i could see you being impulsive about it.
>> it's fun and makes conversations and i go to parties and can tell stories and it works.
>> i'm going to bring you along with me to some parties.
>> it would be fun.
>> the book is "words from the white house " paul dixon , this is fantastic. david axelrod joins us in a few minutes. keep it here on " morning joe ." all stations come