"When I make a mistake, it's a beaut!" (1941)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Dec 16 03:46:45 UTC 2005

I just added this one. Does Fred have it?

12 February 1941, New York <i>Times</i>, pg. 9:
<i>Mayor Admits O'Brien</i>
<i>Appointment a Mistake</i>
Just before he left the stand, Senator Clark reminded Mayor La Guardia that
he had appointed Judge O'Brien to the bench. The Mayor chuckled.

"Senator, I have made a lot of good appointments and I think I am good," he
replied, "but when I make a mistake, it's a beaut."
30 July 1942, New York <i>Times</i>, pg. 23:
<i>Mayor Gives His Support to Marcantonio;</i>
<i>Chided By Antonini for "Beaut of a Mistake"</i>
"The Mayor once said that when he makes a mistake it's a beaut," said Mr.
Antonini. "Well, this is a beaut, all right."
24 September 1942, Los Angeles <i>Times</i>, "Fair Enough" by  Westbrook
Pegler, pg. A?:
Mayor LaGuardia said, in criticism of some judge whom he had appointed and
who was displeasing him, "when I make a mistake, I made a beaut," and the
people  of New York may say the same.
14 February 1960, Los Angeles <i>Times</i>, "Firello was quite  a fellow" by
Bennett Cerf, pg. 4:
By his own admission, when he made a mistake, "It was a beaut."
6 January 1972, Washington <i>Post</i>, pg. F1:
"When I make a mistake, it's a beaut," the late Fiorello LaGuardia used to
22 February 1987, New York <i>Times</i>, "On Language" by  William Safire,
pg. SM10:
"I'M NOT KNOWN TO make many mistakes," said Senator Lloyd Bentsen modestly,
in extricating himself from a fundraising furor, "but when I do, it's a

This is a botched use of a statement by New York Mayor Fiorello H. La
Guardia: When I make a mistake, it's a beaut." The Little FLower's confession
became one of the great observations in political wisdom, comparable to Woodrow
Wilson's suggestion that an opponent in difficulty should not be attacked,
expressed as "Never murder a man who is committing suicide," and Navy Secretary
Claude Swanson's paean to political loyalty in the New Deal era, "When the
water  reaches the upper deck, follow the rats."
21 October 1990, New York <i>Times</i>, pg. E18:
As he said of himself in regard to one of his judicial appointments, Mayor
La Guardia would also have said of his move to Gracie Mansion, "When I make a
mistake, it's a beaut."

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