phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

If you've got them by the balls...

Posted by ESC on May 27, 2007

If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow -- Theodore Roosevelt was asked by an aide, Lt. Douglas MacArthur, in 1906 "to what he attributed his popularity." Roosevelt said, "To put into words what is in their hearts and minds but not in their mouths." "'Hearts and minds' later became a slogan of sorts, as what had to be won in Vietnam." "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993). Page 716.

According to a new reference just purchased today, Charles "Chuck" Colson, President Nixon's general counsel, had a plaque in his office with that saying. A former Green Beret had "that plaque made up, then gave it to him because he thought this saying applied to his work in the White House." One possible origin "is a Vietnam-era congressional debate in which a liberal Democrat pleaded for programs designed to 'win the hearts and minds of the downtrodden.' Hawkish Rep. Mendel Rivers (D-S.C.) responded, 'I say get 'em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.' It's doubtful that this rejoinder began with Rivers, however. It certainly didn't begin with Charles Colson. Verdict: Author unknown..." From "The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When" by Ralph Keyes, (St. Martin's Griffin, New York, 2006), Page 8.