The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

Did Harry Truman really say, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”? Or maybe “buy a dog”? In The Solomon Scandals, an eloquent Afghan named Thackeray II quotes that line in a Truman act at the Cosmos Club. But he gets corrected by Prof. Rebecca Kitiona-Fenton, author of the foreword and afterword […]

What are the origins of the gem, “If you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog,” a quote falsely attributed to the late Harry S. Truman, as I noted in The Solomon Scandals? I’ve been doggedly at work on the case for two years. No definitive answer so far. This immortal witticism or at […]

I know—I’m a few days behind on the Helen Thomas controversy—but I wanted to reflect. This was a little close to home. I respected the maverick side of Ms. Thomas even if her White House questions were often activist rather than journalistic. At one point I  tried to see if she’d read Scandals for a […]

Who was the first on Earth to utter a classic line, or something close to it: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”? So far I’ve traced the witticism back to Donald Devine, a Reagan administration official, who can’t recall where he heard it. I suspect that someone Washingtonized a line in […]

Hollywood mentions pop up in The Solomon Scandals, my Washington newspaper novel. L.A. and D.C. overlap, all right, and even the peons can fixate on this. In Scandals, a GS-11 bureaucrat isn’t just dreaming of making a mint as a tabloid tipster. He already knows who’ll play him in the movie. Closer to real life, […]

Update: I’ve now traced the quote to a Reagan Administration official, who, however, can’t recall where he heard it. See addendum. – D.R. For close to a year, I’ve tried to crack a Washington mystery. What’s the origin of the famous Truman quote, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”? In The […]