The more I study Theodore Roosevelt, the more I appreciate the impact he had on this nation, both in large and small ways. He brought several phrases, for example, into common usage in this country. One of these is “weasel words”. Roosevelt did not invent the phrase, he noted that he first heard it used in conversation in 1879, but when he used it the phrase quickly entered American popular usage. Roosevelt’s most famous use of the phrase was on May 31, 1916 in a speech entitled Mr. Wilson’s Weasel Words in which he attacked Wilson’s call for “voluntary universal military training”, Roosevelt viewing such a plan as inadequate and calling for a draft.
One might legitimately criticize Theodore Roosevelt for many things over his strenuous public life, but use of weasel words-never!