can't walk and chew gum at the same time

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can't walk and chew gum at the same time

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:58 am

What is the origin of the phrase cannot walk and chew gum at the same time? What are the other variations of this phrase?

Does it have anything to do with President Ford and his tendency to fall in public?
Submitted by Joe Verghese (Bronx - U.S.A.)
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can't walk and chew gum at the same time

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Nov 12, 2004 12:17 am

Joe, CAN'T WALK AND CHEW GUM AT THE SAME TIME, is the bowdlerized version of what President Lyndon Johnson once said of then Congressman Gerald Ford and thus it is itself a variation. The original, obviously said in private conversation, which was attested to by John Kenneth Galbraith (U.S. Economist) was “can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.” This is thought to be an old expression that was common in Johnson’s home state of Texas. In any case, by the time Ford became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation (Cassell’s says in 1960s), the phrase had been laundered to its present form. The expression had nothing to do with Ford’s fall because that would have been an indication of clumsiness and not stupidity. However, Chevy Chase’s famous 1970s ‘Saturday Night Live’ spoof of Ford made him out to be both clumsy and stupid.

(Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang)
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Ken G – May 27, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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