POKER PARTY AT WHITE HOUSE LUCKY BREAK FOR JACK JOHNSON
This inexcusable headline was published in the New York World.
Did Jack Johnson (onetime champion pugilist) ever play poker at the White House? Certainly not. Last week Col. Charles R. Forbes, head of the Veterans' Bureau (see p. 18), described a poker party held in the White House library in 1921. The players were President Harding, Will H. Hays, Albert Lasker (shipping board chairman), Harry Daugherty (Attorney General), Harry S. New (Postmaster General), Edward B. ("Ned") McLean (publisher of the Washington Post) and Mrs. McLean.
"During the game," said Col. Forbes, "Ned McLean announced that Jack Johnson, the prize fighter, was to be discharged from the Federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, and either Ned or Albert Lasker exclaimed, 'Why, his old mother used to work for me and he has a fine of $1000 hanging over him and can't pay it.' Ned McLean said: 'Albert, I'll give $500 and you give $500 and we will pay his fine.' The President spoke up: 'Don't let that worry you: I'll remit the fine,' and the game went on."
The fine was never paid.