Giant Copper Beech Tree Planted By Teddy Roosevelt Has Been Chopped Down

Sagamore Hill, the former home of Theodore Roosevelt and a current property of the U.S. National Park System, contains many of the game trophies the president hunted and collected during his lifetime. Until recently, it was also home to a living reminder of Roosevelt's love for nature: A giant copper beech tree he planted at the estate in the 1890s. As CBS New York reports, the tree has been chopped down after developing a fungal disease.

Located on Long Island, New York, Sagamore Hill was Roosevelt's home from 1885 until his death in 1919. He spent summers there with his family during his presidency, which earned it the nickname the "summer White House."

In 1894, Roosevelt planted a copper beech tree near the entrance of the Queen Anne-style home. It was a small reflection of his dedication to environmentalism: As president, he would set aside 200 million acres of land for national forests and wildlife refuges.

Today Sagamore Hill is a National Historic Site, and Roosevelt's tree had recently started posing a threat to visitors. Aged 125 years and diseased, the tree was approaching the end of its life, so site officials made the decision to take it apart branch by branch and remove it from the property.

The Theodore Roosevelt Association has plans to keep the memory of the tree alive at Sagamore Hill. The wood from the trunk will be saved and made into park benches that will be installed on the property. Some wood may be carved into replicas of the furniture at Sagamore Hill, which would then be auctioned off to raise funds for preservation projects.

Roosevelt's love of nature was just one aspect of the multifaceted president. He was also famous for his witty quotes—as evidenced by these savage insults.

[h/t CBS New York]

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Why Do Politicians Need to Say 'I Approve This Message' in Their Ads?

What does it mean when a politician approves of a message in a campaign commercial?
What does it mean when a politician approves of a message in a campaign commercial?
bee32/iStock via Getty Images

As election season ramps up, voters will be seeing a lot of campaign advertisements on television. Without exception, these ads will conclude with a disclaimer that the politician being endorsed has sanctioned the spot. Usually, the person will say or be quoted as saying “I approve this message.” It’s clearly a requirement, but why? And how did it get started?

The practice is a relatively new one. In 2002, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act was passed, along with the Stand By Your Ad provision. The Act, which was backed by then-senators John McCain and Russell D. Feingold, was intended to further legitimize campaign contributions by banning large corporate donations. Stand By Your Ad mandates that anyone running for federal office stamp “I approve this message” as part of their campaign commercials. The goal was to curb muckraking, where candidates would lob ceaseless insults and accusations at one another. With Stand By Your Ad, lawmakers were hoping political candidates would think twice before engaging in dirty tactics and then attempting to deny any involvement. Call it a self-imposed campaign shaming.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is very specific about how that disclaimer should appear. According to the FEC, the written statement must come at the end of the ad, appear for at least four seconds, be readable against a contrasting background, and occupy at least 4 percent of the vertical picture height. The candidate will typically identify themselves and say the message aloud.

If the message was not approved by a candidate, then the spot will typically name the entity that is responsible—a political committee, group, or person. There’s also usually language about who financed the commercial.

So does this “play nice” edict actually work? According to research from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and published in the Journal of Marketing Research in 2018, the answer is: Not really.

Negative campaign ads made up 29 percent of political persuasion spots in 2000, and that number rose to 64 percent in 2012. In the week before the 2016 presidential election, 92 percent of ads were characterized as negative.

One possible reason: By stamping a negative message with “I approve,” candidates might actually be perceived as more credible by voters, as they're showing that they are willing to stand behind what viewers infer to be truthful statements. In a study of 2000 people using both real and fictional ads, researchers found that “I approve this message” didn’t change their perception of positive ads or personal attack ads, but did increase their confidence in politicians using policy-based attack ads.

The appearance of federal regulation, even if there’s no actual regulatory approval over a statement, seems to give messages credibility. So long as a candidate “approves” a message, positive or negative, voters may perceive their subjective statements as the truth.

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