President Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (1890-1969) was campaigning for re-election in 1954 against Adlai Stevenson II (1900-1965), his Democratic challenger and a perceived intellectual egghead. Eisenhower, speaking before California Republicans at a Los Angeles breakfast in September 1954, defined an “intellectual” as “a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”
The Eisenhower quip drew big laughs from his audience and has been frequently cited in books on politics and quotations.
Wikipedia: Dwight D. Einsenhower
Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (pronounced /ˈaɪzənhaʊər/, eye-zən-how-ər; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. He had previously been a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II, and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe; he had responsibility for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45, from the Western Front. In 1951, he became the first supreme commander of NATO.
24 September 1954, Oakland (CA) Tribune, “‘Carry Truth To People,’ Ike Tells GOP” (AP), pg. 3, col. 1:
He said, however, that it is harder to sell a constructive program than to get up and say “everybody except my gang is a so and so.” This is especially true today, he said, “when we have so many wise-cracking so-called intellectuals on the scene.”
He then defined an intellectual as “a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.” The sally got a big laugh from the GOP house.
(Eisenhower was speaking at a breakfast talk to California Republicans in Los Angeles—ed.)
Google News Archive
29 September 1954, The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), pg. 2, col. 1:
AND WHO IS INTELLECTUAL?
PRESIDENT EISENHOWER is said to have drawn a big laugh in his Los Angeles campaign speech when he described “an intellectual” as one who “takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”
The president obviously intended to remove himself from the realm of the intellectual. Strictly speaking, there isn’t such a person as “an intellectual” in the meaning of being intellectual and “having the power of understanding,” as Webster’s puts it.
President Ike plainly was aiming a “wise crack” at a former governor of Illinois, who was smart enough in school to pick up a couple of post graduate degrees and has a remarkable command ofthe English language.
30 August 1956, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, “They Say On Capitol Hill”—Congressional Quarterly, pg. 14, col. 2:
But for the Republicans, it was a rather remarkable shift in the intellectual wind for it was Candidate Eisenhower who quipped that an intellectual is “a man who takes more words than he needs to say more than he know.”
2 March 1958, Eureka (CA) Humboldt standard, “White House Wit” by Paul Steiner, Family Weekly magazine, pg. 9, col. 1:
Dwight D. Eisenhower: “An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”
The Makers of Public Policy:
American Power Groups and Their Ideologies
By R. Joseph Monsen and Mark W. Cannon
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
It is true that there is an anti-intellectual current, only mildly symbolized by a joke told by President Eisenhower, wherein he defined an intellectual as “a man who takes more words than are necessary to tell more than he knows.
Art Against Ideology
By Ernst Fischer
New York, NY: G. Braziller
Eisenhower said at a public meeting in Los Angeles in 1954 that an intellectual is ‘a man who takes more words than are necessary to tell more than he knows’.
20,000 Quips & Quotes
By Evan Esar
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows. — Adlai Stevenson
Presentations For Dummies
By Malcolm Kushner
Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
I don’t know everything. That’s not all bad, however, since President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, December 09, 2012 • Permalink