A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 16, 2010
“When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil”

Political consultant James Carville explained a favored phrase in his book All’s Fair (1995): “When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil. — the CEO of a large corporation to James Carville, on what he perceived to be their common strategic philosophy.”

While Carville popularized “"When your opponent’s drowning, throw him an anvil,” there are earlier references about throwing an anvil to a hated opponent who’s drowning. Mark Twain wrote a letter saying: “If he were drowning I would throw him an anvil.” In 1937, the journalist Westbrook Pegler was credited with: “Throw him an anvil, men.”


Wikipedia: James Carville
James Carville (born October 25, 1944) is an American political consultant, commentator, educator, actor, attorney, media personality, and prominent liberal pundit. Carville gained national attention for his work as the lead strategist of the successful presidential campaign of then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton. Carville was a co-host of CNN’s Crossfire until its final broadcast in June 2005. Since its cancellation, he has appeared on CNN’s news program, The Situation Room. As of 2009, he hosts a weekly program on XM Radio titled 60/20 Sports with Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert who hosted NBC’s Meet The Press. He is married to Republican political consultant Mary Matalin. In 2009, he began teaching political science at Tulane University.

28 January 1937, Ada (OK) Evening News, “Sports Roundup” by Scotty Reston, pg. 10, col. 3:
Man overboard!...And as Pegler says, “Throw him an anvil, men.”

Google Books
The Twainian
Mark Twain Society of Chicago, Mark Twain Association of America, Mark Twain Research Foundation, Roy J. Friedman Mark Twain Collection (Library of Congress)
1978
Pg.?:
“If he were drowning I would throw him an anvil.” That is the end of Mark’s page 23 and on the verso he continues with his “LETTER NO. 4”.

27 January 1988, Schenectady (NY) Gazette, “Use Same Standard for Jackson” by George Will, pg. 28, col. 3:
WASHINGTON—In his crusade for national betterment, Jesse Jackson has many suggestions, including this: If you see George Will drowning, throw him an anvil. He does not say quite that, but that is his gist.

21 August 1994, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, Pg. 8A, col. 1:
And Mr. Andrews, a Chicagoan who worked with Mr. Carville on New Jersey Gov. Jim FLorio’s unsuccessful re-election bid subscribes to the same rulebook as his more-famous associate who observed during the Florio race: “When your opponent’s drowning, throw him an anvil.”

Google Books
All’s Fair:
Love, war, and running for president

By Mary Matalin and James Carville
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
1995
Pg. VII:
When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil. — the CEO of a large corporation to James Carville, on what he perceived to be their common strategic philosophy

Google Books
The Singular Mark Twain:
A Biography

By Fred Kaplan
New York, NY: Anchor Books
2003
Pg. 484:
“I am full of pity & compassion for him,” he told Livy, “& it is sincere. If he were drowning I would throw him an anvil.”

News Blaze
Published: August 12, 2008
Expose the Grand Oil Party
By James Carville
Here is my theory on what to do in politics if your opponent is sinking: throw him an anvil.

That’s just what we’re doing right now to the Grand Oil Party by exposing all their sleazy ties to those Big Oil companies lining their pockets and sticking it to average folks at the gas pump. How would you like to help? 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Saturday, October 16, 2010 • Permalink