Pinback button promoting Theodore Roosevelt for president and Charles Fairbanks for vice president, 1904. The Whitehead and Hoag Co., Newark, New Jersey. Printing at curl reads: "Copyright 1904 Pack-Buck."
Republican Party bosses feared that Roosevelt's Square Deal agenda would undermine support from the business community, so a millionaire former railroad attorney, Indiana Senator Charles W. Fairbanks, was put forward as the vice presidential nominee. Fairbanks had presidential ambitions of his own, twice having declined McKinley's tender of the vice presidency, expecting to be the party's standard-bearer upon McKinley's retirement. Had he accepted, he would have become president upon McKinley's death in 1901.
Once elected, Roosevelt and Fairbanks rarely spoke, and Roosevelt blocked Fairbank's nomination in 1908 in favor of his acolyte, William Howard Taft. Ironically, Fairbanks would support Taft for re-election when Roosevelt tried unsuccessfully to reclaim the presidency in 1912. For his loyalty to the party, Fairbanks was again awarded the VP nomination in 1916. Forlorn of ever holding the nation's top office, he died in 1918.
We offer this original pinback from the 1904 campaign picturing TR and his understandably jealous running mate.