What was said? Give ’em hell Harry!
Did someone really say that? Yes, on Shark Tank, Lori Greiner (Queen of QVC) said it to an entrepreneur who was responding to pestering questions by Mark Cuban.
What does it mean? It means to respond to something bluntly or in a straight-forward manner (potentially on the “attack”).
Origin: It refers back to an incident in the 1948 US presidential election campaign where Harry S. Truman delivered a speech during his whistle-stop campaign. He visited multiple states all by train with a platform at the rear of the train where he delivered his speeches. During his speech attacking Republicans in Harrisburg, IL, a supporter yelled “Give ‘em Hell, Harry!” and Truman responded “I don’t give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.” Since then, the term “Give ‘em Hell, Harry!” was used as a slogan for supporters of Truman.
This is also the name of a biographical play and the 1975 film written by Samuel Gallu. These both feature a one-man show about President Harry S. Truman. The play’s debut was hosted by Truman’s daughter Margaret and attended by President Gerald Ford. James Whitmore starred in the play and was nominated for Best Actor by the Academy Awards and Golden Globes and he won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording.
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