President Roosevelt's powerful personality excited crowds and press alike. Roosevelt referred to the president's position as the "bully pulpit," since the president has the unique ability to speak to the nation and guide public debate. At the time, the word "bully" at the time was used primarily as an adjective meaning "very good," or "superb," not as a noun referring to someone who torments others.
President Roosevelt addressing a crowd, 1906. Photograph by Horace McFarland Company. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.