Political, it was used against Grover Cleveland during his presidential election as a derisive slogan.
To counter Cleveland's image of purity, his opponents reported that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child while he was a lawyer in Buffalo. The derisive phrase "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?" rose as an unofficial campaign slogan for those who opposed him. When confronted with the emerging scandal, Cleveland's instructions to his campaign staff were: "Tell the truth." Cleveland admitted to paying child support in 1874 to Maria Crofts Halpin, the woman who claimed he fathered her child named Oscar Folsom Cleveland. Halpin was involved with several men at the time, including Cleveland's friend and law partner, Oscar Folsom, for whom the child was also named. Cleveland did not know which man was the father, and is believed to have assumed responsibility because he was the only bachelor among them.