The originality of this quotation is very often erroneously credited to President Truman. He did not originate it, but he selected it to be viewed by every single person who visited him. He believed it an accepted responsibility do a degree rare in a politician. So this quotation is inextricably connected with Truman but had been a saying for years. The "buck" refers to the buckhorn knife that was passed around a Mississippi river boat poker table to indicate who the dealer was.