Weird Presidential Facts About All 44 U.S. Presidents Part Two: Christine’s Chronicles

Do You Know Which U.S. President  Passed Gas Then Blamed it on Secret Service Agents?

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by Christine Lorraine
March 8, 2011

Weird Presidential Facts About All 44 U.S. Presidents Part Two

22. & 24. Grover Cleveland – Serving two non-consecutive terms, this President’s last words were, “I have tried so hard to do right.” While in office, he married a 21-year-old young woman to whom he had been legal guardian “Uncle Cleve” since she was 11, and the couple had five children. Due to a cancerous growth in his mouth, Cleveland wore a vulcanized rubber artificial jaw.

23. Benjamin Harrison – This one-term “tweener” Republican President resided in the White House when it was wired for electricity for the first time. He and his wife, Caroline, were frightened by this newfangled notion and were supposedly afraid to touch light switches. The first lady passed away shortly before his term ended, and he remarried three years later. Because his three children disapproved of his new marriage to his wife’s niece, they boycotted the wedding.

25. William McKinley – The third President to die from an assassin’s bullet, McKinley had just started his second term when he was killed. After losing two baby daughters, his wife, Ida, developed epilepsy and suffered from mental problems. He was assassinated in Buffalo, NY on Sept. 14, 1901 by anarchist Leon Czolgosz.

26. Theodore Roosevelt – Although the world knew him as “Teddy” Roosevelt, he did not like this nickname. He suffered from asthma in his childhood, and tackled life aggressively as an adult. He was know for his rough-and-tumble image, and enjoyed hunting and writing. His reputation for hunting spawned the term “teddy bear,” and he lost the use of his left eye after a harsh blow while boxing in the White House gym. He died in 1919 of a heart attack. In 1913, while on an expedition in Brazil with his son, Kermit, Roosevelt contracted malaria, which affected him until he died. He was the youngest President, taking office at age 42 after President McKinley was assassinated.

27. William Howard Taft – This one-term Republican President was defeated by Woodrow Wilson when he tried to get re-elected for a second term. Weighing in at over 300 pounds, this president ordered a specially-sized bathtub installed in the White House. Oddly, he is allegedly credited for creating the “7th inning stretch.” Legend has it that when Taft was watching a baseball game, he stood up to stretch during the seventh inning. The crowd imitated the president’s stretching actions, and thus the concept was “hit.”

28. Woodrow Wilson – This was the first and only President to hold a Ph.D. degree, which he earned at Johns Hopkins University. He also holds notoriety for coaxing Congress to pass the very first federal progressive income tax. Wilson’s second wife, Edith Bolling Galt, was supposedly a descendant of Pocahontas. For some reason, Wilson was called “Tommy” until he started college. World War I erupted during Wilson’s presidency, and as a result, sheep were permitted to graze on the lawn at the White House to help raise wool for the Red Cross’ war effort.

29. Warren G. Harding – This President served two-and-a-half years in office before passing on to the big campaign in the sky. There were rumors that his wife had poisoned him, but because she did not allow an autopsy, his cause of death was not officially confirmed. It is common belief that he actually died from a stroke. As times were moving forward, so were presidential technological advancements, and Harding was the first U.S. President to ride in a car to his inauguration.

30. Calvin Coolidge – When his son, Calvin Coolidge Jr., was 16, he developed a blister on his foot from playing tennis. The blister became infected and resulted in blood poisoning, which led to the teen’s untimely death. While in office, Coolidge reduced the national debt from $22.3 billion to $16.9 billion between 1923 and 1929. He earned a yearly salary of $75K as President, and managed to keep unemployment at around 3.3% during those years. He is credited for helping the U.S. economy to “roar” in the 1920s.

31. Herbert Hoover – This Republican President’s campaign slogan was, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” This was a tough promise to fulfill considering the country was plunged into the Great Depression the year he took office in 1929. His nickname was “grand old man,” a title he deserved as he lived until the age of 90. He’s responsible for designating the national anthem as “The Star Spangled Banner,” and he owned a dog named King Tut.

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt – As America entered into the electronic media age, F.D.R. broke the broadcast ice and was the first President to address the nation on television. He holds the world’s record for longest time in office, and managed to hold the hot White House seat for four terms. Legend has it that his mom put him in dresses until he was five years old. He possessed a personal passion for collecting stamps, and owned a collection of over a million stamps. He weighed a whopping 10 pounds at birth, which took place on Jan. 30, 1882.

33. Harry S. Truman – This Missouri-born President could not play sports as a child due to poor eyesight, but he sure could read, and expressed pride at having read all the books in the Independence Public Library. Among other tough decisions, Truman made the choice to use the atomic bomb to bring a swift end to World War II. This two-term Democrat used the letter “S” as a middle initial, although he didn’t have a middle name that started with “S.” During the Presidential election in 1948, after Truman had won, some newspapers announced his opponent was the winner. He had a dog named Feller, and enjoyed playing poker.

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower – Using the catch slogan “I like Ike” helped propel this five-star general into office in 1952, where he served until the 1960 election. This Republican leader’s face was duplicated on the U.S. one-dollar coin in the 1970s. He enjoyed oil-painting to relax, and was known to smoke up to four packs of cigarettes a day until quitting in 1949. One of his famous quotes was, “I can think of nothing more boring for the American people than to have to sit in their living rooms for a whole half hour looking at my face on their television screens.”

35. John F. Kennedy – This popular Democratic leader worked as a journalist before starting his political career. He was the fourth U.S. President to be assassinated, the youngest president ever elected, and the youngest to die while in office. Kennedy’s Presidency also marked many other firsts, including the first who had served in the navy, the first Roman Catholic, and the first president who was born in the 20th century. Kennedy wore corrective shoes because his right leg was about 3/4″ longer than his left leg. He also suffered from an adrenal insufficiency called Addison’s disease.

36. Lyndon B. Johnson – When Kennedy died, Johnson stepped into the White House, where he won re-election in 1964. His first name was fashioned after the last name of a family friend, W.C. Linden. Obviously a cut-the-crap kind of guy, Johnson was known to conduct business from the bathroom with others in attendance. Johnson’s romantic side is highlighted by the fact that he and his wife, Lady Byrd, tied the marital knot with a $2.50 department store ring. One of his more interesting quotes was uttered when asked a question he didn’t like by a member of the press. His response was, “Why do you come and ask me, the leader of the western world, a chicken sh-t question like that?”

37. Richard Nixon – Referred to by his mother as the “best potato masher one could wish for,” this U.S. President was rumored to have kicked a heckler in the shin. He lost the bid for the presidency in 1960 against John Kennedy, and made history by being the first U.S. President to resign from office, which he did on Aug. 8, 1974. His approval rating had plunged to the low 20-percent range, and it is believed he resigned to avoid being impeached over the Watergate scandal. His favorite sport was football, his favorite movie was “Patton,” and he was the first president to make a visit to all 50 of the United States.

38. Gerald Ford – After Nixon’s resignation, the country’s Republican replacement stumbled into office. Known for his spills and falls, Ford certainly knew how to dodge a bullet. He survived two assassination attempts in 1975 within 17 days of each other. He grew up as an only child, and was the father of four. Legend has it that Ford used to blame Secret Service agents for passing gas when the culprit was actually him. He was never elected President, and was defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1976 when he tried to win a four-year residency in the White House.

39. Jimmy Carter – James Earl Carter worked for peanuts, and operated a peanut farm in Plains, GA before and after his one-term Presidency. An avid fisherman, Carter was once nearly attacked by a large, enraged swamp rabbit while in a small boat. The press parodied the incident with a spoof of “Jaws,” calling it “Paws.” He is a speed reader, and was the first American President to be sworn into office using a nickname, Jimmy, instead of his full name.

40. Ronald Reagan – Chances are that this was the only U.S. President to share the movie set with a chimpanzee. In 1951, “Bedtime for Bonzo” was released, and of all the movies he starred in, this was reportedly Reagan’s least favorite. His star-studded career started as a radio broadcaster in Iowa, and culminated with over 50 movies. Originally a Democrat, he switched to the Republican side of the ticket in 1962. He was a graduate of Eureka College, and survived a bullet to the lung just 69 days into his presidency. His strong survival instinct earned him the privilege to say he was the first U.S. President to survive a bullet wound in an assassination attempt.

41. George H. W. Bush – This skydiving presidential papa jumped out of airplanes to celebrate both his 75th and 80th birthdays. He’s the first head American honcho to have two middle names, Herbert Walker, and was a member of the Skull & Bones secret society at Yale. He only served one term, and one of his memorable quotes is, “People say I’m indecisive, but I don’t know about that.” His son, Jeb’s, real name is John. Born in Massachusetts, George H.W. moved his family to Texas and became a millionaire by his 40th birthday.

42. Bill Clinton – This two-term President was known for his sexual adventures with an intern, and the famous statement that he used while defending himself: “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” He was born William Jefferson Blythe, and was the second president to be impeached. He considered himself to be an amateur saxophonist, a hobby he enjoyed while in office. He is said to have owned an El Camino, which he referenced while addressing a gathering of GM workers: “It had astro turf in the back. You don’t want to know why.”

43. George W. Bush – The oldest of six kids, this President is the father of twin girls. He was a cheerleader in high school, was arrested for DUI at age 30, and was nabbed by the police on a separate occasion for tearing down goal posts after a football game. George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were the second father/son presidential pair to be elected. The first was John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Bush was the first president to survive an assassination attempt by grenade, which occurred in 2006. A Harvard graduate, he followed in his father’s footsteps and belonged to secret societies.

44. Barack Obama – Even though he loves to chow down on burgers, this U.S. President is not too fond of ice cream from having worked in an ice cream shop as a youth. He’s a fan of Spiderman, and collects comic books. While in Indonesia, he sampled dog meat, snake meat and roasted grasshopper, and also enjoyed companionship with a pet ape named Tata. It is believed that his name at birth was Barry Soetoro, and he was called O’Bomber in high school due to his basketball skills. In Swahili, the name “Barack” means “one who is blessed.”

After examining some of the lesser-known facts about all 44 American Presidents, it becomes apparent that they share one common denominator: Beneath their notoriety and leadership skills, they are all as human as anybody else.

Click here to read “Weird Presidential Facts About All 44 U.S. Presidents” Part One

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1 Response to Weird Presidential Facts About All 44 U.S. Presidents Part Two: Christine’s Chronicles

  1. Pingback: Weird Presidential Facts About All 44 U.S. Presidents Part One: Christine’s Chronicles | Xtine the writer's web lair

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