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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    10 facts about our presidents in honor of Presidents Day

    The White House Historical Assoc
    Posthumous official presidential portrait of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The Daily Wildcat compiled a list of 10 of the weirdest presidential facts in honor of Presidents Day weekend.

    Take some time this Presidents Day to pay homage to the many U.S. presidents that have gone gray in the White House. Some were great, some were awful and most of them were forgotten. Here are 10 interesting and weird facts about the people who were chosen to lead this country.

    1. RIP

    Eight presidents died in office. Four were assassinated: Abraham Lincoln in 1865, James Garfield in 1881, William McKinley in 1901 and John F. Kennedy in 1963.

    The other four died of various diseases: William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia in 1841 and Zachary Taylor died in 1850 from some kind of gastroenteritis, although is cause of death is still debated by historians. Warren G. Harding died in 1923, officially of a stroke of cerebral apoplexy, but his death is also still being debated. Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945 of a cerebral hemorrhage.

    Six other presidents experienced assassination attempts. Gerald Ford was shot at on two separate occasions.

    We are currently in our longest running stretch of no deaths in the presidential office in U.S. history at 53 years.

    2. And the Grammy Award goes to…

    President Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have all won Grammy awards for Best Spoken Word Album. Both Obama and Clinton have won twice.

    3. WHITE house, not green house

    It takes 570 gallons of paint to keep the White House white. Theodore Roosevelt actually coined the term “White House” in 1901. Prior to Roosevelt, it was called by many names, such as the “Executive Mansion,” the “President’s Palace” and the “President’s House.”

    4. The next bachelor

    James Buchanan is the only president to have remained a bachelor his entire life. He did, however, have a close relationship before he became president with fellow politician William King. The two lived together for over a decade and were, by some reports, inseparable. Buchanan and King were rumored to be nicknamed “Miss Nancy” and “Aunt Fancy,” among other colorful monikers held up by colleagues. King would later become the country’s shortest-serving vice president, dying about a month after being sworn into office in 1853.

    5. S. or just S?

    The S in Harry S. Truman is not an initial. Truman’s full middle name is just the letter S. According to Truman, the S is to represent the S in the names of both his paternal and maternal grandfathers.

    Although Truman reportedly once denounced a newspaper for putting a period after the S, he has repeatedly, and seemingly purposefully, used a period in his own writing of his name.

    The mystifying little dot has been the source of heated controversy and debate to this day. Even famous structures in his honor, historical museums and texts cannot agree on the proper spelling of Truman’s middle name. The varying differences only cause more confusion and uproar.

    6. Projectile vomit in Japan

    In 1992, George H. W. Bush once got very sick and vomited on the then-Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at a dinner hosted by Japan. The incident garnered a lot of media attention and inspired a new Japanese word: Bushusuru. The word means “to do the Bush thing,” and is used whenever someone publicly vomits.

    7. Are there ghosts here?

    Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was very familiar with Lincoln. According to reports, while he was staying at the White House, Churchill ran into Lincoln’s ghost after emerging from the bathtub fully nude. He was so horrified by the sighting he refused to ever stay in the White House again. Lincoln’s ghost has made quite a few visits to different dignitaries and White House staff over the years, although that probably wasn’t the first impression Churchill wanted to make on the president.

    8. Sex scandal

    Grover Cleveland was the first Clinton. When Cleveland first ran for the presidency in 1884, he almost lost the election due to a huge sex scandal that his opponents dug up and used as fodder. It came out that Cleveland had an affair over a decade earlier that resulted in an illegitimate child.

    According to the woman in question, Maria Halpin, Cleveland forced himself onto her without her consent and then threatened her to make sure she didn’t tell anyone. When she became pregnant and gave birth, he allegedly took the child from her and put him in an orphanage. Cleveland then committed Halpin to an insane asylum, from which she was released after three days when the doctors found nothing wrong with her. Years later, when the scandal came out, Cleveland bribed her to keep quiet.

    Cleveland’s official story, however, differs dramatically. He claims the child might not have been his because Halpin was also sleeping with at least two of his married friends at the time. He also claimed to have paid child support at first, but then had to commit her and send the boy to an orphanage when her drinking habits became too severe. Halpin later remarried and her son was adopted.

    After Cleveland was elected and the drama died down, his good friend and politician Oscar Folsom Cleveland died and Cleveland became the legal guardian of his 10-year-old daughter. Eleven years later, he married her in the White House at the age of 49, making Frances Folsom the youngest first lady in U.S. history.

    9. UFO or nah?

    Carter believed in UFO’s. Carter claimed to have personally seen one and even filed a report of the sighting with the International UFO Bureau. While campaigning for the presidency, Carter also promised the nation that if elected, he would make all government knowledge about UFOs or alien life available to the public and scientists. Because Americans never received any big news regarding UFO’s after he was elected, perhaps one could speculate the aliens got to him first.

    10. Hey, barkeep!

    Lincoln was a licensed bartender for a time before he became president. There was truly nothing this man couldn’t do.

    Follow Casey Aldava on Twitter.

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