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Full House: Santorum Presidency Would Have 2nd Most Children Under 18 in White House History

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Only Teddy Roosevelt had more children who were under 18 years of age upon taking office - one more than a potential Rick Santorum presidency

ricksantorum02.jpgWhile only one of Rick Santorum's seven living children has been a constant fixture on the campaign trail - his eldest child Elizabeth - most of the former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator's offspring have appeared on stage from time to time with his wife Karen as he has delivered important speeches, such as those given on election night this primary season.

But what is unique about Santorum's family in the annals of presidential politics is not that it is large per se, nor the fact that he has placed his children in the public eye.

What is unique is that only one president has had more kids under the age of 18 when taking the oath of office.

A Smart Politics study of presidential offspring finds that if Rick Santorum wins the GOP nomination and is elected this November, only one other president in history would have had more children under the age of 18 at the time they took office: Teddy Roosevelt.

In total, the 44 presidents in U.S. history fathered 156 children during their lifetime.

(This number excludes children that were stillborn as well as any children that a president may have potentially sired out of wedlock, such as Thomas Jefferson with Sally Hemings).

Rick and Karen Santorum have had eight children, though only seven survived to see their first birthday: Elizabeth (born in 1991), Richard (1993), Daniel (1995), Sarah (1998), Peter (1999), Patrick (2001), and Isabella (2008).

Another child, Gabriel (1996), lived only a few hours after birth.

That means Santorum has fathered more than twice as many children as the average president (3.5) and nearly three times as many as the average number who were alive at the time of their inauguration (2.5).

Only John Tyler (15) and William Harrison (10) sired more children during their lifetimes and only Tyler had as many living while serving as president with seven.

Five of Santorum's seven children will still be minors if he is inaugurated in January 2013.

That is five times the average number of children who were under the age of 18 on Day 1 of their father's administration (1.0).

The only other president who has had a bigger brood of minors living in the White House while governing the nation was Teddy Roosevelt with six.

At the time he took office after William McKinley's assassination in September 1901, all of his children were under the age of 18: Alice (born in 1884 to his first wife), Theodore Jr. (1887), Kermit (1889), Ethel (1891), Archibald (1894), and Quentin (1897).

Only one other president had as many as five children under the age of 18 when taking office - James Garfield.

Five of Garfield's seven children survived to see him sworn into office in March 1881 and all five were minors: Harry (born October 1863), James (1865), Mary (1867), Irvin (1870), and Abram (1872).

No other president has had even four minors while serving as president and just two others had three: Abraham Lincoln (one of whom, William, died in 1862) and Grover Cleveland.

Going back 100 years to the end of the Taft administration, just 13 minors lived in the White House across the last 18 presidents.

Over the last 220+ years just three children were born while the president was serving in office: Esther and Marion Cleveland (born during Grover Cleveland's second term) and Patrick Kennedy (who lived just two days after birth in 1963).

Another 11 children were born after their father's presidency ended: seven by John Tyler (with his second wife), three by Grover Cleveland (Ruth after his first term, Richard and Francis after his second), and one by Benjamin Harrison.

Tyler, who was sworn into office after the death of William Harrison in April 1841, has received a fair amount of attention of late owing to the remarkable fact that two of his grandchildren are still alive.

Six presidents did not sire any children (George Washington, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, James Polk, James Buchanan, and William Harding) while two others did not have any surviving children at the time they took office: Franklin Pierce (whose three children had died) and William McKinley (whose two children had died).

Washington, Madison, and Harding each had stepchildren while Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel adopted a son by Jackson's brother and raised him as their own (Andrew, Jr.). The Jacksons were also guardians to many other children.

Grover Cleveland had not sired any children when he won his first term in the Election of 1884.

Number of Children Sired by Presidents and Number Under the Age of 18 at Beginning of Administration

President
# Children
# At Day 1
# Under 18
Barack Obama
2
2
2
George W. Bush
2
2
0
Bill Clinton
1
1
1
George H.W. Bush
6
5
0
Ronald Reagan
5
4
0
Jimmy Carter
4
4
1
Gerald Ford
4
4
1
Richard Nixon
2
2
0
Lyndon Johnson
2
2
1
John Kennedy
3
2
2
Dwight Eisenhower
2
1
0
Harry Truman
1
1
0
Franklin Roosevelt
6
5
1
Herbert Hoover
2
2
0
Calvin Coolidge
2
2
2
Warren Harding
0
0
0
Woodrow Wilson
3
3
0
William H. Taft
3
3
2
Teddy Roosevelt
6
6
6
William McKinley
2
0
0
Benjamin Harrison
3
2
0
Grover Cleveland*
5
3
3
Chester Arthur
3
2
2
James Garfield
7
5
5
Rutherford Hayes
8
5
2
Ulysses Grant
4
4
3
Andrew Johnson
5
4
1
Abraham Lincoln
4
3
3
James Buchanan
0
0
0
Franklin Pierce
3
0
0
Millard Fillmore
2
2
0
Zachary Taylor
6
3
0
James Polk
0
0
0
John Tyler
15
7
3
William H. Harrison
10
4
0
Martin Van Buren
4
4
0
Andrew Jackson
1
1
0
John Q. Adams
4
3
1
James Monroe
3
2
1
James Madison
0
0
0
Thomas Jefferson
6
2
0
John Adams
5
4
0
George Washington
0
0
0
Total
156
111
43
Average
3.5
2.5
1.0
* Note: Grover Cleveland did not have any children at the time of his first administration. Third column denotes the number of children alive at the time the president took office. Fourth column denotes the number of children under the age of 18 at the time the president took office. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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