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Gathering of the Presidents: Trivia Edition

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Who was the last president to serve without any living ex-presidents? Who lived to see the most subsequent presidents? Who saw the most presidents die while in office?

georgewbush10.jpgThe unveiling of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas on Thursday gave a rare opportunity for the gathering of all five living U.S. Presidents, along with all five living First Ladies.

In honor of that occasion Smart Politics presents the following presidential trivia...

That's a lot of pensions

The largest number of living U.S. Presidents at any one time has been six - occurring three times in our nation's history:

· 1861-1862: With Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln. (Van Buren and Tyler both died in 1862).

· 1993-1994: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton. (Nixon died in 1994).

· 2001-2004: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush. (Reagan died in 2004 and then Ford in 2006).

Lonely at the top

Richard Nixon was the last president to serve without any other living ex-presidents.

Nixon began his first term in 1969 with three still alive, but Dwight Eisenhower died shortly in his first term (March 28, 1969), Harry Truman died near the end of his first term (December 26, 1972), and Lyndon Johnson died shortly after his second inauguration (January 22, 1973).

Nixon is one of five presidents to serve at least part of their terms without any living presidents.

Other than George Washington, that list includes John Adams (with Washington dying halfway into his term), Teddy Roosevelt (with Grover Cleveland dying at the end of his second term), and Herbert Hoover (with William Taft dying in 1930 and Calvin Coolidge dying in January 1933).

Dying on their watch

Nixon and Ulysses S. Grant are the only two presidents to see three ex-presidents die during their tenure.

During Grant's eight years in office Franklin Pierce (October 8, 1869), Millard Fillmore (March 8, 1874), and Andrew Johnson (July 31, 1875) all passed away.

Another seven presidents were in office while two of their predecessors died: John Quincy Adams (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson), Andrew Jackson (James Madison, James Monroe), James Polk (John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson), Abraham Lincoln (Martin Van Buren, John Tyler), Grover Cleveland (Ulysses Grant, Chester Arthur), Herbert Hoover (William Taft, Calvin Coolidge), and George W. Bush (Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford).

You're no Zachary Taylor...

The ex-president who saw the largest number of presidents sworn into office was Martin Van Buren with eight.

Van Buren lived more than 21 years after his one term in the White House.

During that span William H. Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln all became president.

John Tyler's post-presidency life overlapped with six presidents (Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, and Lincoln) before his death on January 18, 1862.

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Remains of the Data

Is There a Presidential Drag On Gubernatorial Elections?

Only five of the 20 presidents to serve since 1900 have seen their party win a majority of gubernatorial elections during their administrations, and only one since JFK.

Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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