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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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Small Club in St. Paul

Mark Dayton is one of just three Minnesotans ever elected to three different statewide offices. Dayton, of course, had previously served as State Auditor (1991-1995) and U.S. Senator (2001-2007) before winning the governorship in 2010. At that time, he joined Republicans Edward Thye and J.A.A. Burnquist on this very short list. Burnquist was elected lieutenant governor in 1914 but then became governor after the death of Democrat Winfield Hammond in 1915. He then won the gubernatorial elections of 1916 and 1918 and eight terms as attorney general two decades later (1939-1955). Thye was similarly first elected lieutenant governor of the Gopher State and became governor after the resignation of fellow GOPer Harold Stasson in 1943. Thye won one additional full term as governor in 1944 and then two terms to the U.S. Senate (1947-1959). Twenty Minnesotans have been elected to two different statewide offices.


Respect Your Elders?

With retirement announcements this year by veteran U.S. Representatives such as 30-term Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, 20-term Democrat George Miller of California, and 18-term Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin, it is no surprise that retirees from the 113th Congress are one of the most experienced cohorts in recent decades. Overall, these 24 exiting members of the House have served an average of 11.0 terms - the second longest tenure among retirees across the last 18 cycles since 1980. Only the U.S. Representatives retiring in 2006 had more experience, averaging 11.9 terms. (In that cycle, 10 of the 11 retiring members served at least 10 terms, with GOPer Bill Jenkins of Tennessee the lone exception at just five). Even without the aforementioned Dingell, the average length of service in the chamber of the remaining 23 retirees in 2014 is 10.2 terms - which would still be the third highest since 1980 behind the 2006 and 2012 (10.5 terms) cycles.


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