Debate Study Guide: Former U.S Presidents.

This article will help you prepare for our comedy debate show this Sunday Sept. 17th.  You don’t want to look like Rick Perry in 2012 struggling to name just 3 government agencies.  You want to be prepared.  Well luckily I’ve done some of the work for you.  You don’t have to spend tens of minutes watching youtube videos titled “Real weird things about Presidents that you may not know and are probably true”.  I’ve rounded up all kinds of info that will be used to create the questions for our debate Sunday night.

Let’s start with nicknames.  It seems every U.S President had at least one nickname.  Often they had multiple nicknames, sometimes these nicknames were provided by their enemies.

Abraham Lincoln – Honest Abe (self explanatory)
Rutherford B. Hayes – Rutherfraud (disputed results of the 1876 election)
James Madison – His Little Majesty (was only 5’4″ and about 100 pounds)
Zachary Taylor – Old, Rough and Ready (was not young or smooth)
Chester A. Arthur – The Dude President (was a fancy man with 80 pairs of pants)
Richard Nixon – Tricky Dick (claimed he wasn’t a crook, was a crook)
Bill Clinton – The First Black President (was a white guy)

There’s more but you should definitely know the ones listed above.  I can’t imagine a scenario where we don’t bring up “His Little Majesty” Sunday night.

Here are some real slogans that were used during presidential campaigns and a couple of fake ones just for fun.  Can you guess which are fake?

1848:  “For President of the People”  Zachary Taylor
1848:  “The Sub Treasury and the tariff of ’46” Lewis Cass
1852:  “We Polked you in ’44, We shall Pierce you in ’52” Franklin Pierce
1904:  “Tanned, Rested and Ready”  Theodore Roosevelt
1912:  “You don’t need a sub, leave Taft in the tub”  William Taft
1924:  “Keep it cool and keep Coolidge”  Calvin Coolidge
1992:  “Ross for Boss”  Ross Perot
2016:  “CNN sucks”  Donald Trump

You may also want to be familiar with which presidents died while in office since that could be useful info during the debate.

1841:  William Henry Harrison was the first U.S President to die in office.  He also served the shortest amount of time at just 31 days.  It is said that doctors tried to treat him with opium, leeches and Virginia snakeroot but somehow those all just made it worse.  After his death John Tyler was sworn in and proceeded to piss everyone one off even people in his own party.

1850: Zachary Taylor died of diarrhea after eating too many cherries.  He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore.

1865:  Abraham Lincoln was shot at a play by an actor that wasn’t in the play. He was succeeded by Andrew Johnson, who the same group also planned to kill but the job must have been given to an understudy because it never got done.

1881: James Garfield was shot in the back less than four months into his term.  He lived another 11 weeks with a bullet lodged in his pancreas.  Meaning he served almost as much time with a bullet in him as he did without.  He was succeeded by Chester A. Arthur.

1901: William McKinley was shot (jesus christ I’m sensing a pattern here). His assassin Leon Czolgosz was an anarchist that made his move while McKinley was shaking hands and greeting citizens.  Leon was given the electric chair and the secret service was officially given the task of protecting the president.  McKinley was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

1923:  Warren G. Harding died of a sudden heart attack.  Rumors quickly developed that he was poisoned or committed suicide.  Mostly revolving around his wife, people think she either killed him or he offed himself so he didn’t have to deal with her anymore.  But it was just a heart attack.  The first lady would not allow an autopsy.  But it was just a heart attack.  After Warren G. Harding’s death the first lady gathered all his documents and correspondences and burned them.  BUT IT WAS JUST A HEART ATTACK.  Warren G. Harding was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge.

1945:  Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage and if he hadn’t he might still be serving today.  People couldn’t get enough of this dude, electing him 3 times.  Anyway, his last words were “I have a terrific pain in the back of my head”.  He was succeeded by Harry S. Truman.

1963:  John F. Kennedy was shot in the head while riding in a convertible in Dallas Texas.  Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the next President of the United States while First Lady Jacqueline was still wearing a dress with JFK’s blood splattered on it.

Well, that was grim.  How about some fun facts to wrap this whole thing up?!

John Tyler had 15 kids 8 with his first wife 7 with his second wife (because he loved her less)

William Taft once got stuck in the White House bath tub because he was 330 pounds.  He ordered a new one that could fit four men.

Andrew Jackson taught his parrot to curse and it eventually had to be removed from his funeral because it wouldn’t stop cursing.

Theodore Roosevelt gave the White House it’s name in 1901.

Calvin Coolidge like to have vaseline rubbed on his head as he ate breakfast in bed.

Bill Clinton has 2 grammy’s.

Warren G. Harding lost the White House china in a poker game.  (maybe the true cause of his death.)

Lyndon B. Johnson is known for having a huge…. uhhhh….  Johnson.

James Buchanan is the only president to never marry.

Franklin Pierce swore in on a law book instead of the bible and was once arrested for running over a woman with his horse during his presidency.

George Washington had teeth made of gold, lead, ivory and animal teeth but not wood.

Woodrow Wilson is on the 100,000 dollar bill. (only made for one month and only for use in the federal reserve)

John Adams named his dog Satan

James Madison was our shortest president at only 5’4″

Franklin Delano Roosevelt put Japanese Americans in internment camps, in 1988 they each received $20,000 as reparations.  (wait that’s not a fun one)

Jimmy Carter was once attacked by a swimming rabbit.

I hope to see you Sunday September 17 at the VFW in Whitman where you can put this knowledge to use.

Show starts at 8pm.


Shawn is the owner and creator of

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