Presidential Talent Tournament – August

It’s time for another round of Presidential competition! This promises to be another fierce one with four* Presidents contending, including our current Commander in Chief.

First, let’s take a look at Benjamin Harrison, born August 20, 1833. Harrison could have given “Silent Cal” Coolidge a run for his money when it came to social interaction. He was nicknamed the “Human Iceberg” because he could be so chilly and stiff during social encounters. That said, you might be surprised at his other talent—giving speeches. For all his formality, the man sure talked a lot, once giving 140 separate, unique speeches in the space of thirty days. That’s almost five speeches a day!

Lyndon B. Johnson came along on August 27, 1908. He was a skilled debater and a great teacher who spent his early years educating underprivileged Mexican children. A lesser known talent was his knack for driving—perhaps because he often drove drunk. He used to invite friends and guests (who didn’t know any better) to go for a ride in one of his various automobiles, then cruise around the ranch at 90 mph. One such automobile was actually an amphibious convertible that looked just like a regular car. He’d wrap up those thrill rides by pretending the brakes had failed and driving his guests right into the lake! Who knew he was such a prankster?

If we go back a few years, we find Herbert Hoover—born August 10, 1874. Hoover was a master of the game Hooverball, perhaps because he invented it, and a talented fisherman to boot. He set a fishing record in Florida that lasted for 11 years. It’s believed that he also held the world record at the time for honorary degrees awarded—87 of them! A geologist and mining engineer, he used his career skills to make millions of dollars in the mining industry and was sometimes known as the “Doctor of sick mines.” Rumor has it that if you come to The Hall of Presidents on Hoover’s birthday, you will receive Girl Scout Cookies (but don’t let them sway your vote!)

Finally, we arrive at our current President, Barack Obama, who was born on August 4, 1961. In high school, they called him “O’Bomber” for his basketball prowess and, more recently, he could bench press 200 lbs. Thanks to audiobooks, Obama is one of only three Presidents to have won Grammy Awards—and he won two of them! While living in Indonesia he developed something of an iron stomach: he ate snake meat, dog meat, and even roasted grasshopper. His love of comic books, particularly Conan the Barbarian, led to a special comic mini-series called Barack the Barbarian—which now holds a place in his extensive comic book collection.


Now it’s up to you, readers! The ball is in your court. Who gets your vote? Will it be Obama, Johnson, Harrison, or Hoover? Cast your vote today on Facebook or Twitter!


*To those of you keeping count, Bill Clinton took a raincheck for September, so he could keep Taft company!