We’re already at Round 6 of the Presidential Talent Tournament! This marks the halfway point of the first round of elimination—eleven presidents have already been knocked out, and it’s time to eliminate two more. Only one President was born in September, so we “borrowed” some competition from other months, to make it a fair match!
William Howard Taft is the “September baby” President, so you could say he has the homefield advantage. That said, he was not the most athletic President–weighing in at over 300 pounds and requiring a special bathtub to be installed at the White House–but he was the first President to throw the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game, back in 1910. If there is such a thing as an almond-eating contest, he would have been a champion—Taft was known to down pounds of almonds in a single sitting! One honor that sets him apart from every other President—he is the only former President to be appointed to the Supreme Court, as the Chief Justice, no less!
Challenging Taft this month, we have Arkansan Bill Clinton, who felt August was getting a little too crowded. It’s common knowledge that Bill plays the saxophone (tenor sax, to be exact), but maybe you don’t know that he very nearly pursued a career in music. It’s a good thing he went into politics, though—his power of persuasion is unrivaled. Not only was he the only sitting President to shake hands with Fidel Castro, but he even convinced Fleetwood Mac to reunite for his inaugural ball. And it’s probably worth mentioning that he received an honorary induction into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. That really must have taken some talent!
Finally, we have the 21st President, Chester A. Arthur, on loan from the October-born Presidents. Arthur was very well-dressed and was rumored to own 80 pairs of pants; some called him “Elegant Arthur,” due to his expensive tastes. On top of that, he cultivated some impressive muttonchops that would put most facial hair to shame. One might speculate that those bushy sideburns are what caused four young ladies to propose to him on his last day in office. Arthur wasn’t the most popular President—shady pre-presidency connections caused many to distrust him—but he had Mark Twain’s approval: “It would be hard indeed to better President Arthur’s administration.”