Dem 51
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GOP 49
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It Was Presidents' Day!

We had a quiz in honor of the occasion yesterday; now it's time for the answers.

1. Which of these four presidents is the only sitting president to command troops in a battle against a foreign enemy?
  1. #1 George Washington
  2. #2 John Adams
  3. #3 Thomas Jefferson
  4. #4 James Madison
You might have guessed Washington, but while he commanded the Continental Army during the Revolution, the only hostiles he faced while a sitting president were Americans (during the Whiskey Rebellion). During the War of 1812, by contrast, Madison briefly took command of some American troops during the Battle at Bladensburg, in Maryland.

2. Which of these four presidents issued zero vetoes during his term in office?
  1. #5 James Monroe
  2. #6 John Quincy Adams
  3. #7 Andrew Jackson
  4. #8 Martin Van Buren
Congress didn't pass all that many bills back then, and the ones they did pass, Adams found agreeable. His father never issued a veto, either, nor did Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, or James Garfield. In the latter four cases, the brevity of their terms in office was part of the equation. Note, incidentally, that Joe Biden has yet to issue a veto.

3. Which of these four presidents never cast a ballot in an American election, including the one in which he was chosen as president?
  1. #9 William Henry Harrison
  2. #10 John Tyler
  3. #11 James K. Polk
  4. #12 Zachary Taylor
As a military man, Taylor moved around frequently enough that he rarely met the residency requirements of his era.

4. Which of these four presidents was the first president or ex-president to publish an autobiography while still living?
  1. #13 Millard Fillmore
  2. #14 Franklin Pierce
  3. #15 James Buchanan
  4. #16 Abraham Lincoln
In the nineteenth century, it was considered gauche for presidents or ex-presidents to presume to tell their own story. However, Buchanan saw which way the winds were blowing, and defied custom to publish Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of Rebellion in 1866. It was an effort to justify the choices he made in the lead-up to the Civil War, and to salvage his reputation. It didn't work.

5. Which of these four presidents was the first person elected to the White House under something other than his birth name?
  1. #17 Andrew Johnson
  2. #18 Ulysses S. Grant
  3. #19 Rutherford B. Hayes
  4. #20 James Garfield
He was born Hiram Ulysses Grant, but had long since left that name behind when elected to the presidency. He was eventually followed in the White House by Stephen Grover Cleveland, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, John Calvin Coolidge, David Dwight Eisenhower, Leslie Lynch King Jr. (Gerald Ford) and William Jefferson Blythe IV (Bill Clinton).

6. Which of these four presidents was the last veteran of the Civil War to serve in the White House?
  1. #21 Chester Arthur
  2. #22/24 Grover Cleveland
  3. #23 Benjamin Harrison
  4. #25 William McKinley
Grover Cleveland did not serve, having purchased the services of a substitute. But Brig. Gen. Chester Arthur, Brevet Brig. Gen. Benjamin Harrison, and Brevet Maj. William McKinley all did.

7. Which of these four presidents' final words were: "The machinery is broken... I am ready."?
  1. #26 Theodore Roosevelt
  2. #27 William Howard Taft
  3. #28 Woodrow Wilson
  4. #29 Warren Harding
Theodore Roosevelt did not know the end was nigh; his last words were "Please put out the lights" before he laid down to a night's sleep from which he never woke. Warren Harding most certainly did not know the end was nigh; he was enjoying the text of a flattering newspaper profile being read by his wife, and so his last words were "That's good! Go on—read some more." William Howard Taft should have known the end was nigh, since his health was very poor, but he is one of seven presidents (along with Franklin Pierce, Chester Arthur, Herbert Hoover, Harry S. Truman, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan) whose final words are not known. That leaves us with Wilson, who most certainly knew his demise was at hand, and who was prone to being poetic (or trying to be, at least).

8. Which of these four presidents often spoke to his wife in Chinese so that visitors could not eavesdrop?
  1. #30 Calvin Coolidge
  2. #31 Herbert Hoover
  3. #32 Franklin D. Roosevelt
  4. #33 Harry S. Truman
It helps that he spent several years living in China while building a wildly successful career as a mining engineer.

9. Which of these four presidents won an Emmy Award?
  1. #34 Dwight D. Eisenhower
  2. #35 John F. Kennedy
  3. #36 Lyndon B. Johnson
  4. #37 Richard Nixon
Ike won the Television Academy's Governors' Award in 1959 "For his use and encouragement of television." Barack Obama is the only other president to win an Emmy; Donald Trump was nominated but never won. Which means that the Emmy and the Nobel Peace Prize have something in common.

10. Which of these three presidents had 12 of his vetoes overridden, placing him second all-time behind Andrew Johnson?
  1. #38 Gerald Ford
  2. #39 Jimmy Carter
  3. #40 Ronald Reagan
Johnson had 15. In addition to Ford, Harry S. Truman also had 12 vetoes overridden.

11. Which of these three presidents is the only president ever to reach 90% approval in a Gallup Poll?
  1. #41 George H.W Bush
  2. #42 Bill Clinton
  3. #43 George W. Bush
On September 21, 2001, for obvious reasons, Bush the son was at 90%. Just over 7 years later, on October 10, 2008, he also became the only president ever to record a disapproval rating in the 70s (he was at 71%). In case you are wondering, Bush the father's highest approval was 89%, and Donald Trump's highest disapproval was 62%.

12. Which of these three presidents was the first president whose official White House portrait was taken with a digital camera?
  1. #44 Barack Obama
  2. #45 Donald Trump
  3. #46 Joe Biden
It was taken by Pete Souza with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

This was pretty tough; if you got even half of them right, you should feel pretty good. If so, you did better than the world's most advanced AI. We'll explain what we mean by that tomorrow. (Z)

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