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Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

Friday Feature: Candidate Johnson Not Riding a Tiger

LBJ stands on top of an old car, making a speech to an attentive crowd.

Frank Muto / Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum

The details in this photo may be outdated but the setting is all too familiar in these days of non-stop presidential campaigning. Future Vice President (and future President) Lyndon B. Johnson is seen here campaigning atop a car in Pennsylvania, c. 1960.

The Kennedy/Johnson ticket would, of course, win the ticket in 1960. Johnson was VP for nearly three years until Kennedy's assassination in November 1963. In 1964, Johnson ran for re-election against GOP candidate Barry Goldwater. Goldwater's party was,

"… torn by the intense divisions between its old-guard, eastern, moderate base and the upstart, conservative insurgents from the South and West."

LBJ went on to win the election by the largest margin of popular votes in American history. Read more about the 1964 election from American President.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight an interesting item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: President Lincoln Not Riding a Tiger

Image copyright Jason Heuser. All rights reserved.

We continue our exploration of presidential fact and fiction today with this artist's rendering of President Lincoln riding a grizzly bear. He wields the Declaration of Independence and an M16.

Click here to see a full selection from artist Jason Heuser or purchase prints from Etsy.com.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: President Harding Not Riding a Tiger

President Harding riding his horse, Harbel, in Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., with a secret service man riding alongside. c. 19

President Harding riding his horse, Harbel, in Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., with a secret service man riding alongside. c. 1921

President Warren Harding was among the first presidents to record their speeches, and he did so by shouting into a large horn affixed with a recording device. The speeches were limited to five minutes because of the equipment.

Check out the Harding exhibit here, then view the Miller Center's full multimedia archive of presidential speeches.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Not Riding a Tiger

Jacqueline Kennedy sits atop a large camel.

Jacqueline Kennedy (right) and her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill of Poland (left) ride a camel in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. 1962

In March 1962, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy visited Pakistan and India. She is seen here riding a camel through the grounds of President Mohammad Ayub Kahn's residence with her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill of Poland.

While the First Lady was overseas, President Kennedy paid a visit to the University of California, Berkeley, and gave an address that noted, "As we press forward on every front to realize a flexible world order, the role of the university becomes ever more important, both as a reservoir of ideas and as a repository of the long view of the shore dimly seen." He does not mention camels in the speech, however, he does mention elephants, which the First Lady test drove just days before during her visit to India. Listen to the full speech.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has posted several albums of photos from Jackie O's trip, view the full set here

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: George Washington Not Riding a Tiger

George Washington rides a dinosaur and appears to have defeated (and be supported by) an army of fictional characters.

Copyright Joseph Griffith, 2006. All rights reserved.

This week's Friday Feature delves into the realm of the unexpected: behold, an artist's rendering of George Washington in battle. The work was created upon the 225th anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown.

Our congratulations to Joseph Griffith on a truly creative interpretation.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: President Bush Not Riding a Tiger

President George W. Bush rides a mountain bike with an American flag in the background.

President George W. Bush remained an avid mountain bike rider throughout his presidency. Just this year he joined the Wounded Warrior project for a 100K mountain bike ride through Palo Verde Canyon in Texas.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: President Bush and the Governator Not Riding a Tiger

President Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger tip in a shared sled.

“I’ll be back… [as Governor]”

With much of the country seeing record-breaking temperatures, this week's Feature is a reminder of the crisp days of winter, and the often-unique career trajectories of political figures.

President Bush is seen here tobogganing with—you guessed it—Arnold Schwarzenegger. The visit took place in January 1991 and the conditions were reportedly a bit treacherous: First Lady Barbara Bush lost control of her sled on an icy hill and broke her leg. The incident was covered in the New York Times.

The Times refers to Arnold as "the actor" and "a former Mr. Universe who heads the President's Council on Physical Fitness." His then-wife, "television news broadcaster" Maria Shriver, also joined him on the trip.


Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: LBJ and his new Veep, not riding tigers

LBJ and Humphrey sit atop two horses. Each man triumphantly waves his hat into the air.

Greetings from President Lyndon B. Johnson and his new Vice President, Hubert Humphrey. The pair had just taken a victory in the 1964 presidential election and were posing for press at LBJ's ranch in Texas. Johnson considered his VP to be something of a "greenhorn" and (though you wouldn't know from this photo) Humphrey allegedly did seem quite uncomfortable on horseback.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: Teddy Roosevelt Not Riding a Tiger

An illustration depicts Teddy Roosevelt on a large elephant with clouds of dust and panicked individuals below.

Image courtesy Theodore Roosevelt Center, from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs collection.

In this illustration from the Library of Congress, President Theodore Roosevelt is depicted riding a rampaging elephant. As described by the Theodore Roosevelt Center, 

Illustration shows President Theodore Roosevelt as a "Rough Rider" carrying a pike labeled "Fearlessness" and riding an elephant labeled "Administration"; he has chased many men labeled "Dishonest Official" and "Corruption" from the "Post Office" Department. There are mail bags labeled "Corruption, Scandal, [and] Bribery" and letters labeled "Bribe, Scandal, [and] Bribery" flying in the rush of wind as corrupt officials flee Roosevelt and the rampaging elephant.

Visit the Theodore Roosevelt Center to learn more. 

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: President Nixon Not Riding a Tiger

Richard Nixon rides in a parade, waving to the crowds.

Richard Nixon and family are seen here riding in a parade at Disneyland in 1959. Photo courtesy Davelandweb.com.

(Future-) President Richard M. Nixon visited Disneyland in 1959, at Walt Disney's invitation, for the park's 5th anniversary celebration. He's seen here riding down Main Street, with wife Tricia and daughters Julie and Pat in the back seat.

At the time of the visit Nixon was Vice President to Dwight Eisenhower—he would run for President as the Republican nominee the following year, but would narrowly lose to John F. Kennedy. Of course, he won his next campaign, finally taking the White House in 1968.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.


Friday Feature: Ulysses Grant Not Riding a Tiger (Or a Horse)

A bearded man stands beside a large horse.

Ulysses S. Grant is pictured here with his most famous horse, Cincinnati. The horse reportedly stood 18 hands (about 6 feet) high.

As a young boy, Ulysses S. Grant was well-known for his talent with horses. On his family's farm, his father often gave him the responsibility of taking care of the horses, and he was renowned in the area for managing unruly horses.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

 

Friday Feature: President Bush Not Riding a Tiger

A young George W. Bush, wearing a cowboy hat and holding a lasso, sits atop a pony.

Three-year-old George W. Bush rides a horse in 1949. The future President moved as a toddler with his family to West Texas and had what he has described as an idyllic upbringing in post-World War II Midland, Texas.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: Franklin Roosevelt Not Riding a Tiger

Franklin Roosevelt is seen riding in a convertible on two occasions: once in the open air, once surrounded by bulletproof glass.

Photo courtesy The Forgotten History Blog

After the Pearl Harbor attacks of December 7, 1941, the Secret Service set about with special urgency to provide President Franklin Roosevelt with a bulletproof vehicle that would keep the President safe. But there was a problem: Roosevelt needed to make a public address the very next day to respond to the attacks.

(Listen to the speech, "Address to Congress Requesting a Declaration of War," from the Miller Center's speech archive.)

How did they solve the problem? President Roosevelt reportedly borrowed a heavily armored Cadillac formerly owned by notorious ganger Al Capone. The car had been sitting in a Treasury Department parking lot since it was seized years earlier, and it was heavily armored and had specially installed siren and flashing lights hidden behind the grill (a style still seen today on the Presidential motorcade).

President Roosevelt only used Capone's Cadillac for a short time—the Secret Service worked with Ford Motors to armor a 1939 Lincoln V12 (the "Sunshine Special," picture here) shortly thereafter.

Roosevelt is seen here riding in the Lincoln convertible before (top) and after (bottom) its armor was installed.

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.

Friday Feature: President Ford Not Riding a Tiger

A young child balances on top of an adult-size bike, held up by 3 other children.

Young Leslie Lynch King, Jr. sits on a bicycle, flanked by a cousin and two unidentified girls. c. 1915, Photo courtesy Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

President Gerald R. Ford, Jr., was born "Leslie Lynch King, Jr." (named after his father, Leslie Lynch King). His mother, Dorothy Ayer Gardner, divorced his father—a wife-beating alcoholic—shortly after his birth, and remarried in 1916. Dorothy called her future-President son "Junie," which soon became "Jerry" out of affection for the boy's new father-figure, Gerald R. Ford, Sr.

Leslie King, Jr., did not learn of his biological father until he was a teenager, and after graduating from college he officially changed his name to Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr.

Read more in the American President essay about President Gerald R. Ford, Jr.

Friday Feature: President Theodore Roosevelt Not Riding a Tiger

President Roosevelt on horseback.

Teddy Roosevelt, known to be quite the sportsman, is seen here on horseback. 

Stay tuned! Every Friday we'll highlight a whimsical item from presidential history.