Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Tales

What with 15 mile an hour winds and temperatures in the 20s, today's inauguration is shaping up to be pretty typical of the wretched weather described by Paul Boller in Presidential Inaugurations, "an informal, anecdotal history from Washington's Election to George W. Bush's Gala". But at least it's not snowing. Andrew Jackson had to be inaugurated in the Senate chamber due to a blizzard, and a reluctant Taft was also inaugurated there because the outgoing president, Teddy Roosevelt, and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge told him that the Chief Justice's health wasn't up to an inauguration out in the snow. When it rained on Hoover's inauguration day, Calvin Coolidge remarked to his wife that "it always rains on moving day."

Other fun facts from Presidential Inaugurations:
John Quincy Adams was the first president to be sworn in wearing long pants (1825).
Franklin Pierce was the first president to deliver his speech by memory (1853).
The first televised inauguration was Harry Truman's (1949).

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