The job of the U.S. President is considered difficult. Not only are there long working hours with very little privacy, but there are many serious issues that presidents must address regarding things like the economy, managing budgets, presiding over the workforce, and more. This role can be especially challenging during wartime. The public often looks to our Commanders-in-Chief to direct the nation and to provide calm inspiration. Sometimes the best thing to lift us up is their quick wit.
Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, had a great sense of humor. It is said that during a debate with Stephen Douglas, he was accused of being two-faced. The over six-foot president is said to have jokingly replied, “I leave it to my audience. If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?”
Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th President, had a great sense of humor. He once quipped, “When they call the roll in the Senate, the senators do not know whether to answer ‘present’ or ‘not guilty.’
And a funny, yet sadly truthful quote, from #31, President Herbert Hoover, “Blessed are the young, for they will inherit the national debt.” Yikes!
Former President Jimmy Carter, #39, quipped, “My esteem in this country has gone up substantially. It is very nice now when people wave at me, they use all their fingers.”
Ronald Reagan, our 40th President, was reminded that he was the oldest president in history. When asked if he would be able to function under pressure, quick-on-his-feet Reagan responded, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” With humor, he put that debate to rest!
The presidents’ abilities to joke about themselves, their circumstances, and even serious topics like the national debt, are not intended as put-downs. Rather, they demonstrate that these leaders seek to lighten the mood and are willing to take things in stride.