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Who is your favorite president?

Asked at La Prima Tazza, 638 Mass. on February 15, 2009

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Photo of Susan Bentson

“Bill Clinton because of his intellect.”

Photo of Elizabeth Carroll

“Barack Obama. … He’s very intelligent, and he has new ideas.”

Photo of Alan Hiatt

“Jimmy Carter. … I think he did a lot of wonderful things in his post-presidency.”

Photo of Josh Edwards

FDR because I think he is really relevant to what’s going on today.”

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Flap Doodle 9 years, 4 months ago

Andrew Jackson "Andrew Jackson was the first president on whom an assassination attempt was made. A man named Richard Lawrence approached Jackson with two pistols both of which, for some reason, misfired. With the possibility of an assassination taken off the table, Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence near death with his cane until Jackson's aides pulled him off the assassin." From the Cracked list of 5 most bad @ss presidents of all time.

rightthinkertwo 9 years, 4 months ago

Ronald Reagan,He had a part in bringing down the Berlin Wall and ending the cold war.

mom_of_three 9 years, 4 months ago

Autie - Franklin Pierce?

Is he your favorite because he was a laughing stock and helped create Bleeding Kansas? Please tell me you just drew that name out of a hat?

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

Grover Cleveland. He was one crazy muppet.

JohnBrown 9 years, 4 months ago

Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Carter.

Washington eschewed the option to be a king; Lincoln kept the Union together; Roosevelt busted the trusts and created national parks; Carter got Sadat and Begin to sign a lasting peace accord.

Reagan is overblown as a president. It was Gorbachev who brought down the USSR; Reagan gave us 300 dead Marines (while warned about placing them all in one place), a doubled national debt (he spent as much as all the presidents that came before him!!!), and the biggest tax hike ever at that point after lying he wouldn't do it ["read my lips"]. he also broke the law re: South America. Given his popularity among Neocons I would add that he was, apparently, a pretty successful actor.

labmonkey 9 years, 4 months ago

TR and Reagan. Two guys who spoke softly and carried a big stick.

labmonkey 9 years, 4 months ago

I think Alan has put too much peanut oil on his face. Get some Benzoil Peroxide for gosh darn sakes.

labmonkey 9 years, 4 months ago

Do they still have some of that Millard Filmore Soap on a Roap that I seen on some commercial last year? That would be awesome.

mom_of_three 9 years, 4 months ago

Lol! Thank you for clarifying, autie. he probably had the most children because he wasn't paying attention to his job!!

labmonkey 9 years, 4 months ago


If you are going by that thinking, then MLK was just as flawed. He called himself "Reverend" but broke one of the only vows one makes to God... his marriage vows. You better find another day to celebrate.

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

autie: Check your sarcastosatiremeter, the batteries are low.

rabbit 9 years, 4 months ago

Obama Ya'll lets give the man a chance.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 4 months ago

Wait ... why would somebody be your favorite president for what he did after his presidency? That's like choosing your favorite football player based on what he did after he retired from football.

Also, I'd agree that FDR is remarkably relevant to what's going on today: he showed us what not to do.

womanwarrior 9 years, 4 months ago

rightthinkertwo (Anonymous) says… Ronald Reagan,He had a part in bringing down the Berlin Wall and ending the cold war.

Oh please. He just happened to be president when the Afghanistan war bankrupted the Soviet Union. And now the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are taking us down. Of course, you'll try and blame that on Obama, instead of your other "do nothing good for the US, just your rich friends" hero, GW.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Jimmy Carter and his energy policy would be saving trillions of war dollars and thousands of lives today. Absolutely!

Otherwise Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich are my favorites. Obama might be in the end.

Not one repub administration in the past 29 years produced a robust economy but a lot of debt each time. Reaganomics is all about big time debt,hostile takeovers, screwing americans out of jobs, controlling media,worshipping republican presidents and robbing banks.

When it comes to Jimmy Carter, Reagan/Bush politics began to take that very nasty neocon lies and character assassination approach. Yucko!

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

The repub party is largest law breaker in our nations history:

Isn't it odd each time our nations financial institutions crumble there are Bush family near by and a McCain still in office?

Who has history with financial institutions going south such as the savings and loan scandal? Republicans!

McCain: The Most Reprehensible of the Keating Five. The story of "the Keating Five" has become a scandal rivaling Teapot Dome and Watergate ...

CRIME: Who hosted the Iran Contra secret illegal sale of weapons? Republicans!

CRIME: Who brought the nation Iran Contra number 2? Republicans!

CRIME: Which party illegally spied on the democrats to win an election? Republicans! Watergate!

CRIME: Which party held secret energy meetings and refused our elected officials its' content and who attended? GW Bush and the republicans!

CRIME: Which party lied to congress and the world,went against military advice and created the worst strategic blunder in the history of the USA aka Iraq War? Republican Party!

Which party has held secret oil deals with Saudi Arabia? Republicans!

CRIME: Secret Oil deals for Iraq Oil- Republicans!

CRIME AGAINST DEMOCRACY : PNAC's policy document, "Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination. Many PNAC members hold highest-level positions in the George W. Bush administration.

womanwarrior 9 years, 4 months ago

"FDR?? Followed failed policies to extract us from depression, only to be bailed out by WWII. In the meantime, he established the mind-set that you could borrow (steal) from future generations and the bill would never have to be paid."

If having a war boosts the economy, then we shouldn't be in a recession, since we have 2 wars.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago

Nancy... I finally get it... sarcasm and satire of the FIRST order... ( and with boastful longevity, no less )... kudos to you!

MeAndFannieLou 9 years, 4 months ago

Chester Arthur.

Never heard of him?

Case closed.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago

Admittedly, I am give to schadenfreude, on occasion.

Happy Nancy Day!

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago


( hmm... how did I drop an "n" on Nancy Day...? )

jaywalker 9 years, 4 months ago

I'd say Clinton but he still owes me money so.....

Prospector, made me laugh. I didn't get a 'Harumph!' outta that guy!

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

George W. Bush.

Oh wait, I thought it said who is your favorite president who started a war of choice, doubled the national debt, tortured, undermined the Constitution and rule of law, destroyed the US and world economy with a "fox in the henhouse" approach to regulation, and had shoes thrown at him.

My mistake.

Lincoln, FDR, Clinton, pretty much in that order.

rightthinkertwo 9 years, 4 months ago

If FDR was so great,why did his Democratic Congress voted to establish the two term limit after he died?

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

logrithmic (Anonymous) says

"Don't believe in marriage or God. So MLK deserves his hallowed pantheon in my book."

Regardless of your beliefs, the fact that MLK obviously believed in those things makes him guilty, in this case, of violations of integrity and ethics. Unless you don't believe in those, either.

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 4 months ago

Jimmy Carter!!!??? Unbelievable! He was the worst ever.

Ronald Reagan.

Terry Jacobsen 9 years, 4 months ago

How come someone's choice of "favorite" president has to turn into something negative. Perfect example to me that every President had something good about them. Even the ones I didn't vote for.

mom_of_three 9 years, 4 months ago

my favorite president(s) are the ones on my money.

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

Haha. You really just can't see anything past what you want to see even when it hits you in the face, can you Logrithmic?

Or did you just admit that you consider ethics and integrity a load of gibberish?

Either way wouldn't surprise me.

mom_of_three 9 years, 4 months ago

Andrew Jackson was a tough turkey, but his policies regarding Indian removal and land were pretty harsh and extreme. For that, he doesn't rank too high with me.
Every president has done something which wasn't very popular or politically correct. Just have to find one that caused the lesser amount of damage and harm.
Many of the first 15 presidents were slave holders or southern sympathizers, which is horrendous. Others tried to get rid of the Indians, others behaved badly.
Didn't Teddy Roosevelt establish the national park service? That's good.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 4 months ago

Jonas, it's no use arguing with someone who believes only in being completely arbitrary.

womanwarrior 9 years, 4 months ago

rusty2 (Anonymous) says… The President of France

Oh, you just like his sexy wife.

jaywalker 9 years, 4 months ago

jonas and sgt, It's no use conversing whatsoever with logrithmic.

tange: "… love those childhood photos of W."

Alfred E. Neuman's long, lost twin, right?

Deja Coffin 9 years, 4 months ago

My step dad is President of his local hunting club, I chose him!

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

sgt and jay: No use? It's entertaining! That's a use!

Tom McCune 9 years, 4 months ago

David Rice Atchison, because he was President of the United States for only one day....

RiverCityConservative 9 years, 4 months ago

Favorite might-have-been president: Jerry Brown, the "philosopher king." Could have beaten Carter in 76 if he had entered the race earlier; might have made a good run in 80 if his "planet earth" comment hadn't been ahead of the curve; ran a spirited campaign against Clinton in 92 and had him up against the ropes through the NY primary, with some of the best oratory I've ever seen (prior to Obama, that is). I remember a spring break trip to California in 77 and that was a wonderful state he had going as governor (a few years later, Reagan ordered the whole place sprayed with malathion instead of giving Jerry Brown's more environmentally sound solution time to work); solid mayor of Oakland; very, very hard-working and effective Attorney General of California today. What a great guy. Some of us even had dreams of Linda Ronstadt as first lady... Oh, those were the days. :) But if "nearly president" doesn't count, then my all-time favorite is Truman, but he may be eclipsed by the Obama presidency. First guy I voted for who actually won? -Bill Clinton. Second guy I voted for who actually won? -Barack Obama. Two guys I voted for on principle who didn't stand a chance? John Anderson and, in 96, Ralph Nader. Biggest thrill? Shaking hands with VP candidate Al Gore at the World Trade Center as their bus tour kicked off one early Saturday morning in October 1992. Another big thrill? Shaking hands with Bob Dole at a Barnes and Noble in NYC in 97 or 98 on one of his book tours and small talk with him for about 20 seconds re the Great Bend and Russell region of Kansas. Also, listening to his speeches on TV during the 96 campaign. Great straight-talker, and one of the last true moderate Republicans.

Tom McCune 9 years, 4 months ago

John Hancock.

Before you say "he was never president!" remember that he was President of the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and his was the ONLY signature to appear on the "first edition" of the Declaration of Independence. (The two copies that were actually sent to the British authorities notifying them the colonies were declaring themselves an independent country.)

He also twice served as "President of the United States in Congress Assembled" a.k.a. President of the Confederation Congress.

Think about it. George Washington didn't become President until 1789. Somebody had to be the head honcho between 1776 and 1789 under the Continental Congress and the Confederation Congress.

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 4 months ago

LJW should venture out to Wal-Mart and ask that question. I forgot they are restricted to Mass., New Hampshire and the merc.

coolmom 9 years, 4 months ago

i would say teddy roosevelt since my 5th grader and i have been pretty well immersed in him for weeks due to an intensive report he was pretty bad ass had a good family and some awesome kids and effects he was not really good person as far as race rights but he did have other forward thinking things and he was tough as nails. he did a speech after being shot in the chest since he said basically if he wasnt dead immediately he could give the darn speech. he was a rough rider and wrote numerous books of nature as well.

coolmom 9 years, 4 months ago

that would be former presidents though since obama is our only current president. it should say something along the lines of current or former and really obama love or hate him has no record to judge by so far.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 4 months ago

That's true, jonas. I can't believe I missed that! I've been sick all weekend, so I think my entertainment meter is off.

manus_flexibilis 9 years, 4 months ago

The first Indepublicrat would probably be my first favorite, until than don't believe the hype!

Bladerunner 9 years, 4 months ago

Im glad Ms. Bentson is laughing in the pic. I would have been laughing too if I would have been there and heard her say "Clinton".

Polly_Gomer 9 years, 4 months ago

"George W. Bush. For morality he restored decency to the white house..."

Thank god I didn't have anything in my stomach when I read this incredible pile of crap.

jayhawklawrence 9 years, 4 months ago

The Carter years depressed us and made us feel like losers. Reagan had the ability to make us feel that America was special and we were all happy to be part of something great. For that, I will dearly love him as President.

But he made a lot of mistakes. Unfortunately, the NeoCons use his mistakes to make more and bigger ones. They have no class whatsoever.

But I will always love Reagan. He reminded us of what America is and what it can be. He had a lot of the right message at the right time in our history. It cost a lot at the time, but it launched us into prosperity again, just like President Obama will do if he can get past all the traitors in Washington.

Both Obama and Reagan are similar in that they have/had great leadership skills. But even Lincoln couldn't work with this dumb congress.

Left_handed 9 years, 4 months ago

What a shock that liberals abound on the mean streets of the People's Republic of Lawrence.

preebo 9 years, 4 months ago

John Adams, the first American President to attend Harvard Law School (shot out to Cambridge and the Square), one of our republic's first diplomat, a great intellectual (from Braintree, MA), helped draft the Declaration of Independence, risked his very life along with the first patriots to establish the revolutionary guard, a staunch abolitionist (anti-slavery), While a successful lawyer, he also operated his family farm that was established by his grandfather, where he was widely known for his fertilizer, and he passed on the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence that he help create. his biography was turned into an awesome mini-series on HBO.

pooter 9 years, 4 months ago

The buck stops here.

Give 'em Hell, Harry!


Ceallach 9 years, 4 months ago

Washington, Adams, Jefferson, oh, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, ew, ew, doing homework with you.

JHOK32 9 years, 4 months ago

Prolifersforwar: Pro-lifers-for-war. Well this an entertaining new twist, I assume we have extreme far right conservatives who roar to the defenses of the pro-lifers by saying aborting a child is killing it, & thou shalt not kill! But we are now pro-war within the same paragraph..that it is OK to kill in war........hmmmmmmm......I assume Moses must have had some fine print at the bottom of the ten commandments? So fight on Christian warriors, blow the heads off the "enemies" while they blow our heads off. Maybe you'll be lucky like my cousin & only come home with both legs blown off, but he is still living (sort of). Yes Mr. Bush claims to be a great Christian, yet he's ordered 100,000 people, women & children to their deaths. Jesus Christ himself said thou shalt not kill.....Im sure Bush's people can put some "acceptable" spin on that topic. Does Bush actually show up in Church these days with all the blood he has on his hands? It must really make a heck of a mess. Is that allowed? Oh I know! ...., they'll make a saint out of him for killing all those people & taking their oil ...Saint Bush, he can have a statue holding an oil can....makes my eyes tear up just thinkin about it. Just a little side-note: Jesus said it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get to heaven. Better get a building permit to add on to the old burning lake down there Devil're gonna need a LOT more room!!

West_Sider 9 years, 4 months ago

Abe Lincoln...Noboby else comes even close.

The man was raised in an impoverished household, attended less than 12 months of formal education, and led this nation thru what was its most difficult hour. All this while dealing with a spouse with severe depression, the death of two children, and a relection campaign during the middle of a civil war. Others have done much for our country, but he is in a category unto himself.

Maddy Griffin 9 years, 4 months ago

I'd have to say Jimmy Carter. H was the first President I got to vote for. He's also done some pretty wonderful things since leaving office. Nobel Prize and all.

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