The Lighthearted Leanings of Leadership
Ronald Reagan could deliver jokes like the best of them, but do American presidents need to make the masses laugh?
Four Score and Seven Years of Presidential GolfingPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower may have been America’s biggest presidential golf player and fan.
Retiring for PeaceOn Jan. 17, 1968, Lyndon Johnson delivered his State of the Union and surprised his closest advisers when he didn’t step down.
The 25th AmendmentWhen Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office, a flaw in the Constitution was revealed.
At the Heart of the President’s HeartIn 1955, a presidential heart attack changed the relationship between the press and the presidency.
A High Point in Bipartisan DealmakingOn Sept. 30, 1990, President George H.W. Bush announced an unusual bipartisan deal— and he took flak for doing so.
What Happened When President Carter Fired Five Cabinet OfficialsWhistlestop on an outsider president’s failed attempt to shake up his administration.
More Reprehensible Than Watergate?Whistlestop revisits the Nixon campaign’s efforts to “monkey wrench” a Vietnam peace deal.
Lady Lincoln and the LeakFirst lady Mary Todd Lincoln resorted to some shady accounting during the Civil War.
Oliver North, Master Crafter of the Political LieIn 1986, an American plane loaded with weapons for Contra guerrillas fighting communists in Nicaragua crashed, fueling the Iran–Contra affair.
A Recipe for a Presidential SpeechOn June 11, 1962, President Kennedy made a speech he thought would sway his audience at Yale.
The Bricker Amendment and Stories of Migratory BirdsWhistlestop travels back to Jan. 7, 1953, and the introduction of the Bricker Amendment.
Steely Executive Orders From Presidents Truman and TrumpWhen a president’s executive powers are challenged by the courts.
Griever in Chief and Guardian of Common GroundOn April 19, 1995, when the Oklahoma City bombing shocked the nation, Bill Clinton offered emotional and political guidance.
Jimmy Carter’s Olympic BoycottThe president tried to use the 1980 Summer Olympics to get Russia out of Afghanistan. It didn’t work.
The Entanglements of the MegarichAre the financial complications of the extremely wealthy compatible with the presidency?
The Partial Truths of the PresidencyMany American presidents value truth without delivering it fully.
Riding the Oratory TrainIn September 1919, Woodrow Wilson took himself to the brink of death, speaking out for a future of peace.
Loyalty Tests and the Bridge of DeathIn July 1979, President Carter was ready to fire a number of Cabinet members and start afresh.
Foreign Collusion and the Dragon LadyIn November 1968, as Johnson was attempting to end the bombing in Vietnam, others were vying for the power of the presidency.
Recording From the OvalIn February 1971, President Nixon asked his chief of staff if they could record conversations in the Oval Office for posterity.
The Fiery Words of Spiro AgnewRevisiting Oct. 15, 1969, and the then–vice president’s divisive language.
The 104-Year-Old MistakeJohn Dickerson visits March 15, 1913—when President Woodrow Wilson convened the very first presidential press conference.
When a Supreme Court Justice Leaves a Seat Earlier Than ExpectedHow the U.S. government filled the seat Chief Justice Earl Warren left behind.