Life in the White House — Bipartisan Equalizer

As one would expect, a large portion of Washington D.C.’s  National Portrait Gallery is devoted to the presidents of the United States. All get a spot, even the nebish ones. 

One of the great unifiers — whether Democrat, Republican, Whig, No-Nothing or Federalist–  is the conclusion of the occupants that a turn in the White House of four or, worse, eight years is not walk in the park. 

Harry Truman referred to the White House as the “White Sepulcher.”

America’s second president, John Adams, said: “No man who ever held the office of president would ever congratulate a friend on obtaining it.”

Adams’ successor, Thomas Jefferson, who along with Adams helped set the bar for the most negative presidential campaign in American history, a bar as yet hurdled  209 years later, called his time as president “splendid misery.” Most of his presidency was spent suffering from crippling migraines. Migraines which, interestingly, evaporated when he left the office. 

Despite the calumny Adams and Jefferson leveled against each other in the 1800 presidential campaign, the two became soul-brotherly pen pals later in life.

Both died on the 50th anniversary of the signing (announcement of the signing) of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1826. Adams’ last words were reputed to be,”One still lives,” referring to Jefferson. Jefferson had died earlier in the day.  


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