1952 – Eisenhower announces his candidacy for President of the USA

Eisenhower didn’t originally want to run for President. He’d been repeatedly urged to by Harry Truman over the previous years, but Harry wanted Ike to be a Democrat, and Ike’s family were dyed-in-the-wool Republicans. At one point, he retorted to Truman that if he was going to run, it would be as a Republican, not a Democrat.

When word of that got out, Henry Cabot Lodge entered Eisenhower’s name on the ballot for the New Hampshire Primary without Ike’s knowledge. Garnering considerable popular support and a number of endorsements in newspaper editorials, Ike did no campaigning, saying only that if he won, he would contest the election. Eisenhower easily emerged victorious, winning 50% of the votes on March 11, 1952. The next day, he announced that he would indeed run, and come November, he was elected the 34th President of the United States.

Referenced in:
Dr Jeep — Sisters of Mercy

1949 — Harry S. Truman is inaugurated as President

Late breaking spoiler: the Chicago Tribune got it wrong. Truman defeated Dewey, and quite handily, at that. He received 303 votes in the Electoral College to Dewey’s 189 (the remaining 39 votes were won by Strom Thurmond). Harry Truman’s Inauguration was the first one ever to be televised live across the nation.

Truman’s second term as President would largely be concerned with foreign affairs, particularly the newly nuclear bomb enabled Soviet Union and the Korean War. Truman did not contest the 1952 election, having become increasingly unpopular with voters during his second term.

Referenced in:
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel

2000 – John Ellis calls the Presidential election for George Bush

John Prescott Ellis was 47 years old on the night of the 2000 US Presidential Election. He had spent most of his adult life working in the media as a political consultant, briefly taking time out to work in actual politics during the ’88 and ’92 Presidential Elections. He had been working for the Fox Network for the last few years when 2000 rolled around.

At 2:16 AM (EST), live to air, John Ellis called the state of Florida for George W. Bush, making the Fox the first network to do so. (Oddly, Fox was also the last of the network to retract from the earlier calling of Florida for Gore.) This in itself was unexceptional – and would have remained so even in the chaotic mess that the 2000 election became – but for one small detail: John Prescott Ellis and George Walker Bush are first cousins.

Remember above when I mentioned that Ellis worked in real politics for a little while? He worked on his uncle, George H. W. Bush’s two election campaigns. And although family pride is understandable, at the time, the Fox network was still claiming to be non-partisan. This incident was among those that first indicated that the Fox network was willing to do pretty much anything in support of its chosen political allies.

Referenced in:

My Hero, Mr President — Paula Cole

1961 — John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as President

John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration oath was administered by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren with all the due pomp and ceremony.

Kennedy’s speech that day was unusually short for an Inaugural Address, but it is generally considered to be one of the better inaugural addresses. Such well known Kennedy quotations as “ask not what your country can do for you…” and “the torch has been passed to a new generation…” are taken from it.

Also, notably, Kennedy was the first President in some decades not to wear a hat at his Inauguration, pretty much single-handedly killing hats for men. Strange but true.

Referenced in:
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel
She Is Always Seventeen – Harry Chapin