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Happy President’s Day from Dominate the GMAT!

Now you may be thinking to yourself, what does President’s Day have to do with my GMAT prep?

Well…admittedly, not much. (technically, I guess doing well on the GMAT will help you get into a better business school, which will help you to earn more dead presidents in the long run…but I admit, that’s a stretch!) More than likely, however, many of you have the day off work today, and you may even be using the extra time to study for the GMAT and/or take one of your GMAT practice tests. So the purpose of this blog post is simply to provide you with a fun and humorous distraction from your GMAT studying.

Without further ado, here are 10 little-known facts and anecdotes from the secret lives of the U.S. Presidents. My guess is that your teachers never taught you them. I’m here to fill in those educational gaps. Enjoy!

1. Warren Harding was obsessed with poker. During one heated game, he bet an entire box of priceless White House china and lost it.

2. At 325 pounds, William Howard Taft was the largest president in American history. During a visit to the czar of Russia, Taft’s pants split up the seam while getting out of his carriage. He occasionally got stuck in the White House bath tub and had to have his advisers pull him out. Taft’s valet often had to tie his shoes for him.

3. FDR was extremely superstitious. He never lit three cigarettes off a single match, refused to sit at a table set for thirteen, and never began a trip on a Friday. Strangely enough, the funeral train that took his body back home from Georgia began its journey on Friday the thirteenth.

4. Dwight Eisenhower spent as many as 150 days a year on the golf course and even installed a putting green on the White House lawn.

5. John Quincy Adams believed in ice-cold baths, wherein he scrubbed himself raw with a mitten made of horsehair. He was also an avid swimmer, and swam daily in the Potomac River — often in the nude!

6. After George H.W. Bush vomited on the Japanese prime minister, a new word entered the Japanese language. Bushusuru — literally, “to do the Bush thing” — is slang for vomiting.

7. James Polk had a mullet hairstyle (see photo at right).

8. Andrew Jackson is rumored to have fought in more than 100 duels. In one, against Charles Dickinson, Dickinson got off the first shot, which hit Jackson dead-center in the chest. Jackson merely staunched the blood flow with his left hand while he calmly proceeded to take aim with his right. Dickinson stood still, as was the custom in a duel, while Jackson fired and killed him. The bullet that had struck Jackson lodged close to his heart and would remain there the rest of his life.

9. Calvin Coolidge was perhaps the most reticent of all U.S. Presidents (maybe because he slept 10 hours a day). Here’s an actual press conference from his 1924 campaign:

Reporter: “Have you any statement from the campaign?”
Coolidge: “No.”
Reporter: “Can you tell us something about the world situation?”
Coolidge: “No.”
Reporter: “Any information about Prohibition?”
Coolidge: “No.”

The best part? As the disappointed reporters made for the door, Coolidge reminded them all not to quote him!

10. At his ranch in Texas, Lyndon Johnson often terrified his guests by driving ninety miles an hour — while sipping Scotch from a paper cup!

Well, there you go. Hopefully I was able to take your mind off the GMAT for a little while. Now, do you need some motivation to get back to work? You may be interested to know that two of our Presidents attended business school (JFK and George W. Bush). Who knows, you may be the next MBA president!

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