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Quotations from Our Presidents

Five Presidents 2008

Have you ever wondered what the conversation would be like if you could assemble all of our presidents, past and present, together in one place? The picture above is of the five living of our most recent presidents. I miss Reagan! Imagine the variety of opinions and philosophies just with those five alone!

Since this past Monday was Presidents' Day here in the USA, I thought I'd share some quotations I've assembled from some of our nations presidents. Some are humorous, but not all.

"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder." — George Washington

"Washington, DC is 12 square miles bordered by reality." — Andrew Johnson

"Things are more like they are now than they have ever been." — Gerald Ford

"An amazing invention — but who would ever want to use one?" — Rutherford B. Hayes, sharing his thoughts about the telephone

"Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter." — James Garfield

"I know only two tunes. One of them is 'Yankee Doodle' and the other isn't." — Ulysses Grant

"Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose." — Woodrow Wilson

"Being president is like running a cemetery: you've got a lot of people under you and nobody's listening." — Bill Clinton

"Politics makes me sick." — William Howard Taft

"Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." — Thomas Jefferson

"Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide." — John Adams

"Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette — the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace." — John Tyler

"Blessed are the young, for they will inherit the national debt." — Herbert Hoover

"You lose." — Calvin Coolidge, after a woman told him she made a bet that she could get at least three words of conversation from him

"If we take the route of the permanent handout, the American character will itself be impoverished." — Richard Nixon

"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." — Harry Truman

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names." — John Kennedy

"In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress." — John Adams

"The time comes upon every public man when it is best for him to keep his lips closed." — Abraham Lincoln

"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'present' or 'not guilty.'" — Theodore Roosevelt

"I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency—even if I'm in a Cabinet meeting." — Ronald Reagan

"These stories about my intellectual capacity really get under my skin. You know, for a while I even thought my staff believed it. There on my schedule first thing every morning it said, 'Intelligence Briefing.'" — George W. Bush

"Many of you know that I got my name, Barack, from my father. What you may not know is Barack is actually Swahili for 'That One.' And I got my middle name from somebody who obviously didn't think I'd ever run for president." — Barack Obama

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" — Ronald Reagan


I hope you enjoyed those. Have a great rest of the week!


"God is the ultimate, infinite multitasker." — Ted Allston


Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important.

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7 Comments on “Quotations from Our Presidents”

  1. #1 Claude Wiggins
    on Feb 20th, 2013 at 8:45 am


    Thank you for your daily doses of IV Man. I enjoyed seeing the picture with today’s post. It has been rare in our country’s history to ever have five living presidents, much less have them all together in one room. However, for sake of historical accuracy, I do want to point out one inaccuracy. “The picture above is of our five most recent presidents.” That is not true. It is true that the picture includes five living presidents. However, the five most recent presidents would be Reagan (1980-1988), Bush, Sr (1988-1992), Clinton (1992-2000), Bush (2000-2008), and Obama (2008-present). Carter (1976-1980) served prior to Reagan. Take care and keep up the good work.

    Claude Wiggins

  2. #2 Valerie Coffman
    on Feb 20th, 2013 at 8:57 am

    “In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.” — John Adams

    There is nothing new under the sun. We hold our founding fathers in such high esteem, and yet even in their lifetimes Congress was evidently already useless!

  3. #3 Rebekah
    on Feb 20th, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Great post! The photo, though, is not of the five most recent presidents. Reagan died before Obama took office, and the fifth president in your photo is Jimmy Carter.

  4. #4 Michael
    on Feb 20th, 2013 at 9:39 am

    If I may offer a small correction. The picture at the beginning is of the five living presidents not most recent. Reagan served after Carter.

  5. #5 Carrie
    on Feb 20th, 2013 at 9:59 am

    These are great! I do love Ronald Reagan quotes. He was such a funny man.

  6. #6 Rob
    on Feb 20th, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Thanks to my sharp readers, I have corrected the info under the picture at the beginning of this post. That should teach me not to work on my post early in the morning, after my proofreader “ivwoman” has already signed off on it.

  7. #7 Ellen
    on Feb 20th, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Many of these made me laugh, but my favorite quote was the last one by Ronald Reagan.