Scramblin' thru... the U.S. Presidents
"Flub in a Tub"
Election of 1908
Election of 1912
A Presidential Life in Review
William Howard Taft worked as a judge in the Ohio Superior Court and in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals before accepting a post as the first Civilian Governor of the Philippines in 1900. In 1904, Taft took on the role of Secretary of War in the Administration of Theodore Roosevelt, who threw his support to the Ohioan as his successor in 1908. As the 27th U.S. President from 1909 to 1913, Taft was more conservative than Roosevelt but lacked Roosevelt's expansive view of Presidential power. As a result, Taft was a more successful administrator than politician. By 1912, Roosevelt had grown dissatisfied with Taft's Presidency and formed his own Progressive Party. This split Republican voters and handed the White House to the Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Nine years after leaving office, Taft achieved his lifelong dream when President Warren G. Harding appointed him Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a position he held until just before his death in 1930. Source: The History Channel
Click here for more information about the C-SPAN Survey
William H. Taft Fun Facts
On April 15, 1910, Taft threw out the first pitch at a Washington Senators' Opening Day game against the Philadelphia Athletics. (The Senators won 3-0.) Taft was the first President to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game, beginning a storied tradition. In fact, every President since Taft has thrown a first pitch at some point during their term.
Presidential First Pitch Photo Gallery
Here are your Commander-in-Chiefs... throwing out the first picth! Click any of the pictures to see a larger version.
The origin of the 7th inning stretch in baseball is much disputed, and it is difficult to certify any purported history. A popular story for its origins is that Taft was at a Washington Senators game in 1910. Sore from prolonged sitting, he stood up to stretch. Upon seeing the President stand, the rest of the spectators in attendance felt obligated to join Taft in his gestures.
Taft was tone deaf and had to be nudged whenever the National Anthem was played.
Taft was the first President to own a car. He converted the White House stables into a garage.
Taft was the last President to keep a cow at the White House to provide fresh milk. Her name was Pauline. Pauline, whose job was to provide milk and butter for the First Family, was a gift from Senator Isaac Stephenson of Wisconsin. Pauline soon became a popular show piece at the International Dairymen's Exposition in Milwaukee where her milk was sold in tiny souvenir bottles for 50 cents. (Yes, you, too, could have sipped on Taft's milk...) In October 1911, however, Pauline got lost on the way to the dairy show and almost wound up in a slaughterhouse.
Once, when commenting about the White House, Taft called it "the loneliest place in the world".
Taft successfully argued for the construction of the U.S. Supreme Court building. He felt that the Supreme Court should distance itself from Congress since it was a separate branch of the government. Prior to then, the Supreme Court heard cases in the Capitol Building.
At 332 pounds, Taft was the heaviest President. According to Ike Hoover, the chief White House usher during the Taft Presidency, Taft once got stuck in the White House bath tub... and needed six aides to pull him free. The tub was replaced with a new one large enough to hold four grown men [pictured below].
But Taft didn't go out a heavyweight. In fact, he lost 70 pounds the year after leaving the White House and maintained the weight loss for the rest of his life.
Taft was the first President to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. President John F. Kennedy is the only other President to be buried there.
Taft was like the big fat guy in any group of friends who made things more fun. He wasn't that huge of a drinker himself... but he was definitely the frat guy in the 5XL Hawaiian shirt making sure all of his buddies were getting drunk. He was the "Bluto" of Presidents. During his first year as President, one of his aides wrote, "The President never takes anything to drink but is most profligate in making others imbibe."
Taft is the only President to serve as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. This makes him the only person to have ever lead both the Executive and Judicial Branches of the U.S. Government. (So, yea, keep making fun of his weight... jerks...)
Taft considered his time as Chief Justice to be the highest point of his career, higher than that of being President. He said, "Presidents come and go, but the Supreme Court goes on forever."
Taft is the only former President to ever have sworn in an incoming President. While serving as Chief Justice, Taft administered the Oath of Office to President Calvin Coolidge in 1925 and President Herbert Hoover in 1929.
Taft's wife, Helen, was responsible for the planting of the Japanese cherry trees in Washington, D.C. Thousands of people flock to the nation's capital every year to see these trees bloom in the spring.