The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

How presidents spent their 52nd birthdays

As everyone knows, a person’s early fifties are a magical time – one filled with tuition planning, hot flashes, impulse car purchases, and delusional dreams of making the PGA “Champions” Tour (and maybe, if one is so lucky, a nice little massage therapist on the side to remember what it feels like to feel again…)

As President Obama spends his 52nd birthday weekend playing golf and hanging out at Camp David, The Daily Caller looks back on the 52nd birthdays of some other U.S. presidents. Bet you didn’t know John Tyler was the first president to turn 52 in office. So go ahead and read this fast before “Monk” goes to commercial and you have to pee again.

Abraham Lincoln: When Lincoln turned 52 on February 12, 1861, he was in the middle of his historic journey from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, D.C. for his presidential inauguration. Wife Mary Todd and the three Lincoln boys joined the president-elect in Indianapolis, where they took off in the morning by train, making it all the way to Cincinnati before the day was through. Hundreds of thousands of people reportedly waved to the Lincolns as they made brief stops in Shelbyville, Greensburgh, Morris and Lawrenceburg. In his speech in Cincinnati, Lincoln described his goal of befriending southern Democrats, which, as with most middle-aged pet projects, never really ended up coming together.

William Howard Taft: President Taft marked his 52nd birthday on September 15, 1909 by setting off on a 44-city tour of the United States that lasted 67 days and proved to be one of the most politically disastrous public-relations campaigns of his presidency. Though he found himself to be in “rare good humor” when he kicked off his tour, Taft quickly riled people up in Winona, Minnesota by praising the Republican-supported Payne-Aldrich Tariff, which most Americans hated. Taft lost the 1910 midterms, and finished third in his 1912 re-election bid.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Then a year into office, President Roosevelt spent his 52nd birthday on January 30, 1934 signing into law the Gold Reserve Act, which made it illegal for most people to own gold. This effectively ended “gold clauses,” which permitted gold to be substituted for cash in legal contracts. Meanwhile in Germany, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi government abolished the Reichsrat, the legislative body that represented the German States in the country’s democratic legislature. “REICH TAKES OVER RIGHTS OF STATES; HITLER WARNS FOES; Bill Passed by the Reichstag Makes States Mere Agents, Ending Legislative Functions,” screamed the New York Times headline.