President Barack Obama celebrates his 52nd Birthday today, and all good wishes to our Commander in Chief!
Since this is his birthday, it brings to mind the fact that Obama is one of only nine Presidents to be inaugurated in his 40s, with Obama being the fifth youngest to be sworn in. The list of “40s” Presidents is as follows:
Theodore Roosevelt 42 years 322 days
John F. Kennedy 43 years 236 days
Bill Clinton 46 years 154 days
Ulysses S. Grant 46 years 311 days
Barack Obama 47 years 169 days
Grover Cleveland 47 years 351 days
Franklin Pierce 48 years 101 days
James A. Garfield 49 years 105 days
James K. Polk 49 years 122 days
Six of these nine Presidents were Democrats, all but Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, and James A. Garfield, who were Republicans.
All but Theodore Roosevelt became President by election, with TR succeeding William McKinley upon his assassination, so while TR is the youngest President, John F. Kennedy is the youngest elected President, although TR went on to be elected to a full term!
Five of these nine Presidents would be ranked in the top 15 of our Presidents, in the view of most scholars and experts—TR, JFK, Clinton, Obama, and Polk.
Cleveland would make a list of the top half of our Presidents, with Grant and Pierce rated much lower on their performance in the White House, and Garfield hard to rate, since he had such a brief term as President, a true loss to the nation that he died so early in his administration!
Tragedy was a factor in many of these “40s” Presidents, including:
Assassination of Garfield and Kennedy
Alcoholism of Pierce and Grant
Short retirement of Polk–103 days
Short life span of Kennedy, Garfield, Polk, TR, Grant, Pierce
Scandals under Grant and Clinton
So becoming President in one’s 40s is a mixed blessing, and one can simply ask Bill Clinton and Barack Obama how they feel about the torment and vicious attacks they have both faced, but how they have managed to overcome their critics and have outstanding records overall in the Oval Office!