The office of the Presidency is an office of power, and also, at the same time, a thankless office! 🙁
The President has great power and stature, but also faces severe opposition and a sense of not being appreciated!
He will be both loved and hated, and have his fans and his detractors!
Many Presidents will have problems being accepted as legitimate, and therefore be considered as “imposters”!
Many Presidents will leave the Presidency, and feel a sense of relief that the public spotlight is no longer on them!
The point of stating all of the above is to make it clear that Barack Obama is NOT the first President to face severe opposition and claims that he is illegitimate! It is astounding that so many Americans think he is foreign born and a Muslim, but again it is not unique to him!
Presidents who have won by close margins or in controversial times always engender conspiracy theories that they had “stolen” the election, which may or may not be true in fact! This would include Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Rutherford Hayes, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama!
Also, those who have been “revolutionary” in the sense of their religion or ethnicity have had people question their election–specifically John F. Kennedy for his Catholicism and Barack Obama for his mixed race heritage!
Additionally, Presidents who have succeeded upon the death or resignation of the President have faced controversy–specifically John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, and Chester Alan Arthur! By the time that Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson succeeded by death of the incumbent, that issue of legitimacy was no longer an issue, and they all won the next term as President!
But it again came up when Gerald Ford, an appointed Vice President, succeeded Richard Nixon in 1974! Many wondered if Ford had made a deal to pardon Nixon, based on his appointment as Vice President!
So it could be said that at least 16 Presidents, out of the 43 we have had so far in office, have had to deal with credibility and legitimacy issues that have tormented their time in office!
This is the best reason why every President leaves office looking much older–not just because of the responsibilities of the office and the burdens, but also for all, but more for some, the grief of patty political disputes caused by an opposition that will not let up in its attacks, with or without credibility and legitimacy gaps!