“Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.”— President Barack Obama
If the president didn’t know that wasn’t exactly the case when he delivered his inaugural address Tuesday, he surely knows by now.Alert Herald readers called this week to remind us that we’ve had 43 presidents, counting Obama. No doubt a similar message reached the president.
It’s one thing to hold the most powerful elected office on Earth, quite another to avoid everyone who’d delight in pointing out any errors or omissions.
Barack Obama is our 44th president only because Grover Cleveland gets counted twice.Plenty of presidents have been re-elected, but Cleveland was the only president to leave the White House and return later for a second term.
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Those unique circumstances make Cleveland the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. No. 23, Benjamin Harrison, served four years inbetween.
Cleveland was also the only president married in the White House, and we’re pretty sure he’s the only president to have a candy bar named for his firstborn — the Baby Ruth.
So, Obama is the 44th president, but only the 43rd American to take the oath of office.
Those Americans who caught Obama’s error deserve an “A” in presidential knowledge, but not in rhetoric.Imagine if Obama included in his inaugural address an explaination how he’s the 44th president but only the 43rd to take the oath.
It would have made his remarks more accurate, but about as uplifting and inspirational as, well, this blog.