When the U.S. president speaks, everyone listens. On this President’s Day, let’s take a fun look at some of the best and worst quotes from the men who’ve held the office.
President Abraham Lincoln once said, “The time comes upon every public man when it is best for him to keep his lips closed.”
As the United States observes President’s Day, it’s fun to see which of the American presidents should have heeded Lincoln’s advice.
Here are some presidential quotes that you might find profound, short-sighted, entertaining and downright funny:
- “Washington, DC is 12 square miles bordered by reality.” – Andrew Johnson
- “Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.” – Gerald Ford
- “There’s nothing left…but to get drunk.” – Franklin Pierce after losing the Democratic nomination
- “I have often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming.” – Jimmy Carter
- “I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and never tried it again.” – Bill Clinton
- “Look, when I was a kid, I inhaled frequently. That was the point.” – Barack Obama
- “The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?” – Gerald Ford
- “An amazing invention – but who would ever want to use one?” – Rutherford B. Hayes sharing his thoughts about the telephone
- “Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.” – James A. Garfield
- “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.” – George W. Bush
- “I know only two tunes: One of them is ‘Yankee Doodle’ and the other isn’t.” – Ulysses S. Grant
- “An atheist is a guy who watches a Notre Dame-SMU football game and doesn’t care who wins.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose.” – Woodrow Wilson
- “Being president is like running a cemetery: you’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening.” –Bill Clinton
- “Did you ever think that making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg? It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.” – Lyndon B. Johnson
- “Politics makes me sick.” – William Howard Taft
- “Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” – Thomas Jefferson
- “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams
- “Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours.” – Grover Cleveland
- “Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette—the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.” – John Tyler
- “Blessed are the young, for they will inherit the national debt.” – Herbert Hoover
- “You lose.” – Calvin Coolidge after a woman told him she made a bet that she could get at least three words of conversation from him
- “I would have made a good Pope!” – Richard M. Nixon
- “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” -Harry Truman
- “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy
- “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” – Ronald Reagan
It’s amazing to see that many of the quotes that were uttered decades ago are still true today, including Hoover’s quip about the national debt and Jefferson’s assessment of banks.
Of course, Hayes was wrong about the telephone, Cleveland must have made a lot of women angry and Nixon, well, he probably wouldn’t have made a good Pope.