Presidents in a row

If you have any love of history at all, you’ve got to love this picture.

The five living presidents (I realize Barack Obama is president elect, but work with me here) posing at the White House, something that hasn’t happened since 1981, and then there were only three (Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Carter)

Has there ever been a time when six presidents were alive? We’re researching — as time allows — but so far we can’t find that there has. As far as we can tell, if there have been, there are no pictures of them together.

It would have been nice if they’d lined up according to their service.

If you’d been invited to lunch today, what question would you ask?

five_presidents.jpg

update 4:55 p.m. – Six presidents were alive at the same time only once: 1992-1994 (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton).

5:10 p.m.- – A reader asks “what are the lapel pins?” Both Obama and Bush II have American flag pins. But G.H.W. Bush is not wearing an American flag pin, but a closer look shows this:

bush_pin.jpg

I don’t recognize it. It appears to have wings, and he was a World War II aviator (trained at South St. Paul, you know), so perhaps it is related. Anyone?

  • 5niceguys

    //If you’d been invited to lunch today, what question would you ask?//

    can you line up according to your service?

  • 5niceguys

    //If you’d been invited to lunch today, what question would you ask?//

    can you line up according to your service?

  • cmc

    I’d ask, “why is President Bush Sr.’s hair way less gray than President Bush Jr.’s?”

  • bsimon

    “Has there ever been a time when six presidents were alive? ”

    In 1993:

    Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton.

  • Bob

    In their very drab suits, white shirts and ho-hum ties, they look almost clone-ish (not to be confused with clownish).

    Where’s the facial hair, earrings and tatts, I ask you?

    I think it’s time we had a suitless prez.

  • Colin

    That’s funny, when i first looked at the picture (and before i read what you’d written, i thought “i wish they’d line up chronologically).

    How long until Obama goes white? We’ve seen it happen to president after president, i realize it has to do with their age but you’d think it has something to do with the stress of the job.

    //If you’d been invited to lunch today, what question would you ask?//

    Besides the obvious “What advice do you have for pres. elect Obama”…

    If you were going to take office on Jan 20, what would be the number one thing on your agenda? What do you perceive to be the biggest hindrances from getting your agenda through the upcoming legislature?

  • bsimon

    “I think it’s time we had a suitless prez.”

    Bring back Jerry Brown!

  • Katie

    I can see the Bushes and Obama are wearing lapel pins. Can anyone see what they are? Flags?

  • Tom Weber, MPR

    They weren’t in the White House, but there’s a photograph of 6 ex-presidents at the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California in the early ’90s.

    Nixon wasn’t dead yet and he, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton were all photographed in the front of the library. I remember this b/c I bought a postcard of this photo when I visited the Reagan Library a few years back. It’s a very impressive photo.

  • tiredboomer

    //That’s funny, when i first looked at the picture (and before i read what you’d written, i thought “i wish they’d line up chronologically).//

    Don’t know what this says about how my mind works. First thing I thought was: Why are all the Democratic Presidents (excluding the one who isn’t president yet) wearing RED TIES and all the Republican Presidents wearing BLUE TIES? I thought (according to the media) the team colors are Republicans red, Democrats blue.

  • slip-me-a-love-mickey

    //Where’s the facial hair, earrings and tatts, I ask you?

    I think it’s time we had a suitless prez.//

    Bob, thats called “Green Party”

  • Mary L

    In every shot of seen of these few minutes, Carter looks quite separate from the other four. Is it me or is it weird body language?

  • bigalmn

    Isn’t Bush Senior known for jumping out of airplanes on his birthday. Maybe he made a number of jumps and now he is a certified parachute jumper.

  • thepeanutgallery

    //In every shot of seen of these few minutes, Carter looks quite separate from the other four. Is it me or is it weird body language?//

    I think it has to do with Jimmy’s homies. None of them are in the photo. Jimmy was a 70′s dude with Nixon and Ford and on the other side of Jimmy’s run was Reagan.

    I think the body language has to do with the Reagan gap between him and the Bushes.

  • thepeanutgallery

    //In every shot of seen of these few minutes, Carter looks quite separate from the other four. Is it me or is it weird body language?//

    I think it has to do with Jimmy’s homies. None of them are in the photo. Jimmy was a 70′s dude with Nixon and Ford and on the other side of Jimmy’s run was Reagan.

    I think the body language has to do with the Reagan gap between him and the Bushes.

  • Bob Moffitt

    “How long until Obama goes white?”

    Er….