Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Interview with Jon Finkel (Jocks in Chief)



Year(s) Discussed: 1789-2020

The term “fit for office” is often bandied about when talking about the US presidency, but how exactly does physical fitness relate to the office or to presidential campaigning? To explore that question, I recently spoke with Jon Finkel, author of Jocks in Chief. In our conversation, Jon shared the system that he came up with to rank the athleticism of the 44 individuals who thus far have served as president, and we discussed how various presidents approached exercise in their lives as well as how impressions of the vigor of some presidential candidates impacted their campaigns and historical legacies.

More information about Jon and his work can be found on his website at https://jonfinkel.com/.


S002 – Primaries vs Caucuses



Year(s) Discussed: 1901-2008

What is the difference between a primary and a caucus anyway? Listen as I explore that question and discuss the various permutations of both as well as how the presidential primary calendar came to have Iowa and New Hampshire as the first contests in this episode. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Republican Candidates at the Nashua, NH Debate, 1980”, courtesy of Wikipedia


0.02 – Presidential Address



1976 State of the Union Address, courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

To mark the occasion of the 45th president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, I present to you this special episode on how presidents have communicated with other politicians and government officials as well as with the general public and how this has changed both with the advent of new technologies and with the varying personalities of the chief executives. From George Washington’s public levees and national tours to Abraham Lincoln’s effective use of the telegraph, from Theodore Roosevelt’s bully pulpit to the Johnson treatment, and from the installation of the White House telephone to the current president’s use of Twitter, this episode covers a great deal of ground. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.


0.01 – Introduction – What is the Presidency?



White House, by Daniel Schwen, courtesy of Wikipedia

In the inaugural episode of this podcast, we examine the nature of the presidency – what qualifies someone for the presidency, what powers and limitations does the president have, how was the office developed in the first place, and how has the office changed over time? This high level overview gives us an opportunity to be introduced to some themes that are going to carry through the podcast, and I take a few minutes to share the intended format of the podcast. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.