Tag Archives: John F Kennedy

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/.


S001 – A History of Primaries



Year(s) Discussed: 1816-1976

Did you know that presidential primaries in the United States are a rather modern innovation and that for a long time, presidential primary winners often didn’t end up as the party’s nominee? Learn how the primary system came to be what it is today, the varying impacts it has had on presidential campaigns since its inception, and why it took so long to play a key role in choosing presidential nominees. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “For Auld Lang Syne” by Leonard Raven-Hill [May 1912], courtesy of Wikipedia


V003 – Interview with Jared Cohen, Accidental Presidents



Year(s) Discussed: 1835-2009

In this episode, I talk with Jared Cohen, author of Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America, about the presidents who came to the office due to the untimely demise of their predecessor and how their becoming president altered the course of US history. In this wide-ranging discussion, we assess some of the successes and failures of these presidents as well as the history of how constitutional questions related to succession were answered and what questions still remain. Images used in this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.

Featured Image: “Jared Cohen” by Esther Nisanova


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.