A Day in the Life – The 5 American Presidents

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Of the 44 people in that rarified club you enter by being elected President of the United States of America, five members are alive today. Ascending to the office of POTUS is not like other jobs: when you leave the regional manager position of an office supply company, you divest yourself of all responsibility and acclaim that accompanies overseeing distribution for the tri-state area; when your term or terms as President end, you retain the title and the eminence of that office indefinitely. Let’s see what the living members of the Presidents Club are doing with all that august distinction today.

5 Number 44 – Barack Obama

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President Barack Obama is kept quite busy these days by being President Barack Obama, the Commander in Chief of the United States of America. On any given day, he works with the members of his cabinet to enact their policy goals, oversees the deployment of American military forces around the world, battles his ideological and doctrinal foes on Capitol Hill, and still has (a bit of) time to kick back with the wife, the girls, the dog, and some White House Beer.

4 Number 43 – George W. Bush

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And then we have George Dubya Bush… a man who could use some serious image-burnishing after that whole “plural wars and crushing economic collapse and establishment of a surveillance state and the lowering of American global prestige” stuff that happened on his watch. What is 43 up to today? Painting. He spends hours a day… painting. Don’t get us wrong, art, painting, that’s great! But you need to do lots of other things, also, Mr. Bush. And more than just adopting cats, too! And dedicating that library doesn’t count, all you president types do that!

3 Number 42 – Bill Clinton

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Right now, President William Jefferson Clinton is probably giving three different speeches in three different locations and positively crushing it on all three accounts. They called him Slick Willy for good reason: despite a two-term presidency fraught with personal and political turmoil (for those of you in the sub-rock sublet subset, your search terms are: Lewinsky, Whitewater, Marc Rich), Clinton is one of the country’s most popular citizens today. And with good cause: among a host of other undertakings, much of #42’s post-office effort has been dedicated to the Clinton Global Initiative which he founded in 2005 with the goal of alleviating issues associated with global poverty, health concerns, and ethnic tensions.

2 Number 41 – George H. W. Bush

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George Herbert Walker Bush is the same age as President Carter – 89 this year – yet until recently he was still jumping out of airplanes just for kicks. He is currently wheelchair bound due to frail health caused by a form of Parkinson’s Disease, and thus is not exactly globetrotting about. He did manage to attend the dedication of his son’s Presidential Library last month, though.

1 Number 39 – Jimmy Carter

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If you look under your desk right now, there is a decent chance that President Jimmy Carter is actively tending to a lesion on your ankle. If he’s not there, he is tending to someone else’s malady, potentially in West Africa, or maybe the American South. Mr. Carter has been an unflagging champion of health, peace, progress, and equality ever since the end of his inauspicious single term in office. Oh, and he’s also a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Steven John is a published novelist and competitive pole vault champion. (The latter is not true.) His writing runs the gamut from speculative fiction to essays fueled by a mix of mirth and derision. He has never been to Lisbon but, statistically speaking, is probably taller than you.

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