11 Points

11 Shortest Presidential Candidates in American History
written by Sam Greenspan

Yesterday, I read that John McCain is 5-foot-6. This struck me as pretty short for a presidential candidate; I remember reading a while back that, in presidential elections, the taller candidate wins about 60 percent of the time, so it seems like going in at 5'6, you're at a disadvantage.

Barack Obama is between 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2... which we'll call yet another reason that I believe he could take McCain in the post.

I thought it'd be interesting to take a look at the 11 shortest presidential candidates in U.S. history, to see how McCain looks... and how my fellow below-average-height brethren have done at getting themselves voted into the presidency.

  1. 64 inches of War of 1812 fightin' fury.
    James Madison, 5'4. He was elected president twice, beating taller men both times: Charles Pinckney and De Witt Clinton. Pinckney's height is unknown (but overwhelming statistical odds say he was more than 5'4); Clinton was 6'3.

  2. Benjamin Harrison, 5'6. He beat the incumbent, 5'11 Grover Cleveland, to become president in 1888... then, as the incumbent himself, lost to Grover Cleveland in 1892. That's some non-consecutive weirdness.

  3. Martin Van Buren, 5'6. He beat 5'8 William Henry Harrison in an 1836 battle of very short candidates... then lost to Harrison in 1840.

  4. Aaron Burr, 5'6. He lost to 6'2.5 Thomas Jefferson in 1800. Four years later, Burr shot and killed 5'7 Alexander Hamilton in a duel. So I guess that's one point against the short people, and one point for?

  5. George McClellan, 5'6. He lost to the tallest president in U.S. history, 6'4 Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln won the electoral vote 212 to 21.

  6. James Cox, 5'6. He lost to 6'0 Warren G. Harding in 1920. Harding-Cox is arguably the least exciting election battle ever, right? And also a potential headline for Jay Leno.

  7. Al Smith, 5'6. Smith lost to 5'11.5 Herbert Hoover in 1928. What's that you say? You've never heard of Al Smith? Yeah, apparently losing a presidential election is no guarantee for fame.


  8. Ah, the '80s.
    Michael Dukakis, 5'6. In 1988, Dukakis lost to 6'2 George H.W. Bush. Some sources list Dukakis's height as 5'8, but, word is, that's like when the Sixers and Suns used to list Charles Barkley as 6'6 -- two inches of exaggeration for the sake of intimidation.

  9. John McCain, 5'6. If McCain wins, he'll be tied for the second-shortest president in U.S. history (with the aforementioned Benjamin Harrison and Martin Van Buren). And if he loses, he could join "Entourage", and be the tallest cast member.

    If McCain wins for president, he'd also be the oldest person to take office (he'd be almost 72-and-a-half at his inauguration; Ronald Reagan was just under 70 when he took office the first time).

  10. John Adams and John Quincy Adams, 5'7. Both of the Adams guys were 5'7.

    In 1796, John Adams beat 6'2.5 Thomas Jefferson. In 1820, Quincy lost to 6'0 James Monroe... but in 1824, Quincy beat 6'1 Andrew Jackson. Then in 1828, Quincy lost to Andrew Jackson. So I can draw absolutely zero conclusions about the impact of the Adams' height on their presidential races.

  11. William McKinley, 5'7. In both of his wins, 1896 and 1900, he beat 6'0 William Jennings Bryan.

A few more quick presidential height facts for you: Joe Biden is 6'0... Sarah Palin is 5'5... Hillary Clinton is 5'8.5... the average U.S. president is 5'10... and the tallest first lady was the beautiful Eleanor Roosevelt, who was a rim-rocking 5'11.


This post was originally published on Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 12:30:00 PM under the category News & Politics.

Facebookery?
11 Fantastic News Stories From 2013 That Didn't Get Enough Attention

11 Famous Doctored Photos of Dictators

11 Strangest Methods to Predict Presidential Elections - 2012 Edition

11 Best Hand Gestures of the Bush Presidency

11 Greatest Mug Shots of the 2000s

Archive of all News & Politics posts
Kenny G Invented the Frappuccino? Plus 11 More Audacious Invention Claims by Musicians
Kenny G Invented the Frappuccino? Plus 11 More Audacious Invention Claims by Musicians
Published Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 10:00:00 AM under the category Music
I Thought the Guy Who Said He Was Here Delivering an Amazon Package Was Going to Kill Me But Really He Was Just Delivering an Amazon Package
The Best Picture I Saw This Week (2-20 to 2-26-2015)
The Best Picture I Saw This Week (2-20 to 2-26-2015)
Published Friday, February 27, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Misc
Eating at a Bad Restaurant Feels Like 9/11?
Eating at a Bad Restaurant Feels Like 9/11?
Published Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Food & Drink
Hey Sam, Check Out My Simpsons Tattoo (Plus 5 More Great New Simpsons Tattoos)
Hey Sam, Check Out My Simpsons Tattoo (Plus 5 More Great New Simpsons Tattoos)
Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM under the category TV
Why the Oscars Don't Need to be Fixed
Why the Oscars Don't Need to be Fixed
Published Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Movies
Full Archive
Follow
11 Points

Mailing list


Twitter


Facebook


YouTube


Pinterest


RSS