TIME Presidents

Watch the Rise and Fall of Richard Nixon in TIME Covers

President Nixon Graced TIME's cover more than anyone else, and not just for Watergate


In early August of 1974, 40 years ago this week, the news was all President Richard Nixon. On Aug. 5, the “Smoking Gun” tapes were released, revealing to the public that the President had known about Watergate. On Aug. 8, he became the first and only U.S. President to announce his resignation. But Nixon already had a long history in the news, and it didn’t end in 1974. In fact, no other individual has been featured on the cover of TIME more frequently, with 55 appearances to his name.
The irony in all that? None of those covers are from precisely 40 years ago. The week leading up to the resignation, the cover featured Rep. Peter Rodino of the House Judiciary Committee; two weeks later, when the resignation itself made the cover, newly-inaugurated President Gerald Ford was featured.
The issue in-between—the issue that would have appeared right around the same time as the tapes went public — went in a different direction: Jack Nicholson.

TIME Presidents

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Richard Nixon

TIME Cover Aug. 25, 1952: Richard Nixon
Boris Chaliapin for TIME

From his first TIME cover story

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon, the milestone for which the scandal-plagued politician is best remembered. But in 1952, when not-yet-President Nixon first appeared on the cover of TIME magazine, the scandal was decades away. He was a relatively young man, 39, whose political career was just taking off. Having successfully moved from the House to the Senate, he was the Republican nominee for Vice President, a man whose background could have still been unknown to readers.

In hindsight, it’s hard not to see foreboding or irony in the story that appeared under the headline “Fighting Quaker.” For example, his mother, the piece notes, preferred not to call the police on shoplifters at their family’s store, thinking of the shame it would bring to their families; Nixon apparently internalized the harm that could be done by exposing wrongdoings. Did he think of the harm he would do when he was the one exposed?

But it’s also easy to see why his life story would have been fascinating to voters. Here are nine things to know from the 1952 cover story.

He once worked as a carnival barker, for the “wheel of fortune” at the Frontier Days Rodeo in Prescott, Ariz. The Nixon family spent time in Arizona for the health of older son Harold, who had tuberculosis.

His parents had a lemon grove in Yorba Linda, Calif.—but, TIME noted, they would have rather grown oranges. (Nixon’s grandfather had moved to California from Indiana with the thought of growing the latter.) When the fruit farm proved “a lemon,” the family opened a general story in Whittier, Calif., called Nixon’s Market.

He played the piano and acted. His family, devout Quakers, attended church services four times a week. The young Richard Nixon played piano for the Sunday school. When he returned to Whittier after law school, he returned to work at the Sunday school when not busy as a divorce lawyer. He also participated in community theater. He met his future wife, Pat Ryan, while playing a fictional attorney in Night of January 16th, a play written by Ayn Rand.

His debating career began with bugs. In a seventh grade boys-vs.-girls debate on the relative merits of insects, Nixon asked an uncle who was an entomologist for a list of good things about insects, thus helping the boys’ team convince the judges that “insects are more beneficial than harmful.” However, he would later find that bugs weren’t so great: While in the South Pacific with the Navy, he said, the only things that bothered him—despite being under fire—were “lack of sleep and the centipedes.”

He worked his way through college, and lived in “a shack” during law school. While at Whittier College in his home town, he worked at Nixon’s Market. (He also helped his mom with the dishes, TIME noted, but that was probably not a paying gig.) After graduating, Nixon attended Duke University law school on scholarship, and lived “in a wooden patch a mile and a half from the campus” with three shack-mates.

He got into politics by answering a newspaper ad. In 1945, a Republican group was looking for someone to run against a popular Congressman in California. They placed an ad, which was seen by a family friend of the Nixons, who called him up and suggested he give it a shot.

But that early political career was dogged by the stench of by cannibalistic minks. When Dick and Pat Nixon moved back to California so he could run for office—they’d been in Baltimore before that—they ended up living next door to a family that owned “a smelly, cannibalistic brood of minks.”

He almost didn’t take the gig that got him national attention. Once he got to Congress, Nixon was offered a spot on the House Un-American Activities Committee, which had a terrible reputation. He hesitated before accepting, but his role in sorting out the Alger Hiss scandal—in which TIME editor and former Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers identified the State Department’s Alger Hiss as a Communist—brought him to the national stage, and led the GOP to encourage him to run for Senate, which he did successfully.

He never went to the movies. Never!

If that’s not enough to demonstrate that he charmed some Republican voters, perhaps the letters section from the Sept. 15, 1952, issue will: “There is very little—if anything—that his opponents will find in his career to criticize,” wrote one reader. That opinion would have seemed vindicated when the fall came, as Eisenhower and Nixon took the White House. But, as history showed, another reader had a firmer grasp on the situation: “Surely I’m not the only TIME reader,” wrote George Brasington Jr. of Waycross, Ga., “who is now convinced that the GOP picked a lemon in ex-Lemon Picker Nixon.”

Read more about Nixon in TIME’s archives

TIME Presidents

The 55 Times Richard Nixon Was on the Cover of TIME

The 37th president, who resigned 40 years ago, scored 55 covers

In early August of 1974, 40 years ago this week, the news was all Nixon. On Aug. 5, the “Smoking Gun” tapes were released, revealing to the public that he had known about Watergate. On Aug. 8, he became the first and only U.S. President to announce his resignation. But Nixon already had a long history in the news, and it didn’t end in 1974. In fact, no other individual has been featured on the cover of TIME more frequently, with 55 appearances to his name.

The irony in all that? None of those covers are from precisely 40 years ago. The week leading up to the resignation, the cover featured Rep. Peter Rodino of the House Judiciary Committee; two weeks later, when the resignation itself made the cover, newly-inaugurated President Gerald Ford was featured. The issue in between—the issue that would have appeared right around the same time as the tapes went public — went a different direction: Jack Nicholson.

Read Henry Kissinger’s 1982 take on the “Smoking Gun” of Watergate here, in TIME’s archives

TIME Terrorism

Bill Clinton Said The Day Before 9/11 He Could Have Killed Bin Laden

Listen to the audio


Chilling audio of former President Bill Clinton admitting that he turned down an opportunity to attack Osama bin Laden during his presidency was recently uncovered by Sky News Australia. The audio was recorded on September 10, 2001, one day before the 9/11 attacks which claimed nearly 3,000 lives and dramatically impacted the course of global history.

“I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children,” Clinton said. “And then I would have been no better than him.”

Sky News obtained this footage of the former U.S. President through former Australian politician Michael Kroger.

TIME George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush Turns 90

The 41st president of the United States celebrates his ninth decade of life on Wednesday. George Herbert Walker Bush served as commander-in-chief from 1989-1993, a one-term president sandwiched between two-termers — Ronald Reagan, under whom he served as vice president during most of the 1980s, and Bill Clinton, who beat the New England native handily in 1992 but later became, by many accounts, a fast friend.

“Bush Senior,” whose son, George W. Bush or “Dubya,” became the 43rd president just eight years after that hard-fought 1992 election, was born in Massachusetts in 1924, but later moved to Texas to make a fortune in oil. Entering young adulthood during the thick of World War II, he flew 58 combat missions for the United States Navy. He has been married to his wife, Barbara, since 1945, was famously lampooned on Saturday Night Live by comedian Dana Carvey.

TIME White House

Reagan: A Legacy of Optimism and Common Sense

Michael Evans/Zuma Press

Ten years after the president's death, an appreciation of all he did for his country

There is a wonderful scene in the popular 1980s movie Back to the Future. The film’s plotline sends a teenager raised in the heart of the Reagan era back to the ’50s. There, Michael J. Fox’s character meets the younger version of the mad scientist, Dr. Emmett Brown, who built the time machine that transported him. To check Fox’s bona fides, the scientist tests him.

“Then tell me, future boy, who’s president of the United States in 1985?”

“Ronald Reagan,” Fox answers.

“Ronald Reagan? The actor?” Christopher Lloyd’s character laughs incredulously. “Then who’s vice president? Jerry Lewis?”

All these years later, the joke continues to be on Ronald Reagan’s skeptics and doubters. The man whose political skills were mocked by California’s legendary governor Pat Brown and then by all the smart guys in the Carter White House made believers of those political rivals by rolling up historic electoral landslides in California and then the nation. Twenty-five years after he flew west on Air Force One for the last time, it is safe to say that millions of Americans would still love to go back to the future and have President Reagan in the Oval Office once again.

It is now 10 years after his passing, which is the occasion of this book. Looking back from this vantage point, Reagan’s legacy remains vivid and potent. How else to explain how a conservative movement and political party continue to obsess over the question “Who is the next Reagan?” And as his Republican Party is slowly learning, it is a frustrating question and may, in fact, have no answer, because Ronald Wilson Reagan was unique.

It makes no more sense than for Democrats to search for the next Franklin D. Roosevelt or military leaders to seek out the next Dwight Eisenhower. These men possessed certain skills for their times that allowed them to bend history for all time. There is no guidebook for such greatness.

In law school we learned the Latin phrase sui generis, which means “of its own kind” or “unique in characteristic.” Reagan was of his own kind. Reagan was unique. He believed in God, the American people and himself—and knew how to communicate those values in a way that no conservative has before or since.

Yet Reagan the conservative was a man as focused on America’s glorious future as he was on preserving the values of the past. He was no reactionary. He was, instead, the iconic American who believed in what was yet to come. This had been the hallmark of American exceptionalism since Thomas Paine told his fellow citizens they could remake the world.

Those men who gathered in Philadelphia set a course for America that has always pointed toward the future. Along the way, our ship of state was violently tossed by slavery, a historically bloody civil war, a staggering depression and two world wars. But America was sustained by its people’s inner strength and determined optimism. Men like Reagan continued to believe that the United States was headed toward a brighter future—until they hit the turbulence of the ’60s and ’70s, when the national identity felt tremors of doubt.

For a time, America stopped listening to her heart and her head. The wind was no longer in her sails.

In the span of 11 years, America lost a war and two presidents, one from an assassin’s bullet and the other by his own failings. A third was driven from office, chased by the chants of “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”

The social and moral polarity of the American universe was upended. The antihero had become the hero, and American soldiers, returning home from the lost cause of Vietnam, were spat upon. An oil embargo, 21.5% interest rates and a hostage crisis fostered a malaise that spread across the nation. I still remember my fifth-grade teacher telling my class that, as had befallen the seemingly invulnerable Roman Empire, America’s days as a world power were quickly coming to an end.

Like my teacher, many believed Henry Luce’s American Century was over, 20 years ahead of schedule.

Ronald Reagan was born for a time such as this.

He was a figure derided by the elites of both political parties, Wall Street, academia and the national media. They said he was too simple, too unqualified and too inexperienced to lead the free world. His ideas were antiquated, and they predicted that his foreign policy would push America into a third world war.

Yet the millions of Americans who carried Reagan to huge victories in 1980 and 1984 felt that this was a man who was uniquely qualified to lead the country back to greatness. Reagan, after all, had been a conservative star, a successful labor leader, a two-term governor running the seventh-largest economy in the world and, yes, a Hollywood actor. It would take all of the Gipper’s on-screen skills to make his countrymen believe that the economy could be turned around, that the Soviet Union could be defeated, and that America’s greatest days truly did lie ahead.

John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, in pushing for the creation of a Constitution for the young country, argued that the most important considerations for a president were experience and character. The boy from northwestern Illinois had bushels of both.

He also had Nancy Reagan at his side, and she, as anyone who saw them together will attest, was his greatest treasure.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan won the White House by asking men and women from all corners of the country, including Democrats and independents, to join his “community of shared values.” Unlike many in today’s Republican Party, Reagan made an open appeal to Democrats on the campaign trail and at the GOP convention.

Reagan Democrats and independents answered his call for change. And then President Reagan changed the world.

My friend Craig Shirley, one of Reagan’s leading biographers, told me, “Reagan bends light and thus changes the future. He changes American conservatism, he changes the Republican and Democratic parties, he changes America and he changes the world.”

For Reagan, common sense was intellectualism. He also believed American conservatism was about challenging the status quo. Frederick Douglass, the great Republican abolitionist—whether addressing suffragettes in Washington, D.C., or a church congregation in Dundee, Scotland—summoned his lifelong rallying cry: “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!”

Reagan and Reaganism were about agitating against the conventional wisdom of political parties and entrenched powers. The man who spent most of his life being mocked by Washington ended up changing it forever because, to paraphrase another Hollywood star, he frankly didn’t give a damn what his elite critics thought of him.

Reagan is ubiquitous now in American politics, cited often by members of both parties, who all too often don’t truly understand his brand of conservatism or the man himself. That makes the study of his life and times so vitally important.

Were his eight years in Washington defined by Hollywood glitz and glib politics? Certainly not. On occasion, did he compromise on such conservative touchstone issues as taxes, entitlement programs and immigration reform? Yes, but always with the longer view in mind. In the end, did he succeed? Consider this: America’s victory in the Cold War freed tens of millions imprisoned by communism across the world. Twenty million new jobs were created at home. Double-digit inflation and interest rates were wiped away. Unemployment fell to around 5.3% by the time he left office, and, more important, America’s national morale was restored.

Ronald Reagan had inherited a badly divided Republican Party and an even more fractured country, but as he flew west on the day of his retirement from national politics, he flew over a country more confident in its future than at any time since the 1950s.

John O’Sullivan of the National Review observed that “the fact” of America would always exist, but it was “the idea” of America that the 40th president restored. Shirley points out that well over 1,000 books have been written about Reagan, but for historians, “the realm of Reagan scholarship is just opening up. There is enough of Ronald Reagan for all of us to breathe.”

Some may be discouraged that there is no new Reagan on the horizon. But many, like myself, thank God that America got the leader it needed at precisely the right time and place.

Having him back might even be worth a Vice President Jerry Lewis.

This essay originally appeared in Reagan: His Political Life and Lasting Legacy.

TIME Tea Party

Why the Tea Party Forgives Reagan’s Sins

Michael Evans/Zuma Press

On the 10th anniversary of his death, a look at the president whose name has become synonymous with 'conservative'

When David Knittle decided to form a local Tea Party group in 2009, he knew exactly what to call it. Like many conservatives, he describes himself as a Reagan Republican. “Ronald Reagan represents to me all that is great about America,” he says. To Knittle, a Los Angeles–area health-care worker in his mid-50s, the Tea Party embodied the same set of values that Reagan espoused: sound economic policy, lower taxes, smaller government and more individual freedom. And so he dubbed the group Reagan’s Regiments—a title coined by Reagan himself, who bequeathed it to his army of supporters in his 1989 farewell address.

The homage was hardly surprising. Ten years after his death, Ronald Reagan remains the closest thing the Republican Party has to a secular saint. As the GOP struggles to chart a course back to the White House, Reagan is its lodestar, one of the few leaders on whose greatness the party’s fractious factions can agree. That view is shared in the Tea Party movement, a constellation of grassroots organizations that tend to regard most elected Republicans as only marginally better than Democrats. When the movement began brewing in 2009, Reagan’s name, image and famous adages about the evils of big government became as ubiquitous at Tea Party rallies as tricorn hats and Gadsden flags.

“He was the Tea Party of his time,” Michael Reagan, one of the president’s sons, declared in 2010. “He would have been at the forefront of the Tea Party movement, urging it on and devoting every last ounce of his energy to its progress in restoring America.”

Perhaps, but if Reagan were to take the measure of the Tea Party in 2014, he might conceivably turn and flee. Conversely, the Tea Party’s continuing idolatry of Reagan is somewhat curious. At one time or another, the 40th president smashed nearly every commandment the conservative movement regards as sacred. A closer look at Reagan’s time in office would suggest that he is a less-than-ideal fit for a sometimes rigid political movement that is willing to allow the government to shut down when its demands aren’t met.

Consider Reagan’s record on what the Tea Party holds most dear. He proposed the largest tax hike by any governor in the history of the United States. As president, he raised taxes 11 times, never submitted a balanced-budget request, hiked the debt ceiling 18 times and bemoaned the congressional brinkmanship that “consistently brings the government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility.” Plus, the federal deficit nearly tripled.

The apostasies aren’t just fiscal. Reagan was a onetime union leader who extolled the virtues of collective bargaining. As governor of California, he championed environmental legislation and signed a bill making it easier to get an abortion. The only U.S. president to divorce, he incensed the Christian right by nominating a socially moderate judge, the future swing vote Sandra Day O’Connor, to serve on the Supreme Court. He cut sweeping deals with liberal legislators like Tip O’Neill, the Democratic speaker of the House. He signed a major overhaul of the U.S. immigration system that ultimately granted amnesty to some 3 million undocumented immigrants.

All these moves are anathema to the Tea Party movement. “There’s a kind of delusional quality in the Tea Party’s affinity for Reagan,” says Matthew Dallek, author of the 2000 book The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan’s First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics. “Certainly Reagan governed in a way that the Tea Party, to the extent they’re true to their beliefs, would probably find abhorrent.”

Even some Tea Party members who came of age under Reagan and consider him a great president are puzzled by the way he’s worshipped. “There’s an irony in the idolization of Reagan,” admits Ned Ryun, a conservative strategist and the president of American Majority, a group that trains Tea Party activists how to run for local office. “He would be considered today a very, very soft conservative—if not a moderate.”

That’s a far cry from Reagan’s reputation during his rise to power, when he was regarded by many as an archconservative ideologue. But the party has lurched rightward during Barack Obama’s presidency. Today, in a modern Republican nominating contest dominated by activists who prize purity and punish compromise, Reagan’s record might work against him. One marker of the GOP’s evolution came during a Republican presidential debate in 2011, when the eight candidates arrayed onstage were asked whether they would accept a deal of $10 in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases. Each vowed to turn it down. The crowd erupted in applause.

So why does the Tea Party venerate Reagan, who violated so many of its values? Part of it, say Tea Party activists, was his matchless ability to market conservatism to the masses. He was an unabashed believer in the tenets of American exceptionalism, individual initiative and the free market—and enumerated their merits with the fervor of the converted. Nor, supporters say, would he back away from his beliefs. After Barry Goldwater’s drubbing in 1964, most political observers pronounced conservatism dead. Reagan built a coalition out of its ashes.

“That’s the kind of stuff that makes Reagan such an icon for the Tea Party movement,” says Jeff Reynolds, a Republican political consultant and chairman of the Portland-based Oregon Tea Party. “He talked passionately and eloquently about conservatism and the values that make America great. If you’re looking for somebody who espouses the conservative ideal and articulates why more government is a bad thing, there’s virtually nobody better.”

Reagan is admired for many qualities, one of which is simply that the public loves a winner, and he piled up plenty of impressive, and even historic, victories. In 1980 and 1984, he authored two electoral blowouts. He is also credited with winning the Cold War, the epic struggle of the second half of the 20th century, without firing a shot. At a moment of dwindling national morale, he toppled a seemingly ascendant communist threat.

“President Reagan understood that weakness is an invitation to war,” says Republican senator Ted Cruz. The Texan, part of a new generation of Tea Party icons, might find fault with some of Reagan’s domestic accomplishments, but he says he patterns his own foreign policy after the 40th president’s “peace through strength” credo. “The surest way to avoid war is to be strong enough to defend yourself,” Cruz says. “And by rebuilding our defense and speaking the truth, Reagan accomplished, in concert with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, the most extraordinary victory for peace in centuries.”

During the early phases of his career, the Republican establishment derided Reagan as a dangerous extremist. A former actor from outside the party’s clubby confines, he was widely viewed as inexperienced. In 1976 he had the temerity to challenge a sitting president from his own party, running to the right of incumbent Gerald Ford. He lost, but in the process proved that the country had a taste for his flavor of conservatism. And there is no question that the Tea Party sees in Reagan’s career a narrative arc it would like to repeat. “Members of the Tea Party would love to see themselves as rebels who are reviled by the mainstream,” says Dallek, the historian, “but who herald the American future.”

Tea Partyers who take a textured view of Reagan’s shortcomings are willing to give him a pass. They note that his deficit spending came during the military buildup of the Cold War, and at a time when the national debt was smaller; that his tax hikes were offset by cuts; that compromise is a necessary part of divided government. “You don’t get everything you want as a president,” says Knittle, the founder of Reagan’s Regiments.

“His record is not as conservative as it could have been, and there are certainly issues on which we disagree,” says Reynolds. “But you always want to look at the big picture instead of nitpicking over issues. Reagan wasn’t afraid to be conservative on the stump. He didn’t moderate his views. He didn’t sell out his ideals. He found a way to express conservative principles in a way that won people over.”

And that includes members of the Tea Party, who have demonstrated that they hold those who refuse to sell out in the highest regard and will likely remain loyal to Reagan’s memory—at least until a more strident conservative ascends to the White House.

This essay originally appeared in Reagan: His Political Life and Lasting Legacy.

TIME Education

Salaries of Public-University Presidents Rocket Despite Spiraling Student Debt

The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University Denis Jr. Tangney—Getty Images

A new report by the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies finds that salaries for the top 25 highest-paid public-research university presidents have swelled in recent years despite the growth of student debt and various faculty disenfranchisement issues

While salaries for the top 25 highest-paid public-research-university presidents have swelled in recent years, student debt and faculty-disenfranchisement problems have grown, says a new study.

A report released on Sunday by the progressive think tank Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) looked at how that inflated pay correlated to dwindling funds allocated to student scholarships, and a trend toward more part-time adjunct-professor positions, which do not require benefits and other forms of compensation.

From 2009 to 2012, executive compensation at public research universities increased 14% to an average of $544,554, while compensation for presidents at the highest-paying universities increased by a third, to $974,006.

“Administrative spending outstripped scholarship spending by more than 2 to 1 at state schools with the highest-paid presidents,” the report says.

Marjorie Wood, one of the study’s co-authors, told the New York Times that “high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending. But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending.”

The five top-paying schools listed by the IPS were Ohio State University, Penn State, the University of Minnesota, University of Michigan and University of Washington, crunching data from Chronicle of Higher Education, American Federation of Teachers and Institute for College Access and Success.

The Chronicle’s recently released stats showed that presidents’ base pay, already in the six-figure range, was often only a small part of their “total compensation” for the year.

“From FY 2006 to FY 2012, spending on nonacademic administration rose 65%, much faster than spending on scholarships in the top 25,” says the report.

In 2012, student debt across the country hit $1.2 trillion. But student debt at the colleges with highest-earning presidents grew at a 13% faster rate than the national average, partly because higher executive pay translates into less funding available for scholarships, the study says.

Lack of benefits, shaky job security and inadequate pay for adjunct professors have also become an issue of growing concern, illustrated starkly in separate papers by Service Employees International Union, The Coalition on the Academic Workforce and U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, cited in the IPS report.

The study was particularly critical of university boards of trustees, which determine how to pay the president.

TIME History

Thieves Break Into President James Garfield’s Tomb And Steal His Spoons

James Garfield
This file photo shows a marble statue of America's 20th President, James A. Garfield, in the center of the James A. Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. Amy Sancetta / AP

Burglars broke into the former president's final resting place in a Cleveland suburb, stole commemorative spoons and left behind as evidence cigarette butts, a t-shirt and an empty Fireball whiskey bottle. Perhaps they thought it might be a fair exchange?

Apparently, someone’s idea of a great time is heading to the suburbs of Cleveland, breaking into President James A. Garfield’s tomb and swiping a set of commemorative spoons.

The burglars shattered a window to get inside the monument, which is housed at Lakeview Cemetery, Northeast Ohio Media Group reports. A cemetery worker later discovered that around two dozen commemorative demitasse and teaspoons had been stolen.

We were like, ‘Really? They took spoons?'” Katherine Goss, president and chief executive of the cemetery, told the Washington Post. They would be hard to sell at an auction house, she explained, “because everyone would wonder where they came from.”

When police arrived on the scene, they found a t-shirt, cigarette butts and an empty bottle of Fireball cinnamon whiskey outside the building. Goss said they even left some cash in a donation box — perhaps in an attempt to pay for the swiped spoons?

But let’s definitely talk about these spoons a bit more. Goss said they’re “flimsy little things” with practically no monetary value, though they do have his face engraved on the handles, so maybe some die-hard Garfield fans just wanted to add them to a shrine or something.

Investigators are searching for DNA on the items that the thieves left behind to try to identify them. If not die-hard Garfield fans, who could be the culprit here? Antique spoon collectors? Bored teenagers? Or, most likely, this was the ghost of James A. Garfield himself just looking to stir up some trouble and get himself back into the news cycle.


George W. Bush’s Paintings of World Leaders Appear to Be Based On Good Ol’ Google Searches

A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, painted by former U.S. President George W. Bush, is displayed at "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" exhibit in Dallas
A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, painted by former U.S. President George W. Bush, is displayed at "The Art of Leadership: A President's Personal Diplomacy" exhibit at the Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, April 4, 2014. Brandon Wade—Reuters

Art critics point out that 30 of the former president's portraits appear to come from casual online searches

Last week, former President George W. Bush unveiled a new collection of paintings, featuring a series of portraits of world leaders, from Vladimir Putin to the Dalai Lama. The inspiration for many of these paintings appears to come from some very casual Google searches.

Art critic Greg Allen pointed out this trend in a blog post, emphasizing the fact that Bush didn’t take advantage of the many resources available to him:

He apparently did not tap the enormous archive of photos, taken by the professionals who followed him every day for eight years, which are contained in his giant library. Instead, it seems, he Googled the world leaders he made such impactful relationships with himself, and took the first straight-on headshot he saw.

The portrait of Vladimir Putin seen above, for example, seems to be based on the very first image that pops up when you Google the Russian leader’s name. Similarly, Bush’s portrait of Israeli politician Ehud Olmert appears to be based on one of the top Google search results for his name:

A portrait of Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, painted by former president George W. Bush
A portrait of Ehud Olmert, Prime Minister of Israel, painted by former president George W. Bush. Stewart F. House—Getty Images

The takeaway here? Even George W. Bush relies on Google and Wikipedia to get his work done. Former presidents: they’re just like us!

(h/t The Guardian)

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