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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Obama in San Francisco -- Nightmare Town For Many Presidents

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 3:30 PM

President Warren Harding left his heart in San Francisco -- and everything else
  • President Warren Harding left his heart in San Francisco -- and everything else
President Barack Obama's agenda in San Francisco today: Get in, raise money for Sen. Barbara Boxer, safeguard the Senate's Democratic majority, and get out. But just because Muni will stop for him doesn't necessarily mean the people of San Francisco will. Just ask our nation's prior presidents who graced us with their presence. In return, we graced them with bullets, riots, and congestive heart failure.

Warren Harding: In 1923, Harding embarked on his Voyage of Understanding to meet with American citizens to discuss policy and renew faith in his administration. His arteries, however, were the ones that needed convincing. The president died at the Palace Hotel on August 2.

Herbert Hoover: San Francisco provided the backdrop for defeat on November 8, 1932 when Franklin D. Roosevelt was declared the winner of the presidential election by a landslide while Hoover was in the city. Though San Franciscans can't take all the blame for his defeat, let's face it: They probably had something to do with it. The Palo Alto resident conceded the next day.

Duck, President Ford! You're in San Francisco!
  • Duck, President Ford! You're in San Francisco!

Gerald Ford: Ford accomplished quite a feat by surviving two assassination attempts during his 1975 visit to California. First, in Sacramento, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme struck out. Just over two weeks later, Sara Jane Moore tried to shoot the president outside San Francisco's St. Francis Hotel on Powell Street. The bullet missed and injured a taxi driver instead. Squeaky was released from prison this past August. Let's hope she stays clear of San Francisco this week.

Honorable mention -- George H.W. Bush: Bush was not yet president when anti-war protesters greeted his campaign in true San Francisco fashion in September, 1988. Then-Vice President of the United Farm Workers, Dolores Huerta, lost her spleen in the violent scuffle with police that broke out outside the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. An $825,000 settlement from the city allowed Huerta to found the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Perhaps not coincidentally, George W. Bush never visited San Francisco during his presidency. Who knows what settlements could have come out of that?

It didn't happen here. But it should have.

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Taylor Friedman


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