Tag Archives: Harry Truman

President for Six Minutes


History surrenders this secret grudgingly: several men technically were president, but aren’t considered Presidents of the United States. You have to look hard to find them, but they’re there.

For example, George H. W. Bush was Acting President for almost eight hours in 1985 while Ronald Reagan had colon surgery. Dick Cheney did likewise in 2002 and 2007 when boss George W. Bush was anesthetized for colonoscopies.

Then there was David Rice Atchison who may, or may not, have been president for one day in 1849. (Read here and decide for yourself.)

But here’s the most overlooked incident of all. Continue reading

The Secret Behind Harry’s Famous Balcony

Why Truman Really Built It

Truman on the balcony

[Spoiler alert: the payoff to this remarkable story comes at its conclusion; please stick with it till the end to learn the secret.]

Early one evening in February 1946, Harry Truman summoned the White House’s chief usher to the second floor Oval Study. He pointed out the window through the South Portico to the Washington Monument and Potomac River beyond.

“That’s a magnificent sight,” he said. Then he dropped his bombshell.

“I’d like to take better advantage of the view. I’m going to put a balcony there.” Continue reading

Harry Hits the Road

When an ex-president gets behind the wheel, the destination is Adventure!

Harry and Bess behind the wheel

You’ve just wrapped up the most demanding job on earth. For nearly eight years you were President of the United States. You used the atomic bomb for the first time, transitioned the economy from war footing back to a peacetime free market basis (including managing the tsunami of millions of men and women rushing home from World War II, each impatiently demanding a job and a place to live), helped create the United Nations, and stood up to Communist aggression in Korea.

So, what do you do next?

Continue reading