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15 Random Facts About William Howard Taft
Fourteen truths and a lie about the Nationals’ newest Racing President. By Carol Ross Joynt
William Howard Taft will join the four existing Racing Presidents on Opening Day. Photograph by Flickr user MissChatter.
Comments () | Published April 1, 2013

First of all, this is not an April Fool’s joke. It’s a homage to the Nationals’ newest Racing President, William Howard Taft, who makes his debut Monday at the opening-day game against the Miami Marlins. And while this isn’t a joke list, there is one faux fact included. Let us know which one you think it is in the comments.

  • When Taft lost the presidency to Woodrow Wilson in 1912, it was the worst defeat suffered by an incumbent President. He got only eight electoral votes.
  • Taft is the only US President to also join the Supreme Court. He was Chief Justice, the nation’s tenth, from 1921 to 1930.
  • At Yale, he was a member of the secret society Skull and Bones, which was cofounded by his father.
  • His religion: Unitarian.
  • Taft was just shy of six feet tall. During his presidency his weight peaked at about 340 pounds. After leaving office, he lost 80 pounds.
  • Taft’s weight was always an issue. At Yale his nickname was the “Big Lub,” but he was also an accomplished wrestler.
  • He once got stuck in a White House bathtub and had to be pulled out by staff.
  • When he traveled to the Panama Canal by ship, the captain of the USS North Carolina requested an oversize bathtub for him.
  • As Chief Justice he had the unique distinction of swearing in presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, a first for a former President.
  • Two states were admitted to the Union during his presidency: New Mexico and Arizona.
  • President Taft appointed six justices to the Supreme Court, the same as appointed by Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, and just shy of George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt.
  • He was a Republican, succeeding Teddy Roosevelt. They were once friends but became fierce political enemies.
  • Taft came from a prominent political family in Cincinnati, Ohio, with ties to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Utah.
  • The current governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, is a Taft family descendant.
  • Taft died on March 8, 1930, five weeks after retiring from the Supreme Court. He is the first President, and the only President other than JFK, to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Spot the fake fact? Let us know in the comments.

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  • I think the ordering of the oversized bath tub for the Panama Canal ship? Heard pretty much all the rest before!

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