Top 5: Inauguration Incidents
One of the most highly anticipated Presidential inaugurations in American history is fast approaching, and with the pre-pomp and circumstance frenzy already reaching a fever pitch, Apoliticus has decided to take a look back at some inauguration day festivities that didn’t go quite as smoothly as hoped. Because every red carpet has a few stains, and the inauguration day carpet is no exception, we’re airing some inauguration day dirty laundry with the Top 5: Inauguration Incidents.
Number 5: Honest Abe and The Drunken Vice-Presidential Speech Slurfest
In 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s Vice-President Andrew Johnson decided that the best way to recover from a bout of Typhoid was to drink. Unfortunately, he chose to partake of his cure in copious amounts on the day he was due to deliver a speech at the inauguration ceremony. The result: a speech slurred so badly that it was incoherent. The question remains as to whether an incoherent political speech is any less interesting than your average coherent one.
Number 4: Andrew Jackson’s Open House
In a symbolic attempt to show that the White House belonged to the people, President Andrew Jackson opened up the house to the public after his swearing-in in 1829. It may have seemed that most of America received the invite, as what ensued was a White House so crowded that some visitors stood on fine furniture to make space while servants spilled punch on the floor after collisions with the throng of inauguration revellers.
The President himself was whisked away as his keepers deemed the situation to be too unruly. The messy party was moved outside by the ingenious placement of tubs of whiskey punch on the front lawn.
Number 3 : William Henry Harrison And The Inaugural Speech That Killed
A minimum requirement to be President of the United States should be listening to your mother and dressing for the weather. Another requirement should be a cap on speech length. In 1841, a 68 year old William Henry Harrison broke Apoliticus’ rules and delivered a two hour, 8400 word inauguration speech (the longest in US history), in an ice storm, without a hat. He got pneumonia. He died a month later. Listen to Apoliticus.
Number 2: Nixon And The Counterinauguration
You know that a politician has some pretty devoted enemies when protesters organize a three day counter-inauguration that includes a parade with reviewing stands and a counter-inaugural ball. The 1969 inauguration of Richard Nixon saw a few firsts, including the first interruption of an inaugural parade by protesters hurling smoke bombs and stones at the President’s limo.
Number 1: George W. Bush Egged On
The controversial election of 2000 made for a toxic environment at the inaugural ceremony of George W Bush. While most Presidents have historically been able to walk most of the parade route, Bush chose to remain within his limo until he was just a block away from the White House. Though the hostile crowds were for the most part subdued by police, the new President was badly heckled by protesters and an egg was thrown at the Presidential limo.
In another first, several ingenious protesters skirted rules against attendees carrying placards by writing the protest messages “Hail To The Thief” and “No Mandate” on their bodies and streaking around the event, making this the first “inauguration protest streak” in recorded history.