Five Crazy Things U.S. Presidents Have Done

On January 8, 1992, in one of the most widely ridiculed and memorable gaffes in history, President George H.W. Bush vomited on the Prime Minister of Japan. Here are five crazy things that happened to U.S. presidents...

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Overdosed On Cherries After serving just 16 months in office, President Zachary Taylor died from eating too many cherries. Specifically, at a Fourth of July celebration in the capital in 1850, Taylor chomped down on large amounts of cherries washed them down with iced milk. The combination of the acidic cherries along with the milk is believed by some to have caused gastroenteritis, causing severe cramping, nausea, dehydration, and, eventually, death on July 9.

Lost The Nuclear Launch Codes According to then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at one time during his presidency Bill Clinton lost the personal ID code needed to confirm nuclear launches (also known as the "nuclear biscuit") for months. "That's a big deal," said the chairman, "A gargantuan deal." In effect, without Clinton's "biscuit," as the personal identifier is called, the President would not have been able to initiate a launch order or confirm a launch order executed by someone else.

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Threw Up On The Japanese Prime Minister President George W. Bush was attending a dinner hosted by Kiichi Miyazawa, the then Prime Minister of Japan, and became ill during the meal. Unfortunately, he threw up in Miyazawa's lap and then fainted. Regaining consciousness, he apologized. It was later explained that he had suffered an attack of acute gastroenteritis, but felt much better after he took a drug to counter his nausea.

Personally Conducted An Execution Grover Cleveland was one interesting guy. When Cleveland served as the sheriff of Erie County, New York, he apparently took his duties personally. When a man named Patrick Morrissey was convicted of killing his own mother, Cleveland opted to hang the guy himself. As the Times said of the incident, "Thus it was that Sheriff Cleveland, standing behind a screen, some twenty feet away from the law's victim, pushed the lever that dropped the gallow's trap upon which poor Morrissey stood."

The Didn't Call Him Johnson For Nothing Lyndon Johnson was the kind of politician you wouldn’t want to get into a pissing contest with. LBJ loved to pee. Lyndon B. Johnson was an earthy man with no problems “letting himself go” in public. According to Robert Caro, his biographer, he urinated outside the House Office Building in the parking lot when he needed to. He once asked a Secret Serviceman to shield him while he peed outside, but that's not the strange part—LBJ apparently purposely peed on the agent's trouser leg. When the agent mentioned how gross that was, LBJ was unapologetic, apparently saying, "I know. That's my prerogative."