24 Adorable Photos of Presidents With Little Kids

Pete Souza, White House via Twitter
Pete Souza, White House via Twitter

Pete Souza/White House

After TIME named Barack Obama its Person of the Year, it released a series of photos by Pete Souza—which included the adorable photo above, of the president pretending to get caught in Spider-Man's web (Spider-Man, in this case, was the child of a White House staff member). That inspired us to dig up other aww-inducing photos of presidents with kids.

Speak softly and hug tight: Teddy Roosevelt shows us his soft side, hugging granddaughter Edith Roosevelt Derby in 1918.

President Taft plays with a baby, circa 1909.

The Dog Days of the Presidency: President Lyndon B. Johnson howls skyward with his dog, Yuki, in 1968. Grandson Patrick Nugent looks on, wondering why adults are so darn weird.

Ronald Reagan dines with his pen pal, six-year-old Rudy Hines, in 1984.

Move over, Secret Service. Two brave cowboys pose with Warren G. Harding and his pup, Laddie boy.

Harding does what presidents do best—he holds a baby. In this 1923 photo, he stands with farmers from Hutchinson, Kansas.

Pound it: George W. Bush tries his best at fist bumping in 2008.

Photo by Suzanne Plunkett via Suprmchaos.

Shortly after leaving office, President Bill Clinton spent some time downtown playing tag with kids at the Family Life Academy of the Latino Pastoral Action Center in New York.

A little girl whispers into Ronald Reagan’s ear in 1984. It must’ve been Top Secret.

This unidentified child looks thrilled to meet Richard Nixon at Pennsylvania Station in Pittsburgh.

President Gerald Ford and James Paxson meet with Nebraska’s littlest dignitaries while opening the Ford Birthsite Park in Omaha, 1976.

Photo courtesy Stanley Tretick/Look Magazine

Playing Politics: President Kennedy may have run the country, but in this 1963 photo, John Jr. shows us who runs the household. Here, the two-year-old tot plays under Kennedy’s desk in the oval office.

President Reagan poses with Drew Barrymore at a ceremony launching the Young Astronauts program in 1984. In his diary, Reagan wrote, “Little Drew Barrymore—the child in E.T.—was one of the children [I met]. She’s a nice little person.”

When a troupe of movie stars visited President Harry Truman in 1946, child actress Margaret O’Brien plopped a close seat by Mr. President. Two years earlier, O’Brien had starred as “Tootie” in Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland. Other notables in the photo include Angela Lansbury (top left) and Cesar Romero (top right).

One year before becoming president, Franklin D. Roosevelt built a small house in Warm Springs, Georgia. The area boasted natural, 88-degree springs, and FDR believed the waters could heal his leg ailments. He bought acres of land and established the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, which was exclusively devoted to polio patients. Here, FDR mingles with two young patients at the Institute.

In one of the few photos of FDR in a wheelchair, the president, his terrier Fala, and a friend’s granddaughter play at Hill Top Cottage in Hyde Park, N.Y., February 1941.

Photo courtesy of Stanford News

Long before Herbert Hoover became president, he was founder and head of the American Relief Administration (ARA). During World War One, Hoover helped feed more than 2 million Poles per day. In this picture, Hoover walks with a crowd of Polish children.

Pete Souza/White House

One more of President Obama.

Nice handiwork. Three years before Calvin Coolidge was installed into office, he spent a July day building a cart with his son.

James A. Garfield sits at his desk with daughter Mary a few years before assuming the Presidency.

Image courtesy of the Boy Scouts of America

Shoulders back! President William H. Taft surveys a troop of Boy Scouts. In 1910, Taft became the honorary president of the Boy Scouts.

Lowriding: President George H.W. Bush pulls his grandson, Sam LeBlond, behind a bicycle in Kennebunkport in 1989.

Lincoln reads with his son, Tad, in February 1865. This is the only known picture of Lincoln wearing spectacles.

Could You Keep Up With Theodore Roosevelt's Ruthlessly Efficient Daily Routine?

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

An avid outdoorsman, politician, and quote machine, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was never one to sit idle. The 26th president of the United States (1901 to 1909) regarded the calendar as something to be conquered and fulfilled, never squandered. He employed a number of routines to help him achieve his goals during his presidency and beyond, and each was ruthlessly efficient—particularly when he was on the campaign trail.

In his role as running mate to presidential candidate William McKinley in 1900, Roosevelt adhered to a strict schedule that packed more into one day than some people accomplish in a week. In his book The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, author Edmund Morris detailed Roosevelt's activities:

7:00 a.m. Breakfast

7:30 a.m. A speech

8:00 a.m. Reading a historical work

9:00 a.m. A speech

10:00 a.m. Dictating letters

11:00 a.m. Discussing Montana mines

11:30 a.m. A speech

12:00 p.m. Reading an ornithological work

12:30 p.m. A speech

1:00 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. A speech

2:30 p.m. Reading [Scottish novelist] Sir Walter Scott

3:00 p.m. Answering telegrams

3:45 p.m. A speech

4:00 p.m. Meeting the press

4:30 p.m. Reading

5:00 p.m. A speech

6:00 p.m. Reading

7:00 p.m. Supper

8-10 p.m. Speaking

11:00 p.m. Reading alone in his car

12:00 a.m. To bed

Clearly, Roosevelt had an effective strategy for fulfilling the obligations of his working life while still making time for reading in order to enrich his intellect. The habits grew out of his experience at Harvard, where he balanced his schoolwork with athletic pursuits and other interests. Roosevelt devoted fragments of each day to study and refused to entertain any interruptions. Studying or reading for even half an hour with an appropriate amount of focused intensity, he believed, was more beneficial than sitting for twice as long while distracted by friends, food, or daydreaming.

When he became president following the assassination of McKinley in 1901, Roosevelt's responsibilities grew exponentially, but he remained insistent on a highly organized approach to the day. During one week in February 1903, Roosevelt took up to eight meetings in an hour, averaging 7.5 minutes to conduct whatever business was on the table. During this time, he was also posing for his official presidential portrait by artist John Singer Sargent. Rather than sit for one or two marathon sessions, Roosevelt agreed to pose for just one half-hour a day. On Sunday, he cleared his schedule to unwind and keep up with correspondence.

The ability to concentrate has only gotten harder in an era of screens and buzzing phones, and you might think Roosevelt had it comparatively easier. It might help to remember that, in 1912, he was shot by a would-be assassin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin just before going on stage to give a scheduled speech. He managed to complete the 84-minute speech with a bullet lodged in his ribs. For Roosevelt, nothing was going to interfere with the day's routine.

Think you know everything there is to know about T.R.? Test your knowledge with our quiz, "Did Theodore Roosevelt Do That?"

Can a Person Refuse a Presidential Pardon?

Harris & Ewing, Inc., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Harris & Ewing, Inc., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Presidential pardons have been in the news, which has led to an onslaught of questions about just how far a president's pardoning powers extend—and what would happen if the person being offered the pardon declined it altogether? Is such a thing even possible, or does the pardoned individual in question have no choice in the matter? Believe it or not, it's an issue that has come up a few times over the past two centuries—and the answer isn't exactly a clear-cut one.

To fully answer the question, first an important distinction has to be made between commutation and pardoning. Both are part of the pardoning powers given to the president, but differ in levels. Speaking to ABC News, Randy Barnett, a professor at Georgetown University, explained that "Pardon is an 'executive forgiveness of crime'; commutation is an ‘executive lowering of the penalty.'" And the answer to the question depends on that distinction.

UNITED STATES V. WILSON

In 1833 the Supreme Court heard the case of the United States v. George Wilson. On May 27, 1830, Wilson and co-conspirator James Porter were both sentenced to death after being convicted of robbing a U.S. postal worker and putting the carrier’s life in jeopardy. While Porter was executed just over a month later, on July 2, 1830, Wilson managed to escape the sentence. President Andrew Jackson decided to pardon Wilson for the death penalty charge on the understanding that he had yet to be sentenced for other crimes (for which he was looking at a minimum of 20 years). For some reason Wilson waived the pardon, possibly because of confusion about what case he was being tried for at the time and what cases the pardon was for.

In 1833, the Supreme Court ultimately weighed in on the issue, ruling “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.” (Strangely, the details of whether or not Wilson was ever executed are lost to time.)

BURDICK V. UNITED STATES

This right of refusal was affirmed in 1915. George Burdick, city editor of the New York Tribune, refused to testify regarding sources for articles on alleged custom fraud by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights [PDF]. President Woodrow Wilson then gave a pardon to Burdick, protecting him from any charge he may incriminate himself of during his testimony. The idea behind the pardon was to force Burdick to testify, under the theory that he could no longer be convicted for any acts he may reveal. But Burdick rejected the pardon, continued to invoke his rights, and was found guilty of contempt.

The Supreme Court ruled that Burdick was within his rights to refuse the pardon and as such he did not lose his Fifth Amendment rights.

BIDDLE V. PEROVICH

A 1927 ruling added a new wrinkle to the pardoning issue. In 1905, Vuco Perovich was sentenced to hang for murder, which President Taft commuted to life imprisonment a few years later. Perovich was then transferred from Alaska to Washington, and later to Leavenworth. Perovich eventually filed an application for writ of habeas corpus, claiming that his commutation was done without his consent. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that "the convict’s consent is not required."

This ruling has led decades of legal scholars to wonder if the Perovich ruling overturned these earlier cases, with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. arguing “Whether these words sound the death knell of the acceptance doctrine is perhaps doubtful. They seem clearly to indicate that by substantiating a commutation order for a deed of pardon, a President can always have his way in such matters, provided the substituted penalty is authorized by law and does not in common understanding exceed the original penalty" [PDF].

In other words: You may be able to refuse a pardon, but you would not be able to refuse a commutation.

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