George W. Bush has plenty of nicknames, including some for whether you are a supporter or not. Dubya/W., of course, Bushie, Shrub. And obviously Bill Clinton didn’t escape his two terms un-nicknamed – Slick Willie, Bubba, Teflon Bill. But Presidential nicknames go all the way back to George Washington. Some of them you might be familiar with; others might surprise you. Either way, you will at least be entertained.
Ouch. Poor John Adams didn’t have many fans. His nicknames included His Rotundity, which was made up after Adams suggested that George Washington be referred to as “His Majesty”. And Ben Franklin liked to refer to Adams as “Your Superfluous Excellency”. He did have a couple of more flattering nicknames, though, such as “Father of the Navy” and “The Colossus of Debate”. The latter was given to him by Thomas Jefferson because of his stellar argumentative skills.
“Little Jemmy” was only 5′4″, the smallest president ever. It’s perhaps for this reason that Washington Irving (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) called Madison “Withered Little Apple-John”. Madison was also called “The Fugitive President” because he and celebrated wife Dolley had to flee the White House during the War of 1812.
After Tyler was named president, he pretty much abandoned his former party, the Whigs. Because of this, the nicknames “The President Without a Party” and “Traitor Tyler” were coined. He was also called “His Accidency” because he was the first Vice President to take over when the previous President (William Henry Harrison) died in office.
As the first president to be impeached, Johnson didn’t really inspire any friendly monikers. When he was sworn in as Lincoln’s V.P., he was rather drunk, apparently to try to numb the pain of his raging typhoid fever. This earned him the nickname “Andy the Sot” before he even became president. He was also called the Tennessee Tailor, after his previous profession, and Sir Veto, because he was notorious for nixing just about everything that crossed his path.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Because his party “stole” the election from Democrat Samuel Tilden, Hayes was called “Rutherfraud”, “His Fraudulency” and “The Usurper”. An investigation was done of the whole affair and the committee found in his favor – a close vote of eight to seven, thus garnering him the name “Old Eight-to-Seven”.
After that drama died down, he earned the names “Granny Hayes” and “Queen Victoria in Riding Breeches” because of his extremely straight-laced ways: no smoking, drinking or gambling combined with lots of prayer and family togetherness. Nothing wrong with that, maybe, but it irritated some members of D.C. society.
William Howard Taft
As the largest president we’ve ever had, you would think that his nicknames would call more attention to Taft’s size. And “Big Bill” was, but “Old Bill”, “Peaceful Bill” and “Godknows Taft” were not. Godknows Taft originated when a member of the press asked the President what a man who is out of work or starving should do to rectify the situation. Taft replied, “God knows. I don’t.”
Old “Tricky Dick”, of course, and “The Trickster”, but did you know Nixon was also called “Iron Butt”? Apparently his law school buddies called him that because he studied so hard. Also, “Richard the Chicken-Hearted” for refusing to debate opponent Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 campaign.