Thursday, July 31, 2008

All Those Other Presidents on the Dollar Bills

Barack Obama ignited another brush fire with the following recent comment:

"What they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name, you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

The McCain campaign jumped on with a statement from campaign manager Rick Davis:

"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton quickly slipped the race card back into the deck, where it can presumably be played again later if needed:

"Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue, but he does believe they're using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues in this campaign, and those are the issues he'll continue to talk about."

We will point out that only one president appears on the U.S. dollar bill, George Washington. So who could Barack have meant by "all those other presidents?"

There are a number of other countries that issue dollars, and Queen Elizabeth appears on many of these, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, and Fiji. But Queen Elizabeth is not a president.

Or perhaps Barack Obama was thinking of other U.S. Presidents on our paper money: Thomas Jefferson ($2), Abraham Lincoln ($5), Andrew Jackson ($20) and Ulysses S. Grant ($50). You can keep your Washingtons ($1) and Lincolns ($5). We prefer Alexander Hamilton ($10) and Benjamin Franklin ($100), who were never president.

It turns out that George Washington and Barack Obama are related. Their common ancestor is Lawrence Washington, an English wool merchant born around 1500. Lawrence is Obama's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather on his mother's side. Lawrence was George Washington's great-great-great-great-great grandfather on his father's side. I can see the resemblance.

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