The Gray Line Tour

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 31, 1998

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / August 31, 1998

Bill Clinton can take comfort in the fact that he’s not Warren G. Harding,who was president from 1921 until 1923. Besides being inextricablylinked with the Teapot Dome scandal, he also carried on a long-term affair with a young girl, which included Secret Service-guarded liaisons in the White House, and he fathered a child by her.

After Harding’s death, when Nan Britton discovered she and their daughter were omitted from the will, she wrote a bestselling account of their affair, which included accounts of sex in a White House closet.

Some historians believe Florence Harding, the First Lady, poisoned the president.

Sex scandals and the Presidency have been linked since the beginning. Yes,even George Washington, the “Father of Our Country,” was accused of fathering more than that. According to the “Book of Political Lists”published by George magazine, Washington financially supported the family of Capt. Thomas Posey, whose son, Lawrence, reportedly resembledWashington closely. Washington was also reputedly the father ofAlexander Hamilton, his Secretary of the Treasury.

Thomas Jefferson reputedly (and this has never been proven) fathered four children by his black slave Sally Hemings. He also reportedly had an affairwith a married Englishwoman during a sojourn in Paris.

In 1862, James A. Garfield had an affair with a married, 18-year-old NewYork Times reporter. He confessed the affair to his wife, Lucretia, and sheforgave him. In 1881, he became president and Lucretia was still withhim.

In 1874, Grover Cleveland had a scandalous affair as he fathered a child out of wedlock. However, when the affair came to light during the 1884presidential campaign, he told his aides to “tell the truth.” The truth wasCleveland responsibly supported mother and child for many years, the child later becoming a physician. Though he lost his bid for re-election in1888, he was returned to the White House in 1892.

Franklin Roosevelt had two notorious affairs, one with his wife’s secretary before he became president and one with his own secretary when he was governor of New York.

Lyndon Johnson carried on an affair for 30 years with a woman who lived, unmarried, with another man and bore that man’s two children. Theyparted in 1967 over political disagreements regarding the Vietnam War.

John Kennedy…where does one start? He reportedly said sex with MarilynMonroe was good for his back. There were also his secretaries, dubbed”Fiddle” and “Faddle.”Other presidents weathered sex scandals and, much to the astonishment of some people, Clinton’s own approval ratings continue high, insofar as to how he is doing his job. However, the vast majority of Americans wouldn’tallow him alone with their teen-age daughters.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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