Wading Naked in the Potomac: 12 Presidential Pastimes

Everyone needs a side hustle.  Here are 12 hobbies of American leaders that were more fun than fighting with Congress.


GEORGE WASHINGTON INTERIOR DECORATING Ooh la la! Our first President had exquisite taste in home decor. He took great pride in selecting the wallpaper, paint colors, and furnishings for his Mount Vernon home. We cannot tell a lie: George would have loved him some HGTV.



TEDDY BOOSEVELT BOXING ORACKEDCOM Roosevelt boxed as an undergrad at Harvard but never lost his taste for the sweet science. He continued sparring in the White House, getting punched sO hard that his retina detached. He lost sight in his left eye, keeping it a secret for more than ten

US Sport History


RONALY EAGAN RIDING HORSES CRAGKEDC Reagan owned several horses, including an Arabian mare named Nancy D after the missus. Nancy was tempermental, sitting down and refusing to get up when saddled. Could Nancy D have been the horse who threw Reagan when he was 78? The other horses aren't talking.

Presidential Pet Museum


BARAL OBAMA BASKETBALL CRACKED.COM Hoops at Obama's White House featured more talent than your usual Y pick-up game. Who played in his 50th birthday game? LeBron, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Alonzo Mourning and Magic Johnson. Oh, and some of Barry's friends from high school.

Sports Illustrated


RICHARD NIXON BOWLING CRACKEDCO Dick and Pat both loved bowling, SO friends paid to have a single lane installed in a workspace below the White House driveway. The disco glow-bowling wasn't installed until the Carter administration.

White House Museum


LYNDON JOHNSON HELICOPTERS CRACKEDC How much did LBJ love choppers? His desk chair in the Oval Office was an actual, green vinyl, aaingoodness, helicopter seat. Insiders it would have worked as a personal flotation device.

Mental Floss


JIMMY FARTER BUILDING HOUSES You're 95 years old. You fall and need stitches. In your face. What do you do the next day? If you're Jimmy Carter, you're out there again with your trusty hammer, building houses for the homeless. Are we sure this guy was a politician?

The Hill


JOHN QU ADAMS SKINNY DIPPING CRACKEDCO This wasn't a one-time drunken bender. Our sixth president did a nude, early-morning wade through the Potomac on the daily. A female reporter who couldn't get an interview showed up one morning and sat on his clothes until he agreed to answer a

History of Old


GEORGE BU PORTRAIT PAINTING CRAGKED George Bush, inspired by Winston Churchill, took up painting after leaving office in '09. Surprise: He's pretty good! In 2020, Bush published a book of portraits celebrating American immigration because retired Republicans are complicated.



BILL INTON SAXOPHONE CRACKED Clinton's funky version of Heartbreak Hotel on The Arsenio Hall Show may have won him the 1992 election. What a cool Democrat! He vied with Lisa Simpson for Most lconic Saxophonist of the 90s.

CBS News


ANDREW JACKSON COCKFIGHTING Andrew Jackson may not have been the first President to enjoy a good cockfight (Washington and Jefferson often met at each other's farms for fowl scraps). But he was probably the first one to actually hold cockfights at the White House.

Washington Post


ABE LINCOLN WRESTLING The Great Emancipator loved talking smack to his opponents. As a young dude, Lincoln fought about 300 matches, losing only once. He is one of eight enshrined in the Presidential Grapplers exhibit at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, and he could likely whup them all.