When most people hear the word 'Grover,' they think of the lovable blue monster on Sesame Street. The rest of the people just think “why did someone say ‘Grover?’”
However in 1885 the President of the United States was named Grover- Grover Cleveland.
Grover was historically a very unique President. He is the only President in history to have lost reelection and then win back the presidency in the next election.
That is until 2008 when we all experience the second coming of President Jimmy Carter. That’s right kids, get your peanuts out and stock up on Billy Beer. It’s a done deal; I read it on a blog.
Cleveland was the only President born in the state of New Jersey. He lived in the town of Caldwell where his father worked as a minister.
The Cleveland family then moved to upstate New York.
Ironically, at the same time, Dr. Henry Upstatenewyork and his wife Mildred moved to Cleveland.
Grover became a successful lawyer in Buffalo until he turned to politics at the age of 44. He was elected Mayor of Buffalo in 1881 and later, Governor of New York.
For much of his life Cleveland was supporting the wife of a late friend and their young daughter. When the daughter turned 21, Grover married her in the White House.
This meant that his mother-in-law was younger than him and that his wife had grown up calling him “Uncle Cleve.”
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, during his campaign it was revealed that he had fathered a child out of wedlock with another woman.
When it came to scandal, Grover Cleveland was like Bill Clinton on STEROIDS.
Still, Grover won the election despite a particularly ugly campaign. The opposing party tried very hard to use the illegitimate child against him and went so far as to pay men to dress like babies while pushing empty strollers singing “Where's your pa, he's in the White House, ha ha ha.”
That makes for some strange small talk.
WILLIAM: What do you do for a living?
BENJAMIN: I work as a cobbler, you?
WILLIAM: I dress up like a baby and taunt the President.
BENJAMIN: Dude! That totally rocks.
WILLIAM: Wow, this IS strange small talk.
Cleveland was known as a tough, no-nonsense guy and often stood for ideas that were unpopular. For example, he was very concerned about the idea of people relying too much on the federal government for assistance. He felt that this kind of behavior weakened the nation and vetoed such legislation.
When told that this policy may lead to him not being re-elected he said, "What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something?"
Cleveland was defeated in 1888; although he had more popular votes than opposing candidate Benjamin Harrison, he received fewer electoral votes.
Rather than just get fat and grow a beard like Al Gore, Cleveland instead focused on becoming president again. After all, he was already fat and had a mustache.
Cleveland was elected again in 1892, making him both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States.
After leaving the White House, Cleveland lived in retirement in Princeton, New Jersey.
Today, his birthplace (and boyhood home) has been preserved and exists as a small museum. On display are a few slices of his wedding cake.
Fun Facts about Grover Cleveland:
Political foes often called him the “Buffalo Hangman” because he had performed some hangings when he was the sheriff of Buffalo.
He went from Mayor of Buffalo to President of the United States in just 3 years.
During his Presidency he had a secret operation to remove a cancerous lump from his lip. He had the operation aboard a yacht and the public was unaware of the procedure until after his death.
He paid a subordinate to fight in his place during the Civil War.
The Baby Ruth candy bar is said to be named after his daughter. (I should mention that while Ruth Cleveland was famous, being the first presidential child born in the White House, the candy wasn’t manufactured until years after her death when Babe Ruth was a prominent baseball player. Babe Ruth took the makers of the candy to court since he believed that it was named after him and the Cleveland story was a cover to keep him from being paid an endorsement fee.)
Fun Facts I just made up about Grover Cleveland:
Friends called him the “Buffalo Hangman” because he once hung a 900 pound buffalo out the window of the White House as a joke.
The cancerous lump removed from his lip went on to become a moderately successful comedy writer under the name Bruce Vilanch.
His favorite movie was Animal House (Bruce Vilanch’s not Grover Cleveland’s.)