By Holland Cooke
Ask callers: “What would you do if you were President for one day?”
It happened once, although you’ll really have to dig to find this in history books.
QUICK: Who were the 11th, 12th, and 13th Presidents of the USA?
If only Constitutionally:
- #11 was James K. Polk
- #12 was David Rice Atchison
- #13 was Zachary Taylor
David Rice WHO? Official records show Zachary Taylor as President #12, not 13.
David Rice Atchison — from Frogtown, Kentucky — was appointed to the United States Senate to replace a Senator who had died. He stayed for 12 years, 1843-1855, during-which…it happened:
- President #11 James K. Polk was scheduled to step down from office at noon on Sunday, March 4, 1849.
- But President-Elect Zachary Taylor was a religious man, and refused to be sworn in on the Sabbath. He insisted on waiting until the following day.
- So WHO would serve as President for 24 hours? Normally, the vice-president. But VP George M. Dallas’ term would have expired along with Polk’s…if he hadn’t already resigned as President of the Senate on Friday, March 2nd.
- The House of Representatives was dismissed so there was no Speaker. Next in line? Recently re-elected President Pro Tem of the Senate, David Rice Atchison, who, technically, became President for 24 hours, though he was never sworn in.
- When asked what he did that day, he said “I went to bed. There had been two or three busy nights finishing up the work of the Senate, and I slept most of that Sunday.”
Here’s your script:
Warn your screener: Look up from Facebook. Things are about to get busy.
What would YOU do if you were President for ONE day?
It happened…THIS WEEK, 171 years ago.
[Then read the “True Story” paragraph above]
WHAT IF fate put YOU in the Oval Office…for ONE day?
With the 2020 campaign underway, we’ll be hearing lots of “On Day One…” promises.
So what would YOU do on your ONE day as President of the United States?
While your screener quickly starts juggling a full board, list the things you, the host, would do on your one day. Talk Radio 101: The purpose of the host’s opinion is to “seed the topic,” inviting callers to agree-and-disagree, and use your show to talk to each other.
Whatever you suggest you would do on your one day, don’t promise that Mexico will pay for it.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the e-book “Holland Cooke: Greatest Hits” from Talkers Books. Click the ad banner in the right-hand column on this page for an instant download. And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America. Read HC’s Monday Memo each week at Talkers.com, and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke