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Pop Quiz: Who Was The Only President To ...

President Obama in 2014.
Jason DeCrow
President Obama in 2014.

Only is a lonely word. It sets people apart and places them at a back-of-the-cafe table for one. When speaking of the 43 men who have been president of the United States — a rarefied roster already — the word only is extra-exclusive.

Some of the presidential onlies are well-known. Barack Obama is the only African-American president. Gerald Ford is the only president to have also served as vice president without having been elected to either office. He is also the only president from the state of Michigan. Richard Nixon is the only American president to resign from the office. Franklin Roosevelt is the only one to be elected to a third term. James Buchanan, the only president from Pennsylvania, is also the only president who never married. And so

Here are some other, perhaps lesser-known presidential onlies. You only have to name the president.

Who was the only American president to ...

1) Preside over a meeting of the United Nations Security Council?

2) Also serve as ambassador to France? (Editor's note: We've added a correction on this one. Scroll down to see it.)

3) Get married in the White House?

4) Serve nonconsecutive terms?

5) Be awarded a patent?

6) Face enemy fire while still in office?

7) Also serve as a chief justice of the Supreme Court?

8) Choose to "affirm" his oath of office, rather than "swear"?

9) Father twins?

10) Earn a Ph.D.?

Bonus: Who was the only American president to not live in the White House?

Franklin Pierce, circa 1853.
/ Library of Congress
Library of Congress
Franklin Pierce, circa 1853.

Answers (linked to sources):

1) Barack Obama

2) Thomas Jefferson

3) Grover Cleveland

4) Grover Cleveland

5) Abraham Lincoln

6) Abraham Lincoln

7) William Howard Taft

8) Franklin Pierce

9) George W. Bush

10) Woodrow Wilson

Bonus: George Washington

(Update: Several astute readers have pointed out that President James Madison also experienced a hostile encounter with the British during the War of 1812. You can see accounts of it here and here.)


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Corrected: October 20, 2015 at 9:00 PM PDT
French President Francois Hollande misspoke when he said Thomas Jefferson was the only U.S. president to have served as ambassador to France. In fact, James Monroe was minister to France in 1794-1796.
Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.