Current Events

Presidents age differently

Presidents age differently

I remember as a kid how people thought Jimmy Carter aged badly during his administration. I don’t know that he aged so bad, as much as his trademark smile was wiped off his face during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Recent thoughts of that made me want to go back and see how other recent presidents looked at the beginning and end of their terms. It does appear that being president ages some men more than others.

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Comparison of Presidents Aging

Below is a comparison of some modern presidents, early in their terms, and as they were leaving office.


Nixon coasted to a historic landslide in 1972, only to resign in disgrace two years later. He was consumed by the scandal and it took quote a toll on him.


Reagan liked to delegate and shun details. Even though he had the Iran Contra scandal, he left the office positive and largely unaffected by the pressures of the office.


The elder George Bush (by the way, it’s NOT George Bush Sr and George Bush Jr., as the elder Bush has two middle names) was a career Washington politician. The pressures of office were old hat to him. He left office after 4 years in relatively good physical shape.

Bush 41

Bill Clinton, though always presenting himself as a positive leader, was famous for his micromanagement and quick temper. He also became only the second president to be impeached (history 101 – being “impeached” doesn’t mean being removed from office… it just means impeachment proceedings were brought against him). He also had his girlfriend Monica Lewinsky to deal with and deny. He left office a bit weathered.


George W. Bush had 9/11 and two wars to wage, not to mention the wars he had to wage at home against an army of detractors. He looks 20 years older in his last year in office than he did in his first.

Bush 43

Bottom Line

Different presidents aged differently during their time in office.

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View Comments (13)


  1. henry_twentytwo

    July 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Yeah, um, that “2000” picture of Bush is actually his first official photo as governor of Texas and was taken in 1995. So the spread is 13 years, not 8.

  2. Kurt

    February 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Obama also looks much older now than he did just four years ago. This is the first full-time job he has ever had, so he must be exhausted.

    • waffles

      February 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      We will definitely be updating this article when he leaves office. It will be interesting to see…

  3. christina

    April 2, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    @dani: Wow. Great speech there. THAT’S why there’s so much hate in this world. These aren’t just “terrorists”. These include Iraqi children. You talk about aborted babies, but you contradict yourself greatly.

    I’m Liberal, yes, but I agree to the war. Not because I believe Bush or Harper (Canadian PM), but because despite I truly believe sometimes, war is the only way to solve a problem. (btw, if anyone emails me DON’T talk about this. I respect your views. Respect mines – because they will NOT change). HOWEVER, those who actually believe GWB and his reasons are lying to themselves. I personally can’t stand how children and woman are killed but republicans still call this a “great war”. War is never great, it’s never good, but in the world of grey, we have to choose the lighter shade. The deaths caused by the war is a light price to pay, in my opinion, compared to the heavy years of corruption that may have continued if the Iraqi government had stayed in.

    Anyways, a person “with a conscience”? Conscience is totally decided on what the person him/herself believes. Hitler probably thought he had a conscience and was actually helping his people when he killed millions of Jewish and Slavs.

    ANYWAYS; back to main topic. Poor Bush. ): The Presidential throne isn’t a good place to be, in my opinion. Nobody is perfect, but we all expect the President to be. GWB passed a lot of laws I can’t stand (um, actually, ironically, the “partial-birth-abortion” ban thing was one of those) but on the other hand he really did do his best. Those who do bad things are not necessarily evil, since “bad things” are our own definition. It’s only evil when you do “bad things” on purpose and enjoy it.

    My two cents<3 Don’t flame me. D; I’m giving out a pretty private email here.

  4. Daniel

    March 28, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Like Ramira says “I don’t need stacks of facts to have an emotional reaction.” Perfect! Don’t consider the FACTS but let your intentionally misdirected (by others) “feelings” direct your response. That’s the problem with our country now.

  5. Andy

    March 14, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Poor W. Bush. Obama will face all the stress of politics. Bush did everything he could.

  6. Andrea

    December 8, 2008 at 3:27 pm


    You obviously have no clue the terrible things (far too many to name here) that GWB has done to not only our country but preindustrial nations. Grab yourself a book and learn a little bit about GWB.

  7. Juan

    November 21, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Perhaps Bianca’s comments were unnecessary, but she seems to have a better idea of what history will say of Bush than Taylor. George W. Bush has killed a million Iraqis and he knowingly lied to the world to start this war. If that ain’t evil, then the word evil has no meaning.

  8. Shelly

    November 5, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Although I have never wanted GWB as President, somehow my heart just goes out to him by seeing how much he has aged. I’ve been wondering lately what type of person does it take to want a job like “THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES” Talk about STRESS!!! Those years must have been hell for him; and you know, it’s weird. I feel bad for the guy.

  9. Erik

    November 5, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    I noticed this trend exactly where you begin… with Mr. Gerald Ford. In 1980 a news sender broadcast his pictures through the years in office and one thing became VERY obvious. The grin, for which he was so well known early on, became flatter and weaker with every year. You show the near grimace it became in the end. Since Kennedy, the president has been in my opinion nothing more than the scapegoat of a disenchanted public and press. I pity Barack already. He has so much energy and enthusiasm. One sees on his face how this is a dream come true for him. I don’t think anyone realizes just what this office entails.

  10. Taylor

    August 1, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Nasty and unnecessary, Bianca, but not very enlightening. Exactly who “deserves” it and why? And who decides? And do persons not have at the very least an obligation to give detailed reasons if they lauch an attach upon another human being?
    A lot of great figures in history were not popular in their own time. Just a fact. If you don’t like someone, please give a solid reason based on facts and logic. Else, please don’t bother imposing any more unsubstantiated ugliness on the rest of humanity.

  11. waffles

    July 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I suppose that would age anyone. Imagine how 8 rough years would look on McCain?? đŸ˜‰

  12. Bianca Patrick

    July 3, 2008 at 7:33 am

    GWB deserves it. It must be trying to be loathed, abhorred, detested, despised, abominated by 70% of the people in your country and 90% of the people in the world. He can run but he can’t hide.

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