Before he was President: Lyndon Johnson
Baines Johnson, 1963-1969 schoolteacher
At fifteen he ran away from home and traveled to California where he
worked as a grape picker and auto mechanic.
Johnson and his wife, Claudia "Lady Bird" Alta Taylor, were married
with a $2.50 wedding ring bought at Sears Roebuck.
The television show American Experience: LBJ gave this example of
how hard a Johnson worked on an election:
In the spring of 1937, Johnson was 28 years old, campaigning as
an ardent Roosevelt New Dealer, reaching out to the working men and
poor dirt farmers of the Texas hill country. He ran for office as if
his life depended on it. He spoke in every town in his district,
lost 40 pounds in 42 days, made 200 speeches and collapsed with
appendicitis just two days before the election.
From his hospital bed, with his wife Lady Bird, he learned that he'd
been elected one of the youngest members of Congress. His political
ideals would waver, but for the rest of his life, he would display
the same nervous intensity, the same obsessive drive to succeed and
a talent for attaching himself to power.
Richard Milhouse Nixon, 1969-1974
While in the Navy in the 1940's, Richard Nixon noticed that his
friends were winning money in poker games. Always the opportunist,
Nixon had the best poker player in his unit teach him how to play
the game. Within only a few months, Nixon had won around $6,000 in
poker games, which he used to fund his first congressional campaign.
Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977
Busboy, male model
Gerald Ford spent some time as a male model. Ford and his girlfriend
were in a Look magazine spread in 1939, and in 1942 he was the cover
boy of Cosmopolitan.
Gerald Ford held part-time jobs in high school and college. In high
school he worked part-time in order to help pay family expenses
during the Great Depression. During college, he worked part-time
jobs in order to pay the various educational and living expenses
that were not covered by the football scholarship he had won from
the University of Michigan.