Strange But True: A Regular Look At Our Bizarre Politicians

Running for President of the United States means thinking that you’re the one person best equipped to become the leader of the free world — which could be considered a personality tic, to say the least. As Newt Gingrich once explained, “If you decide in your freshman year in high school that your job is to spend your lifetime trying to change the future of your people, you’re probably fairly weird. … I think I was pretty weird as a kid.”

But there’s weird and then there’s what we’re seeing in this campaign cycle, which is only beginning to recover from Herman Cain’s spoken-word concert tour and marital therapy session. We think that even the front-runners for 2012 are odder than usual — which is why The National Memo is launching “Strange But True,” a regular feature that will present old anecdotes, little-known facts, curious quotes and amusing videos showing the bizarre side of our would-be leaders. (David Greenberg helped us find the photograph on this page of Nixon playing the piano at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.)

We won’t confine our findings to the presidential candidates, because even if we’re wrong and nothing has changed from previous years, there’s still more than enough weirdness in American politics to go around. We needed help from our readers: please email your suggestions to or use the Twitter hashtag #strangepolitics.

December 14, 2011: Newt Gingrich Married His High School Math Teacher When He Was 19

December 16, 2011: Mitt Romney Spent The Vietnam War In A French Palace

December 20, 2011: Michele Bachmann Loved Her Time At A Socialist Commune In Israel

December 22, 2011: Ron Paul Said U.S. Civil War Was ‘Unnecessary’

December 28, 2011: Rick Santorum Rented Next To A Gay Bar

January 9, 2011: Jon Huntsman Dropped Out Of High School To Join A Band Called Wizard

January 18, 2011: Rick Santorum’s Wife Dated The Abortion Doctor Who Delivered Her

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