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January 23rd, 2009

President High Tech

Much news lately has stated that President Obama is the first US President to have a BlackBerry. This has actually been in dispute – it’s not clear if he’ll have a BlackBerry or some other device – but it’s still pretty nifty. It’s 2009, after all.

But that got me thinking if other Presidents had been recognized as being high tech. And naturally I gravitated to the telegraph.

The first President whose nomination was transmitted by telegraph was James K. Polk back in 1844. Interestingly, this news came out of a really crappy Democratic convention:

The 1844 Democratic nominating convention was a disaster, a near-riot. … On the convention’s third day, the New Hampshire governor placed Polk’s name in nomination. He was one of the few Democratic leaders trusted by both the pro-Van Buren and anti-Van Buren factions of the party. On the eighth ballot, Polk received forty-four votes of the necessary 176. But on the ninth ballot, everything shifted. State after state went to Polk, and by the half-way point on the roll call, his name was the only one left on the ballot. He was chosen unanimously–the first “dark horse” candidate in American history. The news of his nomination was quickly sent to Washington by telegraph–the first commercial message sent on the new Baltimore-Washington telegraph. It would be several days, however, before news reached Polk that he stood as the next candidate for the presidency.

Man, Obama’s got it good with this whole “instant communication” thing.

Posted in Politics

Aanen January 23, 2009, 5:25 pm

Too bad it will probably be going off every 3 seconds!

Makes me glad I don’t have one of those things.

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