Andrew Cuomo and Cory Booker

Could a Bachelor Win the Presidency?

America has elected only two presidents who were unmarried at the time

by The Root, January 31, 2013

Andrew Cuomo and Cory Booker

Andrew Cuomo and Cory Booker

Getty Images

Though President Obama's inauguration for a second term took place just over a week ago, speculation is already rampant regarding who the next Black president might be. At the top of many lists is Newark, N.J., mayor and soon-to-be Senate candidate Cory Booker.

Booker is telegenic, Ivy League-educated and a Rhodes scholar; has bipartisan support; and has a list of heroic feats that rivals a real-life superhero's. (He recently enjoyed headlines for saving a dog from freezing to death.) In many ways Booker has the perfect biography to become president, except for one small detail: Booker is a bachelor.

America has elected only two presidents who were unmarried at the time: James Buchanan, the nation's 15th president; and Grover Cleveland, the nation's 22nd (and 24th — he served two nonconsecutive terms). Cleveland, however, married while in office. (Chester Arthur entered office single, but only because his wife died before his inauguration.)

Buchanan never did marry, and his legacy includes persistent speculation about his sexual orientation. A number of experts who weighed in explained that added scrutiny of one's personal life is one of the primary obstacles that a bachelor — or bachelorette — politician aiming for the White House would face.

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