History: The People's Choice

Americans will overlook a politician's faults if he has the common touch

Granger Collection (2)

Andrew Jackson, right, and his wife, Rachel.

Barack Obama is growing into the responsibilities of a modern presidential candidate--he has promised his wife Michelle that he will try to quit smoking. "I've quit periodically over the last several years," he says. "I've got an ironclad demand from my wife that in the stresses of the campaign I don't succumb. I've been chewing Nicorette strenuously." Obama is learning what many aspirants to the White House have learned before him--we expect our Presidents to be perfect.

Also perfectly normal. Eccentricity can play as badly on the campaign trail as vice. If Obama has any weird habits along with his unhealthy one,...

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