Do Rookies Make Good Presidents?

Obama joins a long list of relative political newbies who have won the nation's highest office. Here's what he can learn from all of them

Paul Schutzer / Time & Life Pictures / Getty

The charismatic youngster Kennedy was only 43 when he won the White House.

For 10 exhausting months, Americans worried that Barack Obama might be too inexperienced to serve as President. On Nov. 4, a majority of voters decided that he is in fact "ready to lead"--or at least that he had better be. This suggests that Americans know their history. When it comes to presidential success, experience isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Given the recent Sturm und Drang over the experience question, one might imagine that American Presidents have mostly followed the Johnson/Nixon model, clawing their way from House to Senate to the vice presidency before landing in the Oval Office. In...

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