The 38th POTUS is...wait!

Came across THIS political ad.


Some people count Cleveland as only one President, though he served two separate terms.

Not the sharpest thinkers in charge of that production…

Maybe they thought they were counting presidential elections and simply added one…
eg When the opposition said they 'd be 38th, it soaked in… they thought that Nixon was currently 37th and is running in the elections to be 38th…

Such naivety .the sort of people who would bug the oppositions offices or something equally stupid.

If Cleveland was counted as only one president instead of two, that would have made Nixon the 36th, not the 38th. No calculation I can think of would make him the 38th. And, obviously, being elected to a second term doesn’t get a new ordinal number for the president, except in the case of Cleveland, whose two stints as president were non-consecutive. If (hypothetically) Jimmy Carter ran for president in 2016 and was elected (heaven forbid), he would become the 45th president in addition to having been the 39th.

Maybe he was appealing to Southern voters by counting Jefferson Davis.

If that were the case, the video would still be wrong.

I’ve never been able to think of any conceivable reason Cleveland is counted twice but FDR only once.

Two separate administrations vs. one. It’s the administration, not the individual.

I know that’s the reasoning…I don’t know why anyone thinks it matters. I mean, nobody is counted an extra time for having a different vice president in his second administration. Nobody is calling Reagan the 40th administration of the United States. Nobody counts a president twice if he shuffles his cabinet.

Saying “The 40th consecutive uninterrupted period of administration” is so picayune I can’t see why anyone would regard it as an interesting fact. Cleveland was the 22nd president of the US; the fact that he was president again later but someone else was in between doesn’t make him “also the 24th” person to hold the office.

It’s stupid.

Well, if you count Grover once, and include both Payton Randolph and Henry Middleton

Well, what administration was after Cleveland’s? Or, if you prefer, who was the president after Cleveland? You have to distinguish which administration it was to determine the answer. Giving Cleveland two presidencies is a more elegant solution than the alternative.

I think you have to go to the pit to get anti-semantic. :smiley:

What do you call a guy who wins the 50th running of the Indy 500, and has won it twice before?

But it does! If you list the presidents in order, you have to go Cleveland, Harrison, Cleveland, McKinley. Otherwise it looks like the presidency passed directly from Harrison to McKinley, which would be wrong. If you list the presidents in order, Cleveland is both the 22nd and the 24th name on the list.

I’d call him the 50th winner. That’s not really a good analogy, though, because I’d call him the 50th winner even if his three wins were in years 48, 49, and 50. The Indy 500 is a discrete phenomenon, held once per year. The presidency is a continuous phenomenon, always occupied, so that we count only one presidency until it changes hands.

But we do have inaugurations for 2nd terms, though. And for winning something fairly significant.

An even more extreme case would be Gladstone and Disraeli - how many times did they swap the office of PM?


Well, let’s say he won the 3rd one – and every one thereafter. We’d say he’s the third guy to win it, not the 50th winner.

It may all boil down to the exact wording and how you parse that.

Recall that Obama, in his first inaugural speech, said:

( Full transcript from ABC News )

I recall that commentators jumped all over that one. That number forty-four counted himself, but also counts Cleveland twice. In the context of Obama’s statement, “Forty-four Americans”, Cleveland should only have counted as one American, even though he may count as two presidents.

Details, details.