March 21, 2008
Bill Richardson's Facial Hair
Posted by Gordon Smith

Last month, at the Wisconsin Contracts Conference, a few of us independently concluded that Bill Richardson would be the VP choice for Barak Obama, when it came to that. Richardson's endorsement of Obama today strengthens my suspicion that this is the direction the campaign is heading.

Change? Richardson is a Washington insider, but he is also Hispanic. Change enough, I suspect.

But if that weren't enough, how about the beard?


Richardson could be the first Vice President with facial hair since Charles Curtis (Herbert Hoover, 1929-33), who also happened to be the first and only Native American Vice President ...


Based on my extensive research, the last VP to have a beard was Charles Fairbanks (Theodore Roosevelt, 1905-09).


Lots of people are commenting on Richardson's beard, but I hope to become the definitive link on this VP research. Otherwise, I just wasted ten minutes of my life.

UPDATE: Ok, I just couldn't give up until I found a VP with more than a goatee. Levi Morton (Benjamin Harrison, 1889-93) sometimes sported mutton chops:


Then there's Schuyler Colfax (Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1873), who has a beard, but no mustache:


To get a Vice President with a full beard and mustache, you have to go all the way back to George Clinton (James Madison (George Clinton, 1809-1812):

see below the fold for his magnificent photo ...


Haha! I couldn't resist. I had a couple of Parliament albums when I was a teenager, and this brought back the memories. The VP George Clinton did not have a beard:


So in the end, Richardson really could have a claim as the first Vice President with a full beard. I think he should definitely play that up.

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Comments (11)

1. Posted by Fred Tung on March 21, 2008 @ 15:37 | Permalink

Gordon, Richardson may currently be sporting a rugged Southwest-desert face hair look. But it might have to morph into a national-audience clean-cut non-threatening ethnic minority look for the general election. IOW, he might shave.

2. Posted by Gordon Smith on March 21, 2008 @ 15:47 | Permalink

Of course he might shave, Fred, but I am suggesting that he could make history here!

3. Posted by Trumpit on March 21, 2008 @ 17:12 | Permalink

Good idea! George Clinton for VP. The live musical one not the long dead one. Obama wins the presidency and Clinton becomes vice-president. The dream ticket we are all wishing for!

4. Posted by Trumpit on March 21, 2008 @ 17:12 | Permalink

Good idea! George Clinton for VP. The live musical one not the long dead one. Obama wins the presidency and Clinton becomes vice-president. The dream ticket we are all wishing for!

5. Posted by NonVoxPop on March 21, 2008 @ 18:14 | Permalink

Gordon, I think you might be stretching it to call that a "full beard." It seems more like an goatee. For "full beard" status, I think you need some cheek hair.
Personally, I'd like to see the 5 O'clock shadow or some scruff make a comeback. It says "I've got better things to do than shave, o.k.?" It looks kinda hip, too.

6. Posted by Jake on March 22, 2008 @ 17:47 | Permalink

Good heavens. Richardson looks like he just got back from spray painting "BARACK RULES!" or like sentiments, beneath an I-40 overpass in Albuquerque, NM.

7. Posted by Cliff on March 22, 2008 @ 20:44 | Permalink

Great post Gordon.

Perhaps all the presidential candiates should have a beard growing contest. Hilary might seem a little prima facie disadvantaged, but I'm sure Bill could fill in for her.

I would love a beard-off among the presidential hopefuls...

8. Posted by Fred Tung on March 23, 2008 @ 11:44 | Permalink

OK, Gordon, I'll go out on a limb. If Obama chooses Richardson as his running mate, I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that Richardson goes clean-cut for the general election. He'll shave it all off. Obama-Richardson would have to win over Middle America, and face hair may be risky there, especially with McCain as the opponent.

9. Posted by Fred Tung on March 23, 2008 @ 11:48 | Permalink

PS: though I suppose Richardson could still make history in the way you describe. He could go clean shaven for the general election and still resurrect the face hair by Inauguration Day!

10. Posted by Gordon Smith on March 23, 2008 @ 13:43 | Permalink

Fred, I am almost positive he would shave if nominated as the VP. I assumed this whole endorsement dance was part of the process of positioning himself as VP, so I was surprised that he came out with the beard. I was just having a little fun with the post.

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