The Truth-O-Meter Says:
Scarborough

Before "our last three presidents, you have to go back to the 1800s, early 1800s to find three presidents in a row being consecutively re-elected."

Joe Scarborough on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 in comments on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

How rare is it that we had three presidents re-elected consecutively? Very rare

On Thursday’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough dropped a bit of presidential trivia that we hadn’t heard before.

During a discussion about the inability of recent American presidents to accomplish major political achievements, Scarborough said that before "our last three presidents, you have to go back to the 1800s, early 1800s, to find three presidents in a row being consecutively re-elected."

The first part of Scarborough’s statement is true -- Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all won consecutive presidential terms -- but we wondered just how rare the feat is.

Very rare, it turns out.

In fact, it’s only happened once before -- from 1800-24, when Thomas Jefferson, James Madision and James Monroe were each elected to consecutive terms. (They were the third, fourth and fifth presidents.)

We’ve only come close one other time, but deaths and resignations interrupted that:

• President Harry Truman served more than seven years in office, having finished President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth term and having been elected on his own once, in 1948 (1945-52).

• President Dwight Eisenhower served two full terms (1953-60).

• President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during his first term. President Lyndon B. Johnson completed Kennedy’s term and was elected to his own four-year term in 1964 (1961-68).

• President Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968 and re-elected in 1972 before resigning in 1974 (1969-74).

Our ruling

Scarborough said that before "our last three presidents, you have to go back to the 1800s, early 1800s to find three presidents in a row being consecutively re-elected."

He’s right. The last -- and only -- presidents before Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama to be re-elected back-to-back were Jefferson, Madison and Monroe in the early 1800s.

We rate Scarborough’s claim True.

Advertisement
About this statement:

Published: Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.

Subjects: Elections, History

Sources:

MSNBC, Morning Joe, April 10, 2014

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Electoral College Box Scores 1789-1996, accessed April 10, 2014

Written by: Aaron Sharockman
Researched by: Aaron Sharockman
Edited by: Louis Jacobson

How to contact us:

We want to hear your suggestions and comments. Email PunditFact with feedback and with claims you'd like to see checked. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.

Browse The PunditFact Truth-O-Meter:
Subscribe: