TWO TERMS, THREE TIMES

AP News

11/7/2012 2:53:07 AM - AP News

Michael Oreskes, a veteran political journalist since the 1970s and now The Associated Press' senior managing editor for U.S. news, will be checking in briefly with Election Watch throughout the day. Here is his latest report:

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Historical trivia moment: 1816 was quite a long time ago. America was a very different place, still a fledgling country starting to push across a largely unknown continent.

Yet you have to go all the way back to 1816 for the last time that the country did what it did Tuesday. Not since Jefferson, then Madison and then Monroe (in 1816) has the United States elected three presidents in a row to a second term.

What does that mean? It is hard to argue this has been a period of calm or stable politics, though compared to the late 1960s and 1970's it does seem almost placid. After all, Lyndon Johnson was forced to abandon re-election hopes by a faraway war, Richard Nixon was impeached and driven from office, Gerald Ford then lost to Jimmy Carter in large part because he pardoned Nixon, and Carter then lost to Reagan because the economy went south and he seemed to blame Americans for it.

You could argue that Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower were the moral equivalent of three two-term presidents in a row. Roosevelt was elected to four terms but died soon after. Truman finished Roosevelt's fourth term, and was re-elected. Then Eisenhower served two terms. Then the 60s started.

— Michael Oreskes

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Election Watch shows you Election Day 2012 through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.

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EDITOR'S NOTE — Election Watch shows you Election Day 2012 through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.