Presidents

Did you know John Adam's wife, Abigail, would hang wet laundry in the Public Audience Chamber? Or that Abraham Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln Bedroom? West Wing Reports founder and White House beat journalist Paul Brandus shares a history of The Oval Office and what it is like to cover the Trump administration.

Richard Nixon Presidential Library

Before President Donald Trump's thin-skinned, media-obsessed administration over a country deeply divided, there was Richard M. Nixon. Historian John A. Farrell's new biography includes astonishing revelations about the 37th president that have some drawing political parallels to the current chief executive.

Claire Tadokoro / KCUR 89.3

There have been some hits and some misses during President Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. One thing everyone agrees on is there has been no shortage of surprises. Today, we hear from a distinguished panel of political observers; ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd, Time magazine editor-at-large David Von Drehle, and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer Colleen Nelson, of the Kansas City Star. They discuss the early days of the new executive administration.

A Nation Engaged: Power And The Presidency

Apr 27, 2017
Roy Inman / KCUR 89.3

As President Trump approaches the 100-day milestone of his administration, KCUR teamed up with NPR's for the latest A Nation Engaged conversation, moderated by Up To Date host Steve Kraske and NPR's Southwest correspondent, John Burnett. This time, we asked Kansas City-area citizens how much power they think an American president should be able to wield.

William Shepard Walsh / Flickr - CC

For the 3rd year in a row, Abraham Lincoln topped C-SPAN's presidential leadership survey. On Presidents Day (more accurately known as Washington's Birthday), we explore the struggle over emancipation and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

The Missouri State University Chorale is anxiously anticipating January 20—the day millions of eyes will turn to the nation’s capitol for the inauguration of the 45th U.S. president.  The 50-member choir will be part of the ceremony and has commissioned a new piece for the event.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has the story.

American Public Square

In light of a campaign season some view as the most rancorous in recent history, we look at the role civility still plays in politics. Then, it's 3 a.m. and there's a phone ringing in the White House. If something disastrous happens in the world, it's the president's job to respond. We take a look at the history of disaster management by the Oval Office.

When President Dwight Eisenhower started People to People International, he envisioned everyday people from around the world coming together to form friendships that could bridge cultures and discourage conflict. Sixty years later, Ike's granddaughter Mary Jean Eisenhower, now CEO of the organization, continues to advance that ideal.

Henry Grossman

With their cameras, the best photographers can change how we see and think about the world around us. For more than 50 years, Henry Grossman has made portraits of cultural and political  legends, including The Beatles, Muhammad Ali and President John F. Kennedy.

Abraham Lincoln is remembered for his skill as an orator, but the president also utilized other tools to better connect with voters. His use of photography, which was a cutting-edge technology in his day and age, helped him to victory in the tough 1860 election. 

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Pulitzer Prize-winner Jon Meacham's new book on the first President Bush is generating attention for what he had to say about Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, advisers to his son President George W. Bush. But there's a lot more inside the biography about the man Meacham describes as "the last moderate Republican."

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has written about  some of the the most powerful people in the world. She shares with Steve Kraske leadership lessons from the White House. 

Doris Kearns Goodwin will speak with Bill Moyers at 6 p.m. Saturday, November 14 at Unity Temple on the Plaza as part of an event sponsored by the Truman Library Institute. General admission is sold out.

She's been written about as an afterthought to her husband's presidency, but Lady Bird Johnson was a true political partner to Lyndon Johnson. Author Betty Boyd Caroli discusses Lady Bird's marriage to one of the most mercurial presidents this country has ever known.

We live in Lyndon Johnson’s America. So says Joseph Califano, Johnson's top domestic adviser. We learn about the complex president and the long list of groundbreaking legislation he signed during his tenure.

Joseph Califano speaks about his book,  "The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson" at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library Wednesday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit kclibrary.org.

James Madison is an oft-forgotten American President, but his ability to build relationships laid the foundation for the America we know today. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with historian David Stewart about the life and contributions of America's fourth president. 

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Regnery History

Presidents have been forced to calculate whether they want to be men of the people...or men of somewhat higher understanding.

On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske sits down with author Tevi Troy for a look at how popular culture has shaped the presidency. From Jefferson’s grounding in philosophy to Obama’s mastery of Internet culture, they examine who was best, or worst, at navigating a president's need to connect with the average citizen through the culture of the day.

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During his presidency, Warren G. Harding was generally well liked among Americans. In contemporary times however, Harding's cronyism and corruption have sent him to the bottom of favorite president lists.

On Thursday's Up to Date, we talk with historian Phillip Payne about Harding's upbringing, his ascendancy to power, and the scandals that still plague his image to this day.

It was an odd couple who won the 1952 presidential race: Likable Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower and tricky Richard "Dick" Nixon. 

In the second part of Thursday's Up to Date, we’ll take a look at the complicated relationship between the two men with Jeffrey Frank, author of Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage.

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Robert Dallek: Why Some Presidents Succeed

Mar 6, 2012

We’ve had 45 of them on the job, but only 16 were able to come back.  It’s something Thomas Jefferson once deemed a “splendid misery” …  the U.S. Presidency.

What are the factors that play into the reputation as a strong or weak leader?  How does a president hold onto the public’s imagination?

Barack Obama isn't the first President in conflict with a Congress run by the opposing party. However, being in that position doesn't mean nothing gets accomplished. Take it from Historian of the U.S. Senate Donald Richie.