Thinking About Thinking

Who Is The Best Looking U.S. President Of All Time?

Posted in Pop Culture by larrycheng on November 13, 2009

I was reminded today of the commonly held belief that since the advent of mass media – good looks is a critical advantage in winning the Presidency of the United States.  So out of sheer curiosity (a common refrain in this blog), I pulled together the images of all 42 Presidents courtesy of the White House website.  Are the Presidents of the mass media generation better looking?  Who is the best looking President of all-time?  Judge for yourself… 

1 - George Washington

2 - John Adams

3 - Thomas Jefferson

4 - James Madison

5 - James Monroe

6 - John Quincy Adams

7 - Andrew Jackson

8 - Martin Van Buren

9 - William Henry Harrison

10 - John Tyler

11 - James Polk

12 - Zachary Taylor

13 - Millard Fillmore

14 - Franklin Pierce

15 - James Buchanan

16 - Abraham Lincoln

17 - Andrew Johnson

18 - Ulysses Grant

19 - Rutherford Hayes

20 - James Garfield

21 - Chester Arthur

22 - Grover Cleveland

23 - Benjamin Harrison

24 - Grover Cleveland

25 - William McKinley

26 - Theodore Roosevelt

27 - William Taft

28 - Woodrow Wilson

29 - Warren Harding

30 - Calvin Coolidge

31 - Herbert Hoover

32 - Franklin Roosevelt

33 - Harry Truman

34 - Dwight Eisenhower

35 - John Kennedy

36 - Lyndon Johnson

37 - Richard Nixon

38 - Gerald Ford

39 - Jimmy Carter

40 - Ronald Reagen

41 - George H Bush

42 - Bill Clinton

43 - George W Bush

44 - Barack Obama

86 Responses

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  1. Sean Seton-Rogers said, on November 14, 2009 at 5:29 am

    Not sure that Nixon, LBJ, or Bush I would be considered “good looking” :)

    • Jade Michele said, on February 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      The best – looking President is Barack Obama.

      • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 1:51 am

        Obama is UGLY looks like his breath reeks of stank with purple lips and gums big ears yuck

      • JJ said, on March 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm

        All the presidents are ugly! Obama is the most best looking of them, accept it.

  2. Vicki J. Brown said, on November 14, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Interesting question. IMHO, I agree that the more recent presidents — of the mass media generation — are generally more good-looking. Excluding them, I’d say Franklin Pierce, FDR and Eisenhower, in that order.

  3. larrycheng said, on November 14, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    While I’m not sure good looks is a pre-requisite to win in the mass media generation, it clearly was not a pre-requisite in the earlier days. Some of those guys look just a bit on the scary side if you ask me.

  4. Jim Cooke said, on November 15, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Franklin Pierce or Andrew Jackson — based on National Gallery portraits and not the images offered.

  5. Bob Timmermann said, on November 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Franklin Pierce was nominated in part because he was good looking. Millard Fillmore and Chester Arthur were considered very good looking and well-dressed for their times. Warren Harding was also considered good looking in his day. I would assume most people alive today would pick Kennedy or Reagan.

    Kennedy had the advantage of being in office when he was younger, but I assume he would have aged poorly. Or just died young.

  6. Jim Cooke said, on November 16, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I’m an actor of solo history — one-man shows. I “do” Calvin Coolidge and John Quincy Adams. http://www.crankyyankees.net After a Coolidge performance at the LBJ Library in Austin, TX back in the 1980s I spoke with an elderly lady who, as a girl had met Warren Harding. She said with considerable feeling, “He was the handsomest man I ever met!” Another lady recalled sitting on Calvin Coolidge’s knee and said it was very “bony.”

  7. Andrew said, on December 9, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    George Washington, of course! After all, he was British, albeit disloyally so.

  8. hammykins said, on January 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Based on these pictures, I guess Ulysses Grant and Teddy Roosevelt. Taft gets honorable mention because I dig his ‘stache.

    • jen said, on May 22, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      you’re glasses are very foggy.

  9. rl said, on January 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    president obama is the best looking president a man with some color and a nice snile slim and cool all roll into a nice packagage there is no way anyone of these other pale face can come close

    • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 1:53 am

      Yuck he’s ugly you have bad taste he looks like he stanks BAD

      • C said, on September 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

        You are very stupid!

    • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 2:06 am

      Reagan is handsome

  10. May said, on February 15, 2010 at 12:47 am

    JOHN F KENNEDY!! You don’t get better than that! I mean come on! Marilyn Monroe WANTED him!!!!

  11. David said, on March 7, 2010 at 3:05 am

    I don’t think any are good looking, but if I had to pick one, probably Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 1:54 am

      He’s good looking I like Ronald Reagan he was handsome

  12. Aldo said, on May 5, 2010 at 3:51 am

    There are some pretty stupid comments here…
    -George Washington because he was “British”, Obama because “pale” men are “unattractive”. “only the guys with the mustaches”.
    Lets be honest, all but Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton were ugly, except Reagan, he was just old as fuck.

    • me ! said, on January 19, 2014 at 5:12 am

      He was sexy as hell when he was young!! And, for a man in his 70s, he wasn’t bad at all.

  13. Ryan in LA said, on May 13, 2010 at 12:11 am

    They’re all pretty ugly but I’d have to go with Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Pierce, JFK, George W. Bush, and Jerry Ford.

  14. ashley said, on July 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I would say that all r not that attractive except bush jr., Clinton( he has so much charm), Reagan was cute in a old man way, Obama,grant nd Teddy Roosevelt( I lke his manly way). nd I don’t find Kennedy good looking at all

  15. Staceyk said, on August 10, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Come on look at James monroe, much better looking than Kennedy. Cleft chin, wavy hair, he almost looks like a male model. I would say Monroe, Pierce, Clinton and Obama

    • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 1:55 am

      Yuck Obama he has big ears

      • M said, on September 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        Again, you are just very stupid!

    • pookerella said, on February 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      I find Obama more sexy than handsome. He’s good-looking, but for me, Pierce and Kennedy win, hands down.

  16. Dantee said, on October 9, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Yeah i know this may sound sorta creepy but I’ve always had a crush on Teddy and that cute little string attached to his glasses lol…..weird I know…then it’d probably be JFK and then Clinton…:-) (disgusting I know)

  17. Lorna said, on November 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Every last one of them look digusting. How anyone can find any of these men attractive clearly shows that you all reek with bad taste in good looking men. If I had to choose at least three that I could possibly stomach it would be Obama, Clinton, and Kennedy (and he is not even that great looking either).

    • Voldemort said, on December 13, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      Lorna, quit drinking that haterade.

      Also, Franklin Pierce is gorgeous.

  18. Jai said, on December 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Oh Please! Obama hands down!!

    • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 1:58 am

      Obama is not handsome he looks like a dark version of the mad tv cartoon comics mascot

  19. IPat-Rice said, on March 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I’d say Polk, then Pierce!!!

  20. c said, on May 29, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Probably Pierce, Grant, Teddy, FDR, JFK, and Clinton.

  21. zoombina said, on June 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    definitely franklin pierce
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Franklin_Pierce_by_GPA_Healy,_1858.jpg (better portrait?)

    • larrycheng said, on July 24, 2011 at 9:41 am

      No doubt, he’s got presidential stature!

    • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 2:04 am

      He not bad actually

      • Krissy said, on April 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

        Oh jeez.. This is a tough one. But I’d have to say JFK for my top. He was absolutely beautiful. So sweet and seeing him makes my heart melt :) Hmm. Next I’d have to say Clinton. He had a rather interesting charm and he was so sweet with animals!!! Obama isn’t bad looking either! So, I’m not hating on anyone :). Doesn’t bother me if you have a different opinion on this. Hehe. So its all good!

  22. me219 said, on July 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Warren Harding’s election was an argument against suffrage–he was the first president elected with the help of the women’s vote, a huge failure, and suffrage-opponents said that women had elected him because he was so good-looking.

  23. Annie said, on August 20, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Franklin Pierce, followed by John Tyler. I have never heard of their names before, but based on the pictures provided, those two look the best. Especially Franklin Pierce. Pierce has what I deem a perfect nose, and his features are all proportional. Great-looking man.

  24. honest person said, on September 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    obama is hands the best looking president ever come if you dont think so ur a hater HATERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • J said, on December 22, 2011 at 1:59 am

      I am not a hater but he is not attractive and you are probably a black person

      • Kevin Crimson said, on January 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm

        That is an incredibly racist comment and I don’t like your additude. How would you like it if someone came and ragged on all your comment. “Reagan is handsome.” With something as cruel as ‘Reagan handsome!?! What a cracker!’ What a hater.

      • CeCe.MaRCiA (@CeCeMAnderson) said, on March 4, 2012 at 1:18 am

        Commenting on every comment saying Obama is handsome? Yeah, you have no life. Sipping that haterade (stolen from someone above).
        Oh, and Reagan is not that good looking.
        I’m just saying.

  25. atheist said, on October 8, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Franklin Pierce…. he looks very charming and he was a real looker

  26. David s Taylor said, on October 12, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    John F Kennedy
    hands down

  27. P-ZO said, on November 18, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    JFK, mmm.

  28. J said, on December 22, 2011 at 2:03 am

    I like Ronald Reagan he was a movie star and Franklin D Roosevelt was handsome too.

  29. fleminp said, on January 18, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    There is no doubt that John F. Kennedy is the nicest us President ever

  30. laracranston said, on January 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Theodore Roosevelt is the sexiest president to hold the office. The man was pure badass. Plus look up pictures of young Teddy and try not to swoon.

    • jen said, on May 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      you have to be one of TR’s great grand kids!

  31. Josh @ Live Well Simply said, on February 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I vote for Abe Lincoln. His character almost exudes from his appearance.

  32. Kelsey said, on March 25, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Franklin Pierce. Unf.

  33. Monica said, on May 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    well when ronald reagan was younger, he was really good looking. JFK would definitely be on the list too. and probably young FDR.

  34. JD said, on May 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I would honestly say that all of them are either “ugly”, “butt ugly” or “will do” at best (here I would put Clinton and Obama, he has a friendly and lively face, but still I wouldn’t call him handsome). The thing that I just can’t understand is the fascination with JFK and I strongly suspect that it comes from the fact that when he became the most powerful man on Earth (which women will always dig) he was still quite young.

    Other than that, I simply don’t get it, I would go as far as place him between “ugly” and “butt ugly” (granted – closer to the former). His eyes frankly looked like a crossover of a retard with and elderly man – droopy, asymetric and saggy (this might be the effect of the steroids and all the mysterious shit he was taking). I would bet a hundred bucks that if JFK was not the man we know him as, but a nameless dock worker from Brooklyn, not too many women would swoon over him.

    And yes, if you’re wondering, I don’t have a life :O

    • jen said, on May 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      oh my god i am so gland i am the only one that feels this way. to me jfk has a serious case of squirrel face!

  35. fashionforteens said, on May 12, 2012 at 1:00 am

    JFK all the way!

    • Josue said, on June 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

      Franklin Pierce looks like a pretty boy, and his head was sort of a weird shape.
      Whether or not Obama is attractive is the most subjective. Some people think black people are hot, others think they’re ugly. I think he’s easy to look at, except for his ears, which poke out too much.
      Abe looks like a manly man. He was tall too! Although, he did have really big ears and that mole on his face is distracting, but I still think he’s easy to look at.
      JFK looks classy, but his skin was odd because of his disease.
      Reagan had wrinkles, but in his prime was probably the best looking of the presidents.
      Romney would beat everyone except for Reagan, IMO.
      I still don’t think even in this mass media day and age that physical looks make much of a difference in a presidential election in the US, unless whoever is running is flat out hideous. If the American people think a candidate is smart and trustworthy and like the ideas of the candidate, the next most important thing is probably character and personality. Looks come after all that. Of course, I think we proved in 2008 that affirmative action is practiced even in presidential elections, so that is a factor as well, I guess.

  36. Mariah said, on June 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Barack Obama is so the best looking president of all!

  37. Cheese said, on June 13, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    i’m really not sure… this is a weird topic. But i think all of them are not good-looking.

  38. UVA said, on June 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Reagan when he was young…
    Almost too handsome to be a president…
    http://reddogreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Reagan-Young-Actor.jpg

  39. jey said, on July 7, 2012 at 4:21 am

    Regan is very hand some all time presidents

  40. Anthony said, on July 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    JFK is the best-looking president. Next would be either Clinton or Obama.

  41. Annie said, on July 18, 2012 at 9:31 am

    John Tyler’s sihoullette takes my breath away. <3 James Monroe has those adorable eyes.
    I really admire Taft's moustache. And Clinton has a charming smile. :)

  42. Brian said, on August 16, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I think the concept of who or what “good looking” changes with time. I believe that all the presidents were generally considered good looking in their era. Often over time, the same question has different answers – it’s what makes life interesting.

  43. sushant said, on September 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Bill Clinton

  44. Peggy Bass said, on October 18, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I think Thomas Jefferson is the best looking. Also, he’s probably the most intelligent president ever.

  45. Joshua said, on October 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

    1. Pierce Top 5
    2. FDR
    3. Monroe
    4. Clinton
    5. JFK

  46. Curls said, on December 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Franklin Pierce. Barack Obama.

  47. Ashley said, on January 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I think that in order to judge a president by their appearances, we should first evaluate the time period he lived in, his character on the inside, and his appearance at a younger age. For example, Washington was a very good looking man when he was young. He didn’t age well- but given all the responsibility he was given, that’s not surprising. Washington was only in his mid- sixties when he was president, but he looked a lot older. I think the way that Washington carried himsef and presented himself is an attractive quality in a man. James Monroe was reasonably attractive when he was younger as well. I think Franklin Pierce was handsome, but as he aged he had a rough and rugged look about him. I think Reagan was probably a good looking man when he was younger, he had some really nice, even features. I personally don’t find Barack Obama attractive but I can see where other women might. I do find his deep voice to be mildy attractive though.

  48. MDUH said, on April 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    3) Franklin Pierce 2) Bill Clinton 3) John F Kennedy

  49. Anthony J. Salemi said, on May 15, 2013 at 8:12 am

    John F. Kennedy……..it’s not even close!

  50. Charlie Cushman said, on June 2, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    It’s amazing how many people mention Franklin Pierce. I just finished reading a book called “The Expatriation of Franklin Pierce.” It seems he was beautiful inside, too.

  51. Caroline said, on June 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    FDR!!!! He has friendly eyes.

  52. Annable said, on July 15, 2013 at 4:01 am

    John F. Kennedy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  53. Rachel said, on September 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Kennedy, hands down
    I mean…
    http://cannotsedate.tumblr.com/post/27311133077

  54. nezzie said, on October 20, 2013 at 10:50 am

    u missed nasheed :(

  55. Lilac said, on October 22, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Bill Clinton, all the way. He’s so tall and handsome and charming and intelligent…man, those baby blue eyes and silver hair and cute smile…he drives me wild! The rest of the prezzez are pretty ugg. The only other doable ones are JFK and Obama. The rest are a bunch of unattractive and sexless old geezers. I can’t believe some people even said Reagan was good looking. He looked like a mummified corpse by the time he was elected, and even when he was young he had a small head and looked like a total geek.

    • me ! said, on January 19, 2014 at 5:08 am

      Its funny how greatly 2 people’s opinions can differ… because every time I see Clinton, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up (in a bad way) and i dry heave a little.

  56. DT said, on November 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    This is an easy topic:

    Best Looking (Most Handsome AT THE TIME HE WAS PRESIDENT)

    1. Franklin Pierce
    2. Barack Obama
    3. James K. Polk
    4. JFK
    5. Calvin Coolidge

    Sexiest (WHO I WOULD HAVE SEX WITH)

    1. Barack Obama
    2. Andrew Jackson
    3. LBJ
    4. TR
    5. JFK

    Two entirely different categories. Best Looking is purely a physical assessment. Sexiest takes into account swag, personality, masculinity, rumored size of certain body parts, and allows for physical flaws.

  57. DT said, on November 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    This is an easy topic:

    Best Looking (Most Handsome AT THE TIME HE WAS PRESIDENT)

    1. Franklin Pierce
    2. Barack Obama
    3. James K. Polk
    4. JFK
    5. Calvin Coolidge

    Sexiest (WHO I WOULD HAVE SEX WITH)

    1. Barack Obama (sexy, swag, big ears, big feet, seems like a good kisser, likely well-endowed)
    2. Andrew Jackson (clearly aggressive and probably rough in bed)
    3. LBJ (had the biggest dick of any president, maybe with the exception of Lincoln)
    4. TR (had swagger, aggression, verbal, take charge kinda guy, that is sexy, probably a small package but was freak in did creative things)
    5. Abe (had the biggest dick of any president, maybe with the exception of LBJ; plus his intelligence, humanity and conversation skills would have went a long way)
    6. JFK (seemed like a good love maker, sensitive, probably a good kisser, well groomed, probable smelled good and probably even had nice sexy feet)
    7. Franklin Pierce (seems like he loved hard and deep and would be a very passionate lover)
    8. Clinton (not physically attractive, but charm plus a big package go a long way)
    9. George Bush, Jr. (I hate his guts but have deep down always wanted to sleep with him, he stayed in good shape for a man his age. Plus, I’m told that dumb white guys are freaky in bed)

    Two entirely different categories. Best Looking is purely a physical assessment. Sexiest takes into account swag, personality, masculinity, rumored size of certain body parts, and allows for physical flaws.

  58. me ! said, on January 19, 2014 at 5:03 am

    Haha! Yeah right; Obama is not good looking! Reagan, by far!! :D

  59. Andrea said, on March 11, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Truman is cute :)

  60. Louise said, on April 5, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    I’d go with JFK, without any doubt. Just look at pictures of him as a young adult, really handsome. There’s something charming about his face. I don’t know too much about the U.S. presidents as I don’t live there (I’m from Sweden) and I’m rather young (19), so I’m hopefully not that affected by their work or personalities. ;)


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