From left to right: Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Bloomberg, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and George Washington.
From left to right: Clinton, Edwards,Obama, Bloomberg, Romney,McCain, Giuliani.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The taller you are, the better chances you have at becoming Leader of the Free World. Or so says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has suggested size matters.
Earlier this week, the former Wall Street billionaire fueled speculation that he is considering an independent White House bid after he dropped his affiliation with the GOP. On Wednesday, Bloomberg, again, flatly denied he was a candidate, and has joked that his height may figure into that decision.
"How can a 5-foot-7, divorced, billionaire Jew running as an independent from New York possibly have a chance?" Bloomberg asked in May.
If indeed height plays any factor in the 2008 presidential race, Bloomberg’s got plenty of competition. If he ran, given the existing field, Bloomberg would be the shortest male contender, and only one inch taller than his fellow New Yorker, Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton.
Among the remaining top polling GOP and Democratic candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama are the tallest – Romney is at 6-foot-2 inches, and Obama is at least 6-foot-1. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani both measure in at exactly 6-feet each; while Arizona Sen. John McCain is 5-foot-9 inches.
We may never know to what extent – if any – a candidate’s height plays in voters’ minds; but based purely on the numbers – if recent elections are any indication – size does matter: shorter candidates generally win.
Take the last four presidential races: In 2004 and 2000, 5-foot-11 inch President George W. Bush defeated taller, Democratic rivals, 6-foot-4 Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and 6-foot-1 former Vice President Al Gore, respectively. Six-foot-3 inch former
Vice President George H.W. Bush lost by a wide margin, and a half-inch to shorter, to former Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in 1992. But former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole got the short end of the stick in 1996 when Clinton defeated the 6-foot-1 Republican. Clinton is an inch and half taller.
The further you go back, the less height would seem to matter. Former Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George Washington were all 6 feet or taller. President Theodore Roosevelt was 5-foor-8 inches. James Madison (not pictured) is the shortest president in American history at 5-foot-4 inches.
Abraham Lincoln stands the tallest at 6-foot-4, but that could all change if former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson jumps into the 2008 race: at 6-foot-5 inches he stands a full 10 inches taller than the current New York City mayor.
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