A Brief History of Presidential Profanity

From Lincoln to LBJ, dirty words are nothing new in the White House

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Abraham Lincoln
Alexander Gardner/Getty Images11/11

Abraham Lincoln

Honest Abe evidently loved a good off-color joke. In Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis bends the ears of an anxious telegraph crew with one of the president's favorite shaggy-dog tales, recounting the tale of Ethan Allen encountering a portrait of George Washington in an outhouse in England after the Revolutionary War. His hosts were eager to see the reaction of their visitor, who stumped them by approving: "There is nothing to make an Englishman shit quicker than the sight of General George Washington."