Richard Nixon called San Diego his “Lucky City.” Woodrow Wilson spoke in front of the largest audience of his life at a local stadium. And Ronald Reagan ended each of his presidential campaigns here.
Presidents like us. A lot. In fact, at least 14 of them have visited San Diego while in office.
We published my story about one of the visits, by John Kennedy in 1963, earlier today. Just five months before he was assassinated, he rode in a motorcade — sometimes standing in an open car — before an estimated 250,000 onlookers.
None of you saw President Benjamin Harrison when he was the first chief executive to visit San Diego in 1891. (Here’s an image of a “welcome certificate.”) And the chances are pretty slim that you heard President Wilson become the first president to speak through an amplification system back in 1919 at what later became known as Balboa Stadium. (If you were there, let me know quickly. I’ll be right over to interview you.)
But some of you may have seen our other presidential visitors over the years. They include Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. (Other presidents have dropped by but not while in office.)
Do you have memories (and photos) of presidential visits? Drop me a line about what you saw and heard, and I’ll follow up in a future post.
And what about President Obama? As far as I can tell, he hasn’t been in San Diego since his inauguration, although his wife has. Maybe someone should send him an invitation (and directions to our basketball courts).