Before he was President: Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969 schoolteacher
At fifteen he ran away from home and traveled to California where he worked as a grape picker and auto mechanic. Johnson and his wife, Claudia "Lady Bird" Alta Taylor, were married with a $2.50 wedding ring bought at Sears Roebuck. Source
The television show American Experience: LBJ gave this example of how hard a Johnson worked on an election:

In the spring of 1937, Johnson was 28 years old, campaigning as an ardent Roosevelt New Dealer, reaching out to the working men and poor dirt farmers of the Texas hill country. He ran for office as if his life depended on it. He spoke in every town in his district, lost 40 pounds in 42 days, made 200 speeches and collapsed with appendicitis just two days before the election.

From his hospital bed, with his wife Lady Bird, he learned that he'd been elected one of the youngest members of Congress. His political ideals would waver, but for the rest of his life, he would display the same nervous intensity, the same obsessive drive to succeed and a talent for attaching himself to power.

Richard Milhouse Nixon, 1969-1974 lawyer, writer
While in the Navy in the 1940's, Richard Nixon noticed that his friends were winning money in poker games. Always the opportunist, Nixon had the best poker player in his unit teach him how to play the game. Within only a few months, Nixon had won around $6,000 in poker games, which he used to fund his first congressional campaign. Source

Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977 Busboy, male model
Gerald Ford spent some time as a male model. Ford and his girlfriend were in a Look magazine spread in 1939, and in 1942 he was the cover boy of Cosmopolitan.

Gerald Ford held part-time jobs in high school and college. In high school he worked part-time in order to help pay family expenses during the Great Depression. During college, he worked part-time jobs in order to pay the various educational and living expenses that were not covered by the football scholarship he had won from the University of Michigan.

More stories: Duncan Hines   George Washington   Thomas Jefferson   Benjamin Franklin   Dolly Madison   James Garfield   Harry Truman   Henry Ford

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