Meet Honest Abe and his fellow presidents

Presidents answer questions at Chicago History Museum
February 17, 2009 8:42:00 AM PST
In 1789, George Washington became the first president of the United States. Since Washington, the U.S. has had 43 more presidents, all of whom Americans honor on President's Day.

The lives of four of those men are on display at the Chicago History Museum, whose slogan, 'history lives here,' rings true. In the Lincoln Treasures Exhibit, the bed Abraham Lincoln died in is on display. And, on this special day, Honest Abe ? or at least an impersonator- dropped by to say hello. But who's his favorite president?

"Oh, that's without a doubt George Washington, my favorite president," said Lincoln, president of the U.S. from 1861-1865.

The other presidents brought to life at the Chicago History Museum- Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt. The impressionists don't just dress like the late leaders, they even think like them. Jefferson ran for president- but only under certain conditions.

"That I make no personal appearances. That I shake no hands. That I ask for no votes nor accept any donations," said Jefferson, 2nd president of the U.S. from 1801-1809, "And I was elected."

Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt's favorite president of all time is Lincoln. He was a republican in his heyday, but times have changed Teddy's political leanings.

"I would probably run as an independent," said Roosevelt, 26th pres. of U.S. 1901-1909, "like I did in 1912 in the Bull Moose party." Roosevelt lost that election.

"But got more votes than Taft who ran as a Republican," said Roosevelt.

Talking to the presidents can dispel old rumors, like the one about Washington's false teeth being made of wood.

"There were no wooden teeth," said Washington, 1st president of the U.S., 1789-1797. "No they were either lead or animal's teeth ... or hippopotamus ivory or stained with wine. And they were attached to the four good teeth I had in the back of my mouth."