July 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM
"Part of the problem was that he had really never loved politics, per se. He loved executing public policy, but that's different from loving politics."
Those are biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin's words about William Howard Taft, who served as U.S. president from 1909 to 1913 following Theodore Roosevelt. In the newest episode of the Presidential podcast, Goodwin and Library of Congress historian Michelle Krowl unpack Taft's character and presidential legacy to reveal how a good public servant can be ill suited for the White House.
Washington Post Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes also joins the episode to discuss Taft's legacy as the only former U.S. president to serve as chief justice.
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In previous episodes of the Presidential podcast, we've explored topics like the violent life of Andrew Jackson and why John Quincy Adams made an effective congressman but an ineffective president. The podcast is hosted by Lillian Cunningham, editor of The Washington Post's On Leadership section.
As listeners tune in each week, the podcast reveals the ways in which our collective sense of what's 'presidential' has evolved over the years and how each president—esteemed, loathed or nearly forgotten—has something to tell us about what it takes to hold the nation's highest office.
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