Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Podcast #207 - Presidents Day and the American Experience DVD Set Giveaway

Hello. Today we're talking about presidents and giving away an amazing prize to one listener, courtesy of our friends at WGBH and the PBS series "American Experience". Since it is close to Presidents Day I thought we would discuss which president - living or deceased - you would most like to sit, enjoy a cup of coffee with and chat.

It was a close call for me between Washington and Truman. To find out who and why listen to the podcast.

I encourage you to leave a comment on this blog and tell us : 1) which president you would most like to meet for a cup of coffee and 2) what topic would you most like to bring up in conversation with the president. Please also include your name and where you live.

I will collect all the names of those who commented telling us their choice between today and February 23, 2010. I will place all the names in a hat and have one of my daughters draw out a name. The name chosen will win "The Presidents" DVD set from American Experience. I will mail the winner the set. This 15 DVD set has biographies of Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush - over 35 hours of content. The set has a retail value of $130.00.

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American Experience "The Presidents" DVD Set

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Direct link to Podcast #207 - Presidents Day and the American Experience DVD Set Giveaway


  1. Actually, this is an easy call for me. I would definitely choose John Adams. I would love to discuss his time in France during the Revoltion and what his views of the other great men of his era such as Ben Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton

  2. J. Wilkins11:17 AM

    The president I'd most like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with would be Abraham Lincoln. The topic I'd love to bring up in a conversation with the president would be on perseverance and overcoming obstacles while trying to achieve your goals.

    J. Wilkins
    920 Glenhaven Cr
    Liberty, MO

  3. I would like to meet with Teddy Roosevelt. I would just love to ask him about his travels and try and figure out what makes him tick and if he really carries his heart on his sleeve.

  4. Calvin Coolidge had a reputation for being very quiet and reserved. It would be an interesting challenge to attempt to get him to converse over a cup of coffee. I would love to here his take on the state of Major League Baseball or the rising movie industry in the late 1920s.

  5. I too would enjoy a cup of coffee with President Lincoln. I would like to talk to him about how he never gave up after losing earlier elections and about teaching himself to read.

    Jim Beeghley
    Teaching the Civil War with Technology

  6. B. Bell9:19 PM

    I would like to have a cup of coffee with President Washington and talk about why he gave up supreme power twice, what was he thinking about when he did it.

  7. Anonymous11:02 PM

    I'm with John F. Kennedy. He said if he could have dinner with any person alive or dead, he'd have it with Thomas Jefferson. I'd love to speak to him. I'd ask him if he ever have writer's block when he was writing the Declaration.

    Molly Midkiff

  8. James Thomson12:29 AM

    Easily Abraham Lincoln. I would love to ask him about the thought processes that went into the exact timing and the nuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. Also, I'd love to ask him if he had any regrets about how he handled the war--perhaps not replacing McClellan sooner?--and how conflicted he was about suspending habeus corpus.

    James Thomson
    8th Grade U.S. History teacher
    McAuliffe Middle School
    Los Alamitos, CA

  9. Thomas Jefferson, I would really like to hear his thoughts on major events in hour history like the Civil War or Spanish American War. I would also like to know what he thinks of the country today compared to how he would have envisioned it. Would he be proud or disappointed.

    Chris Roberts
    7th Grade U.S. History Teacher
    Oak View Middle School
    Anodover, MN

  10. I would like to sit down with Harry Truman about his World War I experience. I think he would be down to Earth, humble, and human. Few presidents have had to deal with so many incredible decisions with such long lasting results. How Truman juggled family and the presidency is incredible. I feel that President Truman has the most to offer me in advice for my own life.

    Jeff Benes

  11. If I could talk to any president I would have to take into account that many of the men who were presidents were very reserved. Of the men who would be interesting to talk to I'd have to say it would be the two Roosevelts. Either of them would be great conversationalists. Theodore (Teddy) I would talk about his life and his ideas about the powers of the presidency. Franklin I would talk about being president in times of economic crisis (within) and war (without).

    I can't see identifying or being able to connect with any of the founders (except Ben Franklin but alas he wasn't president), given such a fantastic premise it would be difficult to create a bond to get to meaningful conversation.

    William Gilbert
    8th Grade U.S. History
    Cathey Middle School
    McAllen, Texas

  12. I would choose to have a cup of coffee with Abraham Lincoln. I have always respected how he leaned on his faith during those incredibly difficult times, and I admire his courage to make tough decisions.

    Brent Coley
    5th Grade
    Tovashal Elementary School
    Murrieta, California

  13. I would actually take the opposite perspective of Mr. Gilbert, I'd love to talk to any of the Founders to get their reactions to America today. What developments would they be happy to see, which would disappoint them?

    But to choose only one, and because I'm currently working through Reconstruction with my classes, it would have to be Lincoln and what kept him from wanting to punish the South after the war?

  14. Anonymous3:19 PM

    George Washington-- I don't know much about the presidents, but I'm guessing if I would win this DVD--my knowledge would grow. I'd ask President Washington about his hair...I guess wigs were fashionable back in his day---for men and women...interesting.

    Laura Hanzl

  15. My choice to share tea (I don't drink coffee, but he could) would be Eisenhower because he was president when I was age 1-9. He was alive at the turn of the century and saw so much technological change in his lifetime. I remember that he was so revered by my parents. I would love to talk with him about the changes that he saw, and the decisions that were made during his presidency that may still be impacting my adult life.

    Connie Sitterley
    Spartansburg, PA

  16. I would love to have a cup of coffee with James K. Polk. I am a huge fan of both Lincoln and TR, but I think a sit down with President Polk would lead to some interesting conversations about his diplomatic/military calculations in Oregon and Mexico and his perspective on modern day troop deployments. And since not a lot has been written about Polk I would love to hear it straight from the dark horses mouth :)

    Rick Hengsterman
    11th grade US History
    Ballston Spa High School
    Ballston Spa, NY

  17. dawn brookey8:44 PM

    Hands down...Andrew Jackson. He is such a controversial president in today's world, and I know he had a fair share of enemies in his day as well. I would love to chat with him about the difficult policies he set that made him such a villain in the eyes of the rich and the Native Americans. I'd love to hear his side of the stories and delve into his justifications. I always wonder if he labored over his decisions, or if manifest destiny really ruled the hearts and minds of American government in the early 1800s.

    Dawn Brookey
    8th grade US History
    Luther Burbank Middle School
    Burbank, CA

  18. Anonymous9:32 PM

    I would love to have had the chance to sit down and talk with Andrew Jackson. His presidency was a turning point in history, and he dealt with a wide variety of issues during this terms in office. My students think I'm nuts when I say that he is one of my favorite presidents, but I find his life and times fascinating.

    8th Grade U.S. History
    New Castle, PA

  19. Maggie Hawkes5:23 PM

    I agree that Washington's crossing is exceedingly intriguing! To Try Men's Souls by Newt Gingrich is a fantastic historical fiction novel about it. Although Washington and Lincoln top the list, I've lately been more intrigued with John Adams. I hadn't realized he was so vocal and at the forefront of involvement with the Declaration and Constitution because you almost never hear about him. I'd love to know more about all of his embassary missions to France, along with his opinions of other prominent figures of his time like Jefferson and Franklin. I think his historical legacy should rank up there with the rest of his compatriots.

  20. I would like to meet with Gerald Ford and talk with him about how difficult it was trying to get anything done with congress after the Watergate scandal.

    Kacy Carter
    Jackson Memorial Middle School
    Massillon, Ohio

  21. Anonymous2:03 PM

    Mr.Rohan Wayne NJ

    I would like to sit down with JFK for many reasons. First, I would like to talk to him about being the first Catholic President and how that affected his campaign strategies. I would also speak to him about all of the top secret information he hand and try to see how truly close we came to having a nuclear war with Russia. I would also speak with him about his true intentions in Vietnam.

  22. Anonymous8:10 PM

    I would like to have coffee with Ronald Reagan.
    I would like him to teach our leaders today how to bring pride back to our country, freeze federal spending (hey theres an idea), cut tax rates for all, help small business and get the American economy back on track.
    Larry Crake
    Crary Middle School
    Waterford, Michigan

  23. I'd have to go with William Howard Taft. Taft is not well-remembered for his accomplishments - but is remembered as 'the man who didn't carry out TR's progressive policies' - which isn't quite true.

    I'd like to ask him why he ran for an office he didn't want (Presidency), what he would/could have done differently, and what some of his decisions were that influenced the later development of our nation while he was on the Supreme Court.

    -Mike Ballard
    1007 W. Main Street
    Inverness, FL 34450

  24. The president that I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with is John Adams. I'd like to discuss with him how he was able to survive staying apart from his wife Abigail for so many years. I'd also want to question him more about why he approved the Alien and Sedition Acts. He is, in my opinion, the most under-rated president, and I feel that if he hadn't have passed those two laws he would be celebrated much more in history books.

    Lindsey Charron
    Ensign Intermediate School
    Newport Beach, CA

  25. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Tom Parr

    1: my favorite president: Andrew Jackson because any president that would attack his own assassin is ok by me!

    2: what i would ask him. Jackson obviously loved his wife Rachel very much. His presidency was changed dramatically by her death. I would ask him how he thinks his presidency would have been different if Rachel had lived?

  26. I would love to invite President Madison to grab a cappuccino with me at my local coffee shop. The first topic of our "coffee talk" would be the recent ruling by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United v FEC. I wonder if he had envisioned the court having broad powers as such. I'd also like to speak with him about Federalist #78, secrets from the Constitution Convention, and his opinion on the efficacy of Congress today.

    I'm guessing that our conversation would last well beyond a single cappuccino.

    Theresa Bolton
    Van Avery Prep Middle School
    Temecula, CA

  27. Anonymous9:50 PM

    I would like to have a cup of coffee with George Washington and ask him to explain why he appointed James Wilkinson to command the Second American Regiment after he had been forwarned twice that Wilkinson was a secret Agent and in a conspiracy with Spain in 1790.

    M. Langhorst
    Bellevue, Nebraska

  28. I would like to drink some coffee with George Washington. I would like to discuss how he feels on all the political parties we have today. I would also want to know his insight on the Civil War.