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Impossible Questions: Presidential Honors Edition (Answers)

February 20, 2014

Have you got an answer? Read on to see if you’re right.

What honorific has been bestowed on five different Democratic U.S. presidents…but no Republican U.S. presidents? (It’s not as politically charged a question as you think…or maybe it is?)

The voters spoke…the voters of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album has been awarded to several former or sitting presidents: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy, and Franklin Roosevelt. Narration of audiobook version of books are eligible for this category, and it’s here that these former presidents have thrived.

In 2008, three of the five nominees would be president of the United States. Clinton was nominated for Giving, and Carter for Sunday Mornings in Plains. Both lost out to The Audacity of Hope, an audiobook version of a title written by some Illinois senator named Barack Obama—who’d won the same award in 2006 for his memoir Dreams from My Father. In the year in between, Carter won for Our Endangered Values. In 2005, Clinton won for his memoir My Life.

As for Roosevelt, he died in 1945, 14 years before the Grammys even existed. Nevertheless, a collection of old, inspiring FDR speeches was compiled for a record called FDR Speaks. It won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album in 1961. In 1965, two of the five nominees were for recordings of Kennedy. The Kennedy Wit, narrated by David Brinkley lost out to the BBC Tribute to John F. Kennedy.

The only Republican president to ever garner a Grammy nomination in this category is Richard Nixon, co-nominated in 1979 with David Frost for the latter’s combative interviews compiled onto a record called The Nixon Interviews with David Frost.

Want more impossible questions? Check out Uncle John’s Impossible Questions.

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