There's a superstition about American presidents that goes back nearly two centuries. Seems that ever since 1840, every president that's been elected in a year ending in "zero" dies, or nearly dies, while in office, regardless of the political party he belongs to.
The tally so far:
- William Henry Harrison - elected 1840. Died of pneumonia on April 4, 1841 after serving only 31 days in office.
- Abraham Lincoln - elected 1860 and re-elected in 1864. Shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. He died the next day.
- James Abram Garfield - elected 1880. Shot by Charles Giteau while boarding a train in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881 and died of the injury on September 19 of that year.
- William McKinley - elected 1900. Shot by an unidentified man with a revolver while greeting attendants at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York on September 6, 1901 and died eight days later.
- Warren Harding - elected 1920. Died of apoplexy on August 2, 1923.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt - elected 1932, re-elected in 1936, 1940, and 1944. Died of a stroke on April 12, 1945.
- John F. Kennedy - elected 1960. Shot during a motorcade in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald on November 22, 1963.
- Ronald Reagan - elected 1980. The only survivor since this all began. Shot on March 30, 1981 by John Hinckley, but the bullet missed his heart by one-quarter of an inch.
It's disputed whether or not Ronald Reagan actually broke the curse by narrowly escaping death at the hands of his assassin. Nevertheless, the ramifications are dramatic and the choice of every red-blooded American should be clear: in the year 2000, vote based on the Vice Presidential candidate you think is most suited for the job. Odds are, he's going to be the one taking the helm before too long.