A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 13, 2013
“Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president”

An old Washington joke is that “every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president.” Senator Albert Gore, Sr. wrote in The Eye of the Storm: A People’s Politics for the Seventies (1970), “There’s a cloakroom saying on Capitol Hill: ‘When a Senator looks in the mirror he sees a President.’”

The saying appears to have been popular since at least the 1960s. “You all know that whenever most Senators look in a mirror, they see a president” was said by President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s, according to a 1992 book on Johnson. “Though defeated, each added to the myth that the Governor of New York is entitled to see a President when he looks in the mirror” was cited in 1965.


Google Books
Lindsay:
A Man for Tomorrow

By Daniel E. Button
New York, NY: Random House
1965
Pg. 231:
There were also the defeated candidates—Thomas E. Dewey, Al Smith, Charles Evans Hughes, Samuel Tilden, and Horatio Seymour. Though defeated, each added to the myth that the Governor of New York is entitled to see a President when he looks in the mirror.

12 December 1966, Des Moines (IA) Register, “Political Poker Game in G.O.P. Awaits Showdown” by Charles Bailey, pg. 20, col. 2:
As one old G.O.P. pro quipped, “There are 25 governors here. Five of them see a president every time they look in the mirror—and the other 20 see a vice-president.”

Google Books
The Eye of the Storm:
A People’s Politics for the Seventies

By Albert Gore
New York, NY: Herder and Herder
1970
Pg. 207:
There’s a cloakroom saying on Capitol Hill: “When a Senator looks in the mirror he sees a President.” In truth, that lure never really overwhelmed me, though there were times when the Vice-Presidency seemed extremely attractive.

Google Books
Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson:
The White House Years

By Joseph A. Califano
New York, NY: Touchstone
1992
Pg. 248:
“You all know that whenever most Senators look in a mirror, they see a president. Well, they tell me Clifford Case has been looking in the mirror an awful lot lately.”
(Spoken by Lyndon B. Johnson, probably in 1965—ed.)

New York (NY) Times
THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: In the Wings; Capitol Hill Starts Rounding Up the Usual Suspects
By CLIFFORD KRAUSS
Published: February 14, 1992
In Washington folklore, every member of Congress looks in the mirror and sees a President. This week, according to the buzz on Capitol Hill, a few Democrats may be taking a second look.

Google Books
The Everything American Government Book:
From the Constitution to present-day elections, all you need to understand our democratic system

By Nick Ragone
Avon, MA: Adams Media
2004
Pg. 54:
There’s an often-told joke in Washington about how every time a senator looks in the mirror, he sees a president staring back. Perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it contains a kernel of truth.

Washington (DC) Post
With Thune out, Senate contenders for White House seem unlikely in 2012
By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 22, 2011; 11:01 PM
It’s one of the oldest adages in Washington: Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. But at the moment it appears that what every single senator sees in the mirror is, oddly, a senator.

Google Books
The U.S. Senate:
Fundamentals of American Government

By Tom Daschle and Charles Robbins
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
2013
Pg. 48:
An old quip holds that every senator looks in the mirror and sees a future president.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, March 13, 2013 • Permalink