Next President: Son of Privilege or Fatherless Man?

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For the seventh consecutive election, the next U.S. president will either be a privileged son or a man with no relationship with his biological father, author and radio host Michael Medved notes in a recent Wall Street Journal column.

The alternating pattern that began more than 25 years ago includes George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States.

Born into a family of means and privilege, he is the son of Prescott Bush, a U.S. senator from Connecticut. 

But Bill Clinton, the nation's 42nd president, was from a very different background. 

His biological father was killed in a car crash before he was born. Young Clinton later endured the drinking and battering of his step father, Roger Clinton.
    
By contrast, George W. Bush was heir to the Bush political dynasty.

He in turn was succeeded in office by Barack Obama, another president with no relationship to his biological father. Obama Sr. separated from the family before his infant son's first birthday.

History Repeating?

The 2012 election will likely continue the odd tradition that began a quarter century ago.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is the only serious GOP contender from an average middle class, two-parent background.
     
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, however, each come from opposite ends of the family spectrum.

Romney is the son of a famous politician, three-term Michigan Gov. George Romney.

The former House speaker, on the other hand, never knew his biological father, who abandoned his teenaged mother within days of young Gingrich's birth.

"More and more, it seems, either a privileged individual with a profound sense of entitlement, or an unlikely upstart whose status as miraculous survivor amounts to his own anointing," author and radio host Medved notes in his editorial.

"But despite a shared sense of determination and destiny, famous-father candidates tend to run dramatically different campaigns than do their no-father counterparts," he said.
    
Medved talked more about this strange dichotomy and what it says about the candidates, the types of campaigns they run, and the voters who put them in office, on "The 700 Club," Feb. 16. Click play to watch the interview.

--Originally aired Thursday, February 16, 2012.

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