On this day. 1877: The White House gets its first telephone. The phone number was "1." But President Rutherford B. Hayes got few calls. The only other direct line to the White House at the time was from the Treasury Department next door (it wouldn't be for half a century, though, until a president — Herbert Hoover — had the first telephone line installed in the Oval Office). Hayes, who was interested in new technology, also had the first typewriter in the White House, and was personally given a briefing on the phonograph by Thomas Edison.
On this day. 2005: An assassination attempt against President George W. Bush. A man threw a hand grenade at him during Bush's visit to the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. It landed 65 feet away but failed to explode.
Quote of the day
"I like the noise of democracy." –James Buchanan
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week