Many Presidents had close friends make a big impact on their lives and influenced their presidency.  I talked with author Gary Ginsberg about his book "First Friends".  He told me about 10 Presidents who had close friends who helped shape their Presidency.  Ginsberg says Thomas Jefferson was close with James Madison with that friendship being formed in part because of the differences that grew behind Alexander Hamilton and George Washington.  Jefferson and Madison founded the Democratic-Republican party which dominated politics on a national level for about 50 years.  Ginsberg says other "first friends" include Vernon Jordan who was a close friend of Bill Clinton.  Ginsberg says Jordan played a role in convincing Hillary Clinton to stay in the marriage with Bill after the Monica Lewinski situation.

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Other close friends of Presidents include Woodrow Wilson's friend Edward M. House, Bebe Rebozo, a close friend of Richard Nixon, Joshua Speed was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy's friend Lem Billings, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's close friend during his Presidency Margaret "Daisy" Suckley.  Ginsberg says many of these friends were close to the Presidents for many years before they became Presidents.  He says these friends could often time be brutally honest and because of the gained trust throughout their lives held a large influence on key decisions and policies during their Presidencies.  Ginsberg says many of these people didn't hold a specific role in the President's administration which allowed them to be less biased.  Ginsberg says first wives of Presidents have had many book written about them over the years but first friends despite their influence haven't received the attention.

If you'd like to hear the complete interview with author Gary Ginsberg find it below.



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