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Who’s your favorite president?

WORTHINGTON -- Presidents Day is best known as a day off and a three-day weekend -- for some people. It also comes with all kinds of presidential sales -- especially on, inexplicably, mattresses.

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WORTHINGTON - Presidents Day is best known as a day off and a three-day weekend - for some people. It also comes with all kinds of presidential sales - especially on, inexplicably,  mattresses.

But beyond the deals on memory foam and fluffy pillows, the holiday was established to honor all of those who have held the esteemed office, so area residents were asked to name their favorite U.S. president on a misty Monday afternoon.

For Jesus Garcia, the 2012 film “Lincoln” was all he needed to see to name his favorite.

“He was so smart and calculating, but at the same time he was fearless when it really mattered,” he said. “If people watch the movie, they’ll all say he’s their favorite.”

People didn’t need convincing. Abraham Lincoln was the most popular choice among local residents.

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Jennifer Larson cited the 13th amendment which outlawed slavery, while Donnie Obermoller praised Lincoln for his faith.

Norman Vogt was quick, like many Worthington residents, to name Ronald Reagan as his favorite.

“Because he’s a card-carrying Republican and so am I,” he said with a laugh. “No, because he’s a good man and a good president.”

“I just liked him,” added Norman’s brother, Walter Vogt. “He was a great guy.”

Although Presidents Day was originally created to honor George Washington’s Feb. 22 birthday, only Iowan Justin Almon pegged the first president as his clear-cut favorite.

“He’s the guy who set the precedent for everyone that came after,” he said. “Him and the founding fathers; they wrote the constitution, the greatest piece of writing ever. You can’t top that.”

A Worthington woman - who preferred not to be named - was a teenager when World War II was under way. She said Dwight D. Eisenhower was her favorite, but also listed Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of the best.

“Although he was Democrat and I’m Republican, I think he had a heavy burden on his heart to make serious decisions,” she said. “My husband and I always said we voted for the man. We always wanted to know what does the man stand for - the party doesn’t matter.”

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Only two former presidents have ever visited Worthington - Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon. Neither of the two were mentioned as favorites.

In 1954, Richard Nixon, vice president at the time, spoke at King Turkey Day. LBJ spoke at King Turkey Day in 1960. The vice presidential candidate didn’t have a good time, as there was a pouring rain all day. In fact, it was so bad the parade was cancelled.

Woodrow Wilson rode a train by the Worthington depot in 1919, but his train did not stop; it only slowed down - so not much of a visit. He also didn’t get any mentions as a fan favorite.

John F. Kennedy, typically cited in polls as one of the most popular presidents, wasn’t mentioned.

Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson are almost always listed as two of the greatest presidents ever by historians. They also make up one-half of Mount Rushmore - but didn’t get any love from local residents.

In a recent C-SPAN poll, historians ranked Lincoln first, Washington second, FDR third and Theodore Roosevelt fourth. The list made headlines by placing Barack Obama as the 12th best president ever.

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