Bods Of the Beltway: 15 Shirtless Photos Of the Men Who Run Our Country
As the beach season winds down, it never hurts to revisit some of the most savvy (and shameful) beach dwellers in U.S. politics. This list includes both the modern and the historical — and oddly enough, a majority of politicians with shirtless photos seem to be Republicans.
Warning, this story does contain some (pixelated) nudity:
1. Former Sen. Scott Brown
As a 22-year-old law student in June 1982, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) won Cosmopolitan's "America's Sexiest Man" contest and was paid $1,000 to model for the magazine, which helped pay for his schooling and launched a lucrative part-time modelling career for him in the 80s. His replacement in Congress, Elizabeth Warren, may not have the superficial sex appeal, but she's more than worth it.
2. President Obama
Who could forget Obama Girl's anthem from the 2008 election, "I've got a crush on Obama?" Though the circulation of photos of the now-POTUS body-surfing in Hawaii no doubt sparked the song and helped win the electorate's admiration, the president's bod went strictly off-limits once he was elected.
During a trip to Florida, when photographers suggested it would be a good idea to show the president having a swim, Michelle Obama responded "no, it's not." Don't think he's gained weight, though: last year, he was surreptitiously photographed looking more toned than ever.
3. Rep. Paul Ryan
Are you tired of this guy yet? If you're not, check out this early picture that TMZ got of last year's Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan with his wife Janna, before he got hooked on his current workout regime.
4. President John F. Kennedy
Writes UnderwearExpert, "President Kennedy could swim. He famously rescued one of his crew members from the PT-109, swimming three and a half miles and towing the injured sailer with him. He was also a member of the Harvard swim team. Needless to say, he was comfortable in a pair of swim trunks."
Also, he looks like he's causing Beatlemania here. Dayum.
5. President Reagan
President Reagan: before you had to be sexy to be president.
Okay, okay, give the guy a break. He was 73 when this picture of him and his wife was taken in 1984 (in Kahala Beach, Honolulu), in the midst of campaigning for re-election, and had earlier in the month called for an international ban on chemical weapons (we're still dealing with the countries who didn't listen to him). Plus, this picture was literally taken on the day the discovery of the AIDS virus was announced — not very sexy times. So give him a pass. Plus, he had a more-than-passable bod when he was a movie star:
6. President Gerald Ford
Poolside diplomacy: President Ford, who I must say was pretty in-shape, talks with French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing and their respective secretaries of state at a working vacation on the island of Martinique.
7. Rep. Chris Lee
In 2011, Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) abruptly resigned after Gawker found out that he had sent flirtatious e-mails and a shirtless photo of himself to a woman he had met on Craigslist. Lee, who was at the time married with a son, identified himself to the 34-year-old woman as a 39-year-old "divorced lobbyist." The fact that he was lying on all three of these counts (he was 46), and the somewhat pathetic-looking selfie that accompanied this information, gives us one of many examples of shirtlessness gone wrong.
(Hint: when it's not a staged press opportunity, it's likely to get out of hand).
8. Sen. Robert Arango
Topless and nude photos have had the good fortune of weeding out some awful and hypocritical politicians. In 2011 (the year, we suppose, that the mainstream press discovered the phenomenon of the topless selfie), Sen. Robert Arango (R-Puerto Rico), who opposed adoption rights for gay couples, was discovered in possession of several nude photos — a bunch of which were of his butt (and "big ole butthole!", as Perez Hilton put it). They were apparently intended for the gay hookup app Grindr.
"You know I've been losing weight. As I shed that weight, I've been taking pictures. I don't remember taking this particular picture but I'm not gonna say I didn't take it. I'd tell you if I remembered taking the picture but I don't," Arango said.
Despite the contrived amnesia, he resigned soon after.
9. Rep. Aaron Schock
Hot on the heels of sexy President Obama, young Representative Aaron Schock was touted as a "gay icon" for the Washington set by the New York Times in 2010, until everyone realized that he opposed gay marriage and the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal. He was attacked by liberal commentators and gay people themselves (who even conjectured that he might be gay) alike.
Though Obama may have asserted his leadership on the LGBT issues, Schock continues to visually impress, appearing on the cover of Men's Health in 2011 as "America's Fittest Congressman."
10. Former Rep. Mary Bono Mack
In 2006, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Wash.), the ex-wife of musician Sonny Bono, was photographed at a party with billionaire lobbyist Edra Blixseth showing cleavage and playfully allowng Blixseth to hold her tongue up to her breast. According to Radar Online, which obtained the photos in 2011, "was blitzed and clearly having a great time" at the function.
Blixseth, who donated $1,500 to Mack's congressional campaign and served as a finance committee member, defaulted on a massive loan and was sued in 2011 by investors of a members-only ski and golf resort in Montana. Mack lost re-election to her position last year.
11. Former Sen. Rick Santorum
Right in the middle of his Presidential Campaign last year, former senator Rick Santorum was captured sunbathing in Puerto Rico by a hapless passenger on an Atlantis all-gay cruise, who sent the picture in to the blog Joe. My. God.
"I didn't know that anyone was taking a picture of us. I apologize to all of those because I'm sure that's not a pretty sight," he said during a Steve Cochran radio interview. He also added, "I know I probably should lose, 15, 20 pounds, but I'm working on it."
12. Former Rep. and New York Mayor John Lindsay
While it may not have been enough to earn him the Democratic nomination in 1972 (he was both a Republican-fusion and Liberal-fusion mayor), former New York mayor John Lindsay often showed up in public sans shirt, including at his former constituents' own Brighton Beach and Rockaway Beaches. Here he is visiting the Florida Keys in 1972.
13. New York Sen. and Lieutenant Governor Joseph L. Bruno
Now here's something you don't see anymore: the politician as pugilist. Bruno, who is now 84, told the New York Times his weight hasn't changed since this picture was taken. Most recently, he served as the acting governor of New York State in 2008.
14. Robert F. Kennedy
Here's Robert F. Kennedy attempting to waterski in Hyannis Port. In some possible foreshadowing of his eventual doom at the end of the decade, the New York Times notes that he "didn't make it across the wake."
15. Former Rep. Newt Gingrich ... or not?
A photo obtained by TMZ that appeared to be of a walrus-like Newt Gingrich lounging in Greece in 2011 during his presidential campaign turned out to be an imposter.
Joe DeSantis, who has worked with Gingrich, tweeted "Just asked Newt ... the picture on TMZ is not him ... remarkable resemblance though." The photo still had repercussions for him, however, as the Atlantic reported that his staffers quit en masse days after the photo was discovered.