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Spin Control

Light blogging ahead; take a quiz

Happy Holidays from Olympia, where a 75 foot noble fir graces the Capitol rotunda, a menorrha and a message of general goodwill from atheists is on the lawn by the fountain outside, and if the lions aren't lying down with the kids, the Democrats and Republicans who are around are making nice this week.

Unless news breaks out, Spin Control is on vacation this week. Look for the annual Christmas Trivia Quiz at the end of the week. If you want to warm up for this year's edition, here's a quiz from Christmas past.

From December 2006

The worst thing about a political column on Christmas Eve is that most people are filled with the spirit of the season and will not sit still for smacking someone upside the head, even if that person is a politician whom they would say on the other 364 days of the year much deserves it.

Last year, in that spirit – which allows lions to lie down with the lambs and Democrats to drink mulled wine with Republicans – Spin Control offered Christmas trivia from its store of yuletide lore. It proved so popular that some suggested forgetting real politics year-round.

That’s not going to happen. But we did come up with a new version of the 12 Trivia of Christmas...

1. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Bible says Augustus was emperor of Rome and Herod was King of Judea. Who does it say was governor of Syria?

A. Lysanaias; B. Tiberius; C. Quirinius; D. Zechariah.

2. What American president signed the law making Christmas a federal holiday?

A. Abraham Lincoln; B. Ulysses S. Grant; C. Theodore Roosevelt; D. Woodrow Wilson.

3. Who is the leader of the Island of Misfit Toys in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?”

A. King Moonracer; B. Queen Glenda; C. Princess Rainbow-Brite; D. Prince Jolly-Times.

4. Soldiers in what war stopped fighting each other on one Christmas Day?

A. The American Revolution; B. The Civil War; C. World War I; D. World War II.

5. What American general took advantage of Christmas revelry by the enemy to mount a successful attack?

A. George Washington; B. Andrew Jackson; C. William Sherman; D. Dwight Eisenhower.

6. What government leader is mentioned in Dickens “A Christmas Carol?”

A. Mayor of London; B. Queen of England; C. Archbishop of Canterbury; D. Prime Minister of Parliament.

7. Who was the first president to mail out official Holiday Greetings from the White House?

A. Abraham Lincoln, who sent cards by Pony Express to California;

B. Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to cheer up the country during World War I;

C. Calvin Coolidge, who didn’t want to make a Christmas speech so he mailed out a message;

D. Herbert Hoover, who was trying to blunt criticism after the stock market crash.

8. What state government official plays a pivotal role in the Frank Capra Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”?

A. The governor, who owed Mr. Potter a favor because of all those campaign contributions;

B. The land use commissioner, who had zoning questions about homes built in Bailey Park;

C. The bank examiner, who wanted to look at the Building and Loan’s books;

D. The attorney general, who was indicting George Bailey for embezzlement.

9. Which White House family had a pet that was originally given as a Christmas gift?

A. The Lincolns, whose pet turkey named Jack was spared from being Christmas dinner;

B. The Roosevelts, whose dog Fala was a gift from Eleanor to FDR;

C. The Nixons, whose dog Checkers was a Christmas gift from a supporter in Texas;

D. The Clintons, whose cat Socks was a present from Hillary to Chelsea.

10. Which of the following did Bill Clinton NOT give Monica Lewinsky as a Christmas present?

A. A copy of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”;

B. A Rockettes blanket;

C. A marble bear’s head;

D. A pillow from Air Force One with the presidential seal.

11. Who was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House?

A. Thomas Jefferson, in the first year the White House was occupied;

B. Andrew Jackson, who was known for large, often boisterous, celebrations;

C. Franklin Pierce, who had a tree sent from his native New Hampshire;

D. Millard Fillmore, who did little else memorable in his term.

12. What president banned Christmas trees from the White House?

A. Ulysses S. Grant, because they reminded him of the terrain outside Vicksburg;

B. Teddy Roosevelt, who thought cutting trees was bad for the environment;

C. FDR, who didn’t want to seem to be wasting money during the Depression;

D. Ronald Reagan, who believed trees were responsible for most pollution.


Go inside the blog for the answers...


1 Quirinius, although Luke is silent about the fact that he beat Dino Rossilinius by 129 votes in the third recount.

2 Grant signed the law in 1870.

3. King Moonracer, and if he sounds suspiciously like Santa, that’s because Stan Francis does both voices

4. British and German troops stopped fighting along the Western Front in 1914, raising fears of a mutiny that would (horrors!) end the war. After a few days’ break, WWI went on for four more years

5. Washington crossed the Delaware Christmas night 1776 and captured Trenton, N.J., the next morning while Hessian troops were sleeping off their Christmas buzz. Don’t bother to check for Santa hats on the oarsmen in the famous Leutze painting.

6. The mayor of London, whose Christmas feast is described.

7. Coolidge, who later asked newspapers to reprint the greetings because of demand.

8. The bank examiner, who probably should have shut down the Building & Loan despite the contributions of George’s friends, because their books really were a mess.

9. The Lincolns, who started the tradition of pardoning dinner turkeys.

10. The pillow. C’mon, even Clinton wasn’t that reckless.

11. Pierce, who invited a group of Sunday school children to the White House for a celebration.

12. Teddy Roosevelt, although his kids snuck one into their room, anyway.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.