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Battle of the beardless

By Tom Chatfield  

Among the centenaries few are likely to celebrate in 2008, one of the most unlikely is that of facial hair and the US Presidency. Yet it is now exactly 100 years since America last voted for a leader with any kind of facial hair. That honour falls to the Republican William Howard Taft, who—along with his luxuriant moustache—was in 1908 elected as the 27th President. It was not to last: in 1912, he was crushed by the clean-shaven Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Indeed, so far and fast had the ‘tache fallen from fashion that Taft also became the last President to…

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