Obama Latest of Presidential Southpaws

Lefties have dominated the Oval Office in recent history.

ByABC News via logo
January 24, 2009, 5:25 PM

Jan. 25, 2009 — -- When President Obama took the oath of office, it was his right hand that he held steadily in the cold D.C. air, but as he sat down to sign his first executive order, it was clear that it was his left hand that will be doing most of the work for the next four years.

"That's right. I'm a lefty. Get used to it," the southpaw president joked at the time.

While Obama may be the first black president, he is hardly the first lefty.

In fact, of the past five presidents, Obama is the fourth to favor the less-favored hand -- a particularly astounding coincidence, considering less than 15 percent of Americans are lefties. (George W. Bush is right-handed, while Ronald Reagan was left-handed, as are George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.)

John McCain was also left-handed, meaning no matter the election's outcome, a lefty would have been commander in chief. The last time that happened was in 1992, when lefties Bill Clinton, George Bush and Ross Perot ran for office.

The nation's first left-handed president, James Garfield, could write with both hands simultaneously -- one in Latin and the other in ancient Greek.

But, as "The Simpsons" Ned Flanders said, life as a lefty can be tough. For centuries, left-handed people suffered under the stigma born of a popular delusion that left-handedness was a sign of evil. In Latin, "left" has the same root word as "sinister."

"I'm left-handed, and let me tell you, it's not all peaches and cream," Flanders has said. A 2005 report by the Associated Press agreed.

Left-handed people are more likely to contend with a myriad of health issues, including alcoholism, dyslexia and schizophrenia, the report said.

According to a BBC report, the Boston Strangler, Jack the Ripper and Billy the Kid were lefties. So is Osama bin Laden.

But so, too, were many noble figures, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso, Queen Victoria, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Prince William.

Obama may be all lefty when it comes to signing policy-altering orders, but don't him fool you.