This week, we learned the shocking truth about Barack Obama: that he is the last son of Krypton, sent by Jor-El to save the people of Earth. While it’s unusual for a presidential candidate to claim an alien planet as their place of birth (after all, it might disqualify them from the race), Obama certainly wouldn’t be the first candidate to claim an interest in, or experience with alien life.At Thursday’s Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, Obama joked:

“Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-El, to save the planet Earth.”


And Obama isn’t the first presidential candidate to refer, either in jest or in all seriousness, to extraterrestrial ties:

James Traficant: The former Ohio congressman ran a much-ignored presidential campaign in 1988, earning two percent of the vote in his home state’s primary. Traficant is better known for his corruption charges, his mountainous toupee, and his tendency to pepper his speeches with the phrase “Beam me up!” Traficant probably didn’t believe that a passing spaceship would actually hear his cry and teleport him away to a better world, but he could always hope. And, considering his current residence in a federal corrections facility, he probably still spends a great deal of time appealing to Scotty.


Jimmy Carter: In 1969, Georgia state senator Jimmy Carter spotted a self-luminous object hovering in the air. Four years later, while governor of Georgia, Carter would file a report with the International UFO Bureau, claiming that what he’d seen that night was an alien UFO. During his presidential campaign, Carter promised that, if elected, he would make all government documents about UFOs and alien life open to the public. But, as with so many political promises, Carter failed to deliver once he took office. Ronald Reagan: After the attempt on Reagan’s life 1981, his wife Nancy began to consult astrologers to cope with her fear. But Ronald Reagan had a very different interest in the stars. In speeches, Reagan sometimes imagined what the world would be like under the threat of an alien invasion. He was, in a way, strangely optimistic about the possibility, envisioning humanity united against a common enemy:

Dennis Kucinich: Perpetual Democratic also-ran Dennis Kucinich may have had a close encounter of his own. Actress and new age enthusiast Shirley MacLaine wrote in her memoir that Kucinich had seen an alien spacecraft while staying at her Washington home, an incident that came up during one of the Democratic debates:


Barry Goldwater: Conservative Goldwater won the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, but ended up losing the election to Lyndon Johnson. And, in addition to his interests in photography and amateur radio, Goldwater was keenly and openly interested in UFOs. Goldwater tried repeatedly to gain access to Top Secret Air Force records that he believed contained evidence of the extraterrestrial nature of UFOs, and gave interviews stating that he believed the government was withholding this information from the public. John Glenn: Astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn launched a presidential bid in 1984, but it never made it into orbit. With his first-hand experiences in space, Glenn would be the perfect candidate for an alien encounter, but he’s never claimed he’s had one. Or has he?

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