The President Of The United States Shakes About 65,000 Hands A Year

Obama Oct2010One down, 64,999 to go.

Photo: White House flickr

Yesterday was an exciting day for Business Insider.Why?

Because we got invited to the White House.

And we met President Obama!

(To be clear: One of our editors did.)

The story about that experience is forthcoming. But in the meantime, here’s an interesting factoid. We estimate that the experience we had yesterday is an experience shared by only about 1 in 5,000 Americans every year.

You see, our meeting with the President, which was quite exciting, got us thinking: Just how many people get to meet the President of the United States, anyway?

(Any President, not just President Obama, who we’re quite high on at the moment).

And that led us to ask a former Washington insider how many people he thought the President meets every day.

The insider’s answer was quite specific. He said “between 100 and 250.” Some days, the insider explained, the President meets thousands of people a day, such as when he visits West Point, where he shakes the hand of everyone in the senior class, which our insider estimated at about 1,200. And other days, the insider said, the President just hangs out at Camp David and shoots some hoops, meeting almost no one.

The insider said that the President he was closest to (not the current one) could estimate the number of people he had met by tracking the amount of hand sanitizer he went through. THAT President, our insider said, went through about a bottle a week.

So, anyway, we called up our calculators and did some extrapolating.

If the President shakes between 100 and 250 hands a day (average of 175), that means he meets an average of 64,875 people a year. And that means he meets an average of 255,500 people in the course of a four year term.

And that put our visit to the White House in context.

Assuming that most of the people the President meets are Americans, that means that about 1 in 4,615 Americans meets the President every year (300 million divided by 64,875).

So no wonder we were excited!

(“We,” by the way, was editor Courtney Comstock. Yours truly was busy moderating a panel at some dumb conference).

Note: This post was greeted with a barrage of Obama-bashing in the comments, which was off-topic and tedious. So the comments have been closed. (It’s fine to criticise Obama, but this post has nothing to do with politics, so please save the ranting for one that does. We’d have gratefully accepted the White House’s invitation even if it had been extended by President Palin).

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