The President Who Doesn't Say No

Mark Knoller is a White House Correspondent for CBS News.
On the Presidential Veto Scoreboard, George W. Bush is way at the bottom.

When he casts his veto of the War Funding Bill today, it will be only the second time in his presidency – now in its seventh year - that he has exercised the authority to kill legislation enacted by Congress.

The first was last July 19th, when he blocked enactment of a bill to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

If there's a homerun king of presidential vetoes its Franklin Roosevelt. During his 12-plus years in office, he cast a total of 635 vetoes. That includes 263 pocket vetoes – which means the president did not sign a bill passed by Congress within the 10 days allowed by the Constitution. But that practice is only permissible when Congress is in adjournment.

In the veto runner-up slot is Grover Cleveland, who cast 584 vetoes during his two non-consecutive terms as president.

Harry Truman is in 3rd place with 250 vetoes.

The President with the highest numbers of vetoes overridden by Congress is Andrew Johnson. Fifteen of his 29 vetoes were successfully challenged.

President Bush's first veto was sustained, and Republicans are certain this latest veto of the War Funding Bill cannot be overriden either.

One factor in Mr. Bush's low veto count is that for most of his presidency, his own party controlled Congress. He didn't always get the legislation he wanted – but the bills that did reach his desk were acceptable to him.

Here are the veto counts for President Bush's 10 most recent predecessors:

Bill Clinton - 37 (He also cast 82 line-item vetoes, since ruled unconstitutional.)
George H. W. Bush – 44
Ronald Reagan – 78
Jimmy Carter – 31
Gerald Ford – 66
Richard Nixon – 43
Lyndon Johnson – 30
John Kennedy – 21
Dwight Eisenhower – 181
Harry Truman – 250

A few presidents never cast a single veto. They are:

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
John Quincy Adams
William Henry Harrison
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
James Garfield

Those were the good old days.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.