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Face cards

January 07, 2007|Joel Pett | Joel Pett is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader. His work also appears in USA Today.

Oval Office pressures age every president -- graying hair, embedding worry lines and adding eye baggage. Caricatures of presidents develop too. The various scars and Band-Aids plastered on the late Jerry Ford by cartoonists left him with a good-natured grin, if not exactly in stitches. As Jimmy Carter's political woes mounted, his pitiful likeness shrank to sub-munchkin stature. The Reagan pompadour swelled along with the myth. George H.W. Bush grew ever more Dana Carveyesque. Bill Clinton's kisser looked perpetually sheepish, and he still occasionally sports the heart-patterned boxers. Props, quirks and stature aside, we morph presidential facial features as well, sometimes surprisingly dramatically. Of the mugs shown here, only Bob Gorrell's George W. Bush has maintained its basic form over the years. On the other hand, Tom Toles' goofy presidential portraits aren't exactly bookends. Ann Telnaes' Dubya matured a bit, while Jeff Parker's got decidedly littler.

When it comes to executive derision, you just take the face lifts at face value.

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