If you’re the type to worry about budget cuts, take a tip from Mary Lincoln on how to survive rough times. While Abe was scrounging for funds to put coats on the backs of Union soldiers, Mary was playing her own version of ‘flip that house’ by redecorating with French wall paper and personalized china purchased on shopping trips to New York.
By 1864, she was in debt to the tune of $27,000 and pressuring officials for personal loans by sharing political secrets with them. Spies used to get shot for doing this kind of thing. When this tactic failed, she tried to acquire the salary of an employee who had left the White House by assuming her responsibilities and also assuming she would be compensated for her work – an early case of identity theft. When this failed, she simply started padding the expense account until her husband could be re-elected.
Abe’s methods of earning money were a little different. While Mary was away, he wrote her, "You’ll be happy to know I’ve put money into the treasury at 5% interest." How dull.
Actually, I love Mary. She gets a lot of bad press, but no First Lady was more colorful. By the way, if you’re wondering what Abe was doing while Mary was away, check out this undercover tape submitted to me, courtesy of Hammer28. http://www.jibjab.com/starring_you/receipt/545526