Posted Friday morning, January 20, 2017.
What I was saying about Lincoln making political hay out of his less than handsome features?
Lincoln was a man without vanity regarding his appearance---but he was not a man without vanity. He encouraged a low opinion of his looks, taking apparent delight in telling stories that brought attention to them. Brash strangers were emboldened to call him “ugly”; polite ones said “homely.” Lincoln wasn’t anything like the ogre he made himself out to be, but it was a stance with practical benefits, as a way to warm any room to his side. Therein lay his vanity.
---from The Case of Abraham Lincoln: A Story of Adultery, Murder, and the Making of a Great President by Julie M. Fenster.