“I don't have any other aspirations in politics or anything of that nature.”- Elvis, 1972
Elvis Presley was too smart to alienate half his fans by publicly pledging his allegiance to one of America's political parties, though his later views on hippies and illegal drugs put him more toward the right-hand side of the political spectrum, at least in his later years. (The "illegal drug" hatred of the king has often been pointed to as being great hypocrisy- and rightfully so. As we all know, at the time of his death and for almost a decade prior, Elvis was a walking pharmacy.)
Elvis's aides have confirmed that his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, impressed on Elvis the fact that there was no upside to making his political views known. Although Elvis would publicly proclaim little interest in politics, this is disputed.
Larry Geller, Elvis's hairdresser in 1960's, says: “He had no interest in politics, which is interesting considering how pro-America he was.” But, on the other hand, good friend Sonny West states: “Elvis was very private about his political views, but was passionate about them in private with those of us and friends he could trust.”
When he first began mesmerizing audiences across the world, in the Soviet Union the press held Elvis up as what was wrong with youth in America.
As a publicity stunt prior to the premiere of Elvis's first film Love Me Tender in 1956, Colonel Parker had “Elvis for President" buttons handed out during the unveiling of a 40-foot high Elvis cutout outside the Times Square Paramount Theater in New York.
In the run-up to the 1956 election, Elvis declared he was going to vote for the democratic candidate, Adlai Stevenson- the only time that he publicly declared a personal political affiliation.
Interestingly, although he admired several democrats, according to Elvis's aides and intimates, he was naturally a conservative. He thought John F. Kennedy was a good man and reputedly supported him. Supposedly, Elvis wept when he heard the news of J.F.K.’s assassination. He also supported Robert F. Kennedy in the 1968 presidential campaign until his assassination.
The first president Elvis ever met in person was Lyndon Johnson in 1965.
In the late '60's and early '70's Elvis was a big-time supporter of President Richard Nixon. Elvis's meeting with Nixon at the White House on december 21, 1970, was his most famous presidential encounter. After writing Nixon a personal six-page letter (this was rare in itself, as Elvis was not a letter-writer), Elvis and a few of his “Memphis Mafia" entourage were ushered in to the Oval Office to meet Nixon.
At the meeting, Elvis rambled on about the Beatles (who we had met in 1965) as "anti-American" and "filthy and unkempt.” He stated that they were promoting "anti-American" ideas. He disapproved of their anti-war stance. (Later, Elvis reportedly asked Nixon to bar the four from entering the U.S.)
Elvis declared himself a student and expert on the methods of communist brainwashing. Elvis wanted Nixon to promote him to be a "federal agent at large" and help to stop the use of illegal drugs (basically, Elvis wanted to be a narc for the FBI). He presented Nixon with a colt .45 handgun in the Oval Office. The president gave Elvis what he wanted most- an "official" badge from the Bureau of Firearms and Dangerous Drugs.
Elvis was friends with Jimmy Carter, who he also met in person- circa 1973. He had his number and called him on several occasions. This friendship dated back to when Carter was governor of Georgia. (Elvis was actually a distant relative of Carter.) Incredibly, rumors briefly surfaced in the early seventies that the republican party considered Elvis to be potential vice-presidential material.
Of all the U.S. presidents, Bill Clinton was the biggest Elvis fan- a devout and loyal worshipper of the King. (President Clinton's Secret Service code name was “Elvis.") Clinton made television history when he played “Heartbreak Hotel" on his saxophone during the 1992 presidential campaign on The Arsenio Hall Show. Clinton had an Elvis impersonator at his inauguration.
Elvis met future president George H. W. Bush at an awards ceremony in the early 1970's.
Death has done little to stifle Elvis's electability. In a local city election in Calumet, Minnesota, Elvis Presley appeared on the ballot. Elvis was a little off the pace, with only one vote in that November 2005 election.
Regardless of his own political beliefs, Elvis firmly believed that the president should always be supported, regardless of his political affiliation. “He liked the president no matter what party they were in,” says close friend Marty Lacker
As a presidential contender in 2008, Mitt Romney used Elvis song “A Little Less Conversation" as part of his nomination campaign.