This article reports descriptive research concerning past presidents’ rhetorical leadership of the economy. Using the PERL logical text language, every presidential remark on the economy, unemployment, inflation, and the federal deficit is extracted from Public Papers of the Presidents from the Truman administration through April 2002. These data are coded for the frequency and relative optimism of presidential remarks on the economy. Statistical analysis shows that through time presidents have increasingly discussed the economy, and in more optimistic tones. Additionally, after controlling for actual economic performance and election year effects, some presidents spoke more often and more optimistically about the economy than others. The study also reports case studies of the president's economic rhetoric during the Carter, Reagan, and Clinton administrations that illustrate the nature of presidential rhetoric during economic crises.