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Presidential passel

Monday, February 18th, 2013 | Posted by

By DEREK MOORE

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

David Warner is such a fan of U.S. presidential history that he entered his wedding reception to the strains of “Hail to the Chief,” a surprise arranged by his new bride,

Harding Warner, 6, top right, leads his family in saying the Pledge of Allegiance before they eat dinner, Thursday, Feb.14, 2013. (Crista Jeremiason / PD)

Chelsie.

Warner held stints at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C., where he had access to original presidential documents, and as a press aide to the Clinton and Gore campaigns.

Now an attorney in Santa Rosa, one whose clients include the cities of Healdsburg and Fort Bragg, Warner’s office is adorned with presidential memorabilia.

See more photos of the Warner family here

To really grasp the depth of his passion, however, you have to visit his Rincon Valley home, where on a recent afternoon, six cherubs danced about, fought for turns on the Wii and in general acted like little chiefs in command.

Present were the 3-year-old triplets — McKinley, Quincy and Pierce — and Ford, 5, Harding, 6, and Truman, 7.

If those names ring a bell, give yourself extra credit on this Presidents Day holiday.

“Most people don’t recognize the trend,” Chelsie Warner said.

That included one of Harding’s teachers, who remarked to Warner one day, “I thought you were going to name your kids after presidents.”

The couple never dreamed they would do so prior to conceiving their first child eight years ago. They weren’t even sure they could have kids at all, given test results that were not all that encouraging.

David grew up in Minnesota and earned a law degree from UCLA. Chelsie, who was raised in Salinas, also has a law degree, from Cornell University.

The couple met in 2000 at a conference in Atlanta hosted by their mutual employer at the time, the national law firm of Holland and Knight. David and some colleagues were headed out for the evening when he spotted Chelsie in the lobby of their hotel and he invited her to tag along.

The following weekend, he flew to New York City to pay her a visit. They were married two years later.

With some help from modern science, the couple’s first child was born in 2005 on Feb. 23, two days after Presidents Day that year.

The couple named the girl Truman because it sounded solid and strong, and to honor the nation’s 33rd president.

They continued the tradition with Harding and Ford, both boys. And then came the unexpected gift of the fraternal triplets, and the addition of three more presidents.

Seated in his formal living room, the one with crayon markings on the wall and two teepees erected near the fireplace, David Warner, who is 46, cradled Pierce in his arms as her eyes fluttered from drowsiness.

Wearing jeans and Adidas sneakers, his head nearly shaved bald, David did not strike a presidential pose. He said he’s more a student of history, not a fan of politics and its often sharp-elbow tendencies.

As an attorney with Meyers Nave in Santa Rosa, he has to project calm and discretion. He named his favorite president and his political affiliation, but he asked for that information to be kept off the record.

His wife, who stopped practicing law to stay home with the kids, had no such concerns, and she listed Clinton and Obama as her favorite presidents. So why no Bill or Barack running around the house?

The couple said they purposely chose relatively obscure presidents or those who haven’t served recently so as to not brand their kids with a certain political philosophy or style.

“If you name your kids Reagan or Clinton, you’re going to upset one side of the family or the other,” David said.

Chelsie said she nixed the idea to name one of the kids Coolidge because she didn’t want it to be shortened to “Cool.” Taylor, Harrison, Carter, Madison and Kennedy also were discarded for being deemed too trendy.

The names they selected reflect three Republicans, two Democrats and one Whig, and none served two full terms. McKinley was assassinated in office.

The kids all have the middle name Adams, which in addition to being their mother’s maiden name is also the name of our second and sixth presidents.

Chelsie Warner said she’s generally not a fan of naming children based on a theme. David, however, said he never wavered.

He said he hopes the names inspire “strength” and a “sense of history” in his children.

It’s a pretty good bet they’ll always have a fondness for Presidents Day, although the family had no special plans for today other than to be with one another.

“We’re exhausted,” Chelsie said.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.

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Ann Hutchinson is our Santa Rosa correspondent.
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