President Obama's random public stroll made headlines yesterday, but his impromptu walk recalled a far more bizarre event—Richard Nixon's strange, infamous late-night trip to the Lincoln Memorial.

As the historical lore goes, Nixon pulled a manic all-nighter before deciding to leave the White House for an unplanned, early-morning sojourn around 4 AM on May 9, 1970. Leaving the Secret Service scrambling to catch up with him, he walked close to two miles across the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial, where student anti-war protestors had been camping out.

According to first-hand accounts and—naturally—tapes he recorded a few days later, Nixon hung out at the monument for a while, carrying on a bizarre and somewhat rambling discussion with the students before decamping back to the White House at sunrise.

And yesterday—almost exactly forty-four years later—President Obama went for an unplanned, Nixon-esque National Mall stroll of his own.

Obama, according to the Washington Post, randomly decided to get some fresh air on his way to a meeting at the Interior Department. Of course, Obama's interactions with the public didn't exactly reach uncomfortable Nixon-levels, but he did manage to inform the growing crowd that, "The bear is loose," before heading back inside.

[image via AP]