The President*s Roles

List 5 specific things a
President does as part of
his (and, eventually, her)
 Pick and write these words on your bingo sheet. Make sure to
leave room in the box because you will be asked to summarize
what Obama says about these topics.
 Health Care
 Immigration
 Minimum Wage
 Job Training
 Student Loans
 Budget
 Tax Codes
 Unemployment
 Insurance
 Iran
 Syria
 Affordable Care Act
 Gas Prices
 Congress
 Legislation
 Education
 Gun Control
 Equality
 Trade
 Military
 Family
 Defense
 War
 Debt
What is one topic Obama
talked about that is
important to you? Explain.
The President’s Job Description
Chief of State
 The President is chief of state. This
means he is the symbol of all the
people of the nation.
 Duties:
 Ceremonial head of the nation
 Bestows honors on citizens, addresses the
nation in time of crisis, etc.
Chief Executive
 The Constitution gives the President
the executive power of the United
 Duties:
 Enforces laws, treaties, court decisions, etc.
 Issues executive orders
 Power check!
 Power of impeachment
Chief Administrator
 The President is the chief administrator,
or director, of the United States
 Duties:
 Directs entire executive branch (“CEO” of law
 Hires heads of bureaucracy
 Power Check!
 Congress doesn’t have to agree to fund agencies
 Senate can reject presidential appointments
Chief Diplomat
 As the nation’s chief diplomat, the
President is the main architect of
American foreign policy and chief
spokesperson to the rest of the world.
 Duties:
 Oversees all foreign policy
 Appoints and receives ambassadors
 Negotiates treaties
 Executive agreements
 Gives diplomatic recognition
 Power check!
 Power of the purse
 Senate may reject ambassadors or treaties
Chief Legislator
 The President is the chief legislator, the
main architect of the nation’s public
 Duties:
 Initiates legislation
 Uses power of the media
 State of the Union
 Signs bills into law
 Power check!
 Congress doesn’t have to pass legislation
 Congress can override veto (2/3 majority)
Commander in Chief
 The Constitution makes the President the
commander in chief, giving him or her
complete control of the nation’s armed
 Duties:
 Leader/head of the armed forces
 Power check!
 Congress can choose not to declare war or defund wars
 War Powers Act (1974)
Chief of Party
 The President acts as the chief of party,
the leader of the political party that
controls the executive branch.
 Duties
 Influences and leads political party
 Helps members of his party get elected to office
Chief Citizen
 The President is expected to be “the
representative of all the people.”
 Duties:
 Leads by example
 Gains and keeps the public trust
 Puts nation’s interests above himself
Qualifications, terms, pay and benefits
1. Be “a natural born
2. Be at least 35 years of
A person must be born a citizen of
the United States to be able to
become President.
John F. Kennedy at age 43 was the
youngest person to be elected
3. Have lived in the United
States for at least 14 years.
Informal qualifications, such as
intelligence and character, are also
important considerations.
 Until 1951, the Constitution
placed no limit on the number
of terms a President could
 Traditionally, Presidents limited
the number of terms served to
 Franklin D. Roosevelt was
elected for a 3rd term in
1940—then a 4th in 1944!
 The 22nd Amendment placed
limits on presidential terms—
limited to two terms of office.
 Pay: $400,000/year
 Expense Allowance: $50,000
 A 132-room mansion (the White House)
 Offices and staffing
 Other fringe benefits: Presidential Pension, secret service
protection, etc.
The White House
Camp David, MD
Other Benefits
Air Force One, Cadillac One, and Marine One
Kennedy’s Boeing 707
The Boeing
Air Force
Cadillac One
Marine One
 Presidential succession
is the plan by which a
presidential vacancy is
 25th Amendment (1967):
Clarified that VP will
become President if
President is removed
from office.
 Presidential Succession
Act of 1947: Set
succession order (postVP).
 Sections 3 and 4 of the 25th Amendment provide
procedures to follow when the President is
 The Vice President is to become acting President
(1) the President informs Congress, in writing, “that he is
unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,”
(2) the Vice President and a majority of the members of
the Cabinet inform Congress, in writing, that the
President is thus incapacitated.
 The Constitution only gives the Vice President
two duties besides becoming President if the
President is removed from office:
1) to preside over the Senate, and
2) to help decide the question of presidential disability.
 If the office of Vice President becomes vacant,
the President nominates a new Vice President
subject to the approval of Congress.
 Today, the Vice President often performs
diplomatic and political chores for the President.
 According to the
Constitution, the President
and Vice President are
chosen by a special body of
presidential electors.
 Originally, these electors
each cast two electoral
votes, each for a different
candidate. The candidate
with the most votes would
become President, and the
candidate with the second
highest total would become
Vice President.
 The 12th Amendment was added to the
Constitution in 1804 following the election of
The major change in the electoral college made
by the amendment was that each elector would
distinctly cast one electoral vote for President
and one for Vice President.
The Electoral College System
 Fear of Congressional
Election- why?
 Fear of Direct Popular
Vote- why?
 Electors: members of a party chosen in each
state who officially elect the President
 Each state:
* 2 Senators + # Representatives = Electoral Votes
* State legislatures decide how electors are chosen
What’s the total number of
electors in the Electoral College?
(Hint: There are 3 extra for D.C.!)
 Majority of popular vote = ALL of electoral votes!
 Party whose candidate wins
the largest amount of
popular votes wins all of
the electoral votes for that
 (EXCEPT Maine and
Nebraska- divide
If no clear majority… the House decides the election
 Presidential Election every 4 years
November: voters cast ballots
December: electors meet in state capitals to vote
(Send tallies to Congress)
January: Congress counts electoral votes
Jan 20: Candidate who won majority is “sworn in”
1) Candidate must have broad
 Not simply regional or local appeal
 If directly elected by popular vote,
where do you think candidates would
spend most of their time
2) Promotes federalism
 Keeping states involved!
3) Discourages voter fraud
 No benefit to it– same amount of
electoral votes regardless
1) Winner-Take-All is unfair
Makes it possible for someone to
lose the popular vote but still win
the electoral vote
2) Third Party Candidates
Can change or prevent majority
3) Election by the House
All states counted equally (1 vote)