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The American President
The Road to the White House
Roles of the President
 Chief of State
 Chief Executive
 Chief Administrator
 Chief Diplomat
 Commander in Chief
 Chief Legislator
 Chief of Party
 Chief Citizen
Presidential Qualifications
Who can run?
Formal Qualificatons
 Must be a natural born citizen
 Must be at least 35 years old
 Must have lived in the United States for at least
fourteen years.
Who usually wins?
Informal Qualifications
 Records in Public Office
 Governors are the most common nominees. Most
have law degrees.
 Most are Protestants, most are white, all have been
 Pleasant & healthy appearance, seem to be happily
married. Only 5 have been divorced.
 Great speaking ability
The Presidential Term
 Four year terms
 Can be elected twice, and serve half of another’s
presidency, for a maximum of 10 years in office.
 The 22nd Amendment limits presidential terms.
Before 1951, it was only tradition that kept
presidents from running more than twice.
 Franklin D. Roosevelt broke tradition and was
elected to four terms. Congress quickly remedied
that after his death.
Pay & Benefits
 $400,000 per year
 $50,000 per year expense account
 Residence is the White House (132 room mansion)
 Use of the Oval Office & White House staff
 Fleet of automobiles
 Air Force One
 Camp David (resort hideaway in mountains of MD)
 More stress than any other human being will ever
Who’s Next in Line?
 Presidential Succession Act of 1947: Congress fixed
the order of succession after the Vice President.
1. Vice President
2. Speaker of the House
3. President pro tempore of the Senate
4. Secretary of State
5. Secretary of the Treasury
6. Secretary of Defense
7. Attorney General
The 25th Amendment
 What happens if the President becomes disabled?
The VP becomes acting president if the president
informs Congress in writing that he is “unable to
discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
2. The VP and a majority of the members of the
Cabinet, inform Congress, in writing that the
president is so incapacitated.
*Presidents have transferred power 3 times to undergo
The Vice Presidency
Importance of the Office
 Presides over the Senate
 Helps decide the question of presidential disability
 “Heartbeat away from the Presidency”
 Balance the Ticket
 If the office becomes vacant, the 25th Amendment
allows the President to nominate a replacement who
must be confirmed by a majority in both houses.
The Framers’ Plan for Presidential Selection
 Most of the framers did not trust the public to directly
elect the president.
 They recognized that if Congress selected the executive, it
would undermine the system of checks & balances
provided by the Constitution.
 Their solution was the Electoral College.
 The Electoral College is a group of electors chosen by
each state who would meet in their state capitals to vote
for the president & vice president. Ties go to the House.
 Today, all major presidential candidates are selected by
their political parties. Electoral College members vote,
either by law or tradition, for the same candidate as the
majority of voters in their state.