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POL S 202: Intro to American Politics. “The Presidency” Week 8: May 20, 2010. American Politics in the News…. Interesting News Stories: 1. 2. 3. Electing the President. Must win a majority – 270 votes in the Electoral College Do not always need a majority of the popular vote

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POL S 202: Intro to American Politics

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POL S 202: Intro to American Politics

“The Presidency”

Week 8: May 20, 2010

American Politics in the News…

Interesting News Stories:




Electing the President

  • Must win a majority – 270 votes in the Electoral College

  • Do not always need a majority of the popular vote

    • Lincoln, Wilson, Truman, Kennedy, Nixon, Clinton, G.W. Bush

  • House must decide if E.C. does not decide

    • 1800, Jefferson / Burr

    • 1824, Jackson, Adams, Crawford

2008 Electoral College Outcome

Obama: 365 (68%)Votes: 53.7%

McCain: 173 (32%)Votes: 46.3%

Make your own predictions: www.270towin.com

The Many Roles of the President

  • Chief of State – the role of the president as the ceremonial head of government

  • Chief Executive -- the role of the president as the head of the executive branch of the government

  • Commander in Chief of the armed forces -- the role of the president as the supreme commander of military forces of the U.S. (60 day limit)

  • Chief Diplomat -- the role of the president in recognizing federal governments, making treaties, and making executive agreements

  • Chief Legislator -- the role of the president in influencing the making of laws

Presidential Popularity

Bush Presidential Approval

Operation Enduring Freedom (Oct 7, 2001)

Operation Iraqi Freedom (Mar 20, 2003)

Saddam captured (Dec 13, 2003)

Presidential Election (Nov 7, 2004)

Feb 10, 2001

Abramoff scandal (Mar 2006)

Nov 2008

Source: www.pollingreport.com/BushJob1.htm

Obama Presidential Approval

100 Days (April 30, ‘09)

Inauguration Day

(Jan 20, ‘09)

Senate passes health bill (Dec 24, ’09)

July 27, ’09

Summer recess

May 2010

Source: www.pollingreport.com/obama_job.htm

The President as Chief Legislator

*the State of the Union Address

*Proposing legislation

  • typically easier to get Presidential initiatives passed when President’s party control Congress

  • typically more difficult when it does not

    *Vetoing legislation

  • requires a veto message

Presidential vetoes in the modern era















Special Uses of Presidential Power

  • Emergency Powers

    • Can be used during times of national crisis

  • Executive Orders – have the force of law

    • Can be used to enforce legislative statutes

    • Can be used to enforce the Constitution or treaties with foreign nations

    • Can be used to establish or modify rules and practices of executive administrative agencies

  • Executive Privilege

    • The right to withhold information from Congress or Courts

The Executive Organization

The Cabinet – comprised of the 14 cabinet secretaries and the Attorney general, the cabinet is an advisory group selected by the president to aid in making decisions

The Executive Office of the President (the EOP) – consists of 10 staff agencies that assist the president in carrying out major duties

  • includes the White House Office (WHO)

  • the National Security Council (NSC)

  • the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

  • the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA)

  • the Office of Political Affairs (OPA)

The Vice President

  • Only formal duty is to preside over Senate

  • Presidential candidate usually picks a VP to balance the ticket and help win election

  • VP often attends events on behalf of Prez

  • Most important role of VP is to succeed the President in case of death or resignation

  • If VP becomes vacant, President nominates new VP and both houses of Congress must confirm

The Vice President

  • During the Bush-Cheney years, the role of the VP greatly increased to a high-level presidential advisor

  • So far, in the Obama-Biden years, the VP is continuing to play an important role as a close advisor to the president

Next in line after the President…

  • Vice President

  • Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • Senate president pro tempore

  • Secretary of State

  • Secretary of the Treasury

  • Secretary of Defense

  • Attorney General

  • Secretary of the Interior

  • Secretary of Agriculture

  • Secretary of Commerce

  • Secretary of Labor

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services

  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

  • Secretary of Transportation

  • Secretary of Energy

  • Secretary of Education

  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  • Secretary of Homeland Security

The Office of Governor (WA)

1853: Isaac Stevens first Governor of Washington territory

1853 – 1889: Governor of territory was appointed by President

1889: Governor is elected by people

Progressives worried that state legislature would ignore the mass public

Creates basis for a strong Governor’s office

The Roles of the Governor

Politician and Party leader

Chief legislator for state law – esp. budget

- Can call for special session of legislature

Chief Executive – oversight of state agencies

- 7 other statewide elected officials

Ceremonial leader and Figurehead

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