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American Government and Politics Today . Chapter 12 The Presidency. Who Can Become President?. Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution sets forth the qualifications to be president.

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American Government and Politics Today

Chapter 12

The Presidency


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Who Can Become President?

  • Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution sets forth the qualifications to be president.

  • The two major limitations are age, a minimum of 35, and being a natural-born citizen, thus eliminating naturalized citizens.


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The Process of Becoming President

  • Nomination of one of the two major parties

  • Majority of the votes cast in the Electoral College

    • The electors are decided in most states on a winner-take-all system, with the candidate who receives the plurality of votes winning. Thus, it is possible for a candidate to lose the popular vote but still win election as president, as was the case in 2000.

  • If no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes, the House will elect the president by voting state by state for a candidate.


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The Many Roles of the President

  • Head of State

    • Like the roll of the Queen in Great Britain or the President of France

  • Chief Executive

    • The Powers of Appointment and Removal

    • The Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons

  • Commander-in-Chief

    • Wartime Powers-Bush’s, Clinton, Reagan, Johnson, Kennedy

    • War Powers Resolution-Requires consultation with Congress with approval after 60 day or withdrawn

  • Chief Diplomat

    • Diplomatic Recognition-USSR, China, Republic of Vietnam

    • Proposal and Ratification of Treaties-NAFTA, Panama Canal

    • Executive Agreements-In place while still in office.


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The Many Roles of the President (cont.)

  • Chief Legislator

    • Getting Legislation Passed

    • Saying No to Legislation

    • The Line-Item Veto

    • Congress’ power to override Presidential vetoes

  • Other Presidential Powers

    • Powers that Congress has bestowed on the president by statute (statutory powers) and those that are considered inherent powers. Inherent powers are those powers the head of government needs to fulfill his duties, as prescribed vaguely in the Constitution. The bureaucracy is one such power. Political party status is another.


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The President As Party Chief and Superpolitician

  • The President as Chief of Party

  • Constituencies and Public Approval

    • Presidential constituencies

      • The Public, Their own Party, Opposing Party, Washington Community

    • Public approval-Opinion Polls

    • “Going Public.” When the president presents an idea to Congress, he may also “go public” in an attempt to generate popular support for his proposal.



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The Special Uses of Presidential Power

  • Emergency Powers

    • Embargo, Ordering State Militias into service, Mobilizing the Federal Budget and economy for war

  • Executive Orders

    • Executive order, a rule or regulation issued by the president that has the effect of law. Executive orders can implement and give administrative effect to provisions in the Constitution, to treaties, and to statutes. Demand adherence to Affirmative Action, Ration consumer goods, Administer wage and price controls.

    • Require publication in the Federal Register, a publication of the U.S. government that prints executive orders, rules, and regulations.

  • Executive Privilege

    • United States v. Nixon--limiting executive privilege

    • Clinton’s Attempted Use of Executive Privilege

    • Used during 9-11 Commission Hearings


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Abuses of Executive Power and Impeachment

  • Article I, Section 2, gives the House the sole power of impeachment. If a majority of the members of the House vote to impeach an officer of the United States, the Senate will conduct a trial. If two-thirds of the Senators vote for conviction the officer is removed from office.

  • The concept of impeachment is important because without this power there would be little that could be done to control criminal behavior by a top leader. On the other hand, this power could be abused and lead to politically motivated impeachments.


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The Executive Organization

  • The Cabinet

    • The Members of the Cabinet

      • Strong conflicts of interest due to budgets, political aspirations etc and the agencies customers and lobby.

    • The Kitchen Cabinet

    • Presidential Use of Cabinets

      • Lincoln ‘7 nayes and 1 aye, the ayes have it.’

  • The Executive Office of the President

    • The White House Office

    • The Office of Management and Budget

      • Clearinghouse for agency legislative proposals, also represents the presidents party platform and continuing priorities or agenda

    • The National Security Council

      • President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Defense and others.


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The Vice President

  • The Vice President’s Job

    • Traditionally used to Strengthen the Ticket

    • Recent use to shore-up the Presidents weak points. Bush to Reagan, Gore to Clinton, Cheney to Bush.

  • Presidential Succession-Next Slide

  • The Twenty-fifth Amendment

    • The Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet inform Congress, Vice president serves as acting president. If the Presidents condition is in dispute, Congress decides by 2/3 vote

  • When the Vice Presidency Becomes Vacant

    • Simple Majority required to elect vice-president. Spiro Agnew, VP Ford and Nixon resignation before impeachment, later pardoned by Gerald Ford



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