I've loved two women in my life. I lost one to cancer, and I lost the other 'cause I was so busy keeping my job I forgot to do my job. Well, that ends right now. Tomorrow morning, the White House is sending a bill to Congress for its consideration. It's White House Resolution 455, an energy bill requiring a 20 percent reduction of the emission of fossil fuels over the next ten years. It is by far the most aggressive stride ever taken in the fight to reverse the effects of global warming. The other piece of legislation is the crime bill. As of today, it no longer exists. I'm throwing it out. I'm throwing it out writing a law that makes sense. You cannot address crime prevention without getting rid of assault weapons and handguns. I consider them a threat to national security, and I will go door to door if I have to, but I'm gonna convince Americans that I'm right, and I'm gonna get the guns. We've got serious problems, and we need serious people, and if you want to talk about character, Bob, you'd better come at me with more than a burning flag and a membership card. If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I'll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your 15 minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I AM the President.

President Andrew Shepherd

President Andrew Shepherd: I've known Bob Rumson for years, and I've been operating under the assumption that the reason Bob devotes so much time and energy to shouting at the rain was that he simply didn't get it. Well, I was wrong. Bob's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character. And wave an old photo of the President's girlfriend and you scream about patriotism and you tell them, she's to blame for their lot in life, and you go on television and you call her a whore. Sydney Ellen Wade has done nothing to you, Bob. She has done nothing but put herself through school, represent the interests of public school teachers, and lobby for the safety of our natural resources. You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause Sydney Ellen Wade is way out of your league.

President Andrew Shepherd: For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being president of this country was, to a certain extent, about character, and although I have not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I've been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character. For the record: yes, I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But the more important question is why aren't you, Bob? Now, this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question: Why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the Constitution? If you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter than I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago. America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free."

Lewis Rothschild: At least let the agents do a security sweep - we don't know who's in there!
President Andrew Shepherd: You think there a florist in there planing an assassination on the the off-chance that I might be stopping by?
Lewis Rothschild: It's possible.

I feel a nightmare coming on...

A. J. MacInerney

President Andrew Shepherd: Do you know what your problem is?
Sydney Ellen Wade: What's my problem?
President Andrew Shepherd: Sex and nervousness.
Sydney Ellen Wade: Sex and nervousness is my problem?
President Andrew Shepherd: Yes.

Lucy: Just be yourself.
President Andrew Shepherd: Be myself.
Lucy: Yeah, and compliment her shoes. Girls like that.

Lewis Rothschild: But we're not gonna stay at 41. The numbers are gonna go back up.
[listens]
Lewis Rothschild: But they're gonna go back up.
[listens]
Lewis Rothschild: All right George...
[listens]
Lewis Rothschild: Congressman...
[listens]
Lewis Rothschild: Congressman Jarrett...
[listens]
Lewis Rothschild: Look George, listen to me... it's crunch time. It's personal. This is one of those moments. It's just you and the President. Now what's it gonna be? Yeah.
[listens]
Lewis Rothschild: Yeah.
[shakes his head]
Lewis Rothschild: All right George, can I tell you something? We're gonna win this thing. We're gonna get the votes we need and we're gonna win this thing. And you know what I'm gonna do after that, I mean that very night, I'm gonna go to Sam & Harry's, I'm gonna order a big steak, and I'm gonna make a list of everybody who tried to fuck us this week.
Robin McCall: Lewis!
Lewis Rothschild: [into phone] Well just Vote your conscience, you chicken shit, lame-ass...
[slams the phone down]
Lewis Rothschild: We lost Jarrett.
Leon Kodak: I hope so. 'Cause, you know, if that was an "undecided," then we need to work on our people skills.

For reasons passing understanding, people do not relate guns to gun-related crime.

President Andrew Shepherd

President Andrew Shepherd: She didn't say anything about me?
A. J. MacInerney: Well, she did say you were taller than she thought you'd be.
President Andrew Shepherd: Well, that's something.

Sydney Ellen Wade: How'd you finally do it?
President Andrew Shepherd: Do what?
Sydney Ellen Wade: Manage to give a woman flowers and be president at the same time?
President Andrew Shepherd: Well, it turns out I've got a rose garden.

Leon Kodak: Well, you don't see that every day of the week.
Lewis Rothschild: He's got the whole White House press corps asking each other how to spell erudite!
A.J.: Better call the printer, Lewis.
Lewis Rothschild: I know, we gotta rewrite the State of the Union.
A.J.: Every word, kid. It's a whole new ballgame. You have exactly 35 minutes.
Lewis Rothschild: Oh, good, I thought I was gonna be rushed!

FREE Movie Newsletter

The American President Quotes

President Andrew Shepherd: Is the view pretty good from the cheap seats, A.J.?
A.J.: I beg your pardon?
President Andrew Shepherd: Because it occurs to me that in 25 years I've never seen YOUR name on a ballot. Now why is that? Why are you always one step behind ME?
A.J.: Because if I wasn't, you'd be the most popular history teacher at the University of Wisconsin!
President Andrew Shepherd: Fuck you!

How do you have patience for people who claim they love America, but clearly can't stand Americans?

Sydney Ellen Wade