Leon, somewhere in Libya right now, a janitor's working the night shift at Libyan Intelligence headquarters. He's going about doing his job... because he has no idea, in about an hour he's going to die in a massive explosion. He's just going about his job, because he has no idea that about an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You've just seen me do the least presidential thing I do.

President Andrew Shepherd

Lewis Rothschild: You have a deeper love of this country than any man I've ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism.
President Andrew Shepherd: Look, if the people want to listen to-...
Lewis Rothschild: They don't have a choice! Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking! People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand.

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

Sydney Ellen Wade

Lewis, we've had presidents who were beloved, who couldn't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don't drink the sand because they're thirsty. They drink the sand because they don't know the difference.

President Andrew Shepherd

Lewis Rothschild: Mood swings? Nineteen post-graduate degrees in mathematics, and your best explanation for going from a 63 to a 46 percent approval rating in five weeks is mood swings?
Leon Kodak: Well, I could explain it better, but I'd need charts, and graphs, and an easel.

President Andrew Shepherd: [watching TV ad] Oh, wait a minute here comes my favorite part.
Bob Rumson: My name is Bob Rumson, and I'm running for President!
President Andrew Shepherd: Sure glad he cleared that up, because that crowd was about to buy some Amway products!

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!

If you were a dork you should say you're sorry. Girls like that.

Lucy

Sydney Ellen Wade: Your boss is the chief executive of fantasy land!
President Andrew Shepherd: Well, let's take him out back and beat the shit out of him!

We had a nice couple of minutes together. She threatened me, I patronized her. Didn't have anything to eat, but I thought there was a connection.

President Andrew Shepherd

President Andrew Shepherd: Perhaps I didn't properly explain the fundamentals of the slowdown plan.
Sydney Ellen Wade: [feeling the bed] No, you explained it great.
President Andrew Shepherd: Are you nervous?
Sydney Ellen Wade: No.
President Andrew Shepherd: Good. My nervousness exists on... several levels. Number one, and this is in no particular order, I haven't done this in a pretty long time. Number two, uh, any expectations that you might have, given the fact that I'm... you know...
Sydney Ellen Wade: [seductively] The most powerful man in the world?
President Andrew Shepherd: Exactly, thank you.

Lewis Rothschild: Can I just state very clearly I can't be part of anything illegal.
A.J.: Good for you, Lewis.
Lewis Rothschild: You can say what you want. It's always the guy in my job that ends up doing 18 months in Danbury minimum security prison.

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The American President Quotes

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.

Oh, you only fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need fighting!

A. J. MacInerney