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: 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.

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

A.J. MacInerney: Sir, it's immediate, it's decisive, it's low-risk, and it's a proportional response.
President Andrew Shepherd: Someday someone's going to have to explain to me the virtue of a proportional response.

A. J. MacInerney: Excuse me, sir, where are you going?
President Andrew Shepherd: I'm going over to her house. I'm going to stand outside her door until she let's me in, and I'm not leaving 'til I get her back.
A. J. MacInerney: How are you going to do that, sir?
President Andrew Shepherd: Well, I haven't worked that out yet, but I'm sure groveling will be involved.

A. J. MacInerney: The President doesn't answer to you Louis!
Lewis Rothschild: Oh, yes he does A.J. I'm a citizen, this is my President. And in this country it is not only permissible to question our leaders it's our responsibility!

Mr. President, you've got bigger problems than losing me. You just lost my vote.

Sydney Ellen Wade

[Right before their first kiss]
Sydney Ellen Wade: Do you think this is a good idea?
President Andrew Shepherd: Probably not.

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.

You're attracted to me, but the idea of physical intimacy is uncomfortable because you only know me as the President. But it's not always going to be that way, and the reason I know that is there was a moment last night when you were with ME, not the President. And I know what a big step that was for you. So, Sydney, I'm in no rush. Here's my plan. We're going to slow down, and when you're comfortable, that's when it's going to happen.

President Andrew Shepherd

Sydney Ellen Wade: I don't know how you do it.
President Andrew Shepherd: It's Arthur Murray. Six lessons.
Sydney Ellen Wade: That's not what I mean. Two hundred pairs of eyes are focused on you with two questions on their minds - who's this girl, and why is the President dancing with her?
President Andrew Shepherd: Well, first of all, the two hundred pairs of eyes aren't focused on me. They're focused on you. And the answers are Sydney Ellen Wade, and because she said yes.

Lewis Rothschild: Who're we calling, sir?
President Andrew Shepherd: I'm calling the organization of the United Brotherhood of It's None of Your Damn Business, Lewis. I'll be with you in a second.

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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