|THE SECOND TIME AROUND|
An exploration of Presidential Second Terms
in this forum:
What advice would Eisenhower give Clinton about how to have a successful second term? Are Presidents more likely to speak their minds in their second term i.e. Eisenhower and his "Military Industrial Complex" speech? What kind of a physical toll does eight years in the White House take on the President? Should Americans have the opportunity to award a successful President a third term? Why didn't Truman and Johnson run for second terms? Viewer comments
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Online NewsHour Links
December 23, 1996: A NewsHour panel of historians looks at historical second terms.
December 20, 1996: President Clinton announces the new cabinet members who will join him for his second term.
December 6, 1996: Perspective on foreign policy and second term presidents comes from a panel of historians.
Stephen Ambrose looks at the formative years of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Character Above All investigates the role of character in the American presidency.
Jennifer Shipler of Burlington, VT, asks:
I think there is much merit to the concept of the "lame duck" problem. How ineffective does the President become, and how soon does his power start to dissipate?
Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss reponds:
Bill Clinton is about to offer us the first test case of a second-term President after the period of the Cold War and the imperial Presidency. We may find that his power diminishes even faster than previous Presidents elected to a second term after the 22nd Amendment placed term limits on the Presidency. (Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan) He may be aided by the fact that he has essentially chosen a successor, Al Gore, who has a reasonable chance of being elected in 2000. Thus many in Congress and elsewhere who might be tempted to begin ignoring Clinton as a lame duck might think twice because they know that a Clinton-Gore Administration could extend until 2009.
Presidential Historian Stephen Ambrose reponds:
It depends on the President and the times. In foreign affairs, the lame-duck business hardly matters at all. The President is commander-in-chief until noon of his last day in office, period. In domestic affairs, the lame-duck thing has been important, especially in the last two years of the second term, by which time the President -- without a foreign crisis -- becomes more a ceremonial leader than a political actor.