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Can the President Abuse His Power?

From the Collections: The Presidents | Leadership in times of crisis

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

The behavior of American soldiers at Abu Ghraib shook President Bush, but, to him, there was no connection with his decision to approve harsh interrogation techniques on Al Qaeda suspects. "It showed the kind of rot that was occurring in Iraq under American occupation,” said journalist Elisabeth Bumiller, “and it showed how far off we had come from American ideals."

From the film: George W. Bush

Nixon's Enemies List

President Nixon kept an "enemies list" of those who criticized him. He had these enemies targeted for tax audits or trailed by private detectives, and hired the "plumbers" to stop leaks.

From the film: Nixon

Drafting Striking Workers

When a new wave of striking unions shut down industries, Truman threatened to draft strikers into the army. "It was as high-handed, as unconstitutional, a measure as imaginable," says biographer David McCullough. "But he meant it."

From the film: Truman

Reshaping the Supreme Court

President Roosevelt's attempt to reshape the Supreme Court landed short and drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. "It was a recognition on his part that he had lost some measure of power," says David Ginsburg, a member of FDR's administration.

From the film: FDR

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