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"In this chapter, I will address the question of the usefulness of the public presidency in the current political environment (that is, can a president’s communication strategy make a difference in terms of what he achieves), as well as the constitutional danger, if any, posed by a president’s attempt at public leadership. Has the public presidency, and its focus on the public aspects of the office, thrown the constitutional balance of power between the three branches out of balance? Does the president really gain political power within the constitutional framework of our government if he is a skilled and effective communicator? Or have we just been duped into thinking that an image of strong presidential leadership on our television screens equates success in the arenas of domestic and foreign policymaking? Finally, I offer a brief assessment of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and their respective efforts at public leadership, and argue that our definition of what constitutes a “good communicator” may be permanently altered due to Bush’s reelection in 2004."



Publication Date



Palgrave Macmillan


New York, NY


presidents, U.S., public presidency, communication strategy, constitution, public leadership, balance of power, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush


American Politics | Communication | President/Executive Department | Social Influence and Political Communication


In Michael A. Genovese and Lori Cox Han (Eds.), The Presidency and the Challenge of Democracy. Dr. Han's chapter begins on page 138.

Peer Reviewed



Palgrave Macmillan

The President Over the Public: The Plebiscitary Presidency at Center Stage



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