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Probably no two presidents have been parodied more than Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. One of the final parodies of Bush which was broadcast at the end of his presidency came from the mind (and comedic acting) of Saturday Night Live alumni and Bush imitator Will Ferrell. It was a Broadway play (and later an HBO special) entitled You're Welcome America: A Final Night With George W. Bush.

You're Welcome America was broadcast live on the HBO channel on March 14, 2009, less than two months after Bush's second term as president ended. Ferrell not starred in the play as Bush, reprising the imitation of the president that he had performed on Saturday Night Live, but he also wrote the play. It was directed by his comedic collaborator Adam McKay. It was filmed at the Cort Theatre at 138 West 48th Street, in Manhattan.

The show as a play was quite successful. It broke the house record at the Cort Theater, taking in $846,507.05 for the week that ended on March 15, 2009. The HBO special was nominated for three prime-time Emmy Awards: (1) Outstanding Directing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special (Marty Callner); (2) Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special and (3) Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special (Will Ferrell).

One reviewer (Richard Ouzounian) compared Ferrell's portrayal of Bush to a modern day Jonathan Swift. He said in his review:

"It's almost as though Ferrell looked back on Bush's eight years in office and tapped into something easily mockable, yet ultimately dark and frightening. Ferrell's performance as Bush is a masterful exercise in watching an actor never once slip into the easy wink, the gratuitous leer, the cheap laugh. No. For 90 minutes, those eyes stare at us with the glacial emptiness of someone who feels little and understands less."

Another critic, Jamie Rich, was less complementary of the performance. He wrote:

"Bush the mumble-mouthed dunderhead is the kind of character that works in the space of a five-minute skit, but it grows stale when you try to stretch it out to 18 skits in a row. At best, You're Welcome, America is another SNL-inspired movie that was best left in the post 12:45 a.m. slot, just after the second musical number."

Ferrell is on stage for the full 90 minutes doing his Bush impression, running through the President's personal history, from birth to the end, or as he puts it, "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out." The video is not for those easily offended by profanity, as there are a number of cuss words interspersed in Ferrell's monologue, including an incident where he describes Dick Cheney having sex with some kind of demon, or when Ferrell's George W. Bush talks about styles of hand jobs. Ferrell's satire addresses more serious subjects such as Hurricane Katrina. At one point, Ferrell's W. ponders the lives lost because he went into Iraq and asks for a moment of silence.

Whether one loves or loathes this show will depend on whether one has antipathy for the 43rd President or whether one sympathizes with the man and the incredible challenges he faced on his watch. It is probably impossible to give a completely objective review of this performance and to assess its value as satire.

Here is a video of an excerpt from this performance:

Presidents in Parody: Oliver Stone's Nixon

Among the most unflattering fictional portrayals of a President is Oliver Stone's 1995 movie Nixon. The movie starred Sir Anthony Hopkins in the title role. Other stars included Joan Allen as Pat Nixon, Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger, Powers Boothe as General Alexander Haig and Mary Steenburgen as Nixon's mother Hannah. No movie about Nixon would be complete without Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Mitchell and Dean, played respectively by James Woods, J. T. Walsh, E. G. Marshall and David Hyde Pierce. Ed Harris was E. Howard Hunt and Bob Hoskins was a diabolical J. Edgar Hoover.


Nixon's story is presented in a non-linear format, with scenes of Nixon listening to his secret recordings towards the end of his presidency as the Watergate crisis intensifies. It covers all aspects of Nixon's life, usually in the form of memories triggered by the recordings, including his childhood in Whittier, California, and his wooing of his future wife, Pat Ryan. The film suggests that Nixon and his wife abused alcohol and prescription medication. Nixon's health problems, including his bout of phlebitis and pneumonia during the Watergate crisis, are also shown in the film. In typical Oliver Stone conspiratorial fashion, the movie suggests that Nixon had some kind of responsibility in the John F. Kennedy assassination. The film ends with Nixon's resignation and famous departure from the lawn of the White House in the helicopter, Army One. Real life footage of Nixon's state funeral in Yorba Linda, California, plays out over the end credits.

In its opening weekend, the film grossed a total of $2.2 million in 514 theaters. By December 19, 2006, the film had grossed a total of $13.6 million in the United States and Canada, well below its $44 million budget.

Two days before the film was released in theaters, the Richard Nixon Library and birthplace in Yorba Linda, California issued a statement on behalf of the Nixon family, calling parts of the film "reprehensible" and that it was designed to "defame and degrade President and Mrs. Nixon's memories in the mind of the American public". The statement also criticized Stone's depiction of Nixon's private life, that of his childhood, and his part in planning the assassination of Fidel Castro. Stone responded that his "purpose in making the film Nixon was neither malicious nor defamatory", and was an attempt to gain "a fuller understanding of the life and career of Richard Nixon — the good and the bad, the triumphs and the tragedies, and the legacy he left his nation and the world". Some critics took Stone to task for portraying Nixon as an alcoholic, though Stone says that was based on information from books by Stephen Ambrose, Fawn Brodie, and Tom Wicker.


Much of the critical commentary about the film centered on Hopkins portrayal of Nixon. For example, Janet Maslin from The New York Times praised Hopkins' performance and "his character's embattled outlook and stiff, hunched body language with amazing skill". But Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle, felt that "Hopkins' exaggerated portrayal of Nixon is the linchpin of a film that in its conception and presentation consistently veers into camp". Richard Corliss, in his review for Time, also had a problem with Hopkins' portrayal: "Hopkins, though, is a failure. He finds neither the timbre of Nixon's plummy baritone, with its wonderfully false attempts at intimacy, nor the stature of a career climber who, with raw hands, scaled the mountain and was still not high or big enough."

The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Joan Allen), Best Music, Original Dramatic Score and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Entertainment Weekly ranked Nixon #40 on their "50 Best Biopics Ever" list and one of the 25 "Powerful Political Thrillers".

Following is the original trailer from the movie:

I should add that while I loved the acting (especially the performances of Sir Anthonty Hopkins as Nixon and the marvelous Joan Allen as Pat Nixon), I disliked how Oliver Stone distorts history, especially his unfounded allegation that Nixon was somehow involved in the Kennedy assassination. It seemed to me to be pure smear, lacking in any historical support or foundation.
It is true that Franklin Pierce's Vice-President, William Rufus King, died shortly after his inauguration, back at a time when Vice-Presidents who died in office were not replaced until the next election. Because King was ill with tuberculosis, he had traveled to Cuba in an effort to regain his health. He was too sick to return to Washington to take his oath of office on March 4, 1853. By a Special Act of Congress, he was allowed to take the oath outside the United States, and was sworn in on March 24, 1853 in Havana. Shortly afterward, King returned to his home (called Chestnut Hill, near Selma, Alabama) where he died within two days of his return on April 18, 1853. King never carried out any duties of the office.

Truth is stranger than fiction, but in spite of this, author Eric M. Hamilton has written a novella about the subject of Pierce's vice-president dying in office. It is entitled Franklin Pierce in Death of a Vice-President and it is book one in Hamilton's "Presidents of the Uncanny States of America" series. It was published on June 4th of this year by a publisher called "Brief Conceits" and it is 104 pages long.

The description of the book contained on Amazon reads as follows:

Franklin Pierce, President of the United States, has suffered the greatest personal tragedy of his life, plunging him into a depression fueled madness. The Vice President arrives in Washington during middle of the night with news of an massive assassination conspiracy, but is killed with no hint as to who the murderer could have been. Can Franklin Pierce overcome his personal demons and discover who killed the Vice President before they kill him too? Franklin Pierce in Death of a Vice President is a thrilling gothic psychological horror, starring the little-known 19th century President of the United States. Designed to be enjoyed even if you forgot Franklin Pierce was a president at all, but history-buffs will find plenty of surprises along the way, too! Whoever you may be, you will love this compelling tale of madness and murder!


The author, Eric Hamilton is also an ordained minister who lives in Madison, Alabama. The book has received good reviews. I haven't read it yet, but have ordered it, as it seems perfect for as short plane ride. I'll be sure to write a review when I do.

Happy Birthday LBJ

On August 27, 1908 (107 years ago today) Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, was born in Stonewall, Texas in a small farmhouse on the Pedernales River. His parents were Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines. His father served five terms in the Texas legislature.

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Johnson is one of only four people to served in all four elected federal offices of the United States: Representative, Senator, Vice President and President (see if you can guess who the other three are, I'll tell you at the end of this.) A Democrat, Johnson served as a United States Representative from Texas, from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator from 1949–1961, including six years as United States Senate Majority Leader, two as Senate Minority Leader and two as Senate Majority Whip.

After campaigning unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for President in 1960, Johnson was asked by John F. Kennedy to be his running mate for the 1960 presidential election. Johnson was elected Vice President and served in the office from January 20, 1961 until he succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Johnson completed Kennedy's term in office and was elected President in his own right, winning by a large margin in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was responsible for designing what he called the "Great Society", a legislative program that included laws that upheld civil rights, public broadcasting, medicare, medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, Headstart, and his "War on Poverty."

Johnson was famous for his bullying, domineering and coercive personality. When he would attempt to convince a legislator or underling with bullying body language it was called the "Johnson treatment." His pressuring of powerful politicians in order to advance legislation was legendary.

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But for all of the socially positive legislation that Johnson is remembered for, he also greatly escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War. As the war dragged on, Johnson's popularity as President steadily declined as an on-the-spot news media brought reports of young American soldiers killed in the conflict into the living rooms of Americans at home. After the 1966 mid-term Congressional elections, Johnson abandoned his re-election bid for the 1968 United States presidential election as a result of turmoil within the Democratic Party related to opposition to the Vietnam War. He withdrew from the race amid growing opposition to his policy on the Vietnam War and a worse-than-expected showing in the New Hampshire primary.

After leaving the presidency in January 1969, Johnson retired to his ranch in Stonewall, Texas. In 1971, he published his memoirs, The Vantage Point. That year, the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum opened near the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. During the 1972 presidential election, Johnson supported Democratic presidential nominee George S. McGovern, a Senator from South Dakota, although McGovern had long opposed Johnson's foreign and defense policies.

Johnson died at his ranch at 3:39 p.m CST on January 22, 1973 at age 64 after suffering a massive heart attack. His health had been affected by years of heavy smoking, poor diet, and extreme stress; the former president had advanced coronary artery disease. He had his first, nearly fatal, heart attack in July 1955 and suffered a second one in April 1972, but had been unable to quit smoking after he left the Oval Office in 1969. He was found dead by Secret Service agents, in his bed, with a telephone in his hand.

Johnson's legacy remains mixed. He is remembered fondly for the advances in civil rights legislation that happened on his watch, but criticized for his escalation of the conflict of the Vietnam War.

Oh and as for the trivia question in the first paragraph, the other three were John Tyler, Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Presidents in Parody: LBJ in Path to War

During his presidency, Lyndon Baines Johnson was repeatedly attacked by critics and protesters for involving the United States in the Vietnam War. In 2002, the HBO network dramatized Johnson's struggles in a made for TV movie called Path to War. The movie is about President Lyndon Johnson and his trials and tribulations as the Vietnam War became out of control on his watch. The movie starred the prominent British actor Sir Michael Gambon as President Johnson.


The movie shows the Johnson presidency beginning with the high point of its popularity through its spiraling descent as the Vietnam War becomes a quagmire. Johnson must make strategic decisions amid the often conflicting advice from his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and other advisers. It shows how Johnson found his domestic policy agenda for the Great Society overtaken by an ever demanding commitment to ending the war. It also portrays Johnson's political skills as he battles with his political foes such as Robert F. Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. Despite support and encouragement from stalwart friends such as Clark Clifford, Johnson realizes his management of the war no longer has the confidence of the American people the movie culminates with Johnson's announcement that he will not seek the nomination of the Democratic party for the the 1968.

Besides Gambon, the cast includes Donald Sutherland as Clark Clifford, Alec Baldwin as Robert McNamara, Bruce McGill as George Ball, James Frain as speech writer Richard N. Goodwin, Felicity Huffman as Lady Bird Johnson, John Aylward as Dean Rusk, Philip Baker Hall as Senator Everett Dirksen, Gary Sinise as George Wallace (in a role that he had starred in a full length movie of in 1997), Tom Skerritt as General William Westmoreland, Sarah Paulson as Luci Baines Johnson and Curtis L. McClarin as Martin Luther King, Jr. The part of Special Assistant to the President Jack Valenti was played by the character's son, John Valenti, in the latter's first acting role.

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This is one of my favorite movies about a President. I've watched it several times and always enjoy it. The movie is two hours and forty-five minutes long, but it doesn't seem like it. I recommend this movie, especially for anyone old enough to remember the Vietnam War.

Following is an excerpt from the movie, in which Johnson discusses the war with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Security Advisor MacGeorge Bundy:

and here is another clip of Johnson's speech announcing his decision not to seek re-election:

Some of the posts in this series have made reference to a number of the imitations of presidents done by Saturday Night Live actors. In March of 2010, the website Funny or Die brought together a number of these actors for a sketch entitled Presidential reunion. In the sketch, the former presidents speak to incumbent Barack Obama about the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. Some of the actors in the sketch reprised characters going back in some cases to the 1970s. The skit was directed by Ron Howard.

The skit begins as President Obama and the first lady are getting ready for bed. The president is too concerned about a problem with the banks and credit card companies in America. Michelle convinces him to try to get some sleep, but as soon as he does, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush enter the room. Clinton and Bush offer Obama about how to handle the situation. George H. W. Bush joins the group and adds his advice to the Obamas. Jimmy Carter comes in with a toolbox and begins fixing a random object on the wall and is mocked by the other former presidents. Carter tells Obama to establish a consumer finance agency. He tells Obama that people are becoming frustrated with being conned by banks and credit card companies.

Ronald Reagan then appears before the group, surprising everyone since Reagan is dead. Reagan tells Obama to grow some cojones in order to take on the banks and credit companies. Gerald Ford then enters the room, tripping over a table. Ford suggests the only way to stop the banks is to pardon Richard Nixon. Carter interprets what Ford really means. The group ask Obama if their suggestions helped, but Obama dismisses them, saying they were the reason the mess was created. The group begin taunting Obama until he wakes up and realizes that he does need to be the one to establish a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, and goes rushing off to gather his cabinet.

The actors and the presidents and others the portrayed were:

Fred Armisen as Barack Obama
Maya Rudolph as Michelle Obama
Chevy Chase as Gerald Ford
Dan Ackroyd as Jimmy Carter
Jim Carrey as Ronald Reagan
Dana Carvey as George H. W. Bush
Darrell Hammond as Bill Clinton
Will Ferrell as George W. Bush

Carrey filled in as Reagan, who was portrayed for the most part by the late Phil Hartman. If you haven't seen the sketch, it can be found here. Unfortunately I'm not able to embed it.
Parks and Rec was a series on NBC that ran for 7 seasons from 2009 to 2015. It starred Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, an uber-energetic public servant in the Parks Department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. In its final season, the show projected into the future, 2017, when Leslie is working for the federal government in the Department of the Interior and her former mentor Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman) has gone to the private sector and is now her nemesis. The two battle over a piece of land in Pawnee that the owner intends to dispose of. Leslie wants the land for a national park, but is hamstrung by not having a budget to purchase it. She tries to convince the owner of the land to donate it to the federal government.

In episode 3 of season 7, entitled William Henry Harrison, Leslie stumbles across a tenuous connection between the land and Indiana's former Territorial Governor, the 9th President, William Henry Harrison. According to the story, Harrison had a summer cabin on the land at one time, and Leslie tries to rely on the historical significant of the land in an effort to convince the owner to preserve the land for posterity by donating it for parkland rather than selling it to private developers.

Leslie arranges a presentation to the owners. First however, she visits the William Henry Harrison museum and convinces the pedantic curator to allow her to borrow some of the exhibits for her presentation (which is called "William Henry Harrison: Indiana's Sweetheart"). This includes the giant ball used as a prop in Harrison's election campaign of 1840 (seen in the photo above. Leslie tells her team, "we should be going for quantity over quality.") The museum also has a display of other famous Harrisons, which not only include William Henry's grandson President Benjamin Harrison, but also Harrison Ford. It also has an "If He'd Worn a Coat" room (a reference to the disputed suggestion that Harrison died in office after only 31 days because he gave a two hour inaugural address in cold weather while not wearing an overcoat, causing him to contract pneumonia.) The room features alternate history headlines.

At the presentation, Leslie educates her audience about the 9th President and produces a reluctant supposed descendant of Harrison's named Zach Harrison, who the locals remember for his bad body odor and an embarrassing incident at camp. The band Jug or Not plays its version of the song "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" (very well I might add).

The episode aired on January 20 of this year. The entire episode can been seen here.

Presidents in Parody: 1776 (the Musical)

1776 is not just a year, it's also a musical, a book and a movie about the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It tells the story of how John Adams persuaded his colleagues to vote for American independence and to sign the document. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1969, to mostly positive reviews, and it ran for 1,217 performances. The production was nominated for five Tony Awards and won three, including the Tony Award for Best Musical. Itwas revived on Broadway in 1997. In 1972, the musical was made into the film also titled 1776. The film version of the musical cast William Daniels as John Adams, Howard da Silva as Benjamin Franklin and Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson. The musical had two acts and seven scenes.

The story is set in Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress is meeting, while General George Washington is fighting the British on the battlefield. Initially, the Congress in wasting its time on insignificant and trivial matters and procrastinates on debating the question of American independence. The leader of the independence faction is the John Adams of Massachusetts, whose continuous pushing has made him unpopular. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania leads the opposition, hoping for reconciliation with England. When time allows, Adams calls up the image of his wife Abigail Adams who is home in Massachusetts for insight and encouragement. (This portion of the script is based on letters between the couple). Dr. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania suggests because Adams has offended so many delegates, another colony that supports independence should submit a proposal.

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia rides off to Williamsburg, Virginia to get authorization from the Virginia Colony to propose independence. Dr. Lyman Hall arrives to represent Georgia, and is quizzed by his fellow delegates regarding his views on independence. Weeks later, Lee returns with the resolution, and debate on the question begins. In the midst of debate, Caesar Rodney of Delaware is unable to continue because of his cancer and is taken back home by fellow delegate Thomas McKean, leaving the anti-independence George Read to represent Delaware. After heated discussions, the question is called without a majority of positive votes present. But the New Jersey delegation arrives just in time to provide a vote supporting independence. Dickinson calls for a vote requiring unanimity for passage. The vote is ultimately decided in favor of unanimity. Stalling for time to rally support for the resolution, Adams and Franklin call again for a postponement, stating that a declaration describing their grievances is needed. The vote is successfully postponed until such a document can be written.

Hancock appoints a committee that includes Adams, Franklin, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Robert Livingston of New York, and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson resists because he wants to return home to Virginia to see his wife, Martha, but the others present convince him to stay and complete the task. Jefferson develops writer's block due to missing his wife, so Adams sends for Martha. While trying to achieve unanimity for the vote, Adams, Franklin and Samuel Chase of Maryland visit the Colonial Army at New Brunswick, New Jersey, at the request of General Washington, to help convince Maryland.

When they return to Philadelphia, the declaration is read and then debated and amended. Jefferson agrees to most alterations to the document, much to Adams' growing consternation. The Southern delegates, led by Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, walk out of Congress when a clause opposing slavery is not removed. Adams remains adamant that the clause remain, but Franklin appeals to him to allow the passage to be removed so that they can first achieve the vote on independence and the formation of a nation, deferring the slavery fight to a later time. Adams leaves the final decision to Jefferson, who concedes. After removing that clause, 11 of 13 colonies are now in favor. New York abstains.

The question is therefore up to the Colony of Pennsylvania, whose delegation is polled at Franklin's request. Franklin votes for the declaration, but Dickinson votes against. The outcome is now in the hands of their fellow Pennsylvanian Judge James Wilson. Wilson usually follows Dickinson's lead, but in this case Wilson votes in favor of the declaration, securing its passage, because he does not want to be remembered as the man who voted to prevent American independence. After receiving word of the destruction of his property from General Washington, Lewis Morris finally withdraws New York's abstention and agrees to sign the document. Finally, with the Declaration of Independence ready to be signed, Hancock places his signature first and the others sign the Declaration, establishing the United States on July 4, 1776.

The play and film were criticized for a number of historical inaccuracies (for example, Martha Jefferson never traveled to Philadelphia). It was also panned by a number of critics. Roger Ebert wrote: "This is an insult to the real men who were Adams, Jefferson, Franklin and the rest. The performances trapped inside these roles, as you might expect, are fairly dreadful. There are good actors in the movie (especially William Daniels as Adams and Donald Madden as John Dickinson), but they're forced to strut and posture so much that you wonder if they ever scratched or spit or anything. I can hardly bear to remember the songs, much less discuss them. Perhaps I shouldn't. It is just too damn bad this movie didn't take advantage of its right to the pursuit of happiness."

The film nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy but lost to Cabaret. Harry Stradling Jr. was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography but lost to Geoffrey Unsworth for Cabaret. Despite the criticisms of Ebert and others, it's still a fun film to watch. The entire film can be found here and below is a video of a song from the film called "Sit Down John!"

The NBC television show Saturday Night Live has been home to many a presidential parody. One of the most intricate was a series of cartoon shorts written by Robert Smigel and animated by J. J. Sedemaier Productions entitled The X-Presidents.

This cartoon featured former American Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush (all voiced by Jim Morris) as a superhero team. It first appeared on SNL on January 11, 1997. The four former leaders were endowed with superpowers when struck by lightning at a celebrity golf tournament. The title was devised as a play on words, referencing the fact that the members are all former or "ex"-Presidents, and also alluding to the Marvel Comics franchise, X-Men. Their wives are also members of a similar group, "The X-First Ladies".

In one episode entitled "Nixon," Richard Nixon and his dog Checkers are resurrected to aid the group. In later episodes, Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush attempted to join the group after leaving office but were unable to do so because of their lack of superpowers. The cartoons end with the X-Presidents singing a song that recounts the episode's message.

In one episode, another mock superhero team, The Ambiguously Gay Duo, another series of shorts created by Robert Smigel and J. J. Sedelmaier, made a special guest appearance in an episode of the X-Presidents entitled "The Hunt for Osama". The sketch broadly parodies Hanna-Barbera/Filmation cartoons from the 1970s.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate any videos of the cartoon that I could embed into this post. The cartoon was adapted to a graphic novel by Random House Books that is available here.
Over the years a number of real (as opposed to fictional) US Presidents have made appearances as characters in a number of comic books in which they mingled with superheroes and in some cases gave those heroes their marching orders. In at least one case, this was inspired by the president's love of comic books. That was when Barack Obama made an appearance in the comic "Spiderman" prior to his inauguration. Obama had told certain audiences during the 2008 election campaign that he was an avid collector of Spiderman Comics.

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In honour of this, the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issue #583 featured what Marvel Comics called "the Spidey/Obama Team-Up". The comic featured a story entitled "Spidey Meets the President!" The story was written by Zeb Wells with art by Todd Nauck and Frank D'Armata. It takes place in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day and finds one of Spider-Man's oldest foes, the Chameleon, attempting to thwart the swearing in ceremony of the 44th President of the United States.

Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada is quoted as saying "When we heard that President Obama is a collector of Spider-Man comics, we knew that these two historic figures had to meet in our comics' Marvel Universe. "Historic moments such as this one can be reflected in our comics because the Marvel Universe is set in the real world. A Spider-Man fan moving into the Oval Office is an event that must be commemorated in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man."

Presidents have been supporting characters in comics before. During World War II, superheroes fought Hitler as Franklin D. Roosevelt cheered them on. Other appearances by Presidents on the pages of comic books include:

*President Nixon orders the capture and prosecution of the Hulk and in Hulk #152 in 1972. That same year Nixon must deal with the threat of Galactus in Fantastic Four #123. Nixon is perhaps best known in the comic world for his appearance in Watchmen . In Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ dystopian tale, Nixon is still president in 1985. Dr. Manhattan's involvement in Vietnam helped the US to win the war, ending it in the mid-‘60s. Government-employed and dark-sided The Comedian is implied to have killed JFK, Woodward, and Bernstein. With term limits cast aside, Nixon is still in the Oval Office.

*Jimmy Carter makes an appearance in Justice League of America #150 1978. Carter is threatened by the Star-Tsar and contacts the Justice League for help.

*Ronald Reagan meets with General Thunderbolt Ross in The Incredible Hulk #264 1981. General Ross requests the President increase funds and man power to hunt the Hulk. Reagan offers him a jelly bean.

*Bill and Hillary Clinton attend Superman's funeral in "The Death of Superman".

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*Superman meets with Ronald Reagan in 1986 in the Legends mini series. In the DC Comics Legends Mini Series a Darkseid operative turns the public against America's superheroes and the chaos reigns in the streets. The President is forced to issue an order to restrict all superhero activity. In the last issue the Martian Manhunter J'onn J'onzz assumes the identity of the President to draw the fire of terrorists in the White House. His super heroic act convinces Reagan to rescind the order against the heroes. Superman and the others are able to defeat the bad guys and regain the public's trust once again.

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John F. Kennedy appeared in Action Comics #309 in 1963, when he helped protect Clark Kent's secret identity. "If I can't trust the president of the United States, who can I trust?" Superman tells Kennedy. That issue appeared a week after Kennedy was assassinated. DC Comics had to explain later that it was too late to recall the book.


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