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Our Favorite Fictitional Commanders-and-Chiefs

Observer Scene | Monday, November 3, 2008

Harrison Ford as President James Marshall in “Air Force One”Bio: President James Marshall takes a tough stance against terrorism and then becomes a hostage himself when Air Force One is taken over by terrorists from Kazakhstan, led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman). The terrorists demand the release of their leader General Radek. Marshall appears to escape from the plane in an emergency capsule yet is actually hiding on board. Then he silently kills a member of the terrorist group before establishing contact with F-15’s to engage the hijacked plane. Marshall is the handsome, down-to-earth hero with surprisingly good hand-to-hand combat skills. Even though he is the President he chances his life (much to his Vice President, Glenn Close’s chagrin) such as when he swings from a cable in midair.Weapon of Choice: His fistsMemorable Quote: “We will never negotiate. We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid. It’s your turn to be afraid.” Also, “GET OFF MY PLANE!”

Morgan Freeman as President Tom Beck in “Deep Impact”Bio: The unfortunate job of breaking the news to the American people that the planet is about to be hit by a massive comet is left to the able President Beck. He must also inform the public that the government has been preparing underground caves to house a million lucky people chosen to survive the calamity. Beck devised the plan to build the caves, and eventually ends up saving humanity. National survival was his forte.Weapon of Choice: Freeman’s characteristic, calming voiceMemorable Quote: “Cities fall, but they are rebuilt. And heroes die, but they are remembered.”

Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in “The American President”Bio: While President Shepherd runs for re-election and negotiates a new crime bill, he courts an environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening) and the press watches their every move. Douglas is theatrical enough to make even the most cynical viewer feel at least a twinge of romantic patriotism. Seeking re-election, the Democrat sells his environmental lobbyist girlfriend out for a pansy crime bill. In the end, he redeems himself by backing her bill, then issuing a stinging challenge to the Republican senator who attacked her ACLU-card-carrying ways.Weapon of Choice: Rhetoric and romanceMemorable Quote: “If you want to talk about character and American values, fine. Just tell me where and when, and I’ll show up. This is a time for serious people, Bob, and your fifteen minutes are up. My name is Andrew Shepherd, and I am the President.”

Bill Pullman as President Thomas J. Whitmore in “Independence Day”Bio: Whitmore leads by example in his battle against an alien invasion. He refuses to let the aliens stay and pools together his resources to protect the world’s natural resources. Whitmore proved he was an everyman president by piloting a fighter plane in the war against extraterrestrial invaders, who were bent on destroying mankind. And in a powerful 4th of July speech he uses a megaphone to rouse the American people from the back of a pick-up truck before climbing on board that fighter.Weapon of Choice: Fighter jet and the Fresh PrinceMemorable Quote: “We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”

Kevin Kline as Dave Kovic/’President Bill Mitchell’ in “Dave”Bio: Due to an uncanny resemblance to the President an ordinary man, Dave Kovic, moonlights as the President. After the real commander-in-chief has a stroke he impersonates the Prez after being coerced a pair of Machiavellian advisors. Dave decides to do some good while he has the chance, including fixing the federal budget and repairing relations with the icy First Lady (Sigourney Weaver). Dave is the classic common man, and also a champion of the homeless who wants to secure employment for all Americans.Weapon of Choice: VirtueMemorable Quote: “If you’ve ever seen the look on somebody’s face the day they finally get a job, I’ve had some experience with this, they look like they could fly. And its not about the paycheck, it’s about respect, it’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done something valuable with your day. And if one person could start to feel this way, and then another person, and then another person, soon all these other problems may not seem so impossible. You don’t really know how much you can do until you, stand up and decide to try.”

Martin Sheen as President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet on “The West Wing”Bio: A devout Roman Catholic who attended the one and only University of Notre Dame in the hope of one day becoming a priest, until meeting his future wife and First Lady Abbey (Stockard Channing). He speaks four languages, and was a Nobel Laureate in Economics. Bartlet is portrayed as a stern but loving father. He hides the fact that he suffers from multiple sclerosis from the American public, but is still re-elected. Bartlet’s accomplishments as President include granting amnesty to illegal immigrants from the Americas, appointing the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice and first female Chief Justice, negotiating a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine, creating millions of new jobs, and support for alternative energy,. Bartlet is endowed with a fierce intellect, great personal integrity, toughness yet compassion, and a sense of humor. He also demonstrates respect and affection for his staffers.Weapon of Choice: Wit, charm and impeccable taste in universitiesMemorable Quote: Mrs. Bartlet asks the introspective President what he is thinking about, and Bartlet replies: “Tomorrow.”

Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer on “24”Bio: As a Senator from Maryland, Palmer is elected President after several assassination attempts against him on the day of the California primary are foiled by Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). Palmer’s role as President is often vital to the successful foiling of terrorist plots. Palmer is seen as a good leader who makes difficult decisions without much hesitation. On several occasions, his intervention as President and the execution of his Presidential powers are extremely helpful for the CTU and Bauer.Weapon of Choice: Jack BauerMemorable Quote: “Listen to me. All of you. I know you’re not in the same room with me but you can see and hear me plainly enough. Take a good look. Do I seem scared? Am I breaking into a nervous sweat? Am I babbling? At a loss for words? Is my voice shaking? Can any one of you look me in the eye and tell me I’m disabled?”