This comprehensive guide is the definitive source for researchers seeking an understanding of those who have occupied the White House and on the institution of the U.S. presidency. Readers turn to Guide to the Presidency for its wealth of facts and analytical chapters that explain the structure, powers, and operations of the office and the president’s relationship with Congress and the Supreme Court. The work is divided into eight distinct subject areas covering every aspect of the U.S. presidency.

Chapter 16 Presidential Appearances

Chapter 16 Presidential appearances
Harold F.Bass Jr.

Presidents always work at a distance from the American public. Through public opinion polls, interest groups, the media, and relations with Congress and the bureaucracy, presidents gain indirect access to their constituents. Although speaking directly to people helps presidents to create at least the illusion of a direct relationship, it does not help them to develop the relationships they need to assemble coalitions and to govern. To build coalitions, presidents must appeal to many separate groups, or separate publics, as much as to the public at large. Presidents’ frequent public appeals have made presidential governance an extension of electoral campaigns.

The President as Public Figure

The president occupies the most prominent position in U.S. politics largely because, with the ...

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