How a new president officially takes office
What is a lame-duck president? A lameduck president is one who has the office and title of president, but who has very little power because he has lost the election.Skip to next paragraph
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The term lame duck originally meant a big-business man in 18th-century England who had lost all his money and had gone out of business.
Today, it refers to people who have been beaten in an election and who, although they remain in office for a short while, no longer have much power.
Right now president Carter is a lame-duck President. At the same time, the man who beat him in the November election, Ronald Reagan, has no power at all as the incoming President. This is because he has not been sworn into office yet. That will happen this month.
The time between when a president was voted into office and when he took charge used to be much longer -from November to March.
In 1933 Congress decided to cut the time in half. It passed the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which set noon on Jan. 20 as the last moment an outgoing president could stay in office. As a result, Mr. Reagan will be inaugurated, or sworn in, as the new president on the afternoon of Jan. 20.
The first President to be inaugurated on the new date was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, at the start of his second term of office in 1937. The ceremony on the main portico of the Capital took place in the middle of a downpour of rain.
Just as President Roosevelt and all the other presidents have done since George Washington, Mr. Reagan on Jan. 20 will take this oath, which is required by the Constitution:
"I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
As a result of taking that oath, Mr. Reagan will move into the White House, which is where all the presidents live while they are in office in Washington.
It's formal title was once the "Executive Mansion," until it was destroyed by the British on Aug. 24, 1814. It was rebuilt, and because it was painted white became better known as the White House. The President who formalized the name was Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, who changed the stationary from "Executive Mansion" to "The White House." Theodore Roosevelt, was President from 1901 to 1909.
George Washington never lived in the White House. The first President to live there was John Adams. Mrs. Adams used to hang up thhe washing in the uncompleted East Room.
As the most powerful person in the land, the president is commander in chief of the armed forces. He can make treaties, provided two-thirds of the senators approve. He can name ambassadors, receive foreign leaders, appoint Supreme Court justices, and veto bills, although Congress may override them.
Next in line of succession to the president is the vice-president, followed by the president pro tem of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and then cabinet members, starting with the most important ones: secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the secretary of the Treasury, and attorney general. 52900100027317 NOVEMBER 15, 1981