A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university, nation, a division or part of any of these, or, more generally, anything else. Etymologically, a president is one who presides (from Latin prae- "before" + sedere "to sit"; giving the term praeses). Originally, the term referred to the presiding officer of a ceremony or meeting (i.e., chairman), but today it most commonly refers to an executive official.
- Presidents are made, not born. That’s a good thing to remember. It’s silly to think that Presidents are born, because very few people are 35 years old at birth, and those who are won’t admit it. So if you’re only 16 don’t be discouraged, because it’s only a phase and there’s nothing wrong with you that you won’t outgrow.
- Gracie Allen, in How to Become President (1940), Ch. 2 : Others make good, why not you?
- By almost universal agreement, the most vague and ineffectual of all Presidents was Millard Fillmore, who succeeded to the office in 1850 upon the death of Zachary Taylor, and spent the next three years demonstrating how the country would have been run if they had just propped Taylor up in a chair with cushions.
- The President is the last person in the world to know what the people really want and think.
- James A. Garfield, as quoted in Garfield of Ohio : The Available Man (1970) by John M. Tyler
- American university presidents are a nervous breed; I have never thought well of them as a class.
- Let us not be mistaken: the best government in the world, the best parliament and the best president, cannot achieve much on their own. And it would be wrong to expect a general remedy from them alone. Freedom and democracy include participation and therefore responsibility from us all.
- Václav Havel, in his New Year's Address to the Nation, Prague, Czechoslovakia (1 January 1990)
- If you want to see your plays performed the way you wrote them, become President.
- There used to be a time when this country's president could have delivered the same New Year's Address he had given a year before, and nobody would have noticed.
Fortunately, that time has passed.
- Václav Havel, in his New Year's Address to the Nation, Prague, Czechoslovakia (1 January 1991)
- My dear friends, I bid you farewell as your President. I remain with you as your fellow citizen!
- Václav Havel, in his Farwell Address to the Czech Republic, Czech Radio & Television (2 February 2003)
- Today, every president is the target of criticism and mockery. It is inconceivable that even the most caustic critic would be imprisoned for his or her words.
- We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist government.
We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom
We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.
We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
- It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farmworkers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
- In my country we go to prison first and then become President.
- Bush is now undermining the United Nations. He is acting outside it, not withstanding the fact that the United Nations was the idea of President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Both Bush, as well as Tony Blair, are undermining an idea which was sponsored by their predecessors.
- What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.
- Nelson Mandela, in a speech at the International Women's Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa (29 January 2003), prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
- The most thoroughly and relentlessly Damned, banned, excluded, condemned, forbidden, ostracized, ignored, suppressed, repressed, robbed, brutalized and defamed of all Damned things is the individual human being. The social engineers, statisticians, psychologists, sociologists, market researchers, landlords, bureaucrats, captains of industry, bankers, governors, commissars, kings and presidents are perpetually forcing this Damned Thing into carefully prepared blueprints and perpetually irritated that the Damned Thing will not fit into the slot assigned to it. The theologians call it a sinner and tries to reform it. The governor calls it a criminal and tries to punish it. The psychotherapist calls it neurotic and tries to cure it. Still, the Damned Thing will not fit into their slots.
- All presidents rail against the press. It goes with the turf.
- Helen Thomas, in her Hearst newspaper column (15 October 2003)