Vote Now: The Best and Worst TV Presidents

After a grueling 2012 presidential campaign, today everything comes to a head as Americans head to the polls to decide who'll be living in the White House for the next four years. But while we wait for the results to come in, we invite you to take a political breather by weighing in on the best (and worst) television presidencies fake TV America has ever had. Herewith, our personal picks; cast your own votes in the poll and comments below!


THE BEST


24's David Palmer

24's idealistic and beloved David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) led the country mainly by letting Jack Bauer do his thing. President Palmer was also voted by real-world watchers as one of their favorite on-screen Presidents, securing his place at the head of the list as the best fictional President fake-America’s ever had.


The West Wing's Josiah “Jed” Bartlet

Another fictional president viewers remember more fondly than most real-world leaders, Bartlet (Martin Sheen) was a social crusader who pioneered immigration amnesty, a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine, and Social Security reform, all while suffering multiple sclerosis. Despite his inability to balance the budget, we’d give Bartlett another term any day.


Commander in Chief's Mackenzie “Mac” Allen

President Allen (Geena Davis) went from VP to POTUS after the president suffered a heart attack. As America's first female president and one of the country's only Independent leaders, she had to deal with sexism in the Oval Office and at home, but still managed to guide America as capably as Bartlett, Palmer, or any other of her fictional counterparts.


Stargate SG-1's Henry Hayes

Sure, President Henry Hayes (William Devane) may have gotten rid of Stargate’s Major General Hammond, but he also kicked out his conniving and evil VP and helped defend Earth against alien invasion from Anubis. A man who knows his way around a Stargate is a man who deserves four more years!


Cory in the House's Richard Martinez

Often heard uttering the catchphrase “The President of the United States!” and known for harboring an obsession with mentoring the son of his head chef, President Martinez (John D’Aquino) would be considered insane in the real world. But in the world of Disney Channel's Cory in the House, where characters' pants fell down to reveal funny underwear and the offspring of the kitchen staff got to roam the halls of the White House with impunity, he fit right in.



THE WORST


Battlestar Galactica's Gaius Baltar

Not only did Gaius’s (James Callis) sexual shenanigans get the Twelve Colonies destroyed, his obsession with Cylon Number Six almost brought about total human genocide. Presidency highlights included revealing the ship’s location to the Cylons (come on, Gaius!) and surrendering the human race to the Cylons (come ON, Gaius!).


Doctor Who's The Master

The Master (John Simm) ran on a platform of overwriting the DNA of everyone in the world (including President Obama), turning them into clones of himself, and killing the Doctor. He kept his first promise but fell apart on the second, and his DNA-tampering was reversed during a confrontation with the Time Lords. Sorry The Master—we know Barack Obama and sir, you are no Barack Obama!


Futurama's Head of Nixon

As the regular President of the United States, Nixon was a crook. As a disembodied head and Futurama's President of Earth, Nixon (Billy West) was downright EVIL. Highlights of his administration included the senseless Bouncy Ball Planet War, the failure to stop the invasion of Earth several times, and mounting his head on a giant robot and destroying Washington, D.C.


Prison Break's Caroline Reynolds

Corruption, thy name is President Reynolds (Patricia Wettig). Framing protagonist Lincoln Burrows for her brother’s (fake) death, Vice President Reynolds poisoned her way up to the Presidency and then squandered her time conspiring with and against The Company, Burrows, and anyone who stood in her way, only to resign halfway through.


The Event's Raymond Jarvis

Another sniveling coward, VP Jarvis (Bill Smitrovich) became acting Commander-in-Chief after an assassination attempt on the president’s life... and promptly caved to alien invaders in between bouts of being accused of the assassination attempt on the president’s life.


Note: To submit a write-in candidate, type the actor's name and list the show/character in the comments.

Comments (56)
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how about wayne palmer from 24 - david palmers brother
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Wayne Palmer would be a runaway winner of the worst... and there have been some bad TV Presidents...
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This poll got very weird...
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How about President Roslin from Galactica? How about President Taylor from 24 who I blelieve is both a good and bad President.
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Martin Sheen, hands down!!
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What happened to Thats' My Bush?? He was hilarious as George!!!!!
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Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos...
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Definitely the Presidents of 24. David Palmer was the best and Charles Logan was the worst.
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President Master instead of Barack Obama...
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SPOILER: Battlestar Galactica SPOILER alert



I just finished watching BG and may have (mis?)read more into this than was intended, but didn't the final scene reveal Gaius to be some sort of god, or a tool of destiny. In the context of the central theme of timelessness pervading the series ('this has all happened before and will happen again') I took the interpretation that Gaius' role was instrumental in bringing about the fresh start. By being unaware of his true self/role for the most part he ensured that he was non-interventionist, thereby giving humanity the chance to create its own destiny. It is only when this destiny threatens to destroy humanity that Gaius begins to fiddle with things, ultimately leading to the eradication of technology and a fresh start.

With this in mind I don't think Gaius' role can be understand in such black and white terms as working against humanity. Well, that's my interpretation anyway :-)
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Well there were two Gaius's and two Sixes, the flesh and blood versions and the mostly invisible versions. I think the invisble Gaius and Six that appear in the absolute final scene are, for lack of a better term, angels that looked liked Gaius and Six to guide thier counterparts along the path set out by the angels boss.



And how come Laura Roslin isn't on the worst president list? Never won an election for the office, gets the first term by accident, tries to steal a re-election, and when that fails uses political maneauvering to get the job back. Ditches a long time political ally to make Gaius VP. Incites mutany in the fleet. etc.

Gaius may have been self-centred oppourtuntist but at least there was something honest about his dishonesty
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I think Gaius shouldn't be here anyway. He was the presidente of the Twelve Colonies, not America...
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'best (and worst) television presidencies fake TV America has ever had.'

yet the title is

'The Best and Worst TV Presidents'

so I decided to let this one slide :P
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That's a good point. I wasn't thinking that this list was specifically of US presidents, but presidents/prime ministers in general. But the article does describe this as a list of the 'best (and worst) television presidencies fake TV America has ever had.'
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William Devane (Stargate SG-1's Henry Hayes) is the Best because, um he saved earth from a massive Alien Invasion from Anubis and really stood up to him, and Anubis is a scary entity! And he handled situations after this very well!



The worst is definitely James Callis (Battlestar Galactica's Gaius Baltar) because he was working with The Cylons against his own people. This was some major stuff!
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President Roslin was a selfish psycho.

No thanks, it's like Bush and Romney in 1.

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Or Obama and whats his name...
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any time Dennis Haysbert, Martin Sheen, or Beau Bridges are playing the president you know it's going to be good. Caroline Reynolds was absolutely the worst TV president. Granted she was a woman, which is cool, but she also framed an innocent man for a murder that never even happened. Terrible.
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David Palmer was absolutely the best
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David Palmer all the way!!!! Charles Logan should also be on this list. As for Nixon's head he's just a big meanie.
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Dude, Ron Swanson needs a picture..
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Does really no one know Stephanie Paul, the Sarah-Palin-lookalike from "Iron Sky"?! Really?!
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I don't know why James Masters is in there but you give me a poll with James Masters in it and i vote for James Masters. That's just cause and effect.

What about President Charles Logan. He was the worst.
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I don't watch any of those shows.
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I am just so happy I've just watched Doctor Who (9th-11th Doctors) so I know The Master. So many TV Show References that I finally understand now
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BSG's Gaius wasn't that bad! He got elected in a true democratic fashion while the incumbent Roslin acted like a dictator and even tried to steal the results.

Then he had to surrender since only civilians remained on the planet to face an armada of Cylon, but while under the constant watch of the occupant he still managed to let information be transmitted to the resistance. Then of course he was a complete schizo.
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Oh, yeah, he was a great humanitarian. Bet you voted for legalization, didn't you?
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Let's not forget that David Palmer wasn't exactly a saint, the wheels started coming off in Seasons 3 & 4. It may not be fair to compare other fictional presidents to Jed Bartlett since he wasn't immersed in a sensationalist plot but he still has to be the best.



On the other hand Charles Logan was infinitely worse than Gaius Baltar and was clearly the most despicable president ever.
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I would vote for Heroes' Sylar as the worst president but it's a question of which actor - Zachary Quinto or Adrian Pasdar?
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Don't you mean Nathan?
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David Palmer for the win! Loved Dennis Haybert as him. Logan was the absolute worst.
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24 all the way. Charles Logan sucked so much they made an entire season about taking him down (which BTW was the best 24 season) and David Palmer was an iconic 24 character up until....well, Season 5.
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Both are from 24 for me. Palmer as best, Logan as worst.
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I wouldn't really blame Gaius for surrendering on the cold planet. They were caught with their pants down. Nobody was armed, most of their ships were now houses... and BAMF! Dozens of cylon war ships just blink into the sky.

In this case, the only thing TO do was surrender.

Granted, just about everything ELSE he did was either dark or stupid. He accidentally let the Cylons nuke the colonies. But then willingly gave a Cylon with emotional problems a nuke.
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David Palmer hands down! Also as a President character Charles Logan was extremely good. A terrible president, but the character was pure joy to watch.

And Gaius for the worst president! However, can't really blame his obsession with Six that much. It wasn't made clear but there was something more to Six than just a hallucination. Hand of Fate maybe? Who knows.. And Six had her counterpart - Gaius hallucination. That only adds to the thought that the hallucinations were something much more.
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I included Adrian Pasdar, except somebody decided to use his Political Animals' character instead of the Future Nathan Petrelli from Heroes.
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Staff
We can fix that!
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Best: David Palmer (really, where's the competition?)

Worst: 24's Charles Logan



Gaius Baltar was pretty bad, but I felt with him some of the way since he wasn't all bad. Just a chicken shit sometimes.
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Best: Josiah "Jed" Bartlet (Martin Sheen - The West Wing)... Bartlet for America!



Worst: Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin - 24)
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I agree in full.
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Gaius "The Worm" Baltar.

In a world where the reincarnation exists, Baltar lived a great life as worm, doing his... worm job perfectly. So God decided to reward him by making him a human for the next life. The thing is, he forgot to give the sucker a damn spine.
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David Palmer knows how to handle a crisis! As for Charles Logan, he belongs with the likes of George W. Bush!
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Why is Scandal's Fitzgerald Grant not on the lists? Or do you have a separate list for hottest presidents?
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Geena Davis's President character is on the... top list? Well, I have no response to that.



Martin Sheen will be forever remembered. Should the politicians in this world have half the character's integrity and we'd all be safer and sounder.
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I was about to fight that Charles Logan wasn't in the worst list, thankfully he at least appeared in the poll.



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David Palmer from 24 is the one I remember most fondly. Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica does deserve a mention, though.



And while Gaius Baltar from BSG was absolutely horrible in the role, he wasn't entirely bad or corrupt. So I definitely agree with people adding Charles Logan from 24 - the worst sort of a weasel.



In short, 24 seems to win in both categories. Just leave the numbers kid and go make that damn movie, Kiefer.

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I think Dennis has played his role as Prez very well and others should follow suite.

On the other hand the worst Prez speaks for itself, nuff said.
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Bartlet for ever !!!
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I would have voted Nixon (haven't been able to say that in my lifetime), but Baltar was especially horrible.

For the flip side, I voted for Henry Hayes, good inclusion with the SG1 president, he was pretty well written and stood up well yet had an understanding of politics.
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Best, I'd say President Bartlet, although Palmer is a very close second. A big part of the reason Bartlet works so well is because of Martin Sheen, who does a very great job making him seem like a very strong-willed and likable president. As wor the worst, that's easy: President Logan. Again, a big part of this has to do with acting. Gregory Itzen does a fantastic job of making him seem like the weasel he is, not to mention all the crap he did during the show.
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Couldn't agree more :)
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As bad as he was, god I loved Gaius Baltar. Even at his most pathetic. And the fact that the Master is even on this list brings happiness to my heart. As for really good presidents, President Palmer. Or Michael Douglas in The American President. There's a Sorkin vibe here.
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Jed Bartlett
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Jed Bartlett all the way. There will never be another show about DC quite as good as that one. Also, I'm surprised you still remember "Commander in Chief".
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Um, where's 24's the guy who was VP in season 4, and then the president died, and then became President and then turned out to be a total douche. Logan? I remember a Logan perhaps?
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Gregory Itzin is the actor - he's been written into the poll
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