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Contemporary presidents face a leadership dilemma. As a consequence of gaps between growing public expectations, dispersed political resources, and limited constitutional and statutory authority, the dilemma presents a continuing challenge for those who occupy the Oval Office, one that they need to overcome if they are to be successful.
When the Founding Fathers created the office of president they labored hard and long to define its powers and the manner in which its holders were to be chosen, but they had little to say about the vice presidency. This does not mean that they considered that office unimportant.
The most controversial political event of the 1990s, the impeachment and Senate trial of President Bill Clinton in 1998–1999 prompted debate over the extent to which the private lives of public officials matter, while also heightening political partisanship and once again calling into question the prudence of the Watergate-inspired position of independent counsel.
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