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When Our (Fictional) Presidents Are Tested by Their Moments

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When Our (Fictional) Presidents Are Tested by Their Moments


Calm authority, an effortless intimacy with the facts, an empathy that’s felt, not merely read off a page: When the American president becomes comforter-in-chief by dint of a national crisis, it’s the toughest part of the gig.

As millions of homebound viewers tune into daily coronavirus briefings, who can blame anyone for wanting to return to the leaders from our movies or TV? (No doubt having a screenwriter or two helps.) Setting aside performances based on actual White House occupants (sorry, Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”), we prioritized big, bold conceptions — including some wonderful weasels — and arrived at 10 picks, roughly in order of best to worst.

1998



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