Presidents and the Political Agenda

B. Dan Wood

in The Oxford Handbook of the American Presidency

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238859
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Presidents and the Political Agenda

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  • Politics
  • US Politics
  • Public Policy



This article discusses the current state of scientific research on the president and the political agenda. It also points toward gaps and limitations in the literature and areas for future research. It starts by describing the presidents and general theories of agenda setting. Presidents must compete with a variety of influences if they want to focus systemic attention on their issue priorities. Their main paths for focusing systemic attention are through the mass media and making direct appeals to the public. Agenda setting is a critical element of presidential leadership. The presidential issue priorities may not be ripe for consideration due to constraints on the agenda space or the dominance of more pressing matters. There are many instances where the president is simply one of the players in a policy-making process that is always ongoing. It is stated that the American president is a significant actor in setting political agendas.

Keywords: American president; political agenda; agenda setting; presidential leadership; policy-making

Article.  11618 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Public Policy

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