President in Waiting, the new film from Jeffrey Roth, is a historic documentary that features the former presidents and vice presidents.
All of the six living Vice Presidents make appearances to mark the first time in that they have appeared in such a film. Maybe not together but I’ll wake it. Moreover, the four former living presidents are also in the film to discuss their relationships. There is only one president that does not make an appearance. But hey, this should not come as a surprise.
I would wager to say that this is a particularly revelatory film. If you’re a political junkie like myself, you’ll enjoy it. I only wish it was longer. There is so much knowledge to take in. There are still some records that are classified to it’s interesting to watch the interview with President-elect Biden in that regard.
Not only do they talk about the modern era for vice presidents but they talk about VPs from back in the day. Take former president Harry S. Truman as an example. While FDR was in office, then-Vice President Truman had zero knowledge of the Manhattan Project. Think about this. The man who is a heartbeat away from the highest office in the United States had zero knowledge of a major defensive operation.
Walter Mondale has helped to make the position what it is in the contemporary era. He provided federal experience on Jimmy Carter’s ticket. George H.W. Bush brought a similar role to Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. In the film, Dan Quayle said that Bob Dole would have been the sane choice in deciding on a Vice President. However, the selection of Quayle brought youth to the ticket. You can make the same argument for Clinton and Gore when it comes to federal experience. Similarly, Biden opens up on his deliberations about accepting the #2 job. This is in addition to his relationship with President Obama including times when he would provide advice.
Vice Presidents can be a nobody or they can play a prominent role in the administration. The position has changed substantially over the years. Nowadays, it can make or break a campaign. Someone can be chosen for their federal experience or the youth they bring to the ticket. In some instances, this can be both. Time will tell before we see how history will look upon Kamala Harris and her role in the Biden White House.
While the White House is an iconic house in and of itself, Number One Observatory Circle isn’t quite as famous. Walter Mondale is the first VP to move into the house but it was Dan Quayle who made substantial upgrades to the house–including a pool. In doing some quick research, Vice President Gore delayed his move so that the house could undergo substantial renovations and repairs.
In addition to interviews, the film also includes archival footage, photos, and other media that document the Office of the Vice Presidency. There’s a funny moment involving Al Gore after Tom Hanks introduced him at an event. It was shortly after Gore appeared on Late Show with David Letterman. Gore referenced the Vice President’s seal and joked that if he closed an eye, the podium read President of the United States. He’s not wrong!
President in Waiting, while revelatory in many aspects, could also be longer for the political junkies out there. That said, it’s still a solid film.
DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Roth
FEATURING: Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Mike Pence, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Dan Quayle, Walter Mondale