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President of the United States
The President of the United States of America (sometimes abbreviated as POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president is at the head of the executive branch of the federal government, whose role is to enforce national law as given in the Constitution and written by Congress. Article Two of the Constitution establishes the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and enumerates powers specifically granted to the president, including the power to sign into law or veto bills passed by both houses of Congress, to create a Cabinet of advisors, to grant pardons or reprieves, and, with the "advice and consent" of the Senate, to make treaties, appoint federal officers, ambassadors, and federal judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court. As with officials in the other branches of the United States government, the Constitution restrains the president with a set of checks and balances designed to prevent any individual or group from taking absolute power.
The president is elected indirectly through the United States Electoral College to a four year term, with a limit of two terms imposed by the Twenty-second Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1951. Under this system, each state is allocated a number of electoral votes, equal to the size of the state's delegation in both houses of Congress combined. The District of Columbia is also granted electoral votes, per the Twenty-third Amendment to the Constitution. Voters in nearly all states choose a presidential candidate through the plurality voting system, whom then receives all of that state's electoral votes. A simple majority of electoral votes is needed to become president; if no candidate receives that many votes, the election is thrown to the House of Representatives, which votes by state delegation.
While in office, the White House in Washington, D.C. serves as the place of residence for the president; he is entitled to use its staff and facilities, including medical care, recreation, housekeeping, and security services. One of two Boeing VC-25 aircraft, which are extensively modified versions of Boeing 747-200B airliners, serve as long distance travel for the president, and are referred to as Air Force One while the president is on board. A salary of $400,000, along with other benefits, is paid to the president annually.
Since the adoption of the Constitution, forty-two individuals have been elected or succeeded into the presidency, the first being George Washington, serving forty-three different presidencies altogether (since Grover Cleveland was the twenty-second and twenty-fourth president(s) of the U.S.A.). The current president is George W. Bush, inaugurated on January 20, 2001 to a first term and on January 20, 2005 to a second. His term expires at noon on January 20, 2009, after which he will be replaced by the winner of the 2008 presidential election. From the middle of the twentieth century, the United States' status as a superpower has led the American president to become one of the world's most well-known and influential public figures. U.S. presidential elections are regarded by many as events of international as well as national significance and are closely followed in many places around the world.
Presidents also choose the United States Secretary of the Treasury.