President Obama supports the limitation of a president’s tenancy in the White House to eight years, according to his chief spokesman Robert Gibbs.
The subject was raised in a question from Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, at a press briefing today. He asked, “Does the president support New York Democrat Congressman José Serrano’s House Joint Resolution No. 5?”
The White House press corps erupted into laughter.
“You’re going to find I tend to get it mixed up with House Joint Resolution 4 and 6. So I’d have to, at the conclusion of our time together here today, Lester…” began Gibbs.
“That’s the repeal of the – wait a minute. It’s the repeal of the 22nd Amendment. Does he support this – because Steny Hoyer in 2006 came out in favor of it – does he support the repeal of the 22nd Amendment or not, Robert?” Kinsolving explained.
“This is to serve more – this is for two terms? Is that the…?” Gibbs speculated.
“That’s right,” said Kinsolving.
“I think the president is firmly in support of an amendment that would limit his time in the presidency to eight years if he’s given that awesome responsibility by the American people,” Gibbs concluded.
WND reported just months ago when a congressman launched the bill, which was assigned to the U.S. House Commitee on the Judiciary.
Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y.
Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., introduced the bill which, according to the bill’s language, proposes “an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as president.”
In the past, some presidents have been critical of the 22nd Amendment, including Eisenhower, Clinton and Reagan.
In 1807 Thomas Jefferson, however, warned that presidents not bound by term limits could use their popularity and power to become kings.
“If some termination to the services of the chief magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution or supplied in practice,” Jefferson wrote to the Legislature of Vermont, “his office, nominally for years, will in fact become for life; and history shows how easily that degenerates into an inheritance.”
Presidential term limits were not “fixed by the Constitution” until ratification of the 22nd Amendment. Congress passed the Amendment on March 21, 1947, shortly after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first and only president to be elected to more than two terms – in Roosevelt’s case, four. The Amendment was ratified by the required number of states on Feb. 26, 1951.
The 22nd Amendment states, “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.”
The Amendment limits presidents to a maximum of eight years in office – or, under unusual circumstances, such as succession following the death of a president, a maximum of ten years in office. Should Rep. Serrano succeed in repealing the Amendment, Obama would be cleared to run for an unlimited number of terms, restricted only by the vote of the electorate.
In order to achieve repeal of the 22nd Amendment, Serrano’s proposal must be approved by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the states’ legislatures.