In The American President Michael Douglas, in a tour de force performance, plays Andrew Shepherd, a widower with a 12-year-old daughter. He is also President of the United States.
Despite some obstacles to romance that come with his high office, this clever and intelligent Democrat begins dating Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening), a spirited and accomplished environmental lobbyist who wants his support for a strong anti-pollution bill. A right-wing senator from Kansas named Robert Rumson (Richard Dreyfuss), who wants to run against Shepherd in the next election, quickly goes on the attack, questioning Shepherd's morality and support for family values and accusing Sydney of sexual misconduct.
Soon the President's 63 percent approval rating is plummeting. Now deeply in love, he refuses to comment publicly about his private life. This causes anxiety for his top aide (Martin Sheen), his press secretary (Anna Deavere Smith), his domestic-policy specialist (Michael J. Fox), and his pollster (David Paymer). Rob Reiner directs this polished and delightful romantic comedy with great elan. It will especially appeal to diehard believers in soulmates and liberal politics.