'Mr. President' was created by Johnny Carson and Ed. Weinberger. "I think we'll be hard put to come up with any humor that's funnier than what's going on in the White House," Johnny told the Associated Press. Johnny Carson who was hosting the 'Tonight' show at the time initially approached NBC with the idea for the series. However he received "an ambivalent answer. Apparently they just didn't need any product." In the end, 'Mr. President' was sold to the "4th network" Fox Broadcasting Co.
In all 13 half-hour episodes plus the pilot were filmed on Stage 7 at Paramount Studios and went on air between 1987 and 1988. From the outset, Johnny insisted, "This is no situation comedy. I would call it more a drama with humor and with comedy and all the other emotions people have within a family." George C. Scott played President Samuel Arthur Tresch, who had just been elected to the highest office in the land.
"He's not going to have a funny aide. The kids are not going to do one-liners. If it's not believable, we won't do it. It will be family relationships with humor," Johnny maintained. "We didn't want him to play a lawyer, because that's been done. We thought that if anybody has the authority to play the President, it's George C. Scott. We went to George's house, and George said: 'By God, the President – I like that.' And that was that."
Conrad Bain played the President's adviser. He recounted, "Ed. Weinberger sent over 3 scripts. They arrived about 12.30a.m. I read them until 3:00 in the morning. My phone rang at 9:00, and my agent said they wanted to know if I do it. I said yes because of those scripts and George C. Scott. I respect his ability and integrity and the scripts were head and shoulders above most of the stuff I see.
"I loved the concept, which I think is the most important element of a show. I had to get hold of the character in short order. That's not the best way to do it, but it is adventurous and I liked the challenge. And it's a nice contrast from what I've been doing. I spent 8 years on 'Diff'rent Strokes' (1978-1986). I think some of the most fun we've had is the relationship between this robust President, who expresses himself openly and may not be diplomatic, and Charlie, who has to cover for him.
"It's dangerous to compare him to any President, but maybe he has some of Harry Truman's candor and political savvy. And anyone who's the President's Chief of Staff has an appetite for power. Look at the recent (1987 and before 1987) administrations in Washington. I think Charlie Ross is able to implement it in a diplomatic manner without having to bang heads together. We’ve done a show on how difficult it is for the President to find time for both the job and his family. I like the idea of the Chief of Staff being a man who's absolutely dedicated to the President and to the job."
"The strength and also the weakness of our democracy lies in the willingness of the people to do their share in making it work," it had been said. "The basic duty of a good citizen in a democracy goes to the polls and cast his or her ballot (or vote) for the candidates he or she favors. Democracy will not survive by itself. It must always be nurtured and it must be watched as there are always those interested in undermining the forces of democracy.
"The people's vote is important, as important as the individual bricks which go to make a building. With but a few bricks, the building is weak and unsubstantial. With but a few votes, so is government. Vote to build the government. One of the chief weapons of those opposed to democracy is to weaken the support of our democratic system by the rank and file of the people. In 1880, there were 78.4% of the eligible voters of the nation cast their ballots (vote) in the national election. In the 1948 election it was 51%."
Jim Price of the 'St. Petersburg Times' made the point in August 1939, "The principles of trade unionism like the principles of true democracy from which they are derived and have their being are founded upon the ballot box. A true democracy does not exist without a free ballot box. Trade unions can exist nowhere but in a free democracy. They are an expression of the democratic form of government. Therefore union men particularly appreciate the privilege of voting as well as the duty thereof."
The Webster dictionary had defined politics as "the art and science of government". At the Morning Study Club citizenship meeting 'Vote As You Please But Please Vote' held in 1957 in the American Bank of Commerce, one of 3 panelists, Mrs B.D. Reynolds pointed out, "Our form of government, a representative democracy, in which governmental authority ultimately rests with the people, confers the kind of privileges and exacts the kind of responsibilities which makes politics everybody's business.
"One of these privileges in our traditional freedoms is the right to vote. It demands little of your time and is the basic unit of citizenship. Elections are an integral part of a representative democracy. What makes an election free? Is it the competition of the parties? The secret ballot? The relative ease with which an individual can get his name on a ballot? Or is it all of these things? For contrast, consider the role of the voter in a totalitarian state, who takes part in free elections by marking a ballot for a single slate handpicked by the ruling class.
"It isn't hard for each and everyone of us to become informed voters. Casting a vote without any knowledge of the candidate or the issues at hand means carrying out citizenship in a half-hearted manner. Informed voting is the key to good government. The job of keeping informed is an easy one in this day of so many varied sources of information (such as radio, print and television) about candidates and issues."
Of the "the art and science of government", Mrs Reynolds remarked, "We do not often think of politicians in this way. However we realize that politicians, whether they are short-term politicians or make politics a career, have the art of getting people to work smoothly together and have the science of the knowledge of government and how it runs. Few of us would call ourselves professional politicians, since we do not make a career of politics. But we are inescapably involved in politics as citizens of our country."