Hail to the Chief: 11 Female Presidents Who'd Want Your Vote

Nivea Serrao

After three seasons serving as Vice President of the United States—otherwise known as the Veep—Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) finally got the job she'd been dreaming of when the president resigned, leaving her to take his place. But even though Selina kicked off Season 4 as commander in chief, the actual election that would determine if she'd retain the title ended in a tie; it will be up to the House of Representatives to decide her fate when the show returns to HBO next season. In addition to President Meyer, we look at 10 other women who've held the Oval Office on television.

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Julia Mansfield (Patty Duke), Hail to the Chief

The first female president made it to television in 1985. The short-lived ABC sitcom followed Mansfield's attempts to balance her chaotic family life with her new job. Funnily enough, a possible nuclear war with Russia was the least of her problems.

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MacKenzie Allen (Geena Davis), Commander in Chief

Allen's predecessor wanted her to resign as vice president if anything happened to prevent him from acting as POTUS. But after his death, she defied his wishes and took the Oval Office—losing a lot of White House staff in the process. As the show's first and only season went on, Allen proved herself to be a good leader and an effective commander in chief whether negotiating the release of hostages or dealing with an oil spill.

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Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), Battlestar Galactica

Unlike some of the other ladies on this list, this former Secretary of Education had no presidential aspirations. But when a Cylon (humanoid robot) attack rendered her the highest-ranking official in the line of succession she had no choice but to become President of the Twelve Colonies. Over the course of four seasons, Roslin gradually let go of her optimistic ideals, transforming into a hardened politician.

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Caroline Reynolds (Patricia Wettig), Prison Break

Television veeps tend to be shady schemers, often with plans to become president themselves. Of course that didn't make it any less shocking when then-Vice President Caroline Reynolds—already responsible for framing Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) for her brother's supposed murder—poisoned the current commander in chief so she could take his place. While this is definitely not presidential behavior, it's just par for the course for Reynolds, who was also in an incestuous relationship with her brother.

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Elaine Barrish (Sigourney Weaver), Political Animals

While Elaine Barrish never actually held the position of POTUS (she ran once and lost), her political savvy and no-nonsense attitude, coupled with her ability to get the job done despite her family's distractions showcased what kind of president she'd be. The show never got a second season, but it's not hard to imagine the ever-ambitious Secretary of State (and former First Lady) making good on her promise to run for president a second time… and actually winning.

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Sally Langston (Kate Burton), Scandal

When President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) was shot, his Vice President Sally Langston replaced him as acting commander in chief. Once she was in power Sally did everything she could to keep herself there. With her extreme religious and political views, Sally Langston is far from the ideal candidate for presidency, but she'd sure be an interesting one to watch—especially as she went up against Olivia Pope.

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Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), Parks and Recreation

The show's series finale suggested that either Leslie or her husband Ben (Adam Scott) eventually became president. After seven seasons of watching the lifelong public servant do everything in her power to make Pawnee a better place, it would only be fitting for her to receive the ultimate promotion.


Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith), The Simpsons

In Bart's episode-long vision of the future, Lisa goes on to become an excellent president who nearly solves the country's debt crisis. Though she remains an 8-year-old, 26 seasons (and counting) have shown that she has the brains and ambition to be a future POTUS. Plus, her brief stint as student body president served as a quick lesson in actual politics.

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Helga Pataki (Francesca Marie Smith), Hey Arnold!

Helga's fantasy of her future included being married to Arnold and taking the Oval Office—neither of which is too unattainable a dream. And while Helga might blow off her presidential duties just to make time for Arnold, if she loves America as much as she loves him, the country is in safe—albeit a little rough—hands.

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Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard), State of Affairs

After a career in the Air Force and the U.S. Senate, Payton certainly had the right background for the top office; she spent the show's sole season getting her daily briefings from CIA analyst Charlie Tucker (Katherine Heigl.) In the on-screen world, the character was the first African American woman to be president—but the role was originally created with a man in mind. Woodard has said she took the job on the condition that they not rewrite the part.

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