Tonight, President Barack Obama will deliver a highly anticipated address on the matter of national health care reform. The speech, undoubtedly one of the most important of Obama's career, has been described by insiders as a "game-changer" regarding his position on health care. Still, while Obama is an indisputably gifted orator and his speech tonight is of paramount importance to the people of America, can he measure up to some other famous Presidential addresses -- particularly on the subjects of alien invasions and imminent, Gary Oldman-led terrorist attacks?
If these five fictional Presidential speeches are any indicator, President Obama has his work cut out for him when speaking to the nation tonight.
Air Force One: President James Marshall, played note-perfect by Harrison Ford, will not negotiate with terrorists. Instead, he'll systematically execute them in the midst of a mile-high plane hijacking. But Marshall's handiness with a firearm is second only to his mastery over the spoken word, demonstrated by an anti-terrorism speech that preempts the film's action-packed events.
Key Quote: "We will never negotiate. We will no longer tolerate and we will no longer be afraid. It's your turn to be afraid."
The Contender: After the sudden death of his Vice President, second-term President Jackson Evans, played by Jeff Bridges, is tasked with the decision to select a replacement. His selection of female senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) is met with a mixture of skepticism, scorn and -- in Evans' own words -- pettiness on the part of rival politicians. Despite all this, Evans believes in his candidate, which he expresses quite clearly in a Congressional speech.
Key Quote: "Greatness; it comes in many forms. Sometimes it comes in the form of sacrifice; that's the loneliest form."
Dave: Although not an officially elected President, everyman Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) nonetheless held the office thanks to his uncanny resemblance to the real President Mitchell, who is rendered comatose by a stroke. As President, Kovic pursued a controversial multi-billion dollar employment bill that would help the homeless. Speaking to his compatriots about the bill's importance, Kovic stressed the positive snowball effect that increased employment can have on the population.
Key Quote: "It's not about the paycheck -- it's about respect. It's about looking in the mirror and knowing that you've done something valuable with your day."
Mars Attacks: As played by Jack Nicholson, President James Dale maintained a calm presence in the midst of a worldwide alien crisis -- that is, of course, until the First Lady is flattened by a Martian-induced falling chandelier. When he finally gets face to face with the yapping creatures, Dale understandably loses his cool in a last ditch appeal for peace that represents both his final act in office and his own personal eulogy.
Key Quote: "Why can't we work out our differences? Why can't we work things out? Little people... why can't we all just get along?"
Independence Day: In the realm of science fiction, there is perhaps no greater United States President than Thomas J. Whitmore, famously played by Bill Pullman in "Independence Day." Although he gives a vast array of powerful speeches over the course of the three-day alien siege, his most memorable comes in the form of his July 4th address to not just the American people, but the entire global population as well.
Key Quote: "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!"
What are some of your favorite movie Presidential addresses?