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I've heard about there being a a two-term US Presidential limit since after FDR left there was law put into place to enforce this. I also know that in the event that the elected US President passes away, the Vice President assumes that Presidential role.

This got me thinking some and I am curious to know that if a president dies just hours after “official” inauguration, such as a assassination for example, and the Vice President somehow survives, then this would mean the VP becomes president the same exact day the new president was inaugurated, correct?

Does this mean the VP continues on as President until the end of the 4 year term ends? And does this mean that he could then legally run and be reelected for two additional terms?

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This is one of the cases that the framers of the 22nd Amendment to the US constitution (the law in question) had already considered:

... 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.

This means that the longest an elected VP could serve as president is 10 years (2 years of his or her literal predecessor's term, plus two 4 year terms of his/her own). Unsurprisingly there are several related questions on this site trying to deal with this issue.

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    Could you clarify your analysis that "This means that the longest an elected VP could serve as president is 10 years"? However unlikely, couldn't an individual be VP to three distinct presidents, each of whom dies immediately, and serve out the (almost) four years remaining for each one, and thus reach (almost) twelve years without ever having been "elected to the office of the President"? Does a VP taking the role of president in the event of the death of a president count as "being elected to the office"? --- Update: ah, reading some more, after eight years of VP having been president, – Joshua Taylor Jul 22 '16 at 21:11
  • (though not having been elected), then the VP would no longer be elibile eligible to be president, and thus wouldn't be eligible to be VP either, since "no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States." – Joshua Taylor Jul 22 '16 at 21:13
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    @JoshuaTaylor there's actually been a small amount of debate about your last point. The 22nd Amendment says "No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice," while Article Two only discusses eligibility. So some scholars believe that, legally, a termed out president would still be eligible to serve as vice president, and assume the office of president again if necessary. Of course, I think politics would prevent this situation from ever happening anyways. – Justin Jul 22 '16 at 21:41
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    @supercat, yes, there is. Amendment 12: "But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." Be elected VP, take over for president, be elected VP, take over for president, and now you're ineligible to be VP. – Mark Jul 22 '16 at 23:30
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    @Mark: Why would one be ineligible? Someone who has served more than two years as acting president would be ineligible to be elected to the office of President more than once after that, but in the aforementioned case the person would have been elected to the office of President zero times, and would thus still be eligible to be elected to the office of President for the first time. – supercat Jul 22 '16 at 23:33

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