Only one president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, has ever served more than two terms.

A while ago President Obama has announced that he will not run a third time and said:

"even if the 22nd Amendment didn't exist, I'd still be out of the running."

  • Is there a way around the 22nd amendment that limits presidents to two terms?
  • Could he attempt to repeal the amendment?
  • Also, even if he was successful at repealing the 22nd Amendment what other laws are in place to prevent him from running a third time?
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    – JeffO
    Feb 9, 2016 at 19:39
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    Ronald Reagan was so popular that there was some discussion at the end of his presidency about repealing the 22nd Amendment so he could run again. He even stated an intent to campaign for it after he left office, but his Alzheimer's diagnosis prevented that from ever happening. May 26, 2016 at 20:40
  • @JustinLardinois I'd like to see direct evidence of that claim.
    – RonJohn
    Aug 15, 2017 at 23:56
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    @RonJohn nytimes.com/1987/11/29/us/… For what it's worth, this article quotes him as saying he wants the repeal for the benefit of future presidents, not himself. Aug 22, 2017 at 18:46
  • Are you asking about only the 2016 election, or future elections as well?
    – Golden Cuy
    Mar 19, 2018 at 2:18

2 Answers 2


The 22nd amendment is the only law preventing him from running for a third term.

In theory, they could amend the constitution to allow him to run for a third term. There are a couple problems though:

  1. They probably wouldn't finish amending the constitution before election day. It requires action by both the federal Congress and at least three-fourths of the state legislatures after that. Note that passage to ratification took almost four years for the 22nd amendment.

  2. Obama supporters do not currently control the state legislatures of enough states. Nor enough votes in Congress (two-thirds of each house).

So while it is theoretically possible, it is not practical.

Obama is also not popular among armed citizens or the military, so it seems unlikely that he could successfully lead a rebellion.

  • 2
    I suspect he wouldn't want to continue being President, let alone starting an insurrection to stay in power. Feb 12, 2016 at 12:24
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    Typically, a national leader, such as a President, that decides to stay in power by ignoring provisions in their own Constitution or by ignoring election laws tends to try to stay in power, and sets themselves up as a dictator. They often change or replace the Constitution or change the election laws so they legally stay in power forever. The only time when a rebellion results in democracy is when the rebellion comes from the people. Otherwise it usually winds up creating a dictatorship. Jan 17, 2017 at 9:48
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    @DrunkCynic how do you figure? Article VI says that it is.
    – phoog
    Jan 26, 2017 at 16:14
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    @DrunkCynic The Constitution is defined as the "highest law of the land" in the Constitution itself. People usually use terms like "constitutionally" and "constitution" instead of "legally" and "law" simply to emphasize the point that we are referring to the highest law of the land, and not an act of Congress or a state legislature. But technically, it's all "legal" and "law." Mar 15, 2017 at 14:28
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    These comments gain an interesting new perspective in the light of the 2020 election.
    – Criggie
    Apr 5, 2021 at 22:46

I believe his "even if there wasn't a 22nd Amendment" was not a statement that he would be otherwise ineligible, but, rather, would not be interested.

However, to more directly answer the question - since the 22nd Amendment does exist, there are and would be no legitimate no grounds for a third run for Barack Obama.


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