Legendary songwriter and vaudevillian George M. Cohan made his first appearance in a sound film with this satiric musical comedy. Theodore Blair (Cohan) is a politician running for president; while he has talent and intelligence, he's unfortunately as exciting as warm milk, and he is not doing well on the campaign trail. Blair's staff discovers Doc Peter Varney (also played by Cohan), a ball-of-fire carnival pitchman who looks and sounds exactly like the candidate. Varney is hired to stump for Blair in his place; the prospective voters are fooled, as is Felicia Hammond (Claudette Colbert), Blair's girlfriend who is pleasantly surprised to see that her man has suddenly developed a personality. Blair's minders soon think that Varney has grown too big for his britches, and they want him out of the way before election day, but it's Blair rather than Varney who ends up getting shanghaied. Jimmy Durante appears as Varney's sidekick Curly. Cohan clashed with producers and studio heads during the production of The Phantom President, and it proved out to be his next-to-last screen appearance.
by Mark Deming synopsis