Most of the info I can find on the phrase “leader of the free world” agrees that the term came about during the Cold War to describe the US president. I haven’t seen credit for a specific origin of the phrase, however, or an earliest cite. Does its use as a common phrase predate the Cold War? Has it always attached itself to the president, or have there been other world leaders so described before that office?
I’m similarly curious about “the most powerful office in the world” re: the presidency, or “the most powerful man in the world” re: the president.
Any info on specific origins for either phrase?