The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House
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In THE STRANGER, Chuck Todd draws upon his unprecedented inner-circle sources to create a gripping account of Obama's White House tenure, from the early days of drift and helplessness to a final stand against the GOP in which an Obama, at last liberated from his political future, finally triumphs.
had negatives. If Obama was running against Washington, how did it make sense to choose a man who had spent his entire adult life in public office and more than three decades in the United States Senate? Biden’s undisciplined side was legendary; even before he became vice president, the term “Bidenism”—a dopey, quotable gem that tumbled from Biden’s never-still mouth—was routinely used by the Capitol Hill press corps. But Biden brought to the table what Obama couldn’t: unassailable foreign
perhaps no one else had spoken more on Barack Obama’s behalf, either as a candidate or as president of the United States, than Bill Burton. Though he was much younger than others who might have run an outside group and didn’t seem to be someone you could picture wooing some of the wealthiest people in the country, people who might be inclined to fork over a seven-figure check, Burton had an impressive enough résumé. He had run communications for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
E-Ring than evangelical. * Several participants in the meeting recall that Summers became uncharacteristically quiet when Romer brought the word “trillion” to the table, a sign that he wanted to be sure Romer had enough rope to hang herself with. * Some in the White House faulted Schiliro for failing to talk Waxman, his old boss, out of moving cap-and-trade legislation before health care; others saw Pelosi’s not-so-hidden hand behind the legislation’s advance—a signal, during complex
to Carter’s biggest malaise minuses. Bill Clinton’s hands-on “feel your pain” style won out over the patrician George H. W. Bush. And of course, Dubya’s 2000 campaign was all about projecting a wholesome moral image, even using the political tagline “restoring honor and integrity to the White House” as his not-so-subtle reminder that he didn’t have Clinton’s libido issues. With Obama, the professorial, nuanced, thinking candidate seemed like everything George W. Bush wasn’t. If Bush saw
it was politically unpopular. But left unspoken in that 2002 speech was the other war in which American troops were fighting and dying. If Iraq was the “dumb war,” then Afghanistan must have been the “smart one,” or so it seemed the young Senate candidate was implying. Obama had said he supported the Bush administration’s fight against terrorism and the terrorists who had killed 3,000 Americans on September 11. In the 2002 speech, Obama had not uttered the word “Afghanistan,” and that one