Game Change: Obama, Hillary, McCain

Hillary Clinton did not want to be Secretary of State when Barack Obama offered her the job — and one reason she gave was her husband,

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin in their book, Game Change, describe Obama's midnight meeting with Hillary in Washington two weeks after he won the presidential election in November 2008:

It's not going to work, an anguished Hillary said… You don't want me, you don't want all these stories about you and me. You don't want the whole circus…

Hillary, look, you're exactly right, Obama said… But the thing is, the economy is a much bigger mess than we'd ever imagined it would be, and I'm gonna be focused on that for the next two years. So I need someone as big as you to do this job… I need someone I can trust implicitly, and you're that person…

You know my husband, she said…You know I can't control him, and at some point he'll be a problem…

I know, Obama replied. But I'm prepared to take that risk…

Hillary announced her decision to be Secretary of State the next morning. The book concludes:

It was November 20. The election was sixteen days in the past. But today, Obama had pulled off the grandest game change of all. On the brink of great power and awesome responsibility, he and Clinton were on the same side.

If the ending seems star-struck, the book is anything but…

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A writer in the White House

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

Dreams_from_my_father

It was such a pleasure reading Dreams From My Father. It doesn’t read like a book written by a politician at all. Barack Obama has the novelist’s touch. How can you put down a book with passages like this?

Three o’clock in the morning. The moon-washed streets empty, the growl of a car picking up speed down a distant road. The revellers would be tucked away by now, paired off or alone, in deep, beer-heavy sleep, Hassan at his new lady’s place – don’t stay up, he had said with a wink. And now just the two of us to wait for the sunrise, me and Billie Holiday, her voice warbling through the darkened room, reaching toward me like a lover.

I’m a fool… to want you.
Such a fool… to want you.

It’s pure magic, Barack Obama describing the night after a college party makes you feel his loneliness as he listens to the music in his room.

He describes winter in Chicago and how it affected his work as a community organizer:

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