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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The Twelve Days Of Christmas by Carol Ann Duffy

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Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written a new Twelve Days Of Christmas for Radio Times. It's all about current affairs, touching on Afghanistan, the drought in sub-Saharan Africa, the financial crisis, the election of Barack Obama, the British MPs' expenses scandal, and the Copenhagen climate summit. This is how the poem goes:

1
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS,
a buzzard on a branch.
In Afghanistan,
no partridge, pear tree;
but my true love sent to me
a card from home.
I sat alone,
crouched in yellow dust,
and traced the grins of my kids
with my thumb.
Somewhere down the line,
for another father, husband,
brother, son, a bullet
with his name on.

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