Speed Read: Juiciest Bits From Bob Woodward’s Book ‘Price of Politics’

Sep 5, 2012 The Daily Beast

How exactly did the nation’s debt crisis play out behind closed doors? From Obama ‘chomping on Nicorette’ to Biden as the GOP ‘whisperer’ and Ryan’s anger at the president, the highlights of Bob Woodward’s The Price of Politics, out Sept. 11.

‘The Price of Politics’ by Bob Woodward. 448 pages. Simon & Schuster. US$30. (AP Photo)

We’ve had many behind-the-scenes narratives about policymaking in the Obama White House, but in the new book Price of Politics, Bob Woodward, in characteristic fashion, does his competitors one better by filling in blanks and providing even finer detail. The Pulitzer Prize winner goes inside the nation’s debt crisis and recounts how President Obama, along with Congress and Senate leaders, have tirelessly worked both together and against each other to fix the economy over the last three and a half years. From a copy obtained early by The Daily Beast in advance of the book’s release on Tuesday, Sept. 11, here are the juiciest bits.

1. Obama alienated people with his arrogance.
In Obama’s first meeting with Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders, just two weeks after his inauguration, he told the group that he wanted to hear everyone’s ideas and come to a bipartisan solution—words he had run his presidential platform on. He told those assembled, “If it works, we don’t care whose idea it is.” But the next day his tune changed when Rep. Eric Cantor, then House minority whip, passed out a draft of a potential economic recovery plan that essentially met only the Republican demands. After reading the one-page spread, the president responded: “I can go it alone but I want to come together. Look at the polls. The polls are pretty good for me right now.” He then told Cantor, “Elections have consequences and Eric, I won.” The president’s arrogance is described many times in the book as having a negative effect. Woodward writes of impromptu speeches that Obama would sometimes make over conference calls and which Congress members often muted, specifically naming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Additionally, one of Obama’s most used “catch phrases” at the beginning stages of his presidency was “I’d be willing to be a one-term president over this.” It was a phrase he used to back up topics he was passionate about. It was also used against him later when Republicans began to hope his quips would come true.
2.Biden was the Republican ‘whisperer.’

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