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The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008by John F. Harris
Synopses & Reviews
In The Way to Win, two of the country’s most accomplished political reporters explain what separates the victors from the victims in the unforgiving environment of modern presidential campaigns.
Mark Halperin, political director of ABC News, and John F. Harris, the national politics editor of The Washington Post, tell the story of how two families–the Bushes and the Clintons–have held the White House for nearly a generation and examine Hillary Clinton’s prospects for extending this record in 2008. Based on years of research, including private campaign memos and White House communications, The Way to Win reveals the surprising details of how the Bushes and Clintons have closely studied each the other’s successes and failures and used these lessons to shape their own strategies for winning elections and wielding power.
In the case of George W. Bush, the strategic genius is Karl C. Rove, arguably the most influential White House aide in history. For the first time, Halperin and Harris cut through the myths and controversies surrounding Rove to illuminate in brilliant, behind-the-scenes detail what he actually does–his Trade Secrets for winning elections.
In the case of the Clintons, the chief strategist is Bill Clinton himself. Drawing on their fifteen years reporting on and interviewing him, Halperin and Harris deconstruct and decipher the Clinton style, identifying the methods that all candidates can use in their pursuit of the White House.
The Way to Win takes a lively and irreverent approach, but Halperin and Harris also show the disturbing ways that American politics has become a Freak Show–their name for a political culture that provides incentives for candidates, activists, interest groups, and the news media to emphasize ideological extremism and personal attack. For the first time, Halperin and Harris describe how Freak Show campaigns orchestrated by the likes of Internet pioneer Matt Drudge forced Al Gore and John Kerry to lose control of their public images (with considerable help from the candidates’ own ineptitude) and lose the White House.
On the brink of what will be one of the most intense, most exciting presidential elections in American history, The Way to Win is the book that armchair political junkies have been waiting for. Filled with peerless analysis and eye-opening revelations from the trenches, it is a must read for everyone who follows American politics.
A thought-provoking look at the 2008 presidential election examines the roles of the Clinton and Bush families in American politics, offers a revealing look at the political operation and strategies that Karl Rove has used to achieve successful election results, and provides an incisive analysis of how and why presidential campaigns are won and lost. 100,000 first printing.
About the Author
Mark Halperin is the political director of ABC News and creator of ABC.com’s “The Note,” which has become a fixture of political journalism.
John F. Harris is the national political editor of The Washington Post. He covered the 2004 presidential campaign for the Post from the swing state of Ohio, whose electoral votes were decisive in that year’s election. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling biography of Bill Clinton The Survivor.
Table of Contents
The freak show — The way to lose — The profile primary — Freak show politics — Watergate and the freak show — How Matt Drudge rules our world — Bill Clinton's trade secrets (and Al Gore's) — 1992 — Changing the conventional wisdom about Bill and Hillary Clinton — Weak and wrong — Bubba does Imus and (vice versa) — Strong and right — Clinton versus Drudge — How to run for President and let the freak show destroy you — How the freak show killed Al Gore — "Evil genius" — Who is Karl Rove? — Rove beyond famous — Serious rewards — Ideas matter — The trade secrets of being President that George W. Bush and Karl Rove learned from Bill Clinton's successes (and failures) — Play to your strengths (and away from your weaknesses) — What Bush knew and when he knew it — Putting people first — Know a lot of people — Relationships, not transactions — Karl Rove in your mailbox — Comity is pretty — The effective executive — Renaissance, man — Machine politics — Make yourself the center of the information universe — Leave nothing to chance — Daily planner — Have the electoral college on the brain — Know much about history — Control freak — Metrics — Mastering the freak show — Understand and control the old media — Rally the base — The language Karl Rove uses to describe democrats — Transcendency, transparency, and destruction — Laura Bush: the second First Lady of the freak show era — Hillary Clinton, the freak show, and the presidency — What Hillary Clinton and Karl Rove know about the way to win the White House in 2008 — Losing to the freak show — Challenging the freak show — Mastering the Senate, and the freak show — 44! (Assets) — 44? (Liabilities) — Conclusion: Clinton politics versus Bush politics.
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