The growing frequency of presidential speeches has necessitated staffs of
You say that you found out why
My first day at the
Does that say more about Bush or his staff?
It's a disservice to the president to say that was his fault. Especially as you get toward the end, the whole focus in the
How involved was he in speechwriting?
When he was interested in a speech, he had a lot of edits. He would call the speechwriters in and go through line by line if necessary. He was comfortable with certain turns of phrase that he liked to use repeatedly: "We have to fight them there so they do not fight us here at home." He would ask us to insert that if it wasn't in there. He loved to talk about the "gift of freedom to all mankind" kind of stuff. But there wasn't a lot of--at least from my experience--a lot of give-and-take. It was, he gave us instructions, and then he told us what he didn't like.
You say that the media would often see grand strategy where it didn't exist.
There's very little, in my estimation, of strategy behind most of the speeches. It wasn't really "Here's what our goal is with this speech, and here's what we're trying to accomplish, and here's how this adds to our broader message." It was just sort of "The speech is coming up. Let's just say something." So that leaves you a hostage to whatever the media decided you were trying to do.
I so wanted him to be the evil genius everybody said he was, because he was our evil genius. I wanted that evil genius. I found him to be in a lot of ways someone who maybe was overstaying his welcome. He was in feuds with a lot of people at the
Rove thought the president should be speaking every day. President Obama is criticized for speaking too much. How much of a danger is that for a president?
Why should Obama read your book?
One of the lessons of the book, I hope, is: Here's what happens when people go to
Where does the
What's next for you?
I'm thinking I'm going to write more. I like to say that I'm completely disillusioned with politics, but I'm not. The reason why the book came across as disillusioning at the end was because I was so hopeful, and I suppose I still am.
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