The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House

The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House

2.7 22
by Chuck Todd
     
 

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Chuck Todd's gripping, fly-on-the-wall account of Barack Obama's tumultuous struggle to succeed in Washington.

Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 partly because he was a Washington outsider. But if he'd come to the White House thinking he could change the political culture, he soon discovered just how difficult it was to swim against an upstream

Overview

Chuck Todd's gripping, fly-on-the-wall account of Barack Obama's tumultuous struggle to succeed in Washington.

Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 partly because he was a Washington outsider. But if he'd come to the White House thinking he could change the political culture, he soon discovered just how difficult it was to swim against an upstream of insiders, partisans, and old guard networks allied to undermine his agenda—-including members of his own party. He would pass some of the most significant legislation in American history, but his own weaknesses torpedoed some of his greatest hopes.

In THE STRANGER, Chuck Todd draws upon his unprecedented inner-circle sources to create a gripping account of Obama's White House tenure, from the early days of drift and helplessness to a final stand against the GOP in which an Obama, at last liberated from his political future, finally triumphs.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
The book delivers a stinging indictment of [Obama's] presidency so far…The overall picture that emerges here is that of a highly insular and centralized White House that is reluctant to listen to outside experts, prone to cutting cabinet members out of the loop and unable or unwilling to learn from its mistakes…Mr. Todd…has grounded his arguments in hundreds of interviews with Washington sources and his intimate knowledge of how that city works or (more often, these days) fails to work…The Stranger…provides the lay reader with a brisk, if depressing overview of the Obama White House, while giving Washington insiders plenty of colorful new details.
Publishers Weekly
09/15/2014
Todd, the newly minted Meet the Press host and former NBC chief White House correspondent, provides an even-handed, concise, and thorough account of President Obama’s first six years in the Oval Office. Todd frames his perspective with his choice of title—President Obama “came to Washington on the strength of being a stranger to the city and to the political elites, but it hasn’t always served him well.” He covers in great detail the die-hard obstructionism, exemplified in Sen. Mitch McConnell’s proclamation that his priority was to deny Obama a second term, that has characterized the Republican response to the president’s agenda. But Todd doesn’t believe that right-wing extremism lets the president off the hook, and offers example after example of times when his aloof approach to Congress hobbled his legislative initiatives. The book also compares the efficiency of Obama’s electoral campaigns to his subpar management in office. There isn’t a lot here that will be news to readers who follow politics closely—no Bob Woodward–type revelations—but the thoughtful organization of material make this as good a summation of Obama’s successes and failures, and the reasons for them, as anything else out there. Agent: Matthew Carnicelli, Carnicelli Literary Management. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"Richly sourced and deeply informed....There aren't many Washington journalists with the access, reporting skills, and authorial dexterity to write a comprehensive history of a presidential administration while it's still racking up miles on Air Force One. Todd delivers a surprising depth of insider reporting considering how few insiders have spoken publickly about this administration."—Scott Porch, Chicago Tribune"

Todd is the rare Washington commentator whose on-air musings are consistently backed by authoritative reporting....He knows his subject, and he knows how to write....Readers of The Stranger unquestionably benefit from Mr. Todd's Beltway-insider status."—Robert Draper, Wall Street Journal "

Revealing....Mr. Todd has grounded his arguments in hundreds of interviews with Washington sources and his intimate knowledge of how that city works or (more often, these days) fails to work."—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times"

Todd, the newly minted Meet the Press host and former NBC chief White House correspondent, provides an even-handed, concise, and thorough account of President Obama's first six years in the Oval Office."—Publishers Weekly"

A compelling, behind-the-scenes account of President Obama's first six years in office."—HuffPost Live

Library Journal
Chief White House correspondent for NBC News, Todd considers Obama's first term, clarifying how he changed the political landscape and what "Obamism" really means. Of interest regardless.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-09-30
A biography of the sitting president, who, by the author's account, would rather be anywhere but Washington, D.C.—or at least, doing anything but practicing politics as usual.Todd, newly anointed moderator of Meet the Press and a longtime NBC White House correspondent, wonders how so fortunate a campaigner as Barack Obama should "appear to be so bad at practicing the basics of politics in the back rooms of Washington, whether on Capitol Hill, on K Street, or at the Pentagon." A psychobiography may be needed to delve into the many reasons why Obama shuns confrontation, but in practical matters, Todd has it just about right: Obama is used to going it alone, doesn't mind the essential loneliness of being the leader of the free world and really means it when he decries the politics of division. All of these things make Obama, in Todd's overused formulation, a "stranger" in the clubby company town that is Washington. By Todd's reckoning, Obama may be his own worst enemy, given that in so many instances, his "struggles came from his focus on ends to the exclusion of productive means." Make nicer with John Boehner, in other words, and things might happen. Of course, as the author details, it doesn't help that the president's allies have their own agendas and that policy wonks within the White House can't agree on whether the economy is good or bad or in between. Still, the author offers a good explanation for why, positively or negatively, Obama seems so removed from both the fray and his own party, having resigned himself, at least in some measure, to the thought that "the Obama brand and the Democratic Party brand were distinct." Without much hard news that hasn't been written about elsewhere and not the equal of David Remnick's The Bridge (2010) in literary merit. Yet, both timely and pragmatic, this book is sure to attract attention.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316079570
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
11/11/2014
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
552,685
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.90(d)

Meet the Author

Chuck Todd is the Chief White House Correspondent and Political Director of NBC News, and a contributing editor to "Meet the Press". He also serves as NBC News' on-air political analyst for "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams," "Today," "Meet the Press," and such MSNBC programs as "Morning Joe" and "Hardball with Chris Matthews." Before joining NBC News, Todd was editor-in-chief of National Journal's "The Hotline," Washington's premier daily briefing on America politics. He has also written Op-Ed pieces for the New York Times and the Washington Post and for the Atlantic Monthly, where he is a contributing editor. He is the co-author of How Barack Obama Won: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election (Vintage, 2009). He teaches a graduate political communications course at Johns Hopkins University.

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The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The reviews of this insightful book that blast the book because the writer doesn't like the president show everything that is messed up about the body politic today. Review the book, not the subject! I am finding the book to be fair, thoughtful and full of interesting ideas. I hope future reviewers demonstrate as much non-partisanship as Todd does in his book.
leontownsend More than 1 year ago
I was really disappointed in this book.  I think Chuck Todd is a  very smart man but this book is a hack job.  It is badly written and badly organized.  Also, I don't like Obama but this book is a little ridiculous with the allegations.  It is embarrassing and comes across as little more than an uneducated rant.  Most of us Republicans admit that Congress is at least partially to blame for the lack of action in the government.  Chuck Todd barely mentions our contribution to the stagnation in the government.  Very very disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chuck Todd has written a horribly dishonest book. How can he call himself a journalist and ignore President Obama's historic achievement:s: rescuing the economy and the auto industry, getting 10 million Americans health care, bringing down unemployment from 10% to 5.8%, boosting GDP, stock market at historic highs among other things. All achieved despite GOP obstruction and beltway media lies. Todd's book is yet another example of the gross disservice the beltway media has done because they don't report facts and truth, only spin for their GOP masters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be pretty middle of the road politically and a straight forward telling of how Washington works (or rather doesn't work). I think it's a reflection of how our electorate is functioning, like Congress because no one willing to cross the aisle in their political thinking. We shouldn't be surprised we keep sending the wrong people to Washington. I found it to be right on target and an education about how we all need to step away from ideology, because nothing is or ever will get done until the people we elect to Washington can sit across the table from one another and have a conversation.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Chuck Todd is a real Washington insider who understands how the inner workings of the current White House. A very enjoyable read. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As expected, Chuck Todd brings his considerable insight, intelligence, and fairness to this deft assessment of an immensely talented but sometimes politically off president. THE STRANGER is one of the most prescient books every written on what it takes to succeed in American politics today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wow good job president love this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a thorough, remarkably objective inside look at Barack Obama's presidency and also, in its entirety, is window to give the average American a real glimpse at the workings of Washington politics. This is not propaganda, not for Democrats or Republicans, but for open minded Americans to better understand....the stuff of modern day history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an incredibly interesting read. It is incredibly balanced, fair and insightful. It truly gives an inside look at the intricacies of how Washington works. If you are someone who has an interest in politics, this is a must read. Kudos to Chuck Todd for this great book. 
TatnallHillman More than 1 year ago
Just finished Stranger and found it disassociated from Obama's legislative achievements - most notably the Affordable Care Act victory over the Republican noise and fear mongering.  Also largely ignored was Obama's saving of the global economy.  I Think Chuck Todd may be so much of an insider, that he can no longer recognize when a politician acts on principles rather than political expedience.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Writer proves a complete lack of insight on anything in life, much less Obama.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Republicans are nothing but big fat losers. They hate the fact that Obama has made so many achievements in spite of them. I am so proud of Obama and shame on the Obama-hating, bigots in this country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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RPG More than 1 year ago
what a marketing person's dream....O'Bama makes a snarling observation of Todd's book which rebounds into alot of readers anticipating a juicy attack on the President.  It worked.  Todd might share some of the royalties with the White House.  Book is  nothing but another O'Bama lover bringing the 2008 forward period in collegiate detail.  Waste of time if you read the tabloids, blogs  and follow msnbc...nothing new but self promotion and marketing the Democratic Party.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Congress should all find new jobs. They continue to collect a salary, benefits, have excessive vacations and do nothing for the American people. Republicans hate the president because he is a black man. I think he has done an excellent job champion for the people. Bills could be passed to help the American people, but the Republicans want the President to fail at every opportunity!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Achievements? ACHIEVEMENTS? Such as what? Destroying our country? Going against the constitution? Humiliating himself by making a worthless arguement on live television? Playing with ppls feelings on the immagration issue? Legalizing immagration in such a ridiculously unbelievable way? Wasting our money? Raising taxes? Or all of the above. The list goes on and on..... hey i'll take the shame over being an obama-worshipper ANY OLD DAY.
Luckygranadma More than 1 year ago
I soooooo agree with the anonymous from 11/12/14. Nobody could say it better, honest, strong, short and so true and to the point. And as for the anonymous 11/16.......boy when you wake up and will smell those roses, you may be shocked how naive you are¿¿
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starting with 11-22-14.I can only hope that you are a 10year old.It would be tough to swallow that you think the Republicans don't like him because he'sBLACK!So that's your take on why this world is in a complete disaster.I really don't know why I'm wasting my time on such a uninformed IDIOT! What's really scary is that you are not alone!This is where Anonymous,Nov.12-14comes in.I hate to ruin your little"Fairytale"but if you have the time you might want to take a look at that comment and get back to reality Sweety.Short,simple and to the point.There's just not enough letters provided to list all of Obamas disasterous and poor choices and qualities!!!
B-loNY More than 1 year ago
Don't bother. Simply a recall of Obama's presidency to date. Chuck Todd, true liberal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why would anyone want to read about a man, Obama, who has singlehandedly divided our nation with his snide, ignorant,self-centered tactics! We will all be better off when he leaves office and we can begin to pick up the pieces and start to heal.