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Entries in Book (14)

Tuesday
Jan102012

Gibbs Shares ‘Regret’ for Explosive Michelle Obama Spat

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he regrets losing his cool during an explosive 2010 White House staff meeting, in which he reportedly shouted profanities about the first lady.

Gibbs downplayed the blowup, reported in a new book by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, saying in a written statement Tuesday, “in any high-pressure work environment there are occasional arguments and disagreements and that is certainly true of the White House. I regret speaking in anger and regret that this disagreement became so public.”

The incident followed reports that Michelle Obama had told French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy that life in the White House was “hell.” Gibbs spent the morning of Sept. 16, 2010, crafting a response and denying the reports, which the first lady confirmed to be false.

The next morning, however, Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett announced at a staff meeting that the first lady was “dissatisfied” with the way the White House had handled the situation, according to Kantor.

Gibbs reportedly exploded at Jarrett, cursing and using the “F” word to unleash his frustrations with the first lady.

“Like any colleagues, we’ve shared some laughs and we’ve shared some words over the years,” Jarrett said in a statement. “But we have always worked through any disagreements out of mutual respect and in our shared commitment now and in the future to President Obama.”

Going forward, Gibbs said such tense moments, “pale in comparison to the important issues facing our country and will not overshadow the vital work Valerie and I will do together as part of a team in 2012.”

Overall, the White House has branded Kantor’s The Obamas as overhyped. “Books like these generally over-sensationalize things,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday.

“These are high-pressure jobs. There’s always a lot at stake. And the commitment the people show to the president, to the first lady, and to the causes that brought them here is fierce. And sometimes that intensity leads people to raise their voices or have sharp exchanges.

“But the overall picture is one of remarkable collegiality and a genuine focus,” Carney claimed. “This is a remarkably harmonious place, given everything that’s at stake and the enormity of the issues that are discussed and debated here every day.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan102012

Michelle Obama’s First Days as First Lady: ‘Alone, Frightened’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After her husband’s historic win in the 2008 presidential race, Michelle Obama wanted to stay put in Chicago with her girls and not move to the White House, according to The Obamas, a new book by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor that is scheduled to hit stores on Tuesday.

The book describes Obama as “alone, frightened and unsure of what to do next” during her first days.  She worried about her children bumping into White House tourists during play dates.  Later, she would acknowledge just how tough life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue can be.

“Sometimes it becomes difficult to live in what we call a bubble,” she said, according to the book.

The world watched her on a trip to London in April 2009 when she visited with young girls -- nothing out of the ordinary.

“We are counting on every single one of you to be the very best that you can be,” Obama told them.

But what we didn’t know, according to Kantor’s book, was that Obama was having an epiphany, understanding for the first time through the eyes of those admiring girls what it meant to be first lady.

“She saw the responsibility, the impact, the potential of her role,” Kantor writes.

In the early days, the pressure to both be perfect and look perfect was always on.

“Everyone was waiting for a black woman to make a mistake,” an advisor told Kantor.

Obama examined what she wore, realizing that “everything she wore carried a meaning,” Kantor writes.  Her fashion became strategic, she wore glamorous ensembles at night and more relatable outfits bought at chain stores during the day.

Eventually, former aides say, Obama came to not only embrace, but love her role as first lady.

“It was natural that there would be a period of transition when she and the family went from being a private family in Chicago to the first family of the United States,” former White House deputy communications director Jen Psaki told ABC News.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan092012

New Book Alleges Feuds Between First Lady and President's Staff

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the election season begins to heat up, new revelations are surfacing about an alleged power struggle in the White House between some of President Obama's former staffers and first lady Michelle Obama.

In the upcoming book, The Obamas, Mrs. Obama is said to be frustrated with both her role as first lady and the advice her husband was receiving from former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and one-time press secretary Robert Gibbs.

The Obamas maintains that the first lady thought that she should be used more to promote the administration's healthcare reform agenda, which Emanuel felt was a bad idea.  In turn, Mrs. Obama apparently angered Emanuel by resisting his attempts to get her out on the campaign trail during the 2010 mid-term election.

Emanuel eventually left the White House in October 2010 to successfully run for mayor of Chicago.

The book, authored by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, also depicts a strained relationship between the first lady and former White House spokesman Gibbs, who left in early 2011.

In particular, Mrs. Obama was said to be upset with Gibbs' less-than strong denial of a story that she supposedly told the wife of French President Nikolas Sarkozy that life as first lady was "hell."

When Gibbs learned of Mrs. Obama's reaction, The Obamas claims he went off on Valerie Jarrett, a White House advisor close to the president and his wife, and actually cursed out the first lady.  Gibbs confirmed the veracity of the story to Kantor but admitted his anger was misdirected.

Another revelation makind headlines is the book claims the Obamas threw a lavish Halloween party at the White House in 2009 -- with no less than Alice and Wonderland's director and star Tim Burton and Johnny Depp to help decorate -- but kept the party secret so they wouldn't offend jobless Americans. The White House denies a cover-up existed.

Neither the president nor first lady agreed to be interviewed for the book, but Kantor says she interviewed 30 staffers for The Obamas.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Eric Shultz remarked, "The emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book, though often seemingly ascribed to the president and first lady, reflect little more than the author's own thoughts.  These second-hand accounts are staples of every administration in modern political history and often exaggerated."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov102011

New Romney Book to Hit Shelves Amid January Voting

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new book about presidential candidate Mitt Romney will hit shelves in January 2012, the very month that the first voters will cast their ballots for the GOP nominee.

The book, The Real Romney, is co-authored by Boston Globe deputy Washington bureau chief Michael Kranish and political editor Scott Helman, and is based on more than five years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, many of which were chronicled in the paper’s seven-part series published in 2007.

Set to be published by HarperCollins, the book is described by the publishing company as an exploration of ”Romney’s home life, his bond with his wife and how they handled her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, and his difficult years as a Mormon missionary in France, where a fatal car crash had a profound effect on his path.”

“In The Real Romney, Kranish and Helman delve searchingly into the psyche of a complex man now at his most critical juncture,” reads the HarperCollins release.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct122011

Anthony Weiner's Sexting Partner: Politician Criticized Muslim In-Laws

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK ) -- A sexting partner of disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner is releasing a book this week detailing more about what the New York politician wrote in the infamous text messages that cost him his job.

Traci Noble, a former cheerleader coach from Georgia, has written a book, I Freinded You, with the intentional misspelling. In excerpts obtained by MailOnline, Noble writes that Weiner sent her a “friend” request and began Facebook chatting with her after she posted on his public Facebook page.  She said he used the Yahoo chat name “rockoh77″ and his avatar was a picture of his niece.

Weiner resigned in June after he accidentally tweeted public a lewd photo he meant to stay between himself and other woman. He at first lied, saying his Twitter account had been hacked, but then admitted to sending the photo and carrying on sexually charged electronic relationships with several women.

In excerpts of Noble’s book obtained by MailOnline, she writes that she and Weiner shared more than just dirty talk. Weiner confided in her about his relationship with his in-laws, allegedly saying they were “backwards thinking.”

Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff.  Abedin is pregnant with the couple’s first child. She and her parents are Muslim. Weiner is Jewish.

In one text, Weiner allegedly writes, “Well a lot has to do with religion, lots of restrictions and how I’ve never really been accepted by them.”

Noble says he texted her that Abedin’s parents believe he should convert to the Muslim faith.

“Yeah, it makes for a lot of uncomfortable meetings,” Weiner allegedly texted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct042011

‘This Is Herman Cain!’ Cain’s New Memoir Tops Amazon.com

Steve Pope/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Not only is Herman Cain climbing in the polls, his memoir is climbing up the Amazon.com list, landing in the top 10 Best Sellers. Tuesday, Herman Cain’s memoir, This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, hit bookshelves. Kicking off his book tour Monday night on the Sean Hannity Show, Cain will, in the middle of his campaign for the White House, spend two weeks promoting his book.

The book chronicles the pizza CEO’s rise from rags to riches. It details his early life in the segregated South, meeting his wife, Gloria, and his battle with stage 4 liver and colon cancer. He also gives an in-depth view of his many years in business, moving from the Coca-Cola Co. to Pillsbury to Burger King and then to Godfather’s Pizza. Cain isn’t shy about portraying what the first 90 days of a Cain administration would look like.

He recounts his first moment on the national stage, confronting President Clinton during a televised town hall about his proposed health care bill.

“While I was not the first person who tried to point out to the president and members of his administration how his proposed plan would affect jobs and the economy, my ‘four minutes of notoriety’ would serve as a lightning rod, and would become, in the words of Newt Gingrich, one of my worthy opponents of the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2012, ‘the turning point of the debate’.”

He also talks about his motivation to run for office and the birth of his granddaughter as the defining moment that led him to run for president.

“My first grandchild! I didn’t think: How do I give her a good start in life? How do I make sure she gets a good education? The first thought that went through my mind was: What do I do to make this a better world and a better nation?”

Other interesting tidbits -- his Secret Service name would be “Cornbread.”  Apparently, he can’t get enough of the stuff. He also talks about how he measures up against the rest of the GOP field. He’s not particularly worried by his competitors and writes "least of all Ron Paul, whose campaign sends one of its ‘Paulites’ everywhere I show up. Clearly, the intent is to agitate, not to educate.”

Cain is the author of several other books on topics of business and public speaking. This is Herman Cain! was published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep232011

Romney Book Changed to Remove Line about National Health Reform

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- After the Republican presidential debate Thursday night, a senior advisor to Mitt Romney acknowledged that a line about spreading health care reform throughout the country was changed in the paperback version of Romney’s book No Apology.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said during the Florida debate that Romney took out the single line that suggested the Massachusetts health reform law could be applied to the country.  The line that is removed in the paperback version reads, “We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country.”

Romney has been dogged during the presidential campaign by the Massachusetts health reform law, which was a model for the national law Democrats enacted in 2010.  Republicans are united in their opposition to the national law.

During the debate Romney denied that his book had been changed.

“I actually -- I actually wrote my book, and in my book I said no such thing.  What I said -- actually, when I put my health care plan together -- and I met with Dan Balz, for instance, of The Washington Post.  He said, is this a plan that if you were president you would put on the nation, have the whole nation adopt it?  I said, absolutely not.  I said, this is a state plan for a state, it is not a national plan."

Perry and Romney spent a good amount of time at the debate sparring over their respective books.  Romney criticized Perry’s writings about Social Security.

“It’s fine for you to retreat from your own words in your own book, but please don’t try and make me retreat from the words that I wrote in my book.  I stand by what I wrote.  I believe in what I did.  And I believe that the people of this country can read my book and see exactly what it is,” said Romney.

But Thursday night after the debate, Romney’s staffer Eric Fehrnstrom said that line was indeed removed because there was more information.

“Every time a book goes from hardcover to paperback there are updates that are made,” said Fehrnstrom after the debate.  “When Mitt Romney wrote his book No Apology it came out before the health reform law passed and the stimulus bill passed came so of course there were updates a year later when the paperback edition came out.  That’s not unusual in the publishing industry.”

“They were simple updates to reflect that we had more information at the time the paperback came out,” said Fehrnstrom.

The first edition of Romney’s book was published on March 2, 2010.  Obama’s Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010.  The paperback version of Romney’s book was first issued in February of 2011.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep202011

Does Sexism Pervade the White House?

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama, who rose to power on a message of inclusion and equality, came under fire this week when an author quoted female members of his administration as saying the White House was a sexist and "hostile" work environment.

Since excerpts leaked from the book Confidence Men, journalist Ron Suskind's take on how the Obama administration handled the financial crisis, Anita Dunn, former White House communications director, and Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, have denied the substance of their remarks and said they were misquoted.

"I felt like a piece of meat," Romer was quoted in the book as saying of one meeting with Larry Summers, former chairman of the National Economic Council, complaining she was "boxed out" of the discussion.

According to the Washington Post, Dunn says in the book: "This place would be in court for a hostile workplace because it actually fit all of the classic legal requirements for a genuinely hostile workplace to women."

The two women seemed to briefly open a window on the White House, giving a rare glimpse inside a tightly messaged administration, only to quickly close it.  Accusations, however, that Obama favors male staffers have dogged him since his election when reporters noticed he spent critical face time on the basketball court and the golf course exclusively with men.

But the whispers about how the Obama administration works behind the scenes contrast sharply with the president's public persona, the father of two daughters who appointed two women to the Supreme Court, and six women to cabinet or cabinet-equivalent positions.

Women, both Democrats and Republicans, who have worked in the White House in previous administrations describe the environment as intense and competitive.  Interviews with female officials who worked under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said White House culture rewards the best ideas, regardless of who came up with them.

Though they haven't worked in the Obama White House, these female ex-officials said they were surprised by the way Dunn and Romer were quoted as characterizing their workplace.  They said they did not experience workplace harassment or sexism and were inclined to believe Dunn and Romer had indeed been misquoted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep192011

White House Fires Back at Accounts Made in 'Confidence Men' Book

HarperCollins Publishers/Amazon [dot] com(WASHINGTON) -- For a White House seeking to regain footing on the economy, this book hurts.

Journalist Ron Suskind, granted extraordinary access to President Obama and his inner circle, has delivered a vicious take on the Obama White House’s economic team in the new book Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President.

Suskind depicts rivalries that led to dysfunction and even insubordination in the young months of a new presidency.  At the middle of all of it, by Suskind’s account, was a president whose top aides were feuding and bitter as they sought to cope with the worst financial crisis in generations.

“We’re home alone,” Larry Summers, who was director of the White House National Economic Council until last year, is quoted as griping to a colleague, Peter Orszag.  “There’s no adult in charge.  Clinton would never have made these mistakes.”

The White House is fiercely disputing the accounts of the Suskind book, calling it a combination of half-truths and old news, dramatized for effect.  Several of those quoted in the book are already claiming they were misquoted, or had their words taken out of context by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

“It doesn’t sound at all accurate to me,” Jared Bernstein, who served as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief economist until earlier this year, told ABC News.  Bernstein was in many of the meetings referenced in the book, and was among the White House aides interviewed by Suskind for the project.

“You put a bunch of economists in a room, you are going to argue and squabble,” Bernstein added.  “We have disagreements.  But the team worked well together and actually came up with unified decisions at the end of most of those arguments.”

Yet Summers’ comparison to former President Bill Clinton -- coming from someone who worked closely with both men -- is a particular slight to a Democratic president whose reelection hopes hinge on the ability to sell an economic plan to a skeptical public.

Obama’s standing with the public is at or near low points in several measurements, from general approval rating to specific faith in his ability to revive the economy.  His support among independents and core Democrats is eroding, just as the Republican presidential field begins to take shape.

Warning signs for the president abound after last week’s special-election losses, including the loss of a New York City House race in a district that hasn’t sent a Republican to Congress in nearly 90 years.

Also last week, former Clinton hand James Carville made headlines by calling on the president to “panic.”  His recipe included firing “a lot of people,” so the president is no longer relying on the “same political and economic advisers that got us into this mess.”

As for those advisers, many have moved out of formal roles in the White House.  But their memories will linger on in Suskind’s book.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep152011

Sarah Palin's Husband Slams Author's Claims about His Wife

Allison Shelley/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Todd Palin released a statement late Wednesday condemning claims author Joe McGinniss makes about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in his upcoming book, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.

“This is a man who has been relentlessly stalking my family to the point of moving in right next door to us to harass us and spy on us to satisfy his creepy obsession with my wife,” Todd Palin said via SarahPAC’s Rebecca Mansour.  “His book is full of disgusting lies, innuendo, and smears.  Even The New York Times called this book ‘dated, petty,’ and that it ‘chases caustic, unsubstantiated gossip.”

In his book, McGinniss claims that Palin used cocaine, had a one night stand with retired NBA player Glen Rice, and engaged in an extramarital affair.

Meanwhile, on Facebook Wednesday night, Sarah Palin condemned President Obama’s “crony capitalism” following his jobs speech.  She made no mention of McGinniss’ book.

“President Obama has his sights set on raising $1 billion for his reelection campaign,” she wrote.  “Raising that money won’t be easy.  But if you can hand out other people’s money to friends, it must get a whole lot easier.  This crony capitalism and government waste is at the heart of our economic problems.  It will destroy us if we don’t root it out.  It’s not just a Democrat problem or a Republican problem.  It’s a problem of our permanent political class.  This won’t stop until ‘we the people’ say enough is enough, and we retire the permanent political class that votes for this.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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