The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House

The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House

Bob Woodward

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0671864866

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Working behind the scenes for the eighteen months following Bill Clinton's election, conducting hundreds of interviews with administration insiders and other key officials, and gaining access to confidential internal memos, diaries, and meeting notes, Bob Woodward has discovered how the Clinton White House really works.

Clinton's pledge for a new economic deal was the cornerstone of his 1992 campaign, and fulfilling it has been his central ambition and enterprise as president. By focusing on Clinton's efforts to pass a comprehensive economic recovery plan, Woodward takes us not only to the highest level meetings, the hard-fought debates, and the most difficult decisions but also to the very hear of this presidency -- and of this man.

With its day-by-day, often minute-by-minute account, it is one of the most intimate portraits of a sitting president ever published. President Clinton is shown as he debates, scolds, pleads, celebrates, and rages in anger and frustration. What emerges also is a group portrait of Clinton's innermost circle of advisers in action -- including his wife, Hillary; Vice President Al Gore; Treasure Secretary Lloyd Bentsen and the economic team; George Stephanopoulos and David Gergen and the White House staff; James Carville, Paul Begala, and the other outside political strategists; Congressional leaders; and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Using his proven research method -- returning time and again to key sources and relying on the paper trail of internal documentation -- Woodward has assembled an extensive archive of the early Clinton presidency. This microscopic examination of the Clintons and this administration, working under pressure on the nation's most important task, reveals the deep and still unsettled conflicts among President Clinton's advisers and within himself. The questions about the federal deficit, health care, welfare reform, taxes, jobs, government spending, interest rates, the roles and responsibilities of the middle class, the wealthy, and the poor are of lasting importance. How they are being answered affects each person in the country.

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point in Clinton’s presidency: Clinton would now govern from the bipartisan center. Immediately after the victory, Hillary convened a health care meeting in the Roosevelt Room. The subject arose of a planned show-of-affirmation meeting with the House leadership, including David Bonior, the party whip. Bonior had led the fight against NAFTA, calling it a sellout of the American worker. “I think we ought to keep our distance from him,” Gergen suggested. It was one thing to oppose NAFTA, but to

Republicans would go after him. “We will do everything we can to destroy you personally,” she recalled that the Bush White House man had said. It was the same organized opposition, she felt, that had attacked him during the campaign and was now trying to tear down his presidency. Others from the campaign and the White House, however, remembered the call very differently—as neither stark nor threatening. The story had grown much better in the telling and in her memory. One campaign veteran thought

great photo staff at the Post provided the pictures; Jennifer Belton, head of news research, Margot Williams, and their staff, which keeps the best library and photo library around, provided constant assistance. Olwen Price was of invaluable help. Virtually all the information in this book comes from my own reporting. David Greenberg, my assistant, and I consulted and read hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los

a liar,” he said. He got up and walked out. Begala reported his encounter to Stephanopoulos and several other campaign workers who were now on the White House staff. They did not share his vexation. Stephanopoulos showed no interest in doing anything about Begala’s altercation with Rivlin. It was not a matter of principle, and she was a member of the team. Begala also described the incident generally to Bentsen and Panetta without identifying Rivlin, but they, too, were busy with other matters.

their proposal would only be their opening bid. It would be measured against plans expected to be offered by Republicans and others. How would they compare? The Clinton administration could become a nonplayer in its own major initiative if its plan did not attract intense support right away. The powerful, organized constituencies, such as senior citizens’ groups and unions, wouldn’t spend their money or political capital to support a bare-bones plan. And without active financial and other

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