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Renegade

Cover of Renegade

Renegade

The Making of a President Barack Obama
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This audiobook is the previously untold and epic story of how a political newcomer with no money and an alien name grew into the world’s most powerful leader. But it is also a uniquely intimate...More
This audiobook is the previously untold and epic story of how a political newcomer with no money and an alien name grew into the world’s most powerful leader. But it is also a uniquely intimate...More
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Description-
  • This audiobook is the previously untold and epic story of how a political newcomer with no money and an alien name grew into the world’s most powerful leader. But it is also a uniquely intimate portrait of the person behind the iconic posters and the Secret Service code name Renegade.

    Drawing on a dozen unplugged interviews with the candidate and president, as well as twenty-one months covering his campaign as it traveled from coast to coast, Richard Wolffe answers the simple yet enduring question about Barack Obama: Who is he?

    Based on Wolffe’s unprecedented access to Obama, Renegade reveals the making of a president, both on the campaign trail and before he ran for high office. It explains how the politician who emerged in an extraordinary election learned the personal and political skills to succeed during his youth and early career. Richard Wolffe shares with us his front-row seat at Obama’s announcement to run for president on a frigid day in Springfield, and his victory speech on a warm night in Chicago. From a teacher’s office in Iowa to the Oval Office in Washington, we see and hear Barack Obama with an immediacy and honesty never witnessed before.


    From the Compact Disc edition.
Excerpts-
  • From the book

    One



    Change

    Election day starts, in the small hours, where the candidate has spent most of his last 626 days: on a plane. Stuck to the gray plastic walls of the pressurized cabin are snapshots of his odyssey across cities and fields, mountains and deserts, continents and oceans. A snowstorm in Iowa, a press conference in Downing Street. Camera crews dozing onboard, Secret Service agents sharing a joke. The candidate signing books, reporters holding audio recorders close to his face. Now, between the empty candy wrappers and the drained beer bottles, he walks back one last time from his spacious first-class section, through his staffers' business-class seats, to the coach class of the press. "You know, whatever happens, it's extraordinary you guys have shared this process with us, and I just want to say thank you and I appreciate you," he says, shaking everyone's hand. One reporter asks how he's feeling, but he insists that he won't answer questions. Even obvious ones. He thanks the young TV producers who have trailed his every move from the start, admires the photos on the overhead bins, then pokes fun at a magazine reporter who was parodied on Saturday Night Live. He gives a birthday kiss to a young photo-grapher, shakes hands with every member of the aircrew, and finishes with a simple farewell: "OK, guys, let's go home."

    The last twenty-four hours felt like the longest day of the long campaign. It began with the news that the last living person to raise him through childhood, his grandmother Toot, had lost her struggle against cancer. At his penultimate stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, it rains so hard, and for so long, that it's hard to see the streaks running down both his cheeks. They don't come obviously or immediately. Hardened by two years of campaigning and many more years of self-control, his voice never breaks as he announces the news. "Some of you heard that my grandmother who helped raise me passed away early this morning," he says calmly. "Look, she has gone home. And she died peacefully in her sleep, with my sister at her side. So there's great joy as well as tears. I'm not going to talk about it too long, because it's hard a little to talk about." His face remains composed as he talks about the "bittersweet" sensation of losing his grandmother while his campaign draws to a close. He betrays little emotion as he describes her as "a quiet hero" and sketches out her life story. But when he starts to read his stump speech from his teleprompter, when he talks about the broken politics in Washington, he surreptitiously strokes one cheek with his thumb. He condemns eight years of failed Bush policies, and casually strokes the other cheek. Two minutes later, as the crowd chants "Yes We Can," he finally takes a handkerchief out of his pocket and wipes his face down. It is one of the rarest moments of the entire election: a display of raw emotion from a candidate whose mask almost never slips before the dozens of cameras that trail him every day. Even then, at his most vulnerable point, he defers the moment and dissipates its impact.

    The cracks in his self-control spread to those closest to him. Standing at the back of a leaking tent in a parched yellow field is the candidate's friend and strategist David Axelrod. "He's at peace with what happened. It wasn't unexpected. He just wishes he had some time to deal with it in his own way," Axelrod says. "But I'm finding this hard right now. The enormity of it all is almost overwhelming. I love him; he's my friend. This election is ridiculously long and there are many stupid things about it. But you really have to earn the presidency. And he's been tested. You can't hide it or fake...
Reviews-
  • Ben Bradlee, Washington Post "The first of the President Obama books--and a good one--insightful, thorough, and straight."
  • Michele Norris, All Things Considered "If you really want to know what happened inside the Obama campaign, this is the one book that will take you there. My jaw dropped time and time again reading details that, despite the coverage, were never revealed in the long campaign. A clear-eyed, up-close look at the campaign, Renegade is the one Obama book that should not be missed."
  • Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage "A superb achievement. With an almost painterly eye, compelling insights, and extraordinary access to Barack Obama and his inner circle, Richard Wolffe's Renegade tells the hidden, dramatic story of the 2008 campaign and also reveals much we did not know about the 44th president's life before politics. Wolffe's brisk, well-written narrative is fully in the tradition of Theodore White and Richard Ben Cramer, capturing a pivotal presidential contest dominated by one of the most luminous figures in modern American history."
  • Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University "Many journalists covered the 2008 presidential campaign for newsrooms and blogvilles. Not the intrepid Richard Wolffe. With gumshoe persistence he tracked Barack Obama's historic march to victory with grace and cunning. Renegade offers a deft mix of biography, personal reflection, British wit, and old-style journalism. Destined to be a classic in its genre."
  • Gwen Ifill, Washington Week in Review and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer "Politics is a lot like basketball--complete with drives up the middle, clutch rebounding, and smart head fakes. In Renegade, Richard Wolffe takes us inside the game through unparalleled access to candidate-turned-president Obama and through his own canny eye and wit. I learned something new on practically every page."
  • Ken Burns, award-winning filmmaker "This is an insightful, unusually moving, fully observed portrait of the improbable candidate and complicated man who would be president, a riveting backstage drama set just at the moment America's third act prepared to debut. If Jefferson started the exalted but flawed exercise and Lincoln enlarged it, then with Richard Wolffe's wonderful book--graced as it is with a journalist's eye and a historian's breadth and command--we are granted the gift of access to the second skinny lawyer from Illinois who would save our country. Marvelous."
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Making of a President Barack Obama
Richard Wolffe
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Richard Wolffe
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