The Washington Post


Barack Obama arrived in Washington in 2008 symbolizing the political change he promised on the campaign trail during his historic presidential victory. But in many ways, Washington changed Obama more than Obama changed Washington. This is the story of how the idealist of the 2008 campaign evolved into a hard-nosed pragmatist, shelving his promise of a new kind of politics to fight increasingly partisan budget battles and run a bare-knuckles re-election campaign. Through a series of articles and photographs published by The Washington Post, this book outlines the change in his political personality during his four years in office, and describes his engagement with some of the most challenging issues he confronted during his time in office – and what his approach may mean for a second term should he win in November.
115 printed pages
Original publication



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    ipathas quoted3 years ago
    What happened during those days in July when the grand bargain was almost reached, but not quite, changed him for good. He no longer seemed a divided man.

    His goal after that summer was unequivocal: to win a second term.
    ipathas quoted3 years ago
    he was unable to bridge a political divide that had only grown wider since he took office, underscoring the gulf between the way he campaigned and the way he had governed.
    ipathas quoted3 years ago
    it was his inability to enact transformational change during the debt ceiling negotiations in the summer of 2011 that really changed Obama himself. The actions of Obama and his staff during that period best reflect the grand ambitions and the shortcomings of his entire presidency.

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