Obama as 'clutch player'
Michiko Kakutani reviews David Plouffe's campaign memoir:
[Obama] is depicted as someone accustomed to being in control: when Mr. Plouffe first met him during his 2004 Senate race, he writes, Mr. Obama was “having a hard time allowing his campaign staff to take more responsibility for both the campaign and his life.”
“You just have to let go and trust,” Mr. Plouffe recalls saying, reminding Mr. Obama that he had “to be the candidate. Not the campaign manager, scheduler or driver.”
Mr. Obama is quoted as responding: “I understand that intellectually, but this is my life and career. And I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it. It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known in my political life. But I hear you and will try to do better.”
As in Richard Wolffe’s book “Renegade,” Mr. Obama emerges in these pages as a clutch player who can hit the three-point buzzer beater but who does not really like to practice. “Preparing for the convention speeches illuminated one interesting contrast between Michelle and Barack,” Mr. Plouffe writes. “Michelle wanted a draft of her speech more than a month out so she could massage it further, get comfortable with it and practice the delivery. Barack was always crafting his at the 11th hour. In this regard, Michelle was a concert pianist — disciplined, regimented, methodical — and Barack was a jazz musician, riffing, improvisational and playing by ear.”
Photo credit: Scout Tufankjian/HBO.
November 3, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
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