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Books by and about 2012 presidential nominees
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
A Life of Trial and Redemption
about V.P. Joe Biden (2010)
No Apology
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2010)
Young Guns
by Rep. Paul Ryan et al (2010)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Promises to Keep
by Vice Pres. Joe Biden (2007)
The Audacity of Hope
by Pres. Barack Obama (2006)
Turnaround
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2004)
Dreams from My Father
by Pres. Barack Obama (1996)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Hard Choices
by Hillary Clinton



(Click for Amazon book review)

OnTheIssues.org BOOK REVIEW:

Hillary's book came out in June 2014, just in time for a book tour to get completed before the country became embroiled in the 2014 election. The key question most pundits addressed was whether the book indicates that Hillary will announce for president either after her book tour, or after the 2014 elections, or sometime in 2015. Hillary didn't say one word in the book about running for president, but the pundits spent a lot of energy reading between the lines, especially the closing line of the book: "The time for another hard choice will come soon enough" (p. 596), meaning her decision to run for president is an upcoming "hard choice".

The pundits all enjoy reading between the lines, but we at OnTheIssues prefer to "read between the pictures" and "read outside the lines" as well: all three methods concur that, yes, Hillary will soon announce for president, probably in early 2015. The read-outside-the-lines part goes like this: If you were helping to plan Hillary's announcement for 2015, beginning with Obama's re-election in 2012, what would you do to prepare? Here is a checklist:

  • Retire as Secretary of State in early 2013 so there's time to physically recuperate (check, done, Feb. 2013).

  • Sign up to write a book about her experiences as Secretary of State, getting a big enough advance to pay off all past presidential campaign debts (check, done, April 2013, the advance rumored to be $14 million).

  • Spend enough time working at the Clinton Foundation to look like more than a figurehead (check, done, beginning in May 2013).

  • Get onto the speechmaker circuit, to build up a war-chest for 2016 and not have money worries like in 2008 (check, done, beginning in July 2013, with a fee of $200,000 per speech).

  • Announce the upcoming birth of her first grandchild, to remind us of her humanity and avoid charges of being an over-obsessed policy wonk (check, done, April 2014, baby born Sept. 2014).

  • Release her book and go on a book tour across America and Europe (check, done, June 2014 through July 2014).

  • Spend the 2014 campaign season endorsing gubernatorial and congressional candidates, to gather chits for 2016 (check, ongoing, since Sept. 2014).

  • Announce campaign for president (The only unchecked item left on the list).
In summary, Hillary has spent the last two years doing everything necessary to prepare for a presidential candidacy beginning in 2015, and this book fits in well with that checklist. After the 2014 election and the holiday season are completed, all that is left is to pick an auspicious time and location for her announcement.

The content of the book hardly matters to that two-year timeline, but of course the book focuses almost entirely on foreign affairs (to contrast her earlier memoir's focus: Living History focused on Hillary's personal background and her domestic policies). The book provides Hillary an opportunity to get the Benghazi issue out of the way (chapter 17, pp. 382-415), although her detractors will still try to use that as the main ammunition against her. The book also provides details of how her policy stances differ from Obama's: the bulk of our excerpts focus on those differences -- basically, Hillary is more of a hawk than Obama, and more for international engagement than Obama. But mostly the book establishes that Hillary is entirely ready to become the most powerful leader in the world -- which might not be an explicit attack by her opponents, but she will still be the first woman nominated by a major party for president.

We will close by applying the pundit game of read-between-the-lines to read-between-the-pictures: the photo selections in this book, we think, shout that the book is "campaign prep." There are 101 photos in the book, arranged in roughly chronological order, from photo #1 of Hillary's campaign concession speech on June 7, 2008, to photo #101 of Hillary's farewell speech as Secretary of State on Feb. 1, 2013. There is one glaring outlier in that chronological list: photo #40 is a picture of Hillary at Ground Zero in New York City, taken on Sept. 12, 2001. Why is that photo there, between photos of Hillary with Afghanistan's President Karzai in May 2010, and a Pakistani protest of Hillary's visit in Oct. 2009? We read-between-the-lines as some campaign advisor looked over the 100 photos to be published, and asserted, "Hillary, you have to include a 101st photo of yourself on 9/11, so that voters are reminded that the World Trade Center was your constituency." And so she did, sticking in a photo entirely out of place -- unless one reads the photo as evidence of a campaign-in-the-making.

-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, October 2014
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Energy & Oil
    Hillary Clinton: $100B per year by 2020 for climate change mitigation.
    Hillary Clinton: $100B per year by 2020 for climate change mitigation.
Families & Children
    Hillary Clinton: Our generation is blessed by extra years with aging parents.
Foreign Policy
    Hillary Clinton: Political restraint against Iran's Ahmadinejad was a mistake.
    Hillary Clinton: 2011: we abandoned Egypt's Mubarak too readily.
    Hillary Clinton: 2012: Take a harder line with Russia's Putin.
    Barack Obama: 2009: Chose Japan PM as first visitor to emphasize alliance.
    Bill Clinton: 2009: Rescue mission to North Korea to free 2 US journalists.
    Hillary Clinton: 2009: Chose Japan as first destination to emphasize alliance.
    Hillary Clinton: 2009: Chose Japan as first destination to emphasize alliance.
    Hillary Clinton: Some world leaders are still misogynistic.
    Hillary Clinton: Some world leaders are still misogynistic.
    Hillary Clinton: Get China involved with North Korea diplomacy.
    Hillary Clinton: China never fits neatly into category like friend or rival.
    Hillary Clinton: China never fits neatly into category like friend or rival.
    Hillary Clinton: Embed China within broader Asia strategy.
    Hillary Clinton: 1998: organized women's peace conference in Northern Ireland.
    Hillary Clinton: 1998: organized women's peace conference in Northern Ireland.
    Hillary Clinton: 2009: Northern Ireland shows any adversaries can make good.
    Hillary Clinton: 2009: Northern Ireland shows any adversaries can make good.
    Hillary Clinton: Putin's annexing Crimea plays outdated zero-sum game.
    Hillary Clinton: Push Russia on press freedom; they've killed 20 journalists.
    Hillary Clinton: Integrate with Latin America but focus on income inequality.
    Hillary Clinton: Idealistic realism: embody hybrid rather than categorizing.
    Hillary Clinton: Idealistic realism: embody hybrid rather than categorizing.
    Richard Nixon: 1972 China trip: "The week that changed the world".
    Hillary Clinton: Russian reset: Pushed Obama to keep Putin at a distance.
    Hillary Clinton: Arab Spring: Egyptian uprising had destabilizing impact.
    Hillary Clinton: End the Cuban embargo; that will shift onus to Castros.
    Hillary Clinton: Eastern Europe in NATO keeps Putin from moving beyond Crimea.
    Hillary Clinton: Smart power: combine civil society & traditional diplomacy.
    Hillary Clinton: Does US still have what it takes to lead? Yes!
    Hillary Clinton: Distinguish inherited problems from new ones & opportunities.
Homeland Security
    Hillary Clinton: NATO essential for evolving threats of the 21st century.
    Hillary Clinton: Dozens of Benghazi attackers had dozens of motives.
    Hillary Clinton: Benghazi security was simply inadequate in a dangerous city.
    Hillary Clinton: Benghazi talking points were written by CIA for Congress.
    Hillary Clinton: Benghazi: focused on rescue & prevention, not retrospection.
Immigration
    Hillary Clinton: Immigrants keep America young and dynamic.
Principles & Values
    Bill Clinton: First US President to visit Northern Ireland.
    Bill Clinton: Good Friday Agreement ended the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
    Bill Clinton: Good Friday Agreement ended the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
    Sarah Palin: Resounding response to 2008 nomination: "Who?".
    Hillary Clinton: We survive trauma by people showing kindness.
    Hillary Clinton: I have loved & been loved; all the rest is background music.
    Hillary Clinton: Life is about making hard choices; so is governing.
    Hillary Clinton: Making hard choices, I listened to both my heart and my head.
War & Peace
    Hillary Clinton: Don't demand complete moratorium on Israeli settlement.
    Hillary Clinton: 2012: We helped Syrian rebels, but we should have done more.
    Hillary Clinton: Putin wants to reassert Russia's dominance in its own areas.
    Hillary Clinton: Putin's annexing Crimea plays outdated zero-sum game.
    Hillary Clinton: Invested in Israel: negotiate a ceasefire in Gaza.
    Hillary Clinton: I wanted to arm Syrian rebels, along with regional partners.
    Hillary Clinton: I got it wrong on 2002 Iraq War vote.


The above quotations are from Hard Choices
by Hillary Clinton.

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