In First Excerpt, Obama Recalls Weightiest Fight in Congress

Focus is on passage of ObamaCare in 'New Yorker' release
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2020 6:44 AM CDT
First Obama Book Excerpt Is Released
Former President Obama campaigns for Joe Biden at Florida International University, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in North Miami, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The New Yorker is out with the first excerpt of former President Obama's forthcoming memoir, A Promised Land, and the focus is on how he and his team got ObamaCare passed. Before the legislative fight even began, Obama recounts a conversation with advisers Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, who made clear to the new president that the fight could be politically disastrous. "We all think we should try," he quotes Axelrod as saying. "You just need to know that, if we lose, your Presidency will be badly weakened. And nobody understands that better than (Mitch) McConnell and (John) Boehner." To which Obama replied: "We better not lose then." The excerpt goes into the legislative nitty gritty of negotiations with Republicans and the flak Obama took from the left when his team had to ditch the public option.

Obama recounts: "I found the whole brouhaha exasperating. 'What is it about sixty votes these folks don’t understand?' I groused to my staff. 'Should I tell the thirty million people who can’t get covered that they’re going to have to wait another ten years because we can’t get them a public option?'" Obama also touches on the personal in the piece, particularly the arrival of the family dog Bo and how he and his wife and daughters would take after-dinner walks with Bo around the White House lawn. "It was during those moments—with the light fading into streaks of purple and gold, Michelle smiling and squeezing my hand as Bo bounded in and out of the bushes with the girls giving chase—that I felt normal and whole and as lucky as any man has a right to expect." Read the excerpt here. (More President Obama stories.)

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