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The AGENDA: INSIDE THE CLINTON WHITE HOUSE Paperback – April 1, 1995

3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A no-holds-barred look inside the Clinton White House during the first one hundred days of his presidency. What emerges is a portrait of a man hampered by his struggle to do the right thing. Despite the defeat of the health care initiative and the bungling first steps of a naive administration, Woodward uncovers the essential decency of the man from Hope.

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Woodward's fast-paced behind-the-scenes look at the Clinton administration was a 13-week PW bestseller.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671666843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671666842
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,187,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nicholas J. Vertucci on October 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Agenda written by Bob Woodward, pertains to Bill Clinton's first year in office. It's mostly about the battle and struggle for the new (at the time) president to get his budget and economic recovery package passed through Congress. It's amazing, but I never realized how much of a tough job it is to be president.
Shortly after winning the presidency in November of 1992 over incumbent President George Bush Clinton soon had to both come to grips and realize that his work was cut out a lot more for him, than he, or his campaign staff could've ever realized. Ultimately, he had to accept the fact that he would have to do some drastic compromising from his campaign promises. Clinton of course campaigned to be a "New Democrat" who would restore the economy to the forgotten middle-class and overturn the Reagan-Era greed of the 1980s, by investing in jobs, education, and health insurance reform. After meeting with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, he soon realized that it wouldn't be so easy. As it would turn out, taking bold action to reduce the overwhelming national deficit would become the top-notch priority of his economic recovery plan, and would hog up most of his budget. Therefore his beloved domestic investment agenda would have to be sacrificed. Including his promised tax-cut for the middle-class.
So even before, let alone after Clinton took the oath of office, Clinton had his work cut out for him. He had to realize
early that his approval ratings would sink miserably and there would be disenchantment among his strongest supporters, let alone the American people. In many ways, two camps developed in his White House. There were the fiscal conservatives such as Robert Rubin, Leon Panetta, David Gergan.
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Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a critical analysis of the first 100 days of the Clinton White House, this is not the book for you. Woodward's unimpeachable ability to get the most minute human details about his subject merely presents the scene; he leaves it to others to blow rhetoric hot and cold about our controversial President. Woodward places the reader inside the White House, where you feel the frenzied pressure of trying to pass an economic reform package. And for a political junkie, Woodward's fly-on-the-wall style of reporting is great fun. Congress emerges as a hodge-podge of competing special interests and constituencies, and you feel the White House's frustration with it's own ignorance of Byzantium On The Potomac. The Outsiders from Arkansas receive their crash course in Washington politics, and it's not pretty. With every compromise struck, two hard-won bargains are lost. Yet the players never seem petty, but merely hostage to the varied yet insatiable demands of the American electorate. These are men and women of conscience and duty, yet must work in the most competitive of environments. After reading this account, one cannot help but reconsider his last diatribe about the bums in Washington: Woodward eloquently and entertainingly presents the burdens The System imposes on our elected officials and their staffs. All in all, an entertaining, surprisingly fast read
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Format: Hardcover
Ok, I admit it; I am a big fan of Woodward. I will read everything he puts out and probably enjoy it. With that being said here is another book of his that I will profess to really enjoying. For my money he is the best political writer in the business today. He has so many contacts that many times in reading the book you could swear he has the White House bugged. This book follows the Clinton team through the first two years that they are in office. You get all the standard Woodward items with the book, great details, wonderful he said - she said conversations that really make you feel like a fly on the wall, an easy to follow and well laid out book.
I have read the book All Too Human that George Stephanopoulos wrote and in the book he describes the interviewing technique of Woodward, he stated that Woodward has a great style of getting you comfortable with him and then before you know it you are spilling all the secrets. What was also interesting is that Stephanopoulos wrote that Woodward audio tapes all of his interviews so that leads me to believe that the information in his books has not gone through a reporter taking notes loss of detail. One last bit of info is the Stephanopoulos said that once this book came out the Clinton's got so mad at George for all of the info he told Woodward that they basically shut him out for a year. That must mean Woodward got it right.
A great follow up to this book is the Elizabeth Drew book "Showdown: The Struggle between the Gingrich Congress and the Clinton White House", it picks up where The Agenda leaves off. This is an interesting book that I really enjoyed. IF you like Woodward you will like this book, if you are interested in the first two years of the Clinton presidency then this is also a good source of information.
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Format: Paperback
"The Agenda" reads pretty dull for the first 100 or so pages, skimming over Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign and the promises he would make (and sometimes, break) with celebrated muckraker Bob Woodward displaying more his gimlet eye for detail than his nose for news, or more unhappily for readers, any interest in characterizing the ideas and personalities of the Clintonistas in more than bold strokes.

Maybe Woodward wanted to give us some of the numbing sensation President Clinton experienced when he and his wife Hillary woke up in the White House, only to realize it wasn't Disneyland and they couldn't change the world overnight. Even with firm Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, there would be those who, whether out of caprice, malice, or simply not seeing issues the same way, wouldn't play ball.

Complicating matters was a national economy that Clinton had made the central concern of his campaign ("It's the economy, Stupid" became such a mantra Clinton insiders shortened it to ITES) and now threatened to bury him after years of profligate spending by his Republican predecessors. Before any meaningful change could occur, Clinton had to work on such capitalist esoterica as interest rates and deficit reduction.

The liberal side of Clinton balked: "I hope you're all aware we're all Eisenhower Republicans," Woodward recounts Clinton yelling at his cabinet. "We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn't that great?"

It is at this point, more than a third of the way in, that "The Agenda" zooms right up there with "The Brethren" and "The Final Days" in terms of Woodward tomes.
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