Steve Kornacki: How The Donald discovered that pretending to run for president can be good for business ….
….Paul Riddell from Texas wrote that he agreed Trump’s “campaign” is a publicity stunt, not just because he did the same thing back in 2000, but because he also did it in the 1988 cycle … it turns out it’s true: The Trumpster’s first fake presidential campaign actually took place 24 years ago…
….he was handed a deal to write the “Trump: The Art of the Deal.” Publication was set for November 1987 … And wouldn’t you know it, a few months before the book’s release, stories began appearing that Trump – seemingly out of nowhere – might jump into the 1988 presidential race as a Republican … “Anyone would be honored to hear this,” he said. Then he swung into action, taking out ads in major newspapers addressing topics ranging from the deficit to nuclear weaponry to Central America. And he scheduled a speech in New Hampshire…
….with his money and bluster, Trump was portrayed as a potential wild card. He denied that he was running – always leaving enough wiggle room to keep the media playing along….Not long after the NH speech, “The Art of the Deal” hit bookstores. It was a runaway hit. And with that, the trips to New Hampshire and the flirtations with the ’88 race stopped. He’d already accomplished his goal: enhancing the Trump brand….
12 years later, with another book to promote, he did it all over again (see here). And now, 12 years after that, he’s back again. (There’s no book for Trump to promote this time, but there is his C-list celebrity train wreck on NBC, which (conveniently enough) premiered just as the Trump for President chatter intensified).
President Obama waves goodbye from the steps of Air Force One as he departs Saudi Arabia on his way to Egypt, June, 2009
AP: ..Foreign leaders showered President Obama and his family with hundreds of thousands of dollars in art, jewelry, rare books and other presents during their first year in the White House.
Saudi Arabia’s king was the most generous gift-giver, according to documents released by the State Department on Tuesday. Saudi King Abdullah gave Obama, his wife and daughters nearly $190,000 in luxury baubles in 2009, including the single most valuable gift reported to have been given to U.S. officials that year: a ruby and diamond jewelry set, including earrings, a ring, a bracelet and necklace, for the first lady worth $132,000.
…By law, most gifts to U.S. officials must be turned over to the government and the jewelry has already been sent to the National Archives.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was a distant runner up to King Abdullah, with gifts for the first family worth a little under $33,000. The Italian haul included silk ties, a gold watch, a crystal table and candlesticks…….the Saudi monarch also presented Michelle Obama with a $14,200 pearl necklace. He gave the president a marble clock adorned with miniature gold palm trees and camels valued at $34,500. He sent first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama diamond earrings and necklaces worth more than $7,000.
Chinese President Hu Jintao gave Obama a $20,000 silk embroidery of the first family….French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife sent perfume and a $4,500 black Christian Dior handbag …Some leaders chose more modest gifts. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth presented Obama with framed portraits of herself and her husband, Prince Philip, worth $775….Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered the U.S. leader $521 in gifts, including the least expensive item listed by the State Department: a $75 bottle of olive oil.
NYT: Can you judge a president by what he is reading? As has been reported, President Obama’s vacation reading includes a Lou Cannon biography of Ronald Reagan, another president who was confronted with a divided Congress. But the White House said today Mr. Obama also brought two novels: “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet” by David Mitchell, a well-reviewed historical romance about a Dutchman in Edo-era Japan; and “Our Kind of Traitor,” by the spy novelist John Le Carre.
Salon: When the Mama Grizzly hit the Dallas area in 2009, crowds lined up to see her. This time around, it was a non-event.
I showed up about midday to talk with the Barnes & Noble store director, to see if I could get access as a photographer … basically, she said no, I couldn’t be in the store and take photos while Palin was there.
…. her reality television people were there filming the event. TLC managed to get Barnes & Noble to restrict other media access during the signing. The local news outlets could not videotape during the actual signing of the books; there were to be no print journalists allowed and no questions could be asked of Palin while she was in the store.
… Another big difference for this most recent bookstore appearance by Palin is that there seemed to be much less interest in her latest book, and perhaps in her.
Here’s the waiting line for patrons to get their books signed while Palin was in the store on Sunday:
Compare that with the line waiting outside in 20°F weather at the previous Palin event a full six hours before the doors opened (many waited in line for 14 hours) as seen here in December 2009:
At both Dallas-area events, there was a common theme. The people waiting to see her were devoted and enthusiastic followers, and almost all of them were a homogeneous demographic — there were very few people of color, which made that contrast stand out all the more.
One last note: At the Legacy Bookstore signing in 2009, Palin signed about 1,300 books. At the Barnes & Noble store, they set aside about 250 books for her to sign.
It was a non-event.
Jeez, not even her North Korean allies turned up
Reduced from $25.99 to $12.99, but still only 22nd in Amazon’s bestseller list …. one ahead of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book’. Aw.
826: I Live Real Close to Where You Used to Live: Kids’ Letters to Michelle Obama (and to Sasha, Malia, & Bo) is a collection of letters written by kids across America to Michelle Obama and her daughters Malia and Sasha (plus a few to their dog Bo). The book is bursting with advice, observations, and questions for the First Lady and her family.
No topic is off-limits; the letters deal with issues ranging from immigration and war to Easy-Bake Ovens and dog food. While some of the messages are heartfelt – “Please help to stop bullying so the kids can be safe in school” – and others are hilarious – “You’re a better dancer than your husband” – all of the letters are unabashedly honest.
The letters ask all kinds of questions, ranging from immigration to childhood obesity and even “Who made up the Whales?” It also offers the first lady a couple of ideas: “Try to keep drugs off the streets. Robots may be able to help you.”
Proceeds benefit 826, a network of nine nonprofit organizations that help children with expository and creative writing.
This book is a follow-up to:
A few days after the election of Barack Obama, 826 students around the country were asked to provide advice and guidance to their new President. In this collection, arriving at inauguration time, there’s loads of advice for President Obama, often hilarious, sometimes heartfelt and occasionally downright practical.
Topics include the economy, education, war, global warming, race relations in America and immigration. The book also includes letters about snow cones, puppies, microwavable burritos, dinosaur projects, multiplication and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, reportedly haunting a White House bedroom.
Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country includes such advice as:
“If I were president, I would help all nations, even Hawaii.” —Chad Timsing, age 9, Los Angeles :-)
“I really hope you put America back together. No pressure though.” —Sheenie Shannon Yip, age 13, Seattle
And, while it wasn’t advice, exactly, we thought this was worth sharing:
“You are just like a big me.” —Avante Price, age 7, Seattle
Newsweek: Note to critics: Read (or reread) his books. Obama is doing just what he said he would do.
….the president’s critics on the right deride him as a radical socialist seething with anti-American rage….to the left, Obama is a tragic failure who squandered his chance for dramatic change…. even at odds with his own principles….
….yet Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do. Perhaps the critics should read—or reread—the president’s own books.…. almost everything you need to know about Obama is there on the printed page…
….in contrast to the charges coming now from right and left, Obama is neither a rigid ideologue nor a spineless wimp. The Obama who wrote Dreams and Audacity stands in a long tradition of American reform, wary of absolutes and universals, and committed to a Christian tradition that prizes humility and social service over dogmatic statements of unbending principle…..
…throughout his career, Obama has refused to demonize his opponents. Instead, he has sought them out and listened to them. He has tried to understand how they think and why they see the world as they do. His mother encouraged this sense of empathy ….since January 2009, Obama has watched his efforts at reconciliation, experimentation, and consensus-building bounce off the hard surfaces of political self-interest and entrenched partisanship, but there is no reason to think he will abandon that strategy now….
…the shrill tone of Obama’s critics makes reading his books especially illuminating today. In Audacity, Obama explained why, because of our national traditions, the United States would never have a single-payer health-care system and would have to find a distinctively American hybrid relying on existing insurance plans. That’s what we have now. He explained why, although he favors regulation to protect against abuses, he rules out socialism and remains firmly committed to a market economy. His financial reforms follow that pattern….
…after almost two years as president, Obama has failed to satisfy the left for the same reason that he has antagonized the right. He does not share their self-righteous certainty. Neither his personal restraint nor the achievements of his administration should surprise anyone who has read his books….
…in November 2010, President Obama remains the man who wrote Dreams and Audacity, a resolute champion of moderation, experimentation, and deliberative, nondogmatic democracy. It’s just that the distorting mirrors of political commentary in America’s fun house can make it hard to recognize him….
Full article here (worth reading every word, it’s brilliant)