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Showdown: Inside the Obama White House

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  247 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
The veteran political journalist and" New York Times" bestselling author goes behind the scenes at the White House to recount the dramatic tale of a pivotal period in the Obama presidency, from the game-changing 2010 midterm elections to the beginning of the critical 2012 campaign season--a tumultuous time that tested the president as never before and set the stage for a t ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 544)
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Will Byrnes
Covering the period from the mid-term elections of 2010 to, more or less, the present, David Corn offers readers a look inside the Obama Administration through a host of battles. The overall takeaway is that Obama seriously wants to be the adult in the room in DC and tries his best to fulfill that mission. There is a lot of difference between campaigning, in which you can say whatever you like, stake out whatever positions you prefer and not have to temper your rhetoric to accommodate opposition ...more
columbialion
Primarily written for political junkies and policy wonks, author Corn delivers the real inside narrative to Obama's first term as POTUS. Regardless of political persuasion, "Showdown" pulls away the curtain and allows the reader to peer into the sausage factory of political maneuvering that was required of this president, in an environment of recalcitrance and obstructionism by the GOP. The author makes strong arguments for the remarkable legislative successes Obama secured, within that hostile ...more
Jimmie
Nov 15, 2012 Jimmie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociopolitical
David Corn may be a liberal, and he may run the DC bureau of Mother Jones, but Showdown is most decidedly not a hagiography of Barack Obama. It's a remarkably exciting, clear-eyed view of the first three years of Obama's first term as he tried desperately to make progress as the Tea Party and other intractable Republicans constantly obstructed his attempts.

I only wish he'd included an appendix listing everyone's job titles (and, where applicable, party affiliation and home state). It would've be
...more
Donna
May 28, 2012 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a political news junkie like me, this book was a terrific find! I followed the events of the first three years of the Obama presidency as closely as possible, for someone not living in the nation's capital and not being on a first-name basis with major players. In Showdown, David Corn filled in many of the blanks, confirming my suspicions in some cases and surprising me in others. Clearly, besides being an outstanding writer, Corn has the integrity to get people to confide in him.

If, like me
...more
Matt
Jun 13, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I'm biased, as I provided some research for the book, but Corn does a solid job of describing the Obama administration/Democratic perspective of the political struggles of 2010-2011. This first stab at the rough history of a year in the life of Obama's Washington, DC, chock full of insider accounts of decision-making, should prove valuable for future historians. The general thrust isn't necessarily new for anyone who read a daily newspaper during Obama's first term, but the perspective is fresh ...more
Kinksrock
Jan 19, 2016 Kinksrock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to write a quick review, even though it will subject me to "unhelpful" votes [on amazon.com] from people who vote based on their disagreement with the politics, rather than whether this review is helpful.

Well, I'm going to just say that this is a pro-Obama book. There. If you are anti-Obama, I just wrote a helpful review for you because -- let's face it -- you don't want to read it and I just saved you the time of reading it and the money if you would have bought it.

For anyone who is p
...more
Brent
Jun 29, 2012 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: voters considering recent history
Recommended to Brent by: Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library system
I think this was a useful reminder of the year 2011. Especially as the health care ruling came down from the Supreme Court yesterday, I had to reflect that the President is smarter than, for instance, I am. Corn documents the principled stands and attempts at dealing with Congress and the Republican leadership. Recommended to fire voters up for this election season.
Bookworm
David Corn is a reporter of Mother Jones magazine (as of this date) and he wrote a book about the Obama administration, focusing on the 2012 election. It focuses on topics such as war in Afghanistan, the Osama Bin Laden raid, domestic policies, the Arab Spring, etc, but is not a comprehensive view of the 2008-2012 years.

I was bored out of my mind. I've read David Corn's articles, and whether you agree with them or not, he's not a bad article writer/reporter. But the book was horrendously boring
...more
John Kaufmann
Feb 07, 2014 John Kaufmann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. I was becoming disillusioned with Obama, and this book provided the antidote. Corn details what Obama was up against with the Republicans, and posits that it was Obama's skillful maneuvering, both on the substance of issues to find the sweet spot as well as the right procedural moves, that salvaged anything. Corn, of course, is partisan, and I'm sure he views things through slightly tinted glasses. But his rendition of events seems to coincide with my recollection of how things h ...more
Beth Riches
Feb 20, 2016 Beth Riches rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Corn is one of my favorite journalists, and his book about President Obama's first three years in office is very, very good. As someone who follows these things closely, I found that my memory of these occurrences jibed with what he recounted in this book.

Some of my friends don't agree, but I've felt all along (and there are other friends who agree with me) that there were political machinations and considerations that we aren't privy to. It's not as easy as saying "The President just nee
...more
Sagar Jethani
And when I say 'Finished', I mean 'Finished reading this piece of utter syncophancy'. Corn offers more than a full apologia for Obama's first term-- he deftly explains why anyone who is less-than-thrilled with Obama is an idiot. The Manichean world in which he operates is divided into Tea Party haters and their leftist brethren, disappointed liberals.

It's a neat trick, that. By establish a false equivalence between birthers and disappointed liberals, Corn dismisses the idea that liberals' disapp
...more
Seth Millstein
Nov 26, 2012 Seth Millstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this a whole lot more than I'd expected. I could tell from the title and cover that it was going to be very pro-Obama, and while that standpoint is definitely there, there's tons of great information and reporting in it as well.

One of Corn's main arguments is that, contrary to what many liberals believe, President Obama did not "sell-out" his progressive base and bow to GOP pressure during his first term. Corn suggests that Obama actually out-maneuvered Republicans, using their vehement
...more
Angela
May 11, 2012 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While focused on the Obama Presidency, I think this book gives a great insight into the inner workings of an administration - any of them. There are so many things that happen behind the scenes that we Americans do not know. The President does not have the luxury to deal with single events in an orderly fashion, but rather multiple crises that happen often simultaneously. There are discussions that must be kept private in order to prevent the dominos from falling too soon. We progressives were u ...more
Ed Vazquez
Excellent journalism, by Mr.Corn. His writing provided a personal note on operations within the Executive Branch, and exploits the issues that interfere with sound decison making and Executive leadership that is put forward to help These United States be the forerunner in International Affairs. The question remains, "now that the truth is out on what President Obama, is trying to achieve, and how other party interests backlogg the political system, might we see a maturing of politics to run this ...more
Frank W. Jackson
Gripping. It should be read by every so called liberal, who claimed t.v. disappointed in Obama and who claims to understand our current political environment.

I am reminded of the thought that cruelest cut came from Brutus. it is not enemy that I fear. It is my friend.
Hannah Givens
Reading play-by-play narrative of political machinations is SO BORING. Also, Corn seems to quote a lot of "top aides" and "senior officials," leading me to wonder if Mr. Top Aide is actually a guy who works at the white house, and if Senior Official is some kind of Vice Vice President position with which I'm not familiar.

There's a pretty clear bias in favor of the President, but I like to have bias out in the open where I can compensate for it, rather than sneaking in under cover of night. It wa
...more
Martin Bakner
Dec 28, 2012 Martin Bakner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written from the point of view from a supporter of President Obama, this book nonetheless gives an evenhanded look behind the scenes at the White House. You get a glimpse of how private dealings between the president and members of Congress - especially Speaker John Boehner - rarely match what the public sees and hears.

Corn offers a very detailed account of the events and personalities in the struggles between the Executive and Legislative bodies in the months after the 2010 midterm elections.

Hi
...more
Vicki
Nov 16, 2012 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely a book for political junkies like myself. Goes into detail the chess-like moves required to 'get things done' during the first three years of the Obama Administration. I had to re-read certain segments as there were so many issues being tackled at once and a cast of characters to keep track of. The book actually ends in 2011 with the administration gearing up for the 2012 campaign. It was very cool to read about some of the stuff I was involved in. Overall, its a good read.
Leilani
Apr 13, 2012 Leilani rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, politics
If I didn't follow the news at all, I might find this informative. Instead, it's like reading two-year-old issues of Newsweek without any of the analysis or insight, or even glossy pictures. Basically just a play-by-play of what happened, with occasionally a sentence stuck in about what someone did before joining the administration. I'm usually a completist, even if finishing takes a few months, but after listening to half of this book, I'm willing to chalk it up as a mistaken purchase and move ...more
Rajesh Kurup
Appears to be a well researched book that starts with the shellacking that the Dems took in 2010 and builds up to when Obama starts to push back against Boehner and the Tea Party Repubs at the end of 2011. A very apologetic book towards the President. Corn goes to great lengths to approve of all of Obama's decisions especially those that were criticized by the Left. It's not a bad book, but I feel it lacked a clear thesis.
Kristine
Nov 24, 2012 Kristine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look at how the Obama administration works. I was surprised to see how closely Obama was involved in most big decisions during his first term. Came away more impressed than ever with his intelligence and his temperament. Also interesting to see how after the 2010 elections the Republicans immediately set about (with some help from the team in the White House) destroying their chances for 2012.
Julie


A play-by-play analysis of most of the major congressional debates from 2010 until the beginning of 2012. The back room negotiations, and political long game of the administration are discussed. This sheds new light on what you think you know. It discusses compromise to avoid catastrophe, and explores how ideologues stand on the way of getting anything done.
Mom
Oct 23, 2013 Mom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, politics
My respect for David Corn as a researcher and author soars after finally finishing Showdown. It made me feel like a "fly on the wall" as he chronicled the behind-the-scenes action of the 2011 debt ceiling crisis. His knowledge of history and experience as a reporter improved my perspective on the events.

Recommended.
Terri Jacobson
Apr 23, 2012 Terri Jacobson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
A progressive look at the Obama administration from the election losses of 2010 to the beginning of the 2012 election campaign last fall. Focuses on President Obama's leadership style and decision-making process. Very detailed, only for true political junkies.
Mike
Dec 26, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who thinks that Obama has been a weak negotiator (and I included myself in that group) should read this eye-opening account of the strategizing and behind-the-scenes action during the second half of his first term.

Key takeaway from the book: Boehner is a dick.
Laureen
Jun 03, 2012 Laureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


This book helped me to understand why Obama hasn't finished some of his campaign promises, but it was a little too much rah-rah for me. And I'm a rah-rah Obama fan. Good reporting on the bin Laden raid and some insight into Guantanamo.
Rory
May 15, 2012 Rory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition


Red meat for liberals, but really not much more here. Unless you paid no attention to the news since the tea-party hijacked congress, there's really no reason to read this book. Frankly it was depressing to relive the whole mess.
Siszurpicki
Yeow!! Overloaded detail but the jist is informative and scathing. The Tea Party folks look like goons ready to shut down the entire country. President Obama comes off as a cool operator. Too bad the country doesn't know these details.
Vince Carter
May 02, 2012 Vince Carter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revealing glimpse of the practical and political forces influences that impact the short and long term decisions of those governing--showing how running government is a lot diferent than running for office.
Kelly Bragg
Jul 30, 2013 Kelly Bragg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Corn made this a very easy read. Though at times he does get bogged down in sourcing, I enjoyed seeing facts/quotes alongside the names of their origin.

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