The Price of Politics
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The Price of Politics

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  1,339 ratings  ·  269 reviews
The Price of Politics chronicles the inside story of how President Obama and the U.S. Congress tried, and failed, to restore the American economy and set it on a course to fiscal stability. Woodward pierces the secretive world of Washington policymaking once again, with a close-up story crafted from meeting notes, documents, working papers, and interviews with key players,...more
Hardcover, 380 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2012)
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Mary
Dec 11, 2012 Mary rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mary by: Eric Tipton
Shelves: political
This book is amazing; it makes you feel like you are a fly on the wall during the stimulus bill deliberations. Bob Woodward has a way of describing the action as if you are in the room. This is amazing so far.


Combine arrogance and inexperience and you have a recipe for disaster which is exactly what we have in the White House right now. An arrogant liberal progressive that knows he's right no matter how wrong he is. Wrong for the country and wrong for the economy and no one has the hutzpah to te...more
Phillip
It was "okay." I always take his books for what they are worth -- well-sourced political gossip. They may be 100% true or not. Overall, it bogs down in the last 1/3 because it is just back-and-forth negotiations between President Obama and congressional leaders. I got a bit lost in some of the financial minutiae because it's not my forte (I'm not a Medicaid expert by any means ... I always get lost in talk of "provider payments").

President Obama comes across as having a disorganized White House...more
Kent
I finished Bob Woodward's latest book today. “The Price of Politics” was aptly named. I was not disappointed in Woodward. This is the story of the debt ceiling negotiations of the summer of 2011 and the subsequent move to sequestration of huge chunks of spending on both sides of a wall between security and everything else... The creation of the fiscal cliff of January 1, 2013. Of course, it is timed after the November elections. Woodward tells his story from interviews of the players. Often he w...more
Frank Stein

Another great glimpse inside Washington politics by the doyen of Washington journalists. This time Woodward focuses on the labyrinthine debates over raising the debt-ceiling in 2011.

The first takeaway here is that Obama doesn't come off well. Woodward starts the book with an anecdote from a Washington Gridiron press dinner that seems to show Obama at his slickest and most substanceless, and that tone carries throughout. Not that anyone comes off like a saint, but Obama seems largely like a well-...more
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The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward

"The Price of Politics" is an even-handed book about the handling of the economic crisis under the Obama administration. It examines the struggle between President Obama and the U.S. Congress to manage federal spending and tax policy during his tenure. Associate editor at the Washington Post for 41 years and author extraordinaire, Bob Woodward has provided the reader with a forthright, blunt examination of this administration's handling of the economy. This i...more
Josh
The Price of Politics is a comprehensive account of DC’s failed budget negotiations in 2011. To his credit, Bob Woodward created a thorough description of the closed door meetings and statements from political leaders about the fiscal-related debate that seized the center of attention a year ago. His work is probably the best historical record to be put forward of these budget dealings, a frustrating episode that yielded little compromise and no long-term solutions.

Unfortunately, the book is nea...more
Adam Mahlum
Bob Woodward can flat out write. Who knew that a 380 page book about failed number crunching could be such a white knuckle, edge of your seat thriller. The book is about the failed debt ceiling negotiations of 2011 that almost caused America to go over a fiscal cliff. Woodward does a good job of relaying the complexity of the politics and in the process shows how lackluster many of our leaders (including President Obama and Speaker of the House Boehner) were at negotiations. Ironically enough, t...more
Andrew
I've never really been one to purchase books on modern day politics, but I stumbled upon mention of The Price of Politics (TPoP) in a Wall Street Journal article and decided to give it a try. In this book, we obtain a picture of the first three years of the Obama Presidency, including the Obamacare and Debt Ceiling negotiations. What Mr. Woodward has accomplished here is a highly readable work that should be reviewed by any American voter who wants a picture of our current political atmosphere--...more
Michael Cohen
Bob Woodward is the master. The books is terribly great. Every meeting you're in the room listening to each side give their views and slamming the opposition. President Obama comes off very badly, unable to lead Democrats, oblivious to getting what Republicans need for a deal, getting in the way of deals, and generally not being constructive at all. Oddly enough, Joe Biden comes off as an unsung hero as someone who knows how to deal with Republicans. Speaker Boehner comes off as weak and Cantor...more
Benni
You've probably heard about the comparisons between lawmaking and sausage making. If you think you've got the stomach to handle it, this book sheds light on how deals get made (or not made) on Capitol Hill.

Woodward details the negotiations during the debt crisis of 2011, and how we barely managed to avert default. While there's a 2-3 page commentary at the conclusion of the book and a few observations throughout, this book is mostly fact-driven; thankfully, this isn't another liberal or conserv...more
Regina
OK, I have been trying to hold off commenting on this book until I finished. I'm done.

As for the book itself, it is a difficult read. The subject is incredibly complex. It went back and forth and back and forth for ages and Woodward retells most of the meetings and details from multiple viewpoints. It makes for an exhausting read.

As for the topic, Woodward did elicit a small moment or two of sympathy for Boehner, who he detailed as an old-fashioned Country Club Republican faced with a rather lar...more
DougInNC
This is the civics textbook for our time! Every voter who wants to understand how Washington is working (or is not) should definitely read this Bob Woodward compilation centered around the debt ceiling negotiations of 2011 as well as the personalities and procedures in play.

Detailed and name-dropping, it brings you into the crazy world where D.C. debates policy and funding as though they really matter (yes, they truly do!) then acts (must act?) according to the vote tallies they can muster from...more
thewanderingjew
The book begins with a description of a dinner speech by then Senator Barack Obama, at a “right of passage” dinner for politicians, in 2006. In a self-deprecating manner, the handsome, smiling man delivers a speech essentially describing himself as an “empty suit”. The media and the politicians immediately fall in love. This love affair continues through his Presidential campaign in 2008, essentially helping elect this naïve and inexperienced “empty suit”, to the highest office in the land. This...more
Bobbi
Woodward does a surprisingly evenhanded assessment of the current administration and Congress during the recent debt ceiling crisis. I've read many of his other books and always felt his bias was obvious. Not in this book. He seems extremely concerned by the lack of leadership, the arrogance and the Chicago style politics that was being practiced by the White House. On the other hand, he also seems surprised by the lack of leadership from some in the House and Senate, while noting that many of t...more
Andrew McBurney
I would really like to give this book a better review. It was based on dozens of interviews of the participants, is well-written, and reveals certain facts that haven't really come out before -- at least, not in a way that presents them as part of a whole picture. The treatment of both Democrats and Republicans seems even-handed, and I even find my respect increasing for several of the Republicans, including Representatives Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, and Speaker Boehner, who came out of the debt...more
Bryan Jaketic
As always, Woodward puts you right in the room with the most powerful people in the country during pivotal moments. This time, he guides you through a series of protracted negotiations on economic policy. The bulk of the book focuses on the debt ceiling showdown of 2011, and it feels like the Cuban Missile Crisis of the global economy. The book is riveting, despite the fact that it gets a bit bogged down in details and characters - but the story couldn't be told without such details.

Woodward's w...more
Robert
What I learned most from this book was how Washington operates, specifically the interaction between the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives.

I didn't realize how much compromise is necessary to get much done. I also got a much better feel for both sides of major political differences in regards to entitlements, defense, and fiscal spending.

I was surprised by how engrossing the book was. Some reviews called it boring and slow. I found it quite the opposite.

I was worried tha...more
Sagar Jethani
In "The Price of Politics", Bob Woodward presents a blow-by-blow account of the negotiations which precipitated the debt ceiling crisis of 2011. Woodward shows how the image of an unreasonable Republican caucus led by the Tea Party does not accurately describe why negotiations fell apart. Even figures as deeply partisan as Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell are shown as figures willing to work in partnership with the administration-- if only behind closed doors, away from the cameras.

The reason the...more
Jay Connor
I finished this book just before the election.

Having read most of Woodward's books beginning with "All the President's Men," it is fairly easy to deconstruct how he gets to the last page. His style is kinda TMZ meets Face the Nation. You are often as caught up in identifying his sources as you are in the main story. Going all the way back to Deep Throat, once you can identify the source you can identify the motivation.

Said another way, Woodward is as concerned about keeping his sources talking...more
Holly Morrow
Woodward’s new book is his usual fly-on-the-wall insider account, this time about the Obama administration’s deliberations with Congress over the stimulus, Obamacare, and most centrally, the debt-ceiling fiasco. I would not be surprised if this ends up being taught in PoliSci 101 classes – it’s a very, very detailed look at the way sausage is made in Washington, and the total dysfunction that our system has fallen into.

Who comes out looking good in this book? Noone. Actually – I take that back...more
John Harms
Feb 16, 2013 John Harms rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Political Junkies
When reading this book, you sort of get the feeling that Bob Woodward is continually in the process of researching and writing a book about politics. It is as though he picks a random thirty-six month span of time and then works to craft those events into a narrative. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book because of the in-depth reporting on events and Woodward's unsparing criticism where he deems it necessary. Most of all, I enjoyed Woodward's character descriptions of the key players in th...more
Scott Zuke
It's a book about fiscal negotiations, so yes, it gets tedious even with Woodward's characteristically easy to read style. Nevertheless, it's an important read for anyone gearing up for the Fiscal Cliff negotiations. The main reason to recommend this book is to gain insight into the key players in Congress and at the White House, especially since the main cast was virtually unchanged by the 2012 Election. Boehner and Cantor especially come off more sympathetically than they did in most media acc...more
T Fool
Going into this, one has friends and foes. Journalism seeks hot topics for shock value, for story value. They write to their constituencies. This is not that.

The meat of this is economics, budgeting, international financial trust, big money. Much that I simply don't know. All that is being handled by USA decision-makers within its Constitutional political system. That system I know fairly well.

What has to hit a reader expecting either economic analysis or mano-a-mano political grit is somethin...more
Josh
I was going to give this book just 4 stars because the middle 3rd of it seemed to get a little redundant and repetitive. I have realized however that that is a perfect microcosm of the problem this book so expertly describes: political inertia. This book really runs the gamut of adjectives: fascinating, discouraging, mesmerizing, infuriating, but mostly it is just amazing. Woodward literally makes you a fly on the wall to discussions at the highest levels of power. People are always clamoring fo...more
Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton
Mar 05, 2013 Daniel (Attack of the Books!) Burton rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Daniel (Attack of the Books!) by: Craig Christiansen
Several people have asked me about the Bob Woodwardkerfuffle.

(I know. The irony. Congressional leaders and the President spend two years negotiating how to deal with the debt, can't agree on a solution, resolve to on a 2% across the board cut called "sequestration" that almost no one understands--or represents accurately if they do--and people want to talk about a 'he said/she said' moment in American politics. Let's be honest--it's a lot closer to the school yard politics than the intricate and...more
Kathy
Bob Woodward's books give you an inside look to the day to day operations within our government. There are always fascinating, but you never feel better about your country after reading one of his books. I always believed that teen-aged girls were the cattiest group in our culture...I now know they are the second cattiest group in our culture...politicians have taken over the lead.

"I can go it alone." "The polls are pretty good for me right now." "Elections have consequences. And, Eric, I won."...more
Jerry
An even handed account of the less that satisfactory workings of the White House and Congress dealing with economic and debt problems during the Obama term. I was left with the impression that there was failure on both sides, White House and Congress. But the buck stops at the Oval Office.

Obama promised bipartisanship, but then let the Democrat leadership in Congress bulldoze through the stimulus bill and ObamaCare ignoring all input from the Republicans.
Regarding the $800 billion stimulus bil...more
Don Weidinger
: transparency, no media to check, resignation due to lack of informed voters vs what’s in it for me, 20+ year congressional jobs not as founders envisioned, Cantor limit spending and small business focus, Keynesian spending of 30’s vs cuts, Emmanuel-we have the votes f…em, buying votes for HB1, blue dogs limit spending, Conrad bickers for self vs country, ear marks of Reid, extending unemployment discouraged people, unelected commission of Simpson, CEO’s 47 pages for less regs taxes spending de...more
Ryan Curell
A glib retelling of budget negotiations during the mid-months of 2011 starring Obama, Boehner, Reid, Cantor, Pelosi, Biden, McConnell and staffers. Woodward takes an exhaustive 350 pages to chart the back-and-forth between two sides who, it seems, couldn't negotiate where to eat lunch any better than where to cut $2.4 trillion from the budget over 10 years. He then spends less than three pages summarizing the grim state of affairs after negotiations solved nothing serious in terms of addressing...more
Lisa
Jul 15, 2013 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: political junkies
The infamous Bob Woodward writes a detailed narrative about the debt ceiling negotiations during the summer of 2011. By the way this is why we are now dealing with sequestration.

I listened to the audio book mostly while working in the yard. It might be a tough book to read because it is very detailed and that could be boring. I found it entertaining while creating and maintaining my garden.

At times I found myself asking myself why I was reliving all the political crap that makes me so mad. How...more
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Robert "Bob" Upshur Woodward is an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post. While an investigative reporter for that newspaper, Woodward, working with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein, helped uncover the Watergate scandal that led to U.S. President Richard Nixon's resignation. Woodward has written 12 best-selling non-fiction books and has twice contributed reporting to efforts that collecti...more
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