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The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  819 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
The Agenda is a day-by-day, often minute-by-minute account of Bill Clinton's White House. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, confidential internal memos, diaries, and meeting notes, Woodward shows how Clinton and his advisers grappled with questions of lasting importance -- the federal deficit, health care, welfare reform, taxes, jobs. One of the most intimate portraits of ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,385)
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Erik Graff
Mar 08, 2013 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Clinton fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
I didn't vote for Clinton, but still expected more from his administration than it delivered--national health care and a conservationist energy policy at best, an honorable international profile at least. This insider representation of the Clinton White House did not improve my opinion of the President, but it did heighten my impression of the Vice-President, Al Gore, betrayed by his boss and ineffectual as he was.
Martyn Rush
Mar 14, 2015 Martyn Rush rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
"You mean to tell me that the success of the program and my re-election hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of bond traders?" - President Clinton.

Revealing. We all know how the most idealistic of politicians is cut down by legislative and bureaucratic structures, but it is worthwhile to have a long, detailed case study. Clinton promised environmental taxes, progressive taxation on the rich, tax cuts for middle income people and stimulus for the poor, as well as deficit reduction. This utop
Ben Sweezy
Nov 24, 2013 Ben Sweezy rated it really liked it
This book is eerie for both the contemporary familiarity of its themes (healthcare, stimulus, "the economy, stupid") the foreignness of other themes (long term real interest rates that are not negative, an obsession with the discussion being almost solely about a precise $$$ value of projected deficit reduction) and the omissions from the conversation (unemployment rate, number of jobs created, gdp growth, anything about the stock market).

This is no fault of woodwards--I imagine the difference i
May 21, 2012 Brandan rated it really liked it
The Agenda is a look back on the first year of President Clinton's life in the White House as reported by Bob Woodward. Despite Woodward's role as a reporter and editor on The Washington Post since 1971, the style of writing he uses is that of a professional novelist. This is what adds on to the interest of The Agenda. With a “compulsive, Grisham-like” feel to the novel, Woodward manages to make signing a bill sound interesting (New York Times review of The Agenda).
The Agenda starts out with a
Apr 21, 2009 Benjy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
This book is incredibly relevant today as it depicts the equivalent time period we're in now in the Obama administration only with the last Democratic administration. It's fascinating to see the difference in the political environment between the two, but also the parallels. Both White Houses were dealing with a recession and the economy as their top areas of concern, but Congress was so divided then and Clinton so much less popular that he had a much harder time getting anything passed. At the ...more
Oct 09, 2009 Brett rated it liked it
This book details Bill Clinton’s efforts to get a budget passed in 1993, his first year in office. The book was written in 1994, so it’s interesting to read a contemporaneous account of a historical period. I enjoyed reading it and seeing how the process worked and how both Congressman and Senators make deals and sacrifice this for that and prioritize what they’re willing to fight for. It was frustrating to read how watered down legislation can get, just so something gets passed. It was interest ...more
May 16, 2015 JMN rated it really liked it
An interesting, in-depth view of White House and Congress operations, deal-making, sniping, and personality massaging in, very likely, any administration. Lessons to be learned throughout, positive and negative. I found it as much about Clinton's first go-round on the budget as about the exercised ability of Congress to twist things to individual favor and whining selfishness. A very good read.
This book is an excellent look at the inner workings of the Clinton team during its presidential run in 1992 and its first year in office in 1993. Focusing mostly on the economic debate going on within the administration and between the White House and Congress, it portrays a disorganized, frantic process which nonetheless culminates in legislative victory for Clinton. Though written in 1994, Woodward's thorough research (based mostly on interviews and White House documents made available to him ...more
Rusty Henrichsen
Jul 21, 2009 Rusty Henrichsen rated it really liked it
A look at the poorly organized Clinton White House in the early days of his administration. Since Woodward is part of the establishment media which some folks accuse of only publishing wonderful things and whitewashing the problems of the Democrats, one would expect this to be a cheerleading book. Well, it's not! Woodward describes Clinton as wanting to engage in endless debates and being slow to make a decision - this was quite frustrating to many of his aides with Washington experience. He is ...more
Frances Johnson
Aug 16, 2014 Frances Johnson rated it really liked it
Who would think a book about Bill Clinton and his struggle to balance the budget would be interesting? Bob Woodward has done an excellent job of telling the story of President Clinton's battle with Congress to pass his new economic deal. Whether you are a Clinton supporter or not, this is a fascinating read.
Jan 10, 2009 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-politics
This in my estimation is the best of the Bob Woodward "Inside the White House" books. The Agenda strikes me as very even-handed, usually Woodward books are used by one set of subjects (those who talked to Woodward and as a result come off looking good) to settle scores against others (those who snubbed Woodward), that seems not to have happened here. I also have to admit that it pleases me greatly that the people within the Clinton White House that I had a soft-spot for (Leon Panetta, George Ste ...more
Oct 23, 2008 Kelli rated it it was ok
This book gave me appreciation for the intense effort of Bill Clinton to balance the budget. He was the first president since LBJ to balance the budget. Some bad language. I did, however, learn that Clinton has an intense anger management problem, often exploding on his staff. He also has a kaleidoscope way of seeing all aspects of an issue, firmly believing in both and all sides. This is confusing to me and makes me ask, 'where are his principles?' Bush II, in contrast, seems to be a man of pri ...more
Jason Goetz
Apr 13, 2015 Jason Goetz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finito
As always with Woodward, heavily fact-based. Which is to say, a great read. I truly appreciate the work he does.
Jan 06, 2009 Jonah rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: politicos...90's nostalgists
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gilbert G.
Jul 23, 2015 Gilbert G. rated it liked it
Typical Liberal writer.
Jerry Landry
Really good overview of the battle for the Clinton economic plan in the first year of his administration. Amazing detail and narrative. At times, it could be dry and dense, but it was worth it to keep plowing through to get the whole story. This book is especially relevant now that the deficit is an even greater problem than Clinton ever had to face.
Jul 01, 2013 Carriemechelle rated it it was amazing
A gripping story about one of the more overlooked sagas in Clinton's first term, it reads more like a novel than a history. Woodward is excellent at painting a picture with all the important characters in play, and making the intricacies of legislation seem intriguing even to the less wonky of his readers.
Feb 15, 2007 Katie rated it really liked it
Woodward really makes you feel like you're getting to know Clinton beind-the-scenes. Whether or not he's being completly accurate is another story! Apart from where he breaks down Clinton's economic policy a bit TOO much, this is an easy read and kept me facinated.
Jul 07, 2009 Ogreboy rated it liked it
Pretty technical read about the first year or so of the Clinton presidency. Mainly read because I like Woodward. Enjoyable but a bit arcane - I did not follow politics at all in 1993 and I have some catching up to do.
Dec 14, 2013 PJ added it
Shelves: will-not-finish
I picked this up to read when I was house-bound with nothing else to read. I more than likely will not finish it, which has nothing to do with the book itself and everything to do with my reading interests.
Alex Thompson
Jun 27, 2013 Alex Thompson rated it really liked it
One of Woodward's better books. Some fascinating insight into the early dysfunction of the Clinton White House and, more importantly in retrospect, the immediate influence of Wall Street in his administration.
Kevin Diffily
I'm still digesting the book but some themes are highly intelligent, chaotic, internally conflicted, idealists (Bill & Hilary). It is striking how much of the idealism they both seem to have lost.
Feb 05, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it
This book surrounds Clinton's first campaign into the White House. Interesting and sad look at the world of D.C. politics. It left me wondering how anything of any substance can ever get done.
Aug 10, 2007 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Political nerds
Shelves: politics, history
Yes! Loved it. Couldn't put it down. The Clintons are inspiring. Contrast this book with Woodward's narrative on the Bush administration in 'State of Denial' and it will blow your mind.
Interesting to sin in chapter 11 how Clinton was advised to deal with the deficit and recession. He was advised against the radical policies being employed by the current regime.
Jan 13, 2008 Gina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Another audio version on the drive down from DC to Florida. Read by Kevin Spacey. A pretty terrible book. Journalists include too much minutia to prove they've researched.
Oct 18, 2008 Pamela rated it it was ok
Recommended to Pamela by: me
Learned that even if the candidate really wants to keep his campaign promises it is sometimes impossible. It only covered the first year of the Clinton Administration.
Aug 27, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it
A clear easy read. Typical Bob Woodward. An exhaustively researched 'instant history' of the first 100 days of the Clinton Presidency.
Woodward not at his finest but still a great look at the inner workings of the White House in the Clinton administration
Jan 09, 2009 JJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-history
Woodward has that uncanny ability to get that inside scoop, and does it again with The Agenda.

Worth reading.
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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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