In “A Promised Land” — Barack Obama’s third book, due out Nov. 17 — the former president says he chose Joe Biden as his vice president in part to act as an intermediary with the GOP.
Obama ripped President Donald Trump, accusing him of exploiting race to appeal to “millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House.”
The 768-page memoir — Obama’s third — chronicles his childhood and political rise before doing a deep dive into his historic 2008 presidential campaign and first four years in office.
CNN received an advance copy of the book and did an analysis with excerpts and reporting by Dan Merica, Kevin Liptak, Jeff Zeleny, David Wright, and Rebecca Buck.
Obama wrote that he believes his election in 2008 opened a wave of divisiveness and turmoil that fueled Republican obstructionism and ultimately changed the party.
Obama connected the fact he was the first Black president with Biden’s role in negotiations on Capitol Hill. Race played a role in his decision to send Biden often to Congress as an emissary, he wrote.
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“One of the reasons I’d chosen Joe to act as an intermediary — in addition to his Senate experience and legislative acumen — was my awareness that in McConnell’s mind, negotiations with the vice president didn’t inflame the Republican base in quite the same way that any appearance of cooperation with (Black, Muslim socialist) Obama was bound to do,” Obama wrote, according to CNN.
In a Twitter response, New York Times political reported Astead W. Herndon wrote, “This has always been the subtext of Biden’s ‘Rs will treat me better'”.
Obama’s views on the changing Republican Party are found throughout the book, CNN reported. He wrote that the more confrontational Republican Party impacted some of his day-to-day decisions as president, especially when it came to sending Biden to Capitol Hill to negotiate on his behalf.
Obama wrote that Trump wasn’t that different from other Republican leaders such as John Boehner, speaker of the House from 2011 to 2015, or Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader from 2006 until 2015 when he became majority leader.
“They, too, understood that it didn’t matter whether what they said was true,” Obama wrote in the book. “In fact, the only difference between Trump’s style of politics and theirs was Trump’s lack of inhibition.”
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Obama wrote the book freehand on yellow legal pads. The first Obama memoir was “Dream from My Father” in 1995. The second was “The Audacity of Hope” in 2006. Michelle Obama wrote a 2018 memoir, “Becoming,” which sold 1.4 million copies in its first week. After 15 days, her book had become the 2018 best-selling book in the U.S.. By March 26, 2019, it had sold 10 million copies.
The Obamas together were reportedly paid a $65 million advance for their memoirs by Penguin Random House, according to CNN.
Obama described picking Biden as his running mate.
“I liked the fact that Joe would be more than ready to serve as president if something happened to me — and that it might reassure those who still worried I was too young,” Obama wrote. “What mattered most, though, was what my gut told me — that Joe was decent, honest, and loyal. I believed that he cared about ordinary people, and that when things got tough, I could trust him. I wouldn’t be disappointed.”