The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity

The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity

Nancy Gibbs, Michael Duffy

Language: English

Pages: 656

ISBN: 1439127727

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The New York Times bestselling history of the private relationships among the last thirteen presidents—the partnerships, private deals, rescue missions, and rivalries of those select men who served as commander in chief.

The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama.

Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.












many Indians, I guess there were too many Democrats.” And though everyone else in his family was distraught, Bush smiled through the worst of it and at five the next morning got out his list of several hundred people he needed to thank and reached for the phone. He got off sixteen hours later. For his trouble, Nixon rewarded Bush with a pair of administration jobs: first as U.N. ambassador and then as chairman of the Republican Party. Nixon was gimlet-eyed about Bush: he liked him because he was

policy toward Moscow, enlisting much of the foreign policy establishment and his dwindling disciples in the press to his cause—all in opposition to the policy of a sitting president from his own party. Nixon would do this just as Bush was facing a primary challenge from, of all people, a combative conservative whose feel for the jugular was legendary and whose primary sponsor had been none other than Nixon himself. That would be Pat Buchanan. Nixon made the first move, offering an essay in Time

throwing away lives when the outcome is already determined.” That altered the dynamics and, by noon Sunday, Cédras proposed to step down as soon as a new government was in place. When Carter relayed that offer to Washington by fax, Clinton rejected it as too vague and insisted on Cédras’s departure by October 15. Cédras balked at the timetable and Clinton in return urged Carter and his team to leave the island quickly. The last-ditch mission was now operating several hours past its deadline. The

Mavis Staples sang; two choirs and an orchestra backed them up; eloquent volunteers from all around the nation testified about their volunteer projects, and the three American presidents (as well as Barack Obama, via video) praised Bush’s lifetime commitment to national service. Carter spoke first; then Bush’s son. But it was clear from the start that Clinton would perform the cadenza. He had been fiddling with his remarks as he sat next to the guest of honor throughout the show’s first half.

Missouri were taken out. This fight, Fletcher Knebel wrote in Look magazine, “is no ordinary case of ruffled feelings in the wake of a heated political contest, but one of the real hell-for-leather grudges of our era.” Relations were so tense in the fall of 1953 that a furor erupted simply over whether Eisenhower ignored a phone call from Truman when the president was visiting Kansas City. Ike was staying at the Muehlebach Hotel, where Truman regularly had lunch with friends. According to

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