The author of a controversial new book about the Obama White House defended his work on Tuesday as offering a “picture perfect” analysis of the early months of the administration, even as White House officials dispute the details and the broader thrust of the book.
“This is a 500-page book. The fact of the matter is everything in this book is solid as a brick and we have gone through every little thing that they have found, much of it was changed early, the book was pushed through with great effort,” Ron Suskind said in a live interview on NBC’s “Today” as “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President,” published by HarperCollins, went on sale Tuesday.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Monday voiced doubt about everything from dates to Suskind’s analysis in the book. “What we know is that very simple things, facts that could be ascertained — dates, titles, statistics, quotes — are wrong in this book,” Carney said. “In fact, one passage seems to be lifted almost entirely from Wikipedia, in the book.”
“I think, based on that, I would caution anyone to assume that if you can’t get those things right, that you suddenly get the broader analysis right. That analysis is wrong.”
But Suskind disagrees.
“The analysis is picture perfect, everyone in the White House was confronted with this early, they responded in the book, and this is really a portrait, a first portrait of this White House and this president,” Suskind said Tuesday. “When this happens, when the curtain is pulled back, they often respond vigorously, they are, and that’s testimony to the fact that this is really who they are.”
Many of the current and former administration staffers written about in the book have contested their portrayals, saying Suskind misquoted them or otherwise misrepresented their views.
“I think it’s important to note … there was enormous cooperation from the White House and they knew virtually in this book before it came out and had a chance to respond,” Suskind said Tuesday.
“I think the real issue is to whether the president is still getting gamed by his advisors,” Suskind said. “The evidence is that he’s not and in his interview, the president, he says ‘I’ve grown into the office.’ He was a president with very little experience, came in, in a crisis but the whole point of the book is the evolution of Barack Obama to now and the president is quite forceful.”
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