The Obamas, by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, has made headlines even before it goes on sale Tomorrow, 01.10.11. A White House spokesman has dismissed it as an “over-dramatization of old news.”
The book — a political dissection of a marriage and a chronological account of the rocky political education of the president and first lady. It promises more than it delivers, so for readers expecting controversy, they may be disappointed. For those that can read between the lines… maybe not.
Although with the interesting timing of the exiting of Rahm Emanuel’s replacement as Chief of Staff, Bill Daley, it might make some wonder what has been left out and wonder if this book is perhaps an under-dramatization? The early exit, not matter how it was framed by the White House, continues the whispers of internal meltdown.
The book is filled with stories of infighting among White House staff which includes (ed) Rahm Emanuel , Robert Gibbs, Valerie Jarrett and the First Lady. Beyond Washington, few will call it juicy, except for details of a 2009 “Hollywoodesque” Halloween party at the White House with Johnny Depp in costume as the Mad Hatter from his role in the film Alice in Wonderland.
Kantor contends the White House kept details secret, fearing how a splashy party would appear during a recession. (See more below…)
The book portrays Michelle Obama as more political than her image, but opens with an interesting assumption, that Obama’s re-election “increasingly rests on attractive images and charming stories of him and his family.”
Kantor’s narrative is built on the couple’s longstanding political differences — not over policies, but the role of politics. Kantor writes that Michelle Obama always doubted if “true change could be accomplished through the legislative process.”
The couple’s other differences are explored: He’s tolerant of staff failures. She’s not. Kantor attributes that to their childhoods. Both are Ivy League-educated lawyers from modest backgrounds. But he partly raised himself and has a “soft spot” for anyone who has helped him. With her strict parents, there were no excuses.
The book is best on the Obamas’ enduring friendship with two African-American couples from Chicago and on the inner workings of the White House — how security and obsessive fears about image disrupt normal family life.
It’s a book that will be viewed through its readers’ politics: a liberal apology to conservatives, too focused on style for liberals yet in reality probably too much on the surface and missing the real scandals and questionable mystery issues that keep reappearing no matter how much the Obama’s have tried to bury them including: the eligibility question, the missing documents from both their backgrounds, unending questions about the president’s family and their family connections and ties between the Geithners, the Jarrett’s, and the Dunhams , tales of affairs and sexual proclivity, questions of both their dealings in Chicago; personal and professional including the Rezko land deal, follies like the 2016 Olympic bid and the list goes on…
Kantor concludes that the first lady has gained influence, “ironically” because she “played the role of not-very-political wife and mom so well. The less popular her husband became, the more powerful she became.”
She’s the “more confrontational Obama, the one who tended to slip into what one friend called ‘mama bear’ mode when her husband was threatened.” On Obama’s re-election campaign, Kantor writes, “This would be the last race he would ever run, and his wife intended for him to win.” We’ll see if Kantor has exaggerated the first lady’s role.
White House threw secret ‘Alice in Wonderland’ bash during recession
It was the tea party The Obamas just couldn’t resist… just like all those vacations, shopping trips and golf games. But you ordinary Americans… tighten your belt peeps~
New York Post A White House “Alice in Wonderland” costume ball — put on by Johnny Depp and Hollywood director Tim Burton — proved to be a Mad-as-a-Hatter idea that was never made public for fear of a political backlash during hard economic times, according to a new tell-all.
“The Obamas,” by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, tells of the first Halloween party the first couple feted at the White House in 2009. It was so over the top that “Star Wars” creator George Lucas sent the original Chewbacca to mingle with invited guests.
The book reveals how any official announcement of the glittering affair — coming at a time when Tea Party activists and voters furious over the lagging economy, 10-percent unemployment rate, bank bailouts and Obama’s health-care plan were staging protests — quickly vanished down the rabbit hole.
“White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans — or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care — that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged,” the book says.
However, the White House made certain that more humble Halloween festivities earlier that day — for thousands of Washington-area schoolkids — were well reported by the press corps.
Then the Obamas went inside, where an invitation-only affair for children of military personnel and White House administrators unfolded in the East Room.
Unbeknownst to reporters, the State Dining Room had also been transformed into a secretive White House Wonderland.
Tim Burton decorated it “in his signature creepy-comic style. His film version was about to be released, and he had turned the room into the Mad Hatter’s tea party, with a long table set with antique-looking linens, enormous stuffed animals in chairs, and tiered serving plates with treats like bone-shaped meringue cookies,” reports the book, which The Post purchased at a Manhattan bookstore.
“Fruit punch was served in blood vials at the bar. Burton’s own Mad Hatter, the actor Johnny Depp, presided over the scene in full costume, standing up on a table to welcome everyone in character.”
The Obamas’ daughters, Malia and Sasha, then 11 and 8 respectively, “sat at the table, surrounded by a gaggle of their friends, and then proceeded to the next delight, a magic show in the East Room.”
Kantor’s book details more personal aspects of the Obama White House, serving up glimpses of the first couple’s marriage, parenting, sometimes tense handling of staff issues and even the president’s sly sense of humor when it comes to race.
One morning during his Senate campaign, Obama didn’t show up to a meeting with donors. “After a frantic search, a white staffer named Peter Coffey called Obama’s barbershop to find that, yes, he was there.”
The president confronted Coffey about the call later that day.
“ ‘The relationship between a black man and his barber is sacred,’ Obama bellowed . . . ‘For failing to understand this truth, your punishment is to watch the movie “Barbershop.” And for further punishment, you will then watch the sequel, “Barbershop 2.” ’ ”
Often White House staffers found themselves in the middle of husband-and-wife quarrels.
“The advisors could feel hopelessly caught between husband and wife,” Kantor writes. “The Obama marriage was awkward for everyone: for the aides, for the president . . . and for the first lady.”
Post photo composite
TEA PARTY! Johnny Depp played host, as the Mad Hatter, at a 2009 White House bash, but a new book says it was kept quiet from the press for fear of backlash amid the recession.
Updated (Photos from the Blaze… the truth has no agenda):
PICTURES SURFACE FROM THE OBAMA’S EXTRAVAGANT HALLOWEEN PARTY – Two years after the President and his family threw an over-the-top, Alice In Wonderland themed halloween party (complete with actor Johnny Depp in full Madhatter costume and makeup), pictures from the event are making the rounds. Was it wrong for the First Family to partying in such a grand fashion while the nation’s unemployment was sitting at 10%? Get the details and decide for yourself HERE.
A lot has been said over the last two days about the White House’s now-infamous “Alice in Wonderland” Halloween party from 2009. It was an extravagant affair featuring actor Johnny Depp and filmmaker Tim Burton in costume. Conservatives have panned the president for having such a party during economic turmoil, and generally keeping it hush-hush. Liberals (and even some conservatives) have defended the president, either saying the party was mentioned to some degree, or that the president‘s Halloween plans shouldn’t be national news.
No matter what side you take, it’s still conceivable that you would want to see pictures from the event, right? We thought so.
Intrepid blogger Zombie tracked down some of the photos from the night and posted them here. We’ve included some of them below (Depp is dressed as the Mad Hatter, Burton is the one with the eye patch, and the dog, well, that’s the Obama family canine named “Bo”):
You can see more of the pictures that Zombie tracked down, including more of the decorations and some from what seems to be an exclusive after-party, here and here.
By the way, the White House’s official statement defends the party as no secret:
One of the anecdotes that has received wide attention [from the new book The Obamas] has been a supposedly secret Alice in Wonderland themed Halloween party in 2009. This was an event for local school children from the Washington DC area and for hundreds of military families, and certainly nothing that the White House was ashamed of.
Of course…. If there was nothing to be ashamed of, the why was this story hidden from the press and the American people… word has it that it is logged nowhere on the White House records.
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