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Bagging groceries in her youth led to her giving an Ivy League-filled government room a passionate reality check on the realities of food stamps; being humorously candid about struggles with IBS and period drama resulted in the introduction of tampon dispensers in the White House. There are no shortages of books like this out there — what did you want to add to the conversation? So I took all the feedback, and this book is a collection of essays on underserved topics for women — like IBS, lessons on online responsibility from Monica Lewinsky, and dating at work.

What do you think is lacking in corporate feminist movements? So I wanted to communicate it means a lot not just to find the job, but the workplace community that you feel most comfortable in.

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Once I realised that — especially with the Obamas who let me be me — I was so much more productive, and my ideas came faster. For me, a lot of it was faking it. The truth is once I got help, a little legal marijuana and Xanax goes a really long way. I just had to work really hard to get over it.

Barack Obama shakes hand of paralysed man who feels through robotic fingers

Speaking of marijuana, you famously declared you had smoked it more than times in your White House clearance. How would you like to see the industry develop? The dispensary owners should not always be white men; states should have to put aside a certain number of licences for women and people of colour. Look at the deaths by suicide of the two Parkland students and Jeremy Richman , father of a Sandy Hook victim, along with the Trump administration push to stop funding to the Special Olympics. Can you believe this shit? I would honestly say empathy. Once we were going to visit a region affected by a very bad wildfire.

He looked around for shelter. There was nothing but a few chest-high thornbushes and some small rocks. He was in the middle of a desert; there was no place to hide. I need to get away from this area, he thought. He collected the gear he wanted, stuffed the rest in a thornbush, and began to move.

You just go with your gut decision to get to safety. He wandered the desert until he realized there was no place to go.

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In the end he found a thornbush a little bigger than the others and got himself inside it as best he could. There he called nato command, to let them know where he was. What appeared to be a border collie had found him, and every time he moved to pick up his communications gear the dog moved in on him and started barking. He reached for and armed his 9-mm. Shoot a dog? He liked dogs. The light passed right over the thornbush.

Tyler was now flat on the ground. But he could see that the light had stopped moving back and forth and had settled on him. Not quite that easy. Relations with the public are indeed important, maybe now more than ever, as public opinion is the only tool he has for pressuring an intractable opposition to agree on anything. He admits that he has been guilty, at times, of misreading the public. He badly underestimated, for instance, how little it would cost Republicans politically to oppose ideas they had once advocated, merely because Obama supported them.

He thought the other side would pay a bigger price for inflicting damage on the country for the sake of defeating a president. But the idea that he might somehow frighten Congress into doing what he wanted was, to him, clearly absurd. About cable news. That model has progressively shifted for each president.

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But if you happen to be president just now, what you are faced with, mainly, is not a public-relations problem but an endless string of decisions. Putting it the way George W. Bush did sounded silly but he was right: the president is a decider. Many if not most of his decisions are thrust upon the president, out of the blue, by events beyond his control: oil spills, financial panics, pandemics, earthquakes, fires, coups, invasions, underwear bombers, movie-theater shooters, and on and on and on. So you wind up dealing with probabilities. You have to own that and feel comfortable with the way you made the decision.

People being led do not want to think probabilistically. On March 11 a tsunami rolled over the Japanese village of Fukushima, triggering the meltdown of reactors inside a nuclear power plant in the town—and raising the alarming possibility that a cloud of radiation would waft over the United States. If you happened to be president of the United States, you were woken up and given the news.

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Not even close. At that very moment, you were deciding on whether to approve a ridiculously audacious plan to assassinate Osama bin Laden in his house in Pakistan. You were arguing, as ever, with Republican leaders in Congress about the budget. And you were receiving daily briefings on various revolutions in various Arab countries. In early February, following the lead of the Egyptians and the Tunisians, the Libyan people had revolted against their dictator, who was now bent on crushing them. If you were president just then and you turned your television to some cable news channel you would have seen many Republican senators screaming at you to invade Libya and many Democratic congressmen hollering at you that you had no business putting American lives at risk in Libya.

How many more people have to die before the United States decides, O. On that day the French announced they were planning to introduce a resolution in the United Nations to use U. The president had to decide whether to support the no-fly-zone resolution or not.

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At p. We knew they were moving faster than we originally anticipated. We knew that Europe was proposing a no-fly zone. That much had been in the news. One crucial piece of information had not. His army was racing across the North African desert in jeeps and tanks.

Obama had to have wondered just how aware of this were these foreign leaders supposedly interested in the fate of these Libyan civilians. And that was not all. As enthusiastic as France and Britain were about the no-fly zone, there was a danger that if we participated the U. Because we had the capacity. On March 15 the president had a typically full schedule. The senior people, at least those in the Situation Room, sat around the table.

Their subordinates sat around the perimeter of the room. He likes to make decisions by having his mind occupying the various positions. He likes to imagine holding the view.

Barack and Michelle Obama wave goodbye to Washington

Before big meetings the president is given a kind of road map, a list of who will be at the meeting and what they might be called on to contribute. When you say Qaddafi takes a town, what happens? The idea was that the people in the meeting would debate the merits of each, but Obama surprised the room by rejecting the premise of the meeting.

Obama then proceeded to call on every single person for his views, including the most junior people. Because I am trying to get an argument that is not being made. His desire to hear out junior people is a warm personality trait as much as a cool tactic, of a piece with his desire to play golf with White House cooks rather than with C. After all, he became president. What the process is going to do is try to lead you to a binary decision. Here are the pros and cons of going in. Here are the pros and cons of not going in. We still had equity in Iraq.

Our assets are strained. The participants are asking a question: Is there a core national-security issue at stake? The people who operate the machinery have their own ideas of what the president should decide, and their advice is pitched accordingly. Gates was right to insist that we had no core national-security issue. Biden was right to say it was politically stupid. Public opinion at the fringes of the room, as it turned out, was different. Several people sitting there had been deeply affected by the genocide in Rwanda.

Several of these people had been with Obama since before he was president—people who, had it not been for him, would have been unlikely ever to have found themselves in such a meeting. Another was Ben Rhodes, who had been a struggling novelist when he went to work as a speechwriter back in on the first Obama campaign. But how? He was nevertheless visibly annoyed. He half thought it might be a prank.