Profiles in Backroom Power
Publication Date: May 13, 2008
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Prizewinning journalists John Harwood and Gerald F. Seib show how today’s Washington power game really works, through stories of people who are making a difference on Pennsylvania Avenue, America’s power street. These new power brokers, some of whom are rarely seen and are largley unknown, have figured out how to make their voices heard, and how to get things done, amid the complexities of today’s gridlocked Washington. With unprecedented access to Washington insiders, and with deep insight into the unspoken rules of the road in the capital, Harwood and Seib explain why progress is so difficult and illuminate what it takes to succeed in the high stakes game of politics.
Pennsylvania Avenue, the 1.2-mile stretch between the White House and the Capitol, is where the influential and ambitious congregate. Through stories of party strategists, money men, policy-makers, fixers, socialites, lobbyists, spinners, deal-makers, and more, Harwood and Seib explore the great political transformations that have altered in a fundamental way the relationship between Americans and their government. A new class of politician and radically different ways of conducting business now exist in Washington. Harwood and Seib showcase such master players as Ken Duberstein (the Fixer), a onetime aide to President Ronald Reagan turned superlobbyist, whose contacts and insider knowledge help clients sidestep Avenue jam-ups; Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein (the Businessman), a new breed of power broker who pioneered the age of “big money” in Washington; Rahm Emanuel
(the Democratic Strategist), whose aggressive fundraising and crisis-room campaign enabled the Democrats to retake Congress in 2006; Debbie Wasserman Schultz (the Rising Star), a first-term Democratic representative from Florida whose meteoric ascent in the House has earned her influential allies as well as critics; Hilary Rosen (the Advocate), a former entertainment industry lobbyist who skillfully reframed the debate about same-sex marriage; and more.
Inspiring and wonderfully written, Pennsylvania Avenue takes us inside America’s center of influence to show how our government really functions, and the insiders who make things happen.
"Through a series of sharp vignettes and character sketches, the authors of "Pennsylvania Avenue," John Harwood and Gerald F. Seib, take the reader behind some of the more imposing facades along the refurbished road, introducing the famous and not-so-famous, and explaining how business gets done in the new Washington. Though they accept the common view that the old rules have changed, their analysis is fresh and stimulating."
--The New York Times
John Harwood is the chief Washington correspondent for CNBC and a political writer for The New York Times. Harwood began his career in 1978 at the St. Petersburg Times, where he served as state capital correspondent, Washington correspondent, and political editor. In 1989 Harwood was awarded a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University. He subsequently spent sixteen years at The Wall Street Journal beginning in 1991, covering the White House, Congress, and national politics. In addition to CNBC, Harwood offers political analysis on MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, and PBS’ Washington Week. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife and their three daughters.
Gerald F. Seib is an assistant managing editor and the executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal. He writes the paper’s “Capital Journal” column and is a regular commentator on Washington affairs for CNBC and Fox Business Network. Seib is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Merriman Smith Award, the Aldo Beckman Award, the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize, Georgetown University’s Edward Weintal Prize for his coverage of the Gulf War, and the William Allen White Award of the University of Kansas. Along with Harwood, Seib was part of the Wall Street Journal team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in the breaking news category for its coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with his wife and three sons.