The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008

Front Cover
Random House, 2006 - Political Science - 454 pages
2 Reviews
InThe Way to Win, two of the country’s most accomplished political reporters explain what separates the victors from the victims in the unforgiving environment of modern presidential campaigns.

Mark Halperin, political director ofABC News, and John F. Harris, the national politics editor ofThe Washington Post, tell the story of how two families–the Bushes and the Clintons–have held the White House for nearly a generation and examine Hillary Clinton’s prospects for extending this record in 2008. Based on years of research, including private campaign memos and White House communications,The Way to Winreveals the surprising details of how the Bushes and Clintons have closely studied each the other’s successes and failures and used these lessons to shape their own strategies for winning elections and wielding power.

In the case of George W. Bush, the strategic genius is Karl C. Rove, arguably the most influential White House aide in history. For the first time, Halperin and Harris cut through the myths and controversies surrounding Rove to illuminate in brilliant, behind-the-scenes detail what he actually does–his Trade Secrets for winning elections.

In the case of the Clintons, the chief strategist is Bill Clinton himself. Drawing on their fifteen years reporting on and interviewing him, Halperin and Harris deconstruct and decipher the Clinton style, identifying the methods that all candidates can use in their pursuit of the White House.

The Way to Wintakes a lively and irreverent approach, but Halperin and Harris also show the disturbing ways that American politics has become a Freak Show–their name for a political culture that provides incentives for candidates, activists, interest groups, and the news media to emphasize ideological extremism and personal attack. For the first time, Halperin and Harris describe how Freak Show campaigns orchestrated by the likes of Internet pioneer Matt Drudge forced Al Gore and John Kerry to lose control of their public images (with considerable help from the candidates’ own ineptitude) and lose the White House.

On the brink of what will be one of the most intense, most exciting presidential elections in American history,The Way to Winis the book that armchair political junkies have been waiting for. Filled with peerless analysis and eye-opening revelations from the trenches, it is a must read for everyone who follows American politics.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ALincolnNut - LibraryThing

Subtitled "Taking the White House in 2008," the recent political strategy book "The Way to Win" could be consigned to a stack of pre-election books that appear before elections (usually written, or ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - markleon - LibraryThing

The problem with writing a book like this is that it can get dated very quickly. This book is no exception. The authors take the majority of this book to extol the virtues of Karl Rove. Unfortunately ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Mark Halperin is the political director of ABC News and creator of’s “The Note,” which has become a fixture of political journalism.

John F. Harris is the national political editor of The Washington Post. He covered the 2004 presidential campaign for the Post from the swing state of Ohio, whose electoral votes were decisive in that year’s election. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling biography of Bill Clinton The Survivor.

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