September 25th, 2009
08:31 AM ET

Dear President Obama #249: Book him...

Reporter's Note: President Obama has been a relatively prolific writer, as have been some past presidents. But none of them these days can keep pace with the writings of their ex-staffers. With that in mind I continue my daily letters to the president.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I am thinking of writing a book. Not because I have any particularly good ideas, but because I’m pretty certain you don’t need them anymore. All you need in DC these days is a mercenary heart and utter disregard for the feelings of old friends and coworkers when you spill their secrets like grape juice all over the Barnes and Noble shelves. Seriously, the political section looks like a who’s who of former Administrations, with everyone and his sister just itching to tell the “inside story” of any White House.

I’m a big reader. I’ve read plenty of books just because I happened to see them; on plagues, mathematics, obscure historical events, geographic regions, counterfeiting, religious cults, circus acts, outdated medical devices, pirates, piano makers, forgotten murders, and alchemists. And yet, some of these political books, despite my best intentions, can send me to Snoozeville faster than a hammer to the head. Most of this flash and trash works, unlike legitimate presidential histories written later, are just not very good. And yet they keep appearing.

The thing that has me thinking of all this is the appearance of yet another book purporting to have a behind the curtain look at the more recent Bush Administration. Like most “tell all” books, it is not flattering. No surprise. The “secret story” of how any former president was just a great guy does not seem to be in much demand. No surprise either that close Bushies are saying the author doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But the point is that the book was written at all. Call me old fashioned, but I think if a person is honored by a call to serve any president, that is a lifelong commitment. It is wrong to disgrace the office by cashing in on every burp you heard and every disagreement you were privy to just so you can have your picture on a dust jacket.

Should we know if something illegal or outrageous is going on in the Oval Office? Absolutely. But if an insider feels that strongly about it, let him or her come courageously forward at the time for the good of us all.

Sadly, I must say, it will happen to you too, are sure as the leaves will soon fall. Some of those who stand beside you right now, so proud to have their picture taken with President Obama, are authors in the making. So watch what you say and to whom, and remember we all have plenty of colleagues and acquaintances, but precious few true friends… especially when there are nickels to be made, and books to be published.



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Heather,ca

    I find the entire tell book concept rather odd. These people take an oath, sign confidentiality papers and do their job of keeping. Their mouths shut. Then after they leave the job they decide to talk.

    In this case, even former Pres Bush is working on his memoir, not a tell all. Does this guy care about how classless he comes off. Or is this his way of assuring he will never write speeches for anyone ever again and he will need all the money he can get.

    So basically he's got gossip to dish and that's about it.

    How classy of him.

    September 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  2. Lampe

    People will write just about anything to get their books sold. Most of the time they are not TRUE. But, just wait in 4 or 8 years, there will be a number of books written about the Obama White House and it's dealings. We will see then just how much of it they say "Is True or False."

    September 25, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  3. alexlyrics

    I Want to know when will we ever get out of this "Great Recession"?

    I think I know the answer. When Obama ends both wars.

    September 25, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  4. Conserve' in USA

    Am I wrong or didn't the president already sign a book offer?

    September 25, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  5. sally

    Okay,Mr. Foreman,

    This was well written with only a touch of cynicism. But I am kind of wondering if you have anything optimistic arising. Anything hopeful? Any kudos? Something about our current affairs that makes you feel warm and fuzzy?

    September 25, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  6. Rachel / Texas

    Very well said!!, there is a Judas in every pack!!, have a great weekend, I'm sure if President Obama goes 2 Camp David to get some R&R, he'll have time to finally make that call.

    September 25, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  7. Lori Higgons

    Just another good letter!!!

    September 25, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  8. Ben Sanchez

    Dear Tom, I hear your heart and I appreciate your wisdom.

    September 25, 2009 at 8:55 am |