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The audacity of campaign memoirs

David Plouffe's behind-the-scenes look at the Obama campaign. Also: The president signs a hate crimes measure; and Ron Paul sets off more 2012 buzz.

November 01, 2009|Andrew Malcolm and Johanna Neuman

Yes, it's holiday book-buying time. But before we get to Sarah Palin's rogue book, we have David Plouffe's audacious book.

You'll remember him as campaign manager for that also audacious Illinois guy who creamed the Palin-McCain Republican ticket last year, talking about change to believe in and transparency.

Tempting little out-of-context pieces of the Plouffe book, "The Audacity to Win," are beginning to leak out.

Plouffe says he and David Axelrod, now a White House advisor, were surprised at how seriously their boss considered Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate over the old Senate guy from Delaware he eventually chose just before the Democratic National Convention.

Plouffe reportedly says Obama insisted her name be on the initial list after the Democratic primaries were settled in early June and kept it there into early August.

But, Plouffe writes, Obama then said to him, "I think Bill may be too big a complication. If I picked her, my concern is that there would be more than two of us in the relationship." This sounds rather stilted for real campaign chatter. But such a thought was also a prominent theme in media speculation at the time: Could the two recent competitors operate together with the ex-prez always in the background?

Judging by the energy and verve the former first lady shows in the State Department job she eventually got, talking politely and firmly to folks all around the world, things worked out pretty well.

Obama signs hate crimes measure

Eleven years after a pair of notorious hate crimes -- one against an African American in Texas, the other against a gay man in Wyoming -- President Obama signed legislation that included expanded federal protections.

The measure was part of a defense appropriations bill, but it was the hate crimes part that prompted a celebratory reception in the East Room of the White House.

"After more than a decade of opposition and delay," Obama said, "we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are."

The opposition to the measure came from those who said new federal coverage was unnecessary, that sufficient protections at both state and federal levels already exist.

More 2012 buzz over Ron Paul

Tuesday it was announced that Texas Republican Ron Paul, who wowed the Libertarian crowd during the 2008 election with his call for limited government, is set to deliver an address at the University of South Carolina on Nov. 9 about the "future of individual liberty and the importance of the U.S. Constitution."

Speculation is rife that South Carolina, which holds one of the early primaries, could be the launching pad for a new Ron Paul bid.

If so, the congressman and doctor isn't saying. Lately he's been busy waging war on the federal government's response to the H1N1 virus, decrying the vaccination program as an attempt by the federal government to corral more power.


Neuman writes for The Times.

Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics ( "> ), is a blend of commentary, analysis and news. These are excerpts from the last week.

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