Albright to Obama: The Audacity to Hope for Usefulness

The former secretary of state hoped her book would be helpful to the president.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

It was a simple message from one author to another. When former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright gave President Obama a copy of her book, Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership , she left him a clever note. "I inscribed it to him, 'With the audacity to hope that this book will be useful,' " Albright said. "Be useful or be read?" kidded Ambassador Karl F. Inderfurth, who moderated a conversation with Albright last night at George Washington University. And while the president may not have Albright's tome on his nightstand, some of the first things Obama accomplished as president were very similar to her recommendations, and the recommendations of other foreign policy pros. This was her second recent trip to GW (Albright teaches at Georgetown University); she appeared the last time alongside former secretaries of state Colin Powell, James Baker, Warren Christopher, and Henry Kissinger. In September, they agreed that the new president should close Guantánamo Bay, ban torture, and take a leading role on climate change. "We also agreed on talking to Iran," Albright added, which the United States made some progress on last week. With all those things checked off, Inderfurth suggested that the five secretaries meet again: "We are going to try and get you all together again to give him his next to-do list," he said. 

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