Hollywood at the White House

Historian Burton Peretti examines how image-making affects American presidents and the public’s perception of these leading men.

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What could future presidential candidates learn from your book?

I think the fact that Americans are really ambivalent about slick self-presentation. That they yearn for authenticity as well as desire a clear narrative and a slick presentation. I think even an individual voter will go back and forth. Self-presentation is inevitable. It's not selling out or becoming too slick or too Hollywood or too Madison Avenue. I think generally politicians—successful ones—strike that balance well. I think both the presidential candidates have this year.

  • Read the U.S. News Debate: Does Barack Obama Have a Mandate?
  • Read Leslie Marshall: GOP Can't Afford to Be the Party of Just Rich White Folks
  • Read Peter Roff: Obama Won But Has No Mandate