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Mar 21, 2009

Obama book deal, and communication problems..

Cartoon by Gary McCoy.

President Obama, is reported to have signed a deal for a youth-oriented version of his published memoir and a ‘nonfiction’ book after he leaves office.

It appears that he has a deal for an abridged version of "Dreams From My Father" that would suitable for middle school or young adult readers, and is getting a $500,000 advance plus 15 percent of the U.S. sales price for hardcover book sales and up to 10 percent for the domestic price for paperback sales.

As part of the deal, he also will deliver a new nonfiction book after he leaves office. Obama didn't indicate how much his deal for the new book might be worth. Terms likely would be negotiated at the end of his term. Former President Bill Clinton got $15 million for his book, "My Life."

Actually coming up with something that is genuinely nonfiction will be a novel experience for the author, and for the public at large who have yet to see this from him. I note however that reviews of his statements in the past by NYT, Chicago Tribune, and Huffington Post, have tended to classify them as nonfiction, but that is not quite the same thing.

The book is expected to be completed when he leaves office and is should to hit the bookshelves around March/April 2013.

Meanwhile, Politico reports that he is struggling as a public communicator.

It was brilliant communications skills that carried Obama to the presidency, with a national campaign built on the strength of his personal story and the clarity of his promise to transform politics. On the rare occasions when he was thrown on the defensive, he quickly turned problems into opportunities and regained control of his public image.

What’s different now? The polished phrases and unflappable delivery haven’t gone away. His prime-time news conference and speech to Congress drew the usual praise.

But the discipline and strategic focus of the campaign have yet to move into the White House. The story of the day often catches the president flat-footed or on the defensive — and regularly undercut by fellow Democrats. 

The problem he has is that his ‘brilliant’ communication skills are only really effective in self promotion, after all “its all about him” seems o be his main theme. He has been able to use those skills to propel himself from an indifferent career as a junior Senator, into the White House. What was widely promoted as a well organized transition immediately began to look decidedly tatty as his choices fell by the wayside on a virtual daily basis as their unsuitability or tax status was revealed

Rhetoric was only effective while he remained an unknown quantity.

From the latest LP newsletter:

Earlier this week he botched a press conference with the Irish prime minister when he had problems reading off his teleprompter.

Unable to think quickly or speak off the cuff, he ended up thanking himself for showing up.

Unfortunately for Americans, that’s not the biggest screw-up Obama has committed.

His funny-money policies, like printing $1 trillion in new money out of thin air, are already threatening to bring back Carter-era inflation.

He’s continuing to sign unconstitutional Bush-style “signing statements.”

His “stimulus” package is ballooning the deficit, wrecking the markets and has employers speeding up layoffs.

He’s already planning to disarm airline pilots, and private citizens like you are next on the list as he’s rolling out a laundry list of gun-grabbing policies.

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