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Taking Heat
Cover of Taking Heat
Taking Heat
The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House
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For two and a half years, Ari Fleischer served as the official liaison between the White House and members of the press, acting as the voice of President George W. Bush.

In Taking Heat, Fleischer goes behind-the-scenes in the West Wing, giving his perspectives on:

September 11, 2001, its aftermath, and the anthrax scare • The pressure-filled buildup to the war in Iraq and the President's thoughts as the war began • The White House press corps, who they are, and how they report the news.

Fleischer believes that the press has a bias in Washington - It's not a question of partisanship or press driven ideology. It's a focus on conflict they can attach to the President. The White House press corps are masters of the devil's advocate. Fleischer's job was to calmly field their questions, no matter how pointed. He calls the press a tough, sharp, skeptical group. They call him tight-lipped and secretive. But at the end of the day, they had a bond.

Taking Heat is an introspective and analytical exploration of the major political events in the first half of the Bush administration, as well as the candid observations of a professional who stood in the bright lights of the world stage.

For two and a half years, Ari Fleischer served as the official liaison between the White House and members of the press, acting as the voice of President George W. Bush.

In Taking Heat, Fleischer goes behind-the-scenes in the West Wing, giving his perspectives on:

September 11, 2001, its aftermath, and the anthrax scare • The pressure-filled buildup to the war in Iraq and the President's thoughts as the war began • The White House press corps, who they are, and how they report the news.

Fleischer believes that the press has a bias in Washington - It's not a question of partisanship or press driven ideology. It's a focus on conflict they can attach to the President. The White House press corps are masters of the devil's advocate. Fleischer's job was to calmly field their questions, no matter how pointed. He calls the press a tough, sharp, skeptical group. They call him tight-lipped and secretive. But at the end of the day, they had a bond.

Taking Heat is an introspective and analytical exploration of the major political events in the first half of the Bush administration, as well as the candid observations of a professional who stood in the bright lights of the world stage.

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About the Author-
  • Prior to resigning his post in 2003, Ari Fleischer served as the official liaison between the White House and members of the press, acting as the primary spokesperson for the President and delivering the daily White House briefing. Fleischer served as press secretary for Senator Pete Domenici from 1989 to 1994 and later spent five years as spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee. Prior to joining the campaign of then Governor Bush in the fall of 1999, he served as communications director for Elizabeth Dole's presidential campaign. He is a graduate of Middlebury College and lives in Westchester County, New York, with his wife and daughter.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine The listener's perspective of Fleischer's memoir will most likely be shaped by his or her political views. Supporters of President Bush will describe the book as a candid memoir of Fleischer's years as press secretary; on the other hand, President Bush's detractors will view the book as a paean to a president who divided the country while using people like Fleischer to lie to the American people. While the reality is probably somewhere in between, the title offers no new insights into President Bush or the events of his first term. Fleischer reads with the same sense of confidence/smugness that characterized his contentious relationship with the press, a style as polarizing in audio as in the White House. D.J.S. (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 7, 2005
    A former White House press secretary, Fleischer became a lightning rod for accusations about the Bush administration's alleged spin, secrecy and hostility to the press, claims that may not be quieted by this sunnily defensive memoir. Fleischer acknowledges the White House's fanatical "message discipline," which still seems in force in his glowing portrait of Bush as a decisive leader, stalwart in advancing freedom and opposing "evil," forever comforting the families of terror victims and military casualties. And he cops to some stonewalling at press briefings, explaining, with some justice, that many questions concerned security and military operations he couldn't discuss. The many lengthy fencing matches he reprints sometimes evoke sympathy, as reporters badger him with provocative questions and he responds "with the same non-answer every time." Mainly, though, he blames his testy relations with the media on the media themselves and what he sees as their knee-jerk controversializing and pervasive liberal bias, and gleefully cites examples. Fleischer is less forthcoming on his own responsibility for relating false claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; "we may all have been wrong," he shrugs, but contends it doesn't matter because Saddam might have gotten WMDs someday. Seldom have a press secretary's inaccuracies had such momentous consequences, so Fleischer's reluctance to examine how and why they occurred is disappointing indeed. Photos.Agent, Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

  • Library Journal

    November 15, 2005
    Fleischer served as White House press secretary from the beginning of George W. Bush's term in January 2001 to shortly after the start of the war against Iraq in 2003. He gives an inside view of the President's initial reaction to the announcement of the 9/11 attacks and details Bush's puzzling response as he continued to address elementary school students. Action taken by the White House in the months following the World Trade Center tragedy is sketchily outlined by Fleischer, as is the reaction of the media and their alleged misinterpretation of the events. In fact, the strongest statement the author makes is his belief that the media is a flawed and biased system; he claims that most reporters are Democrats, therefore news coverage is given a liberal, Democratic slant. Fleischer closes with an explanation of the infamous picture of President Bush in the flight suit, the visit to Auschwitz, and a final attack on the media. The book, as read by the author, can be a little flat and brief at times but is recommended to all audiences for its inside view of the 9/11 and post -9/11 White House." -Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA"

    Copyright 2005 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House
Ari Fleischer
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