A decade on the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton.
Journalists, especially political journalists, are not supposed to fall in love with their subjects. Chozick, who has covered politics for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, has a simple explanation: “Usually by the final stretch, candidate reporters are so brainwashed from living in the bubble that we all believe our horse will win even if the facts say otherwise.” The picture did not resolve until Election Day, but the signs were there: Clinton, whom Chozick covered for years and clearly admires, if critically, never quite got the “common person” meme, the one that allowed Donald Trump to “lick his fingers after eating a bucket of greasy KFC on board his 757 and maintain the aura of the workingman” while portraying Clinton as detached and aloof. As the author writes, there was something to that: For many reasons, Clinton disdained the press, especially the Times, and it took great efforts on the parts of her handlers—who here bear sobriquets like Brown Loafers, Policy Guy, Hired Gun, and Outsider Guy—to get Clinton anywhere near a reporter if she could help it. Chozick’s narrative, stretching over Clinton’s two campaigns, is, like the campaigns themselves, a blend of the fraught and the bland: too many buffets and too much alcohol here, breaking news and critical moments there. One sharp-edged portrait of the candidate comes when Bernie Sanders begins to pummel her in the primaries. “Hillary became sullen….She is pouty,” writes the author, “and aggrieved but not surprised that the media hadn’t given her rightful due.” Still, Chozick closes on a note of admiration for her difficult quarry, “the Hillary who tried to hold it all together—her marriage, her daughter, her career, her gender, her country.”
Entertaining and informative reading for politics junkies, though not as meaty as Katy Tur’s Unbelievable, reporting on the other side.