Hey, Barack: Yes, You Still Can

Plouffe book recalls a historic campaign that got lost in transition

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 3, 2009 10:24 AM CST

(Newser) – 'Yes, we can" was the rallying cry of a game-changing campaign that swept Obama to victory on the shoulders of a grass-roots tidal wave one year ago—and President Obama would do well to remember Candidate Obama, writes Arianna Huffington in a lengthy look at David Plouffe's new campaign memoir. The senator whose mantra was change has forgotten his middle-class mandate, and become the president who decided "the American people can only have as much change as Olympia Snowe will allow," she writes.

Bemoaning that "the audacity of winning has given way to the timidity of governing," Huffington, who stayed up until the wee hours to finish Plouffe's book in a single night ("it reads like a thriller") concludes if Obama "wants to make sure he doesn't let down the millions who believed he really would change the rotten system, he should read the The Audacity to Win from beginning to end—and rediscover a whole host of things he knows, but seems to have forgotten."

David Plouffe's new campaign memoir is the most important political book of the year, writes Arianna Huffington, and a must-read for a beleaguered White House.
David Plouffe's new campaign memoir is "the most important political book of the year," writes Arianna Huffington, and a must-read for a beleaguered White House.   (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, supporters react to projections at the election night party for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at Grant Park in Chicago.
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, supporters react to projections at the election night party for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at Grant Park in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon/FILE)
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama acknowledge the crowd after he delivered his victory speech at his election night party at Grant Park.
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama acknowledge the crowd after he delivered his victory speech at his election night party at Grant Park.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, file)
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama and his family walk onto the stage at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago.
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama and his family walk onto the stage at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon/FILE)
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden wave after Obama's acceptance speech at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago.
In this Nov. 4, 2008 file photo, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden wave after Obama's acceptance speech at his election night party at Grant Park in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)
President-elect Barack Obama looks out over the crowd of thousands inside Grant Park in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2008.
President-elect Barack Obama looks out over the crowd of thousands inside Grant Park in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
This Nov. 4, 2008 file photo shows President-elect Barack Obama smiling during his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago.
This Nov. 4, 2008 file photo shows President-elect Barack Obama smiling during his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash,File)
President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama walk off stage after the election night rally in Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.
President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama walk off stage after the election night rally in Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
President-elect Barack Obama waves after giving his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.
President-elect Barack Obama waves after giving his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
President-elect Barack Obama, speaks during the election party at the Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.
President-elect Barack Obama, speaks during the election party at the Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Zeboraqh Ball-Paul listens to the projected speech of President-Elect Barack Obama in an overflow area at the Democratic election night party in Grant Park in Chicago, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008.
Zeboraqh Ball-Paul listens to the projected speech of President-Elect Barack Obama in an overflow area at the Democratic election night party in Grant Park in Chicago, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
President-elect Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.
President-elect Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
President-elect Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, and Jill Biden wave to the crowd after Obama's acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.
President-elect Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden, and Jill Biden wave to the crowd after Obama's acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I found myself wondering what Candidate Obama would think of President Obama. Would he look at what the White House is doing and say, 'that's what I and my supporters worked so hard for?' - Arianna Huffington

We knew who we were—a grassroots campaign to the core. We started with our supporters on the ground and they led us to victory. - David Plouffe, in The Audacity to Win

Plouffe has written the most important political book of the year. It's completely gripping. Though you know how it ends, you get caught up in every twist and turn of perhaps the most remarkable campaign in history. - Arianna Huffington

According to Plouffe, 'reform is in Obama's DNA.' Then how do you have in your inner circle a man who has 'nothing can be done' in his DNA? Unless the problem has to do with Wall Street, in which case 'everything can be done.' - Arianna Huffington

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