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Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race    by Dick Morris & Eileen McGann order for
Condi vs. Hillary
by Dick Morris
Order:  USA  Can
Regan, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Not only the title and subject matter, nor the faces on the cover, but also chapter titles of Condi vs. Hillary grab readers' attention. According to the husband and wife team of Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, two highly accomplished, 'twenty-first century female leaders' emerge as 2008 U.S. presidential candidates. Senator Hillary Clinton (R-NY) is willing and planning ahead, while Condoleezza (Condi) Rice, Secretary of State, says 'I do not plan to run'. The authors' view is that Condi's 'change of mind to run' is in the realm of public persuasion, and cover it in their Chapter - 'Drafting Condi'. They make their position clear: 'Rice is the only figure on the national scene who has the credentials, the credibility, and the charisma to lead the GOP in 2008.'

The authors compare Hillary's and Condi's childhoods and upbringing, their strengths and weaknesses, and their careers in public life - Hillary as a First Lady, attached to her husband's coattails, and Condi surging ahead as a high achiever on her own merits. Condi was an only child in the civil rights era of Birmingham, Alabama, with supportive, encouraging parents. She is a prodigy of a musician on the violin and a master pianist, who shared a Washington stage with famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma. As an academic and educator, with Master's and Ph.D's in political science, Rice rose to the top at Stanford University as provost, at a time when Stanford was facing a financial and public crisis. She was National Security Advisor, and is presently Bush's Secretary of State.

An ambitious liberal, varying from 'leftist to centrist', Hillary is from a suburban family. She attended Wellesley, where she was elected as president of student government. There, Hillary demanded that a student address graduates, protesting the Vietnam War - a speech which put her on the map of news media. The authors present Hillary's New York State Senate record as accomplishing nothing earth-shattering, and riding on other Senators' bill sponsorships and other agendas. They highlight Hillary's preparation to become the nation's president in 2008, 'lining up her ducks' (including potential delegates), and encouraged by staff to avoid 'putting her foot in her mouth'. Not to be dismissed is Hillary's ability and powers of persuasion in fund-raising for herself, her party, and other Democrats individually. The authors state that 'Hillary Clinton is on a virtually uncontested trajectory to win the Democratic nomination and, very likely, the 2008 presidential election. She has no serious opposition in her party. More important, a majority of all American voters - 52 percent - now supports her candidacy.'

The text includes much more than a focus on the 2008 presidential race. Catchy chapter titles include 'The Two Hillarys; Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde'; 'Rice at the Pinnacle', and '2004: The Year Politics Turned Upside Down'. Informative, interesting matter covers fund-raising processes then and now - going forward via the Internet; changes of outlooks over the years - the 2004 elections; and historical data comparing presidents of yore. The chapter titled 'Who Else Is There?' (among contenders) mentions Democrats John Kerry (again!?), John Edwards, Howard Dean, Joe Biden, and Evan Bayh; Republicans (not time for Jeb Bush yet), Rudy Giuliani, John MCain, Chuck Hagel, George Pataki, George Allen, Haley Barbour, Bill Owens, and Tom Ridge (with some of the aforesaid, it is 'if lightning strikes!').

Dick Morris, a team member of Fox News, was political consultant to Bill Clinton for twenty years. Among his book credits are Off with Their Heads, Behind the Oval Office, and Power Plays. Attorney and consultant Eileen McGann works with Morris on worldwide campaigns, specializing in Internet use to win elections. Morris and McGann have also co-authored bestsellers Because He Could and Rewriting History. No matter one's political affiliations, I recommend Condi vs. Hillary as a tempestuous read, not to be taken lightly.

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