The Obama-Bush book connection


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George W. Bush and Barack Obama aren’t exactly like-minded; they don’t share much beyond their tenancy at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Except, it turns out, their literary agent. Robert Barnett is described by Time magazine as ‘the Washington superlawyer’ who represents both Bush and Obama in their publishing ventures.

This month, it was reported that Bush would write a book -- tentatively titled ‘Decision Points’ -- about the difficult choices he’s made, from quitting drinking to responding to 9/11. Obama has written a couple of books, and people seem to like them: the New York Times nonfiction paperback bestseller list includes Obama’s ‘Dreams from My Father’ (for 140 weeks now) and ‘The Audacity of Hope’ (65 weeks).


Author Jason Pinter imagined what might happen if Obama and Bush ran into each other at Barnett’s office in a long, strangely believable scene:

George: Wait ... are you saying Bob Barnett is your agent too?

Barack (sighing): Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.

George: Hold on, didn’t you used to have a different agent?

Barack: Yeah, but that was a long time ago, back when nobody really knew who I was.

George: I hear you, partner. Once you hit the big time, you need to run with the big dogs.

(George holds his fist out. Barack just stares at it.)

Barack: Uh...

George: Come on, don’t leave me hanging.

(Barack reluctantly touches George’s fist.)

George: Alright! Terrorist fist jabs for everyone!

Barack: Please don’t call it that.
Not surprisingly, Barnett may have another president on his roster. Another one makes a walk-on appearance in this funny, fictional literary encounter.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Lawrence Jackson / White House. George Bush. Credit: White House