‘Top Line’ Book Corner: ‘Presidential Profiles’

Feb 19, 2010 4:19pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: All presidencies are not created equal. But all presidents are treated equally in the new book "Presidential Profiles: Defining Portraits, Deeds, and Misdeeds of 43 Notable Americans — And What Each One Really Thought About His Predecessor." All 43 men who’ve held the presidency get a portrait and a page of text in the book, authored by a group of reporters and editors from Vanity Fair. (Grover Cleveland, who served non-consecutive terms, had two presidencies but gets only one page.) On ABC’s “Top Line” today, we talked about the project with Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair’s national editor and a veteran Washington correspondent. Purdum wrote the book’s foreword. “The feeling is there, is a large interest in the presidency,” Purdum told us. “You learned a lot of interesting things about the presidents that I had not known before, just by delving into their biographies.” As for the current president and his top advisers: “For the moment, they seem to be remarkably steady as they go,” Purdum said. “I think they’re not as rattled as everyone is around them. And let’s face it — they’re not at 35 percent in the polls, which is you know, where George [W.] Bush was for a long part of the last part of his presidency. They’re at 50 percent in the polls.” We also discussed the “Top Line” question of the day: Will Democratic candidates want President Obama on the trail for them this year — or will he be a drag in some parts of the country?

Tweeted @AB1972: “he campaigned VA, Nj, MA, and Copenhagen. The entity he repped [lost] every time.” Said Purdum: “Maybe, but the early evidence is the candidates are asking him to come. I mean, he’s still a powerful draw. And you saw what happened when he went to Baltimore to address the Republican caucus — they all mobbed him afterwards with pens and paper for autographs, you know, if only for their children. So I suspect he’s not a pariah.” Watch the “Top Line” segment with Todd Purdum HERE.

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