From left: Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford (Congressional Quarterly)

Inside Media: "Listen Up, Mr. President"

November 01, 2009

Guests: Helen Thomas and Craig Crawford

By Elizabeth Balogun

Some presidents are remembered for their greatness. Others are remembered for the lack of it.

In their new book, "Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do," veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas and Congressional Quarterly columnist Craig Crawford, turned their experience covering U.S. presidents into a how-to guide on being an effective commander in chief.

"What if every former president could sit in a room with our future presidents — one at a time — and give them advice?" Crawford said. "We tried to channel the former presidents in that way."

Between them, Thomas and Crawford have years of expertise in presidential politics.

As "dean of the White House press corps," Thomas has covered every president since John F. Kennedy. Crawford has been involved in presidential politics since college when he worked on Jimmy Carter's campaign.

Thomas and Crawford said the common thread among successful presidents was determination. Former presidents' ability to rise above influence in Washington is what makes past lessons relevant to the present, they said.

Regarding the new administration, Crawford thinks President Obama still has some work to do.

"He's nailed hope. It's time for audacity," he said.

Thomas said the media and the Obama administration are having a "bad" time adjusting to each other.

"We feel we have a right to know so many things, and most of the time when the president walks into the Oval Office [with his staff], all information that I think belongs in the public domain becomes their private preserve," she said.

Thomas and Crawford signed copies of their books after the program.

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