In January he came out with the State of the Union -- "The era of big government is over. He didn't think they were as powerful as they -- whatever it is that goes on in Washington ends up having tremendous -- there is this kind of conversation that only happens here. I was trying to get my mind off how sweaty I was and I said, "So who's it gonna be? A husband and wife, separated by a hemisphere, work to reunite. That they were concerned about deficits.
I think he underestimated the power of the chattering class in Washington to shape perceptions. Johnny was the one who declared it was going to be a brokered convention in June. But he was hamstrung by the political realities and the time that it took to fight that, and the loss of faith in him among a lot of people because of it. And he's still committed to the same kind of body of work, which I think makes clear what his priorities were all along. Starting with Gore but going on, you were kind of making it up on the fly, but you were flouting kind of perceived wisdom about campaigning. But its gills must have expanded and contracted upon this aggravation, perhaps its eyes opened just a fraction.
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That he was -- flexible is not quite the word I'm looking for. Those are each pretty significant steps where you have to change your perspective. What was the atmosphere like in the White House in those first months of the year, in terms of decision-making in terms of, as you say, the flow of information? I mean now I guess I would see that coming if something like that happened in a subsequent administration, I would do my best to warn the press secretary if I could, but I just didn't see it coming. And he went out, and the next 10 days were just an act.
And so I sat with him. And so part of the strategy was, "Let's just find some, there's definitely facts in here that are incorrect. I will let my hair float like seaweed. Two men, strapped in back to back, on a journey from Moon to Earth. And that was a tough period.