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Yes We (Still) Can summary

Dan Pfeiffer

Politics in the Age of Obama, Twitter, and Trump

3.9 (16 ratings)
26 mins
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    Yes We (Still) Can
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    Dan Pfeiffer had some early political experience but began his career at the very bottom.

    In 1988, US voters had to choose between two presidential candidates – Republican George H. W. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis. At the time, Dan Pfeiffer was in the seventh grade and he volunteered to take the position of Dukakis in a mock debate. It would be Pfeffer’s first important lesson about politics.

    Leading up to the debate, Pfeiffer spent hours in the library studying and reading up on the policies and agenda of the Dukakis campaign, which allowed him to face his opponent feeling confident and well prepared. But it didn’t matter – the girl playing Bush repeatedly called Dukakis weak on crime and said he wanted to raise taxes. With these two simple points, his opponent delivered a clear, compelling message that kept Pfeiffer from making any headway of his own. It was a lesson that would stay with him for a long time to come.

    While Pfeiffer was good at memorizing facts, he wasn’t a stellar student. However, with the help of a strong application, he got into the prestigious Georgetown University, in Washington, DC. And since his grades were a little below their usual standards, he worked hard to prove himself.

    At Georgetown, between his junior and senior year, Pfeiffer managed to get an internship in Vice President Al Gore’s office. He quickly made a name for himself by memorizing files and being able to pull up requested documents in a matter of seconds. This led to his being offered a job in the Justice Department – but Pfeiffer still had to finish up his senior year at Georgetown.

    In the meantime, Al Gore was preparing his 2000 presidential campaign, and Pfeiffer was eager to get a spot on the team. After a tense waiting period, Gore’s press secretary, Chris Lehane, finally called to offer him a job on the press team. However, by the time Pfeiffer made his way to Gore’s Nashville headquarters, Lehane had been fired and there was no position waiting for him.

    Nevertheless, Pfeiffer started at the bottom with other volunteers, making calls to voters alongside a senior citizen and a teenager. It was still exciting and fast-paced, and once again he quickly made a name for himself, this time by organizing a better calling system. This resulted in a job offer from the local media team.

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    What is Yes We (Still) Can about?

    Yes We (Still) Can (2018) offers a revealing look at the dizzyingly high-pressure life of a White House communications director. In addition to his personal experiences in the Obama administration, author Dan Pfeiffer is eager to share the knowledge he gained along the way, from how to deal with the press to how to handle political opposition.

    Who should read Yes We (Still) Can?

    • Political junkies
    • Concerned Democrats
    • Students of political science and public relations

    About the Author

    Dan Pfeiffer graduated from Georgetown University and then spent years on a number of political campaigns for Democratic candidates before joining Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. After working as a communications director for the Obama administration, he went on to become the cohost of the popular podcast Pod Save America.

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