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  • Gary K. Hart - A Fine First Draft of HistoryWriting an interesting 2012 presidential election book on the heels of all the hyper campaign coverage is a challenging assignment but Dan Balz pulls it off quite nicely. The great value of "Collision 2012" is its access to the key campaign staff of both the Obama and Romney teams during the heat of the battle. As a result, there is a fine analysis of the strategy and tactics used by both sides. In a time of great political polarization it is a great testament that leaders of both campaigns spent substantial amounts of time during the actual campaign with Balz sharing candid assessments of what they were thinking---if Balz did not have a reputation for accuracy, fairness and pre-election confidentiality, he would not have had such impressive access. After reading his book, his reputation for even-handedness is well deserved.

    Balz is especially strong in highlighting some of the strategies employed by Obama to gain an impressive win with the economy is such disarray. Key elements include: 1) maintaining a strong campaign organization at both the HQ and grassroots level from 2008; 2) the cutting edge use of digital technology and "analytics" to identify and get Obama voters to the polls; 3) the huge investment of attack ads during the summer of 2012 that Romney never responded to.

    The chapter concerning the fall presidential debates is another highlight. The contrast in debate prep between Romney and Obama is revealing as is how Obama recovered from his first debate fiasco. The use of twitter as the new public square forum for assessing candidate performance is an interesting debate sidelight described by Balz.

    My only major disappointment with the book is its such heavy reliance on campaign consultants and strategists that one wonders if the candidates ever interact with other key players in the campaign process such as interest groups, the traditional media, elected officials and, (gasp) actual voters. One wonders after reading Balz's account if presidential campaigns now consist of nothing more than raising $$, convening focus groups, preparing for formal debates and engaging in lengthy campaign strategy sessions. A minor disappointment is the amount of time in the book given to the weak line-up of Republican candidates (Gingrich is quoted at great length as he made himself very accessible to Balz and loves to hear himself pontificate---is it asking too much that Gingrich can be put out to pasture for the '16 campaign??). Alas, I guess these third tier candidates have to be covered but it is a sad commentary on the Republican Party that they couldn't field more capable candidates besides Romney.

    But these disappointments don't stand in the way of appreciating what Balz has accomplished: an informative and insightful narrative of the 2012 presidential campaign. This is a fine first draft of history
  • bruce desilets - A Gift To Our Son!!!!!Just another gift to help our son in medical school.. We hope he gets all he can out of this book!!
  • C. Morrill - brilliant lensI've taken this lens out to the various western US deserts and made some of the best pictures of my life. I often work on a tripod, I set my white balance, I am (in other words) time staking in my efforts (I am not one for the snap shot). My pictures sparkle. If you are interested in landscape photography, drop the coin on this little gem.
  • Adero - great explaination of metabolismThis is the first diet that explains what is going on with your body and how it processes the food you eat, and why it does not. The only problem I find, which is a plus, is making sure I eat all the meals that are required. I'm in my 3rd week and I'm feeling smaller ( no scale) and have much more energy. I reccommend this book to any one serious about getting rid of the weight for good with a understanding of how you got there.