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Evan Cornog on Presidential Legacies

“Presidents love their legacies. They start planning them long before they leave office—sometimes before they even enter it. They dream in advance of their places in history, and they scheme to make sure that their own versions of event are the ones that prevail.

“This month, the legacies of the two two-term presidents of the post-Ike era are being zealously cultivated—Ronald Reagan’s through the ceremonies and obsequies of his funeral and Bill Clinton with the publication of his tell-some memoir, My Life. Reagan and Clinton are certainly the most gifted presidential storytellers of the last half a century…”

-- Evan Cornog, associate dean of Columbia's School of Journalism and astute political observer, is the author of the book, The Power and the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative Has Determined Political Success From George Washington to George Bush, Penguin, quoted in a June 23 op-ed piece in The Los Angeles Times.

Published: June 30, 2004
Last modified: Jan 10, 2005

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