Amy Chozick recently drew criticism from Chelsea Clinton, who claimed on Twitter that neither Chozick nor her fact-checker contacted Clinton’s office to confirm details included in her new memoir, Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling. Chozick discusses this controversy briefly on a bonus episode of The Ezra Klein Show this week, but declines to share details about her fact-checking process.
Reluctance to discuss reporting strategies aside, Chozick is incredibly open about her experience covering the 2008 and 2016 Clinton campaigns, which is the subject of her new book. She and Ezra chat about sexism and anti-Semitism that they both experienced while reporting on the 2016 campaign, whether political journalism makes you cynical, and, of course, the emails.
In the book recommendation segment of this episode, Ezra specifically asked for campaign travelogues that “political obsessives” would enjoy, though Chozick also included a few political biographies to round out her choices.
The first book Chozick recommends is What It Takes: The Way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer. In What It Takes, released in 1992, Cramer describes the 1988 presidential campaign that led to the first George Bush presidency in exhaustive detail (the book is more than 1,000 pages long). Chozick says it’s “obviously a classic.”
Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man is Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills’s analysis of Richard Nixon. Nixon Agonistes, written during Nixon’s first term in office, argues that the controversial Republican president held distinctly liberal views. The result is a complicated portrait of a deeply flawed, almost tragic political figure who, Wills argues, was merely a reflection of 1960s America.
For another biography of a tragic American political figure, Chozick recommends Carl Bernstein’s Hillary Clinton biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The Watergate reporter interviewed hundreds of people in the Clintons’ orbit for the book, which was published during Clinton’s first presidential run.
Chozick’s final recommendation is another campaign memoir, The Boys on the Bus by Timothy Crouse. The book covers his time reporting on the 1972 Nixon/McGovern race and is considered a seminal text on American political journalism.
Chozick says of the book, “It was fascinating to go back to read Boys on the Bus because the only time you see any women, they’re picking up their husbands and … bringing them home to a fresh-cooked pot roast.” While that’s not entirely true (female reporters such as Sarah McClendon and Helen Thomas are featured in the book, though their descriptions are pretty sexist), it stands in stark contrast to Chozick’s experience covering the Clinton campaign, where female reporters were a majority.
You can listen to the full conversation with Amy Chozick on The Ezra Klein Show by subscribing on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, or by streaming the episode here: