Between the Lines with George Stephanopoulos

8:03 pm Profiles


By Dawn Shurmaitis

Bookworms, political junkies, Greek-Americans and giggling girls in show-off clothes are packed into Border’s Bookstore in New York awaiting the prompt arrival of first-time author and one-time Clinton confidante George Stephanopoulos.

By the time the bushy-haired boy wonder takes his position behind a desk stacked with extra copies of his 448-page memoir, “All Too Human,” the line snakes all the way to the back of the store. It’s a common sight – Stephanopoulos has been packing them in throughout his 25-city tour. Why do they come, from work, school and home, to spend what amounts to $24.95 for the book, a hand-shake and a 16-second encounter?

“I wanted to learn about the ins and outs from someone who was inside the Beltway.
“I’m Greek, like he is, so I feel a special connection.
“I watch him on ‘This Week with Sam and Cokie’ and I think he’s very honest.
“I think he should run for office and I wanted to tell him.
“I think he’s really cute.”

And so on. The reasons why people like Stephanopoulos are as varied as the people themselves. Ever since the 38-year-old ABC commentator and Columbia University teacher published his tell-nearly-all book, he’s been in and on nearly every big newspaper and talk show in the country. If Clinton were just another president, and Stephanopoulos just another grim-faced presidential advisor, his book wouldn’t have made such a splash. But Stephanopoulos wisely rewrote his story in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Still, he mentions the Clinton debacle only briefly, in the first and final pages.

“The videotape of Clinton’s grand jury testimony was about to be played to the whole country, and I was wired up in a small room at ABC, watching the monitor next to the television camera that would broadcast my commentary,” Stephanopoulos writes. “Off camera, I quietly started to cry…Wondering what might have been – if only this good president had been a better man.”

The book contains a number of revelations about the Washington political scene, the Clinton White House and, especially, Stephanopoulos himself, who writes candidly about loyalty, political shenanigans and his own key role manning the Clinton spin machine.

“The Clinton I know is the Clinton I show in this book: the politician and president at work, a complicated man responding to the pressures and pleasures of public life in ways I found both awesome and appalling.”

Throughout his book, Stephanopoulos cannot contain the giddiness he often felt working in the Oval Office alongside the leader of the free world. It was, he wrote, “the greatest adventure of my life.”




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