Obama vacation book list: Is he reading up on bipartisanship?

Obama vacation activities often include reading, and his book list apparently includes one on GOP icon Ronald Reagan. If nothing else, the book could offer valuable lessons on leadership style.

By , Staff writer

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    President Obama plays golf yesterday in Hawaii; when he's not on the fairway, his vacation reading is headlined by "President Reagan: Role of a Lifetime," a biography of the Republican icon.
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News Alert! This just in: President Obama on his Hawaii vacation may be engaging in activities hinting that he’ll take a more bipartisan approach to governance in the new year.

OK, we’re reaching a little bit here, but reading is a big thing for Mr. Obama when he relaxes, and his book list apparently has on it at least one very interesting title: “President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime,” by Lou Cannon.

This is not just a book about a president beloved by just about every member of the modern GOP – it’s probably the best Reagan book yet written. (Yes, there was an official biography undertaken by the very competent historian Edmund Morris, but that ended up as a seminovelistic account that most reviewers found odd.)

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Mr. Cannon, a journalist, first covered Reagan when he ran for California governor in 1966, and then followed him to Washington. If Obama actually reads this book, instead of a George Pelecanos mystery or old “OK!” magazines that are lying around his rented mansion, he’ll learn a lot about Reagan’s mastery of the style of the presidency – and how that mastery of style becomes substance.

IN PICTURES: Presidential vacations

Reagan’s optimism, for instance, was “not a trivial or peripheral quality,” writes Cannon. It was an essential ingredient of his approach to life – so much so that he had a knack for inspiring optimism in others. Morning in America, indeed.

That might be the kind of thing the famously cool Obama needs to learn about running the nation.

Also, is it an omen of future bipartisanship that both Obama and ex-President Bush have had runaway car security incidents in recent days? Mr. Bush had that thing where someone lost control of a vintage Mercury Cougar and drove it onto his lawn. Obama on Thursday had a high-speed police chase go through a security checkpoint near where he is staying.

That’s really stretching things, we guess. But Fox News and CNBC can put together whole afternoons of coverage about less.

As to the rest of Obama’s vacation, he played golf at the Klipper Golf Course at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, according to a press pool report. Reporters managed to get a glimpse of him on the 18th green at about 4:15 p.m. It was the president’s first full 18 holes of golf since Oct. 24, when he played at Andrews Air Force Base, according to the pool report.

There’s no word yet on the timing of his annual visit to Island Snow for shave ice.

Obama also spoke by phone with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about the START nuclear pact, which was just approved by the Senate. No rest for the weary.

Obama is planning to work on his State of the Union speech while on break and receives a security briefing every morning, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

No word on whether Santa’s position on NORAD tracker radar is part of those security briefings. That’s one bit of security info that Sasha and Malia may be following more closely than is their father.

IN PICTURES: Presidential vacations

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