Ari Fleischer served as the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, and is the author of Taking Heat: The President, the Press, and My Years in the White House (William Morrow).
Taking Heat is an introspective exploration of the top political events during Bush’s first term. Fleischer gives an insider’s view on the Washington political arena, from a perspective few have seen, as he recalls his unique experiences in the West Wing and offers an assessment of the leadership lessons he learned from the President.
Fleischer became one of the most quoted press secretaries, serving through the tumultuous 2000 election, 9/11, war, recession and anthrax scares. His is an analytical exploration of world-changing political events as seen through the eyes of one of the most powerful men in U.S. government.
During these events, President Bush surrounded himself with a handful of close advisers, including Fleischer, his press secretary and one of his most trusted confidants. In this role, Fleischer was present for every decision and became an eyewitness to history. Through the ups and downs of this time, he took the heat, fielded the questions, and brought the President’s message into living rooms around the world.
Fleischer tells the story of the men and women of the White House press corps and the cornerstones of democracy: freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. Fleischer writes of his belief that the press has a bias in Washington. Aside from partisanship or press-driven ideology, he sees a focus on conflict regardless of who’s in power. Calling the White House press corps masters at being devil’s advocates, he faced the challenge to calmly field their questions, no matter how pointed.
Before serving as press secretary, he held the position of senior communications advisor and spokesman for the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign. Prior to joining Governor Bush’s campaign, he served as communications director for Elizabeth Dole’s presidential campaign and as principal staff spokesperson for the House of Representatives on issues relating to taxes, Medicare, Social Security, welfare and international trade.
Ari Fleischer was interviewed at Kentucky Author Forum by Bill Plante, who was named CBS News White House Correspondent after he covered the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. The recipient of numerous broadcast journalism awards, Mr. Plante first worked the White House beat during the Reagan presidency. Prior to that, he was the CBS News state department correspondent, where he covered Secretary of State James Baker’s trips to the Middle East, both before and after the Gulf War; the changing U.S.-Soviet relations during that period; and the 1991 Middle East peace talks.