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Includes bibliographical references (p. 221-240) and index.
Introduction: a rock and a hard place: between a party and the people -- Pathways to the nomination: an analytic framework -- Presidential mandates and the leadership dilemma: William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama -- Playing for history: the reelection leadership choices of presidents -- William J. Clinton and George W. Bush -- Presidents, leverage, and significant public policy -- The base realignment and closing commission: difficult choices, electoral considerations, and the future of national leadership in a partisan age -- The paradoxes of presidential leadership in pursuing policy goals -- Taking credit and avoiding blame: the politics of rhetorical signing statements under unified and divided government -- President Obama and counterterrorism policy: when campaign promises meet governing imperatives -- Conclusion: the right choice at the right time.