Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House
by Ben Shapiro
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 15, 2008)
For Release January 15, 2008
Media Contact: Sandy Schulz, MNS Publicity, (202) 244-1460
New Book Examines What it Really Takes To Win The White House
Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House
Ben Shapiro’s Romp Through The History of Presidential Image-Making Ranks the Best
and Worst Presidential Candidates of All Time...And Explains How the Current Crop of
Contenders Stack Up
Who is Winning the Image War?
Like it or not, image matters in presidential politics, as much or even more than the substance of candidates’ positions. Bestselling author and nationally syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro reveals just how much image matters, and what candidates are willing to go through (today and historically), to win the biggest prize of them all—the presidency.
In his enthralling new book, Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House, Shapiro takes a fun romp through history of presidential imagemaking, ranging from presidential hair (John Kerry’s election losing coif) to presidential height (Lincoln’s big advantage), to what it means to be a “boots” candidate, and why if you’re a “suit” candidate you’ll almost certainly lose. Shapiro rates the current crop of contenders and makes predictions based on historic precedent.
In Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House, Shapiro reveals:
• The top ten “image candidates” of all time—and, the five worst. Where do today’s
candidates stack up?
• Suits VS Boots: Shapiro notes Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to William Howard Taft on
cultivating a rustic image—horseback, yes, tennis, no—and explains why Jimmy Carter’s
cardigans gave him no chance against Ronald Reagan’s rancher mystique.
• The Long and Short of It: Size matters. Shapiro reveals why the taller candidate has
almost always won the presidency—even before television was a factor.
• Taking Bullets for Ballots: Candidates and their military service. Shapiro focuses on the
campaigns of 1992 and 2004 to show why military service is not the political trump card
it once was.
• Old School vs. New School: The issue of age in presidential campaigns. How has it
played out in history, and how is it playing out today?
• The Beer Buddy Syndrome: Who would you rather have a beer with—George H.W. Bush
or Bill Clinton? JFK or Nixon? “Beer buddy” is shorthand for likeability. And it
• The Hair Makes the Man: Out of forty-three presidents, only five have been bald. Hair is
the reason George McGovern stood little chance in 1972, and could partly explain JKF’s
victory in 1960. Does Mitt Romney’s perfect hair work for or against him? John
Edwards: Is his hair the sole basis of his popularity? Will Rudy’s baldness seal his fate
• The Spouses: They matter, now more than ever. Jackie Kennedy greatly aided her
husband’s political quest, contributing to his glamorous Camelot image. Rosalynn
Carter’s polish balanced Jimmy Carter’s earnestness. Hillary Clinton became a major
campaign issue in 1992. Tipper Gore’s job in the 2000 campaign was to demonstrate her
husband could be passionate. And then there’s Teresa Heinz Kerry.
Ben Shapiro takes a delightful look at politics in our image-obsessed society. The charm of Shapiro’s book is that it shows that it has always been this way—statecraft as stagecraft, and politics as entertainment appealing to mass tastes. The result is a compelling collection of political arcana, riveting stories, laugh-out-loud anecdotes from along the campaign trail, and, ultimately, a savvy guide to how to succeed in the modern political arena.
To arrange an interview with Ben Shapiro, or to receive a copy of
Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House,
please contact Sandy Schulz, MNS Publicity, (202) 244-1460 or
“I’m constantly citing the power of dress. It’s semiology: our clothes send a message about how we want to be perceived, and where is this more powerful and evident than in elected offices. In Project President, Ben Shapiro captures presidential semiotics with a potent narrative and deft analysis. It’s simultaneously fascinating and hilarious!”
– Tim Gunn, Project Runway, Liz Claiborne, Inc.
“The smart voter must come to every election well prepared—and Ben Shapiro has done your work for you. Drawing on all of American campaign history, Shapiro has written a smart, shrewd, and marvelously entertaining book about the nature of politics, and the kinds of things candidates and their consultants do to manipulate you on your way to the voting booth. His good news is that we figure out the politicians sooner or later, but wouldn’t it be better if it were sooner? With this book, you’ll be ready for the circus that’s on its way to town.”
--Dr. Larry J. Sabato, Director, Center for Politics, Robert Kent Gooch Professor and University Professor of Politics, University of Virginia
“Presidential politics has always been more superficial than we'd like to admit. With a stylish and likeable touch befitting a strong candidate, Ben Shapiro takes us deep into the shallowness that has shaped American history.”
– Jonathan Alter, Newsweek
“An entertaining and illuminating romp through the politics of symbolism and personality in our presidential politics. If you're thinking of running for president read this book before you spend a dime on a political consultant."
– Rich Lowry, National Review
“It takes a wise historian to know that small details can make up a more edifying tableau than the big picture. It takes a perceptive historian to know which details are most edifying. And it takes a good writer to present the details in a manner both witty and memorable. Congratulations to Ben Shapiro on all three accomplishments.”
– Eric Burns, author of Infamous Scribblers and Fox News host
“Ben Shapiro takes a romp through American history and shows how personality--and even haircuts--have elected or defeated presidential candidates. It's a tour through history that fans of both parties will enjoy--and can learn from."
-- Michael Barone, Resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Senior Writer, U.S. News & World Report, Co-author, The Almanac of American Politics
“It's taken the full eight years of his presidency for somebody to finally reveal what propelled George W. Bush to victory in the 2000 presidential election, and reassured his reelection in 2004: his cowboy boots. Forget the party platform, ignore the campaign promises: it's the candidate's 'image' we're voting for. And as Ben Shapiro writes, before one becomes president they must sell that image every hour of every minute of every day."
-- John McCaslin, Washington Times
About Ben Shapiro...
Ben Shapiro is a bestselling author and a nationally syndicated columnist. At age 16 he entered
UCLA, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in June 2004 with a BA in Political
Science. He graduated Harvard Law School cum laude in June 2007.
Shapiro was hired by Creators Syndicate at age 17 to become the youngest nationally syndicated
columnist in the U.S. He has been the subject of articles in the Wall Street Journal, the New York
Times, Associated Press, and Christian Science Monitor; he has been quoted on “The Rush
Limbaugh Show,” “The Dr. Laura Show,” the “O'Reilly Factor,” at CBSNews.com, in the
New York Press, in the Washington Times, and in The American Conservative magazine, among
The author of the national bestsellers, Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s
Youth (WND Books, May 2004) and Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting
Our Future (Regnery, June 2005), Shapiro has appeared on hundreds of radio and television
shows around the nation, including “The O’Reilly Factor” (Fox News), “Fox and Friends” (Fox
News), “In the Money” (CNN Financial), “Scarborough Country” (MSNBC), “The Dennis
Miller Show” (CNBC), “Fox News Live” (Fox News Channel), “Glenn Beck Show” (CNN),
“Your World with Neil Cavuto” (Fox News) and “700 Club” (Christian Broadcasting Network),
“The Laura Ingraham Show,” “The Michael Medved Show,” “The G. Gordon Liddy Show,”
“The Rusty Humphries Show,” “The Lars Larson Show”, “The Larry Elder Show,” The Hugh
Hewitt Show,” “The Dennis Prager Show,” among others.
Shapiro practices law with Goodwin Procter, LLP in Los Angeles, California.
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