Excerpt from All Too Human by George Stephanopoulos, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

All Too Human

A Political Education

By George Stephanopoulos

All Too Human
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Mar 1999,
    255 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2000,
    255 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Waiting for me in the conference room was Webster L. Hubbell, a Little Rock legend --football star, former mayor, former judge, law partner of Hillary, golf partner of Bill. We had met only once before, and I thought of him as part of a pair. Webb and Vince. Hubbell and Foster. Vince Foster was Hillary's other close partner, and closer friend. Upright, quiet, and rail thin, Vince reminded me of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Webb looked more like the linebacker he once was. A massive man with a beefy grip and thick lips that made you forget there was a brain behind all that brawn.

I had often heard their names invoked by the Clintons, as in, "I spoke to Webb, and he thinks . . ." Or "Vince isn't sure about that. . . ." It was a way to end the argument. Webb and Vince meant influence, integrity, and judgment. We lived in parallel but separate worlds. They were Little Rock; I was Washington. They were lawyers; I was an operative. They were friends; I was staff.

"This shouldn't be too difficult," Hubbell assured me as we shook hands across the table. First, he asked the basics: where I went to school and whom I had worked for. Then more serious stuff: Had I ever been arrested? Any money problems --potential conflicts or large debts? Unlike, say, Bob Rubin (the Wall Street investment banker and incoming head of the National Economic Council), who probably needed half a law firm to vet his portfolio, I had no stocks or bonds. My only investments were a mortgaged condo in the Adams Morgan section of Washington and a small 401K from my work on Capitol Hill. The financial review took about a minute.

"Drugs?"

"About what you'd expect," I replied. "A little marijuana in high school and college, but I haven't touched it in years. Nothing else."

Then came a couple of oblique questions about my "social life," designed to give me an opportunity --if it were true --to admit to being gay or the secret father of a small child. We both knew where Webb was going. He was circling in on the one big question. I had been summoned here so that this man, who symbolized probity and proximity to the next president, could lean over the table, look me in the eye, and say, "Now George, I want you to think hard about this. Is there anything at all, anywhere in your past, that could ever come back to embarrass the president?" From now on, everything I said or did would reflect on Clinton and affect our mission, even if it happened long ago. The president's welfare had to be my first concern; everything else came second. In return, I would get to be part of something bigger than I ever imagined.

"Well," I began, "you should know I'm the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI." Republican complaints had forced a probe to see if I had conspired with Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh to damage the Bush campaign. I hadn't, but maybe it would lead to something else --like the time I tried to prove that Dan Quayle was a drug dealer.

In the fall of 1988, when the Dukakis campaign was going down the tubes, I was part of a "rapid response" team doing a remarkably ineffectual job of rebutting Republican attacks. But late in the race, a federal prisoner named Brett Kimberlin (aka the Speedway Bomber) was telling reporters he once sold drugs to Dan Quayle, and that Quayle might have sold some himself. A rumor reached me that years earlier, a grand jury examining the evidence had covered it up under pressure from prosecutors close to Quayle's family. If I could find the disgruntled grand jurors and convince them to talk, we'd win --and I'd be a hero.

So I bought a plane ticket to Indianapolis and holed up in the airport Holiday Inn with photocopied courthouse records. After a day of cold-calling people who had no idea what I was talking about, I knew I was on a fool's errand. My sleuthing wasn't illegal, just criminally incompetent and a little slimy. I suppose we would have used the information if it were true, but how naive and desperate could I have been to believe that I would uncover a last-minute bombshell that every news organization in America had missed? That was embarrassing --maybe not to President-elect Clinton, but certainly to me.

© 1999 by George Stephanopoulos. Published by permission of the publisher, Little Brown.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...
  • Book Jacket: Shotgun Lovesongs
    Shotgun Lovesongs
    by Nickolas Butler
    Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, follows five life-long friends, now in their mid-...
  • Book Jacket: Gemini
    Gemini
    by Carol Cassella
    How good is Gemini, Carol Cassella's book about a Seattle intensive care physician who becomes ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published Apr. 2014

Join the discussion!

Who Said...

If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

P Your O C

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.