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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama writes about the ideological shift in the Republican Party following his election in 2008 in the first volume of his new, 768-page memoir, according to a copy of the book obtained by CNN.

Driving the news: In the book, titled A Promised Land, Obama says the shift in the Republican Party can be traced to when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate during the 2008 campaign. Her elevation to the Republican presidential ticket "would provide a template for future politicians, shifting [McCain's] party's center and the country's politics overall in a direction he abhorred."

  • "Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party — xenophobia, anti intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and brown folks — were finding their way to center stage," Obama writes
  • "I'd like to think that given the chance to do it over again, he might have chosen differently," Obama writes of McCain. "I believe he really did put his country first."

What they're saying: "It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted," wrote Obama.

  • According to CNN, Obama writes that Donald Trump rose through the ranks of the Republican Party by appealing to white Americans with reservations about a Black president, a sentiment that "migrated from the fringe of GOP politics to the center."
  • "For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety."

Where it stands: Obama also opened a larger discussion about the relationship between Republicans and the media. He wrote about how Trump's distasteful actions earned him constant media attention and how the the GOP followed along.

  • "In that sense, there wasn't much difference between Trump and Boehner or McConnell. They, too, understood that it didn't matter whether what they said was true," he writes, adding: "In fact, the only difference between Trump's style of politics and theirs was Trump's lack of inhibition."

Go deeper

Ronna McDaniel says RNC would stay "neutral" in primaries if Trump ran in 2024

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told the AP on Wednesday that if former President Trump runs again in 2024, the GOP will remain "neutral" during the primary season.

Why it matters: McDaniel has been staunchly supportive of the former president, who endorsed her to keep running the RNC. She now must focus on regaining majorities in Congress, especially as the Republican party reckons with what the GOP looks like after Trump, even as he remains hugely popular with his base.

Federal court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for health workers in 10 states

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

A federal court in Missouri has blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers at federally funded facilities in 10 states.

Why it matters: Monday's decision is the first victory for opponents of the rule, which requires health care workers to get vaccinated by Jan. 4, 2022. The case is one of four lawsuits challenging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) rule and argues that the mandate will exacerbate staffing shortages.

Twitter's next act

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey is exiting the company he helped build at a time when its future has never been so uncertain.

Why it matters: The person who controls Twitter controls the de facto public square — with implications for politics, media and free speech.