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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.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

5 hours ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"