Dec 28, 2019

Obama's top books of 2019

Former President Obama at his foundation's event in Malaysia on Dec. 13. Photo: Zahim Mohd/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama released his favorite books of 2019 on Saturday.

Highlights: "The Sixth Man" by Andrew Iguodala, "Lost Children Archive" by Valeria Luiselli — inspired by families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border — and the psychologically driven love story "Normal People" by Sally Rooney.

Other books on Obama's list:

  • "The Topeka School" by Ben Lerner
  • "Trust Exercise" by Susan Choi
  • "Solitary" by Albert Woodfox
  • "How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy" by Jenny Odell
  • "The Orphan Master's Son" by Adam Johnson
  • "Girl, Woman, Other" by Bernardine Evaristo

Further reading: Obama also noted the reading recommendations he made earlier in the year, which include the memoir "Lab Girl" by Hope Jahren and "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr, which argues that the internet is fundamentally changing how humans process information.

Go deeper: Check out Obama's full 2019 reading list.

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Gallup: Trump and Obama tie as America's most admired man

Obama and Trump at Trump's 2017 inauguration. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump and former President Obama shared the honors as America's most admired man in 2019 in Gallup's annual poll.

The big picture: With both receiving the support of 18% of Americans, it's Obama's 12th time in the top slot — and Trump's first. Trump had previously come in second place for the last four years.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019

Trump in 2011: Obama will use war with Iran to get re-elected

Then-citizen Donald Trump predicted in November 2011 video that then-President Barack Obama would start a war with Iran in order to get re-elected in 2012.

"Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he’s going to get re-elected, and as sure as you're sitting there, is to start a war with Iran."
Go deeperArrowJan 3, 2020

Democratic "moderates" are liberal as ever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are considered the leading 2020 Democratic moderates, but even they have taken positions to the left of Barack Obama — illuminating the liberal drift of the entire party.

Why it matters: In earlier cycles, both men would have been labeled liberals based on their platforms and biographies. The fact that they're called centrists now in the media shows how much the Democratic Party has shifted in a polarized era — just as the Republican Party has been reinvented under President Trump.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020