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George Stephanopoulos interviews Robert Costa and Bob Woodward on Monday. Screengrab: ABC

"Peril" — the instant bestseller by Bob Woodward and his Washington Post colleague Robert Costa — grabbed headlines for its Donald Trump reporting. But half the book covers President Biden, with Woodwardian channeling of top advisers' interior monologues:

In a 50-50 Senate, each Democrat was a tall pole in the tent. Everyone was needed. [Chief of staff Ron] Klain recalled that they all thought that life in the Obama White House had been hard with 58 Democratic senators. He fantasized that if Biden had 58 Democrats, as chief of staff Klain would only have to work three days a week. (p. 347-8)

When Biden announced his Afghanistan withdrawal decision in April, he "did not expect to see on television and in the newspapers so much critical commentary," Woodward and Costa write:

Several days after the announcement, [Secretary of State Tony] Blinken and [national security adviser Jake] Sullivan were with the president in the Oval Office. ...
"Mr. President," Blinken said, trying to provide some comfort, "this was an incredibly hard decision." ...
Biden was standing by the Resolute Desk. Blinken could see the president was still carrying the burden of the decision. Presidents lived in the world of the suboptimal. Standing there alone, the president lightly tapped the desk.
"Yeah," Biden said, "the buck really does stop here." (p. 391)

Flashback: Then-Vice President Biden "told others privately in 2009, 'The military doesn't f--- around me,' more than implying they had with Obama." (p. 336)

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Go deeper

Updated Aug 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden hasn't ruled out sending more troops to Kabul, national security adviser says

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that President Biden hasn't ruled sending more troops to the airport in Kabul, but "at the moment, we believe we have sufficient forces on the ground.”

The big picture: The president's senior national security team made the rounds on the Sunday political talk shows to explain — and defend — the Biden administration's handling of the ongoing turbulence in Afghanistan.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.