Interview with Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, Author of The Obama Revolution

Alan Kennedy-Shaffer served as a regional field director for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in Virginia. Educated at Yale University and William & Mary Law School, Kennedy-Shaffer is the author of Denial and Deception: A Study of the Bush Administration’s Rhetorical Case for Invading Iraq. Kennedy-Shaffer’s writings have also appeared in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post, the Patriot-News, the Daily Press, and the Virginia Gazette. Alan lives in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. You can visit Alan on the web at

Thank you so much for this interview, Alan! Why did you decide to write a book about life on the campaign trail with our now President Barack Obama?

President Barack Obama inspired millions of Americans to register to vote, talk to their neighbors, and volunteer for the first time. My own experiences as a regional field director in Virginia and an Obama Organizing Fellow in Pennsylvania became the foundation for The Obama Revolution.

How long did it take you to put together and how did you find out about Phoenix Books who published it?

After the election, I was unsure of what to do with myself now that the 18-hour days were finally over. I wrote The Obama Revolution between the election and Christmas, a break-neck pace that nearly killed me. But it was worth it--Phoenix Books jumped at the chance to publish the first book about the campaign by a former staffer.

How did you get interested in politics?

From a young age, I watched my parents and my grandparents engaged in community politics in an effort to unite Americans behind the ideals upon which this nation was founded. So I guess it runs in the family. That is why I volunteered for Governor Ed Rendell, Governor Howard Dean, and Senator Barack Obama--and was hired to serve as a regional field director in Virginia.
Your book is about life on the campaign trail. Can you tell us what your first impressions of a “skinny black kid from Illinois who was going to change the world” were?

I have shaken Barack Obama's hand on numerous occasions, including Washington, Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Harrisburg. But it was my first encounter with Obama, before his candidacy began, that is indelibly etched in my memory--and that is included in The Obama Revolution:

“I first met Obama on May 18, 2005, in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. Meeting Obama convinced me that he truly believed what he was telling the nation. He made me promise that I would do everything in my power to bring about positive change.”

Did you get a chance to meet his family?

No. I would love to meet Michelle Obama some day.

Did you ever meet Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden? What were your impressions of them?

Hillary Clinton had a firmer hand shake than Barack Obama on the one occasion that I met her in person. But Obama gave a far more eloquent speech.

Joe Biden was a fine pick for Vice President, although I would have offered the job to Hillary Clinton. Biden, though, certainly is not afraid to say what he thinks.

Back to your book, The Obama Revolution, can you give us a brief synopsis of what subjects you covered?

The Obama Revolution touches on not only the campaign itself but also the political movement that allowed Barack Obama to turn red states like Virginia blue. The book also delves into the youth movement as a powerful force for change. Finally, the book provides insight into Obama's rhetoric and faith, topics that historians will be discussing for many years to come.

Do you plan on more political books?

After The Obama Revolution, a book about President Barack Obama's rise to the most powerful political position on the planet, and Denial and Deception: A Study of the Bush Administration's Rhetorical Case for Invading Iraq, an academic look at public opinion and President George W. Bush, I'm not what I will write next. But I have a few ideas...

Do you plan on entering politics yourself?

It would be an honor to follow in the footsteps of President Barack Obama.

Thank you so much for this interview, Alan. It has been an indeed pleasure! Would you like to give us your website address so others can find out more about you and your wonderful new book, The Obama Revolution?

Absolutely! The Obama Revolution is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. More information about the book is available through Phoenix Books.
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