Attention “What It Takes” junkies!

November 4, 2013

For those who read this blog regularly (a.k.a. the earth's population, give or take 10 people), you know that we view Richard Ben Cramer's "What It Takes" as the ur-text of political reporting and analysis. The story of the 1988 presidential campaign, the book still contains what -- for our money -- are the most illuminating profiles of Bob Dole, Joe Biden and George W. Bush that have ever been written.

When Richard, whom we had the pleasure of meeting several times (and even interviewing for "The Gospel According to the Fix"), died somewhat suddenly last year, we wrote about his passing in the Fix.  One thing we didn't include in that write-up was Richard's insistence that the book would have never been what it was without the help of his young researcher -- a guy named Mark Zwonitzer.

Zwonitzer was Cramer's right-hand man throughout the multi-year process of reporting, researching and writing "What It Takes." He, more than anyone else, saw how Cramer did what he did.  And so, when we came across this Dole Institute of Politics interview with Zwonitzer, we were fascinated. If you love the book (or even if you are a political junkie who has never heard of the book), you should watch this video.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.
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Ed O'Keefe · November 4, 2013