For the Clinton family, 2008 was a bad year. Barack Obama, whose track record of winning consisted solely of his victory in 2006, somehow managed to snatch victory away from the Clintons, who'd been in the game since the 1990s. How could this be? How could the prize go to a freshman senator from Illinois?
The answer is simple. Voters preferred Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope" to Bill Clinton's "Giving," and so Obama won his second spoken-word Grammy. His first was, indeed, in 2006, for "Dreams from My Father."
The "spoken word" category of the Grammys, which Jimmy Carter won on Monday night, offers a weird overlap between the worlds of politics and entertainment. The idea is that audiobooks deserve some sort of award, for unclear reasons, and so political books have frequently received nominations. Since Hillary Clinton won in 1997 for "It Takes A Village," 17 current or future politicians -- all Democrats -- have gotten nominations in the category. Seven times, they've won.
Carter has earned seven of those 17 nominations, thanks to his post-presidency habit of writing books. He's won twice -- the same number as Obama, who has as many nominations. Carter and Obama have both beaten Al Franken (whose nominations all predate his election to the Senate), and Obama beat both Carter and Bill Clinton in 2008. Franken, for his part, beat Hillary Clinton in 2004.
Franken is actually half-way to an EGOT, the Triple/Quadruple Crown of entertainment awards. He's won a few Emmys (the "E") for his work on "Saturday Night Live" and some television specials. He's got the Grammy ("G") as above -- but doesn't seem too likely at this point to pick up an Oscar or a Tony. Who knows?
From 1994 to 2011, there was a subcategory of best spoken-word album -- best spoken-word album for children. Hillary Clinton may have lost to Franken for the adult version of the award that year, but Bill Clinton took home the album for children Grammy award for his work on a weird "Peter and the Wolf" album on which he and Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren all worked.
The category, as mentioned above, is weird.