During the first few months of his presidency, Bill Clinton asked his longtime friend and journalist Taylor Branch to assume the role of an in-house historian who would amass material for Clinton’s post-presidential memoir. Branch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, modified the assignment, suggesting instead a series of recorded interviews in which Clinton could talk about the issues of the day. What followed were 79 confidential conversations between the president and the author. After each session, Branch habitually recorded of his own impressions of the interview, eventually bringing together his observations in the new book The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President. Branch’s notes include not only the wide range of events and controversies of Clinton’s administration, but also the varying characteristics of the president, shown through his mannerisms and interactions with his wife and daughter. Branch won the Pulitzer Prize in 1989 history for Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63. He is also the author of Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65 and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68.
We take the pulse of the Pennsylvania Senate campaign, and what it is telling us, and has told us, about the national and PA political climate. New Yorker writer PETER J. BOYER and Muhlenberg College political scientist CHRISTOPHER BORICK will discuss with guest-host TRACEY MATISAK the matchup of Arlen Specter vs. Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary and the general election challenge from Republican Pat Toomey.
THE WORLD CAFE
Since 1996, Camera Obscura has been playing infectious, poetic indie-pop to ever-wider acclaim. The Scottish group released a couple of well-received 1998 singles that led to its first EP and then an album, Biggest Bluest Hi Fi. Its second disc, 2003’s Underachievers Please Try Harder, was supported by the band’s first international tour. After coming home, Camera Obscura rearranged its lineup and began writing more luminescent chamber-pop. A series of bright EPs and singles, plus a third album, has kept the band in the public eye; its music is often compared to that of Belle & Sebastian and The Smiths. Camera Obscura’s fourth studio release, out this spring, is relatively sunny for an album titled My Maudlin Career. The record combines orchestral pop with an honest, lively air.