With Barack Obama being sworn in as the 44th president of the United States today, and his fierce rival for the nomination, Hillary Clinton, having her confirmation hearings to become his Secretary of State last week--and with the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln coming up next month--it seemed like a good time to talk to Doris Kearns Goodwin, whose big Lincoln book, Team of Rivals, was published in 2005 but has become even more talked about since. We spoke to her by phone last Wednesday, just before she headed to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration and for a live Oprah show tomorrow. I was hardly the first to ask her about the Lincoln-Obama connection, but ask I did, as well as bringing in FDR, Darwin, and her next subject, Teddy Roosevelt. (And I had to ask whether she remembered her last visit to our offices, when Team of Rivals came out, which resulted in this favorite photo. It turns out that she's been telling that story as much as we have ever since--although she has not gotten her own tattoo.)
Here's our interview, in both podcast and, after the jump, full transcript formats:
Amazon.com: I'm used to talking to people whose books have just come out. But obviously, Team of Rivals came out in 2005, but we're still talking about it today. Did you have any idea that it would have that kind of staying power?
Goodwin: No, there was no way of knowing. I mean, people have teased me when I wrote the book, was I thinking that Obama was going to like Abraham Lincoln, and be similar to him in some ways. But at the time when I wrote the book, which was 10 years before it was published, he wasn't even on the national horizon. So it's been a wonderful coincidence of a president-elect who really seems to have taken Lincoln to heart and has read this book and really, hopefully, has learned from it.