TIME Books

A Little (Heavy) Light Reading

What’s in a name? How to beachify your serious summer reads.

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Hard Choices
Hillary Clinton
At No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, Clinton’s account of her years as Secretary of State is indisputably popular, but its title is a little severe for the season. We suggest a more Elizabeth Gilbert approach to capture the tale of a woman at a crossroads in life who finds new purpose traveling the world.


Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

My Struggle: Boyhood
Karl Knausgaard
Knausgaard, known as the Norwegian Proust, is the current darling of the literary set, but who wants to read about struggle during vacation? We borrow from another Scandinavian sensation to give his opus a title befitting a barbecue.



Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Thomas Piketty
This French economist’s study of income inequality in capitalist nations became the unexpected hit of the spring. Catch up with it this summer, by all means, but first give it a Tom Clancy -makeover—-in the hope that Jack Ryan will show up to rescue us from the rising social discontent Piketty predicts.


Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution
Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz
The Roberts court is transforming the country we live in with its profound, sweeping rulings. A title like Barely Legalwould capture the complex dynamics and conceptual tensions in the court’s decisions, while also moving some extra units.

Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
Rick Perlstein
Vietnam, Watergate, the oil embargo—-nobody wants to think about that stuff on a beach blanket. Surely retitling this book That ’70s Show would put people in mind of the bright spots of the Me Decade. There must have been some.

Last Stories and Other Stories
William T. Vollmann
Vollmann’s 700-page collection, the National Book Award winner’s first fiction in nine years, is an exploration of the super-natural. Why not just call it Goosebumps? It seems accurate enough and somehow much less daunting. —Lev Grossman

TIME Congress

Charlie Rangel’s Famous Friends Are Happy He’s Still in Congress

A fixture in New York's social and political scenes, Rangel is slated to add two more years to his 44-year stint in Congress after a tight race against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton: I Don’t Need Bill to Defend Me

Global VIP's Attend Clinton Global Initiative
Former President Bill Clinton (L) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton look on after Hillary spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on September 25, 2009 in New York City. Mario Tama—Getty Images

"I don't need anybody to defend my record"

Hillary Clinton doesn’t need Bill to defend her.

That’s what the former Secretary of State said in a new interview with PBS NewsHour airing Wednesday. Her comments came after former President Bill Clinton defended remarks by the 2016 presidential contender about the family’s financial situation that critics have said show she’s out of touch with average Americans. “She’s not out of touch,” Bill Clinton said.

“My husband was very sweet today, but I don’t need anybody to defend my record, I think my record speaks for itself,” Hillary Clinton told PBS.

Still, she acknowledged some missteps in how she’s discussed her considerable wealth while on tour for her new book Hard Choices. She recently said she and Bill were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House in 2001.

“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said, but my unartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am, what I’ve stood for my entire life, what I stand for today,” Clinton said.

Clinton, who has said she won’t decide whether to run for president again until later this year, said “you have to be a little bit crazy to run.”

“I’ve had people come through the line who tell me their stories about losing their job, about what’s happened since they got health care that has helped them, and I hear this, so I know that my life of service is the biggest reason why I would consider doing this, because I would want to continue serving,” Clinton said. “But I also know that it’s a very hard job, and it’s a job that, you know, you have to be totally consumed by, and that’s kind of the definition of being a little bit crazy, I think.”

See more of Clinton’s remarks below:

TIME 2016 Election

Bill Clinton: Hillary Is ‘Not Out of Touch’

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton listens during a session of the annual gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative America in Denver on June 24, 2014 Brennan Linsley—AP

The former President said his wife is "not out of touch," after she came under fire for minimizing their wealth in recent interviews

Former President Bill Clinton defended his wife’s recent comments about their family’s wealth Tuesday in an interview at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come under fire from Republicans and some Democrats for minimizing their wealth in recent interviews in promotion of her new book. Hillary Clinton said earlier this month she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001, and in an interview with the Guardian newspaper published last weekend, Clinton implied she was not among the “truly well-off,” despite more than $100 million that the former President has collected from speaking engagements alone.

The criticisms are undercutting Hillary Clinton’s efforts to highlight populist economic issues in preparation for a possible presidential campaign and lending to an image that she can’t relate to average Americans.

The former President told NBC News’ David Gregory he was not surprised the subject of their wealth came up, suggesting it was an effort by Republicans to “change the subject.”

“It is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt,” Bill Clinton said in an interview airing this week on Meet the Press, in reference to the millions in legal fees they racked up in the White House. “Everybody now assumes that what happened in the intervening years was automatic; I’m shocked that it’s happened. I’m shocked that people still want me to come give talks.”

With his wife and daughter looking on, Bill Clinton asserted that they do normal things in the tiny New York suburb of Chappaqua, the location of one of their two homes.

“The idea that now, after — I think I had the lowest net worth of any American President in the 20th century when I took office, but I still could have been tone-deaf,” said Clinton. “And, you know, now I don’t, and we’ve got a good life, and I’m grateful for it. But we go to our local grocery store on the weekend. We talk to people in our town. We know what’s going on. The real issue is if you’ve been fortunate enough to be successful, are you now out of touch and insensitive to the agonizing struggles other people are facing? That’s the real issue.”

Asked whether he could see why the potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate’s comments were drawing accusations that she was out of touch, Bill Clinton said he could, adding “but she’s not out of touch.”

“She advocated and worked as a Senator for things that were good for ordinary people,” he continued. “And before that, all her life. And the people asking her questions should put this into some sort of context.”

Hillary Clinton’s remarks on wealth have evoked comparisons to former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. On Monday, potential 2016 rival Vice President Joe Biden highlighted his relatively meager finances at an event on working families, but called himself fortunate regardless.

Watch the video of the exchange below:

TIME 2016 Election

7 Songs We Want to Hear in the Upcoming Clinton Musical

Bill & Hillary Clinton Mayoral Inauguration
President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton attend the Inauguration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Jan. 1. New York Daily News—NY Daily News/Getty Images

The show arrives in New York next month

The Clintons are coming back to New York–in song. Clinton: The Musical will play at the Pershing Square Signature Center in New York City from July 18-25 following its year-long run in London.

Clinton follows two Bill Clintons ['W.J. Clinton' and 'Billy'] and Hillary on their quest to save their presidency, change America and prove that ‘politics is show business for ugly people,'” the show’s description reads. Colorful 1990s characters like Monica Lewinsky, Newt Gingrich and Kenneth Starr also make appearances.

Here are 7 songs we think should be in Clinton: The Musical’s New York debut:

Fool on the Hill(ary)

It couldn’t have been easy stomaching Bill’s repeated chorus of, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” In this song, the musical’s Hillary would lament all of the signs she missed that Bill was playing her for the fool.

Stand by Me

Bill had a lot of ‘splainin to do back in 1998. In the musical version, after Ken Starr’s report reveals some rather explicit details about the President’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Bill would beg Hillary, “Stand by me.”

We Can Do It

In this musical number taken from The Producers, Hillary tells Bill she has decided to become the second Clinton to run for the White House. The Clintons’ chorus of “We Can Do It” is rudely interrupted by an Obama conga line of “Yes, We Can!”

Big Girls Don’t Cry

Hillary might have lost out on the nomination in 2008, but she kept her poker face and went on to become Secretary of State. Nobody puts Hillary in a corner.

Started from the (Foggy) Bottom

Hillary channels her inner Drake as she takes on the job of Secretary of State and confronts new foreign policy problems.

It’s the Hard-Knock (Choices)

As Hillary sings this ballad reminiscent of Annie, a stenographer in the backdrop furiously records the words for her biography Hard Choices.

(20)16 Goin’ on 17

The Sound of Music-inspired anthem will chronicle Hillary’s adventures and misadventures on the campaign trail as she tries to make it to the White House (again).

TIME 2016 Campaign

First Lady: U.S. Should Elect Female President ‘As Soon as Possible’

White House Summit on Working Families
US First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at the White House Summit on Working Families, in Washington DC, June 23, 2014. Michael Reynolds—EPA

As long as it's not her, Michelle Obama said at the Summit on Working Families.

Michelle Obama said the U.S. is ready for a female president and that the country should elect one “as soon as possible” on Monday.

“The person who should do the job is the person who is most qualified — and we have some options, don’t we?” Obama told ABC’s Robin Roberts at the Summit on Working Families in Washington, D.C., according to video from C-SPAN3.

“I think this country is ready — this country is ready for anyone who can do that job,” she said.

Though she did not make any kind of endorsement, Obama’s remarks seem to acknowledge a possible run by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose 2016 campaign future has been the subject of wild speculation. President Barack Obama has said in the past that Clinton would be a “very effective” president if she decides to run and wins.

Michelle Obama, however, isn’t thinking about any kind of run for office herself. She said her post-White House plans “definitely will not be” political, but instead “mission-based” and “service-focused.”


TIME White House

Biden Gets Humble About His Wealth

The vice president falsely says he doesn't own a single stock or bond, or have a savings account — but admits that he's been "really, really fortunate"

Vice President Joe Biden highlighted his meager finances—by Washington standards—Monday at the inaugural White House Summit on Working Families, but cast himself as “really fortunate” regardless.

Highlighting the need to modernize family leave policies, Biden argued that he was well off on account of generous family leave and benefit policies afforded to or taken by him as a lawmaker, but said such benefits must be expanded to all Americans.

“I can speak a little bit from my own experience,” Biden said early in his remarks. “Look at Biden, man. He’s got a mildly expensive suit on. He’s Vice President of the United States of America, he makes—notwithstanding that he’s listed as the poorest man in Congress—he still makes a lot of money as Vice President of the United States. And I do by the way. And I do. Don’t hold it against me that I don’t own a single stock or bond. Don’t hold it—I have no savings account. But I’ve got a great pension and I’ve got a good salary. For real. For real. Sometimes we talk about this stuff about struggle. My struggle, my god, compared to where I grew up and the way people are trying to go through things. but here’s the point I want to make. I’ve been really, really fortunate.”

Biden’s point is well taken. The former Delaware Senator and his wife are worth between -$1,323,970 and $162,996 according to his 2013 financial disclosure released in May. But Biden was stretching the truth slightly. His financial disclosure shows he does have a savings account valued between $1,001 and $15,000, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, invests in mutual funds that own in stocks and bonds. Biden’s 2014 salary is $233,000—more than four times the median household income.

In a possible, yet unlikely, 2016 contrast, Biden’s approach to talking about his wealth differs substantially from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has made repeated missteps when discussing her vastly-larger fortune.

Clinton claimed in an interview earlier this month to have been “dead broke” upon leaving the White House, and in an interview with The Guardian published this weekend, Clinton implied she and her husband were not among the “truly well off,” despite millions in the bank and well over $100 million collected in speaking fees alone over the past decade.

“But they don’t see me as part of the problem because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work,” Clinton said.

TIME 2016 Election

Rand Paul Doesn’t Blame Obama For Iraq Crisis

Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during an event at the University of Chicago's Ida Noyes Hall in Chicago on April 22, 2014. Andrew Nelles—AP

Paul also took a shot at former Vice President Dick Cheney for his pro-Iraq War stance

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is firing back at his party’s interventionist wing, saying those who supported the Iraq war “emboldened Iran,” while freeing President Barack Obama of blame for the current crisis in Iraq.

In a Meet the Press interview airing this Sunday, the 2016 presidential hopeful and libertarian icon responded to an op-ed by former Vice President Dick Cheney criticizing Obama’s handling of the situation in Iraq.

“I think the same questions could be asked of those who supported the Iraq War,” Paul said. “You know, were they right in their predictions? Were there weapons of mass destruction there? That’s what the war was sold on. Was democracy easily achievable? Was the war won in 2005, when many of these people said it was won? They didn’t really, I think, understand the civil war that would break out.”

Paul added that he doesn’t blame Obama for the ongoing turmoil in Iraq, but he questions whether the President has a solution to the crisis, during which Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have seized vast territory and pushed the Iraqi military back to the outskirts of Baghdad.

“And what’s going on now—I don’t blame on President Obama,” Paul said. “Has he really got the solution? Maybe there is no solution. But I do blame the Iraq War on the chaos that is in the Middle East. I also blame those who wer for the Iraq War for emboldening Iran. These are the same people now who are petrified of what Iran may become, and I understand some of their worry.”

Cheney this week launched the Alliance for a Strong America, a group dedicated to pushing back against Obama’s foreign policy as well as the GOP’s libertarian wing. Paul’s critique could apply equally well to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who apologized for her vote for the Iraq War in hew new book, “Hard Choices.”

Meet the Press Moderator David Gregory noted that Paul is not a “Dick Cheney Republican” when it comes to American power in the Middle East.

“What I would say is that the war emboldened Iran,” Paul replied. “Iran is much more of a threat because of the Iraq War than they were before—before there was a standoff between Sunnis and Shiites. Now there is Iranian hegemony throughout the region.”

Watch the video of the exchange above.


Pictures of the Week: June 13 – June 20

From Iraq’s eternal war and Spain’s early Word Cup exit, to a deadly double twister in Nebraska and Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s submarine ride, TIME presents the best photos of the week.



TIME Foreign Policy

Republicans Seize an Opportunity to Knock Obama on Foreign Policy

And to knock one of their own

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday going after President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

“Our president doesn’t seem [care about Iraq].” the two wrote. “Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America.”

Take out Barack Obama and put in John Kerry, and you have the Bush-Cheney 2004 playbook: Scare the bejesus out of voters that the other guy’s too weak to fight a war or run a country.

The Cheneys’ op-ed and the group they are starting attached to it, The Alliance for a Stronger America, is ostensibly aimed at “reversing the dangerous policies of the Obama Administration,” according to its website. But it’s also about politics, elections and survival. They’re seizing on Obama’s foreign policy weakness ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, though they lack a foil for Obama since he’s not actually on the ballot and members of Congress can’t constitutionally do much on foreign policy.

Their next target is Hillary Clinton, who has literally written a whole book about how her foreign policy differs from Obama. She’s always been more hawkish than her erstwhile boss, making her slightly harder to hit.

But their real 2016 target is actually own of their own: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. A self described “non-interventionist,” Paul hails from the anti-neoconservative wing of the Republican Party. So, the idea of him winning the White House—and he leads in a bunch of polls these days—is almost worse than Clinton winning: Siberia is coldest for those in your own party with whom you don’t agree. And Paul definitely doesn’t agree with most of what the Cheneys stand for. Liz Cheney called the party’s noninterventionist turn “dangerous” in a Q & A with TIME last year.

“I think that yes, it is dangerous,” she said. “I think isolationism is a mistake, no matter what party you see it in. We have to remember that there are two threats to our freedom: There’s a threat that comes from the federal government, from the Obama Administration policies… but there’s also a huge and significant threat from al-Qaeda. The war on terror is still underway. Al-Qaeda is stronger today than it’s been in many years. We have to be able to protect our freedom from both of those threats.”

After all, when you’re starting a political advocacy group, you make money off of opposition. Opposition to Obama won’t do much, he’s a lame duck President. Opposition to Clinton will probably be lucrative. But opposition to Paul is a sheer fight for survival: If the Cheneys lose the foreign policy debate, they lose GOP donors.

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