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John McCain And Barack Obama Look To Transition

With under a month to go to Election Day, the McCain and Obama campaigns have collected two White House "operator's manuals" just published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government in which former top federal officials explain how the government works. The books could provide invaluable information because, as main author Jonathan Breul told Whispers, neither candidate has vast executive experience. "These are senators," Breul said at a book party this week at the Mayflower Hotel. "Their track record and experience is limited in this regard." Unlike two previous White House primers published by the Brookings Institution, the two books from the IBM Center for the Business of Government feature chapters on key issues written by "stakeholders," or former top officials in individual government arenas. "That's what's unique," said Breul. "We were looking for candor ... straight talk," he said.

The key book is titled The Operator's Manual for the New Administration. It comes with a companion book, Getting It Done: A Guide for Government Executives. Breul explained that the works are written more for top federal executives than the president. They focus on how agencies work, how they interact, and how government contracting is conducted. They do not delve into policy since that is left to the president's appointees. Breul said that both campaigns have reached out for copies, though with the campaign in its final month, it's probably too early for the candidates themselves to be reviewing the books. However, it is at this stage of a campaign where the candidates normally start setting up transition teams just in case they win.

By Paul Bedard