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Alone With the President

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Showbiz, politics — heck, what’s the difference? In Alone With the President, a campy chronicle of the Hollywood-Washington love affair — replete with dozens of photos of Presidents hobnobbing with celebrities — it’s all one big, incestuous schmooze-fest. Strausbaugh’s text focuses primarily from 1960 on, taking us from a President who looked like a movie star (JFK) to a President who manipulated movie stars and the media (Nixon) to a President who was once a movie star himself (Reagan). We’re told that, predictably, LBJ liked his celebs rugged while Kennedy liked his curvy. And we get loads of pics of such classic Oval Office couples as Nixon and Elvis, Carter and the Bee Gees, and Reagan and a still squeaky-clean Michael Jackson. What’s it all mean? According to the author: ”American culture is popular culture. Popularity is power. And Elvis has definitely not left the building.” Well, maybe Elvis has, but Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Soul Asylum, and Babs are definitely still hanging around. A-