IN THE AUTUMN OF 2005, when George W. Bush had fallen victim to an avalanche of problems, and public confidence was at its lowest ebb, the president's aides were puzzled to see him take a sudden, obsessive interest in planning his presidential library. He would speak of his vision for the library at cabinet meetings, with heads of state, and even while watching NASCAR races. At first those close to him were at a loss to understand his urgency in this matter, but they soon concluded that the president was following some Divine Instruction, imparted to him in a mysterious manner that only he understood, which required him to draw up plans without delay.
"My main objective was to be a jazz-playing clown. That kind of worked out."