With his second inauguration just a few days away, Jon Meacham has some advice for President Obama: Take a lesson from your long since deceased predecessor Thomas Jefferson.
Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, says one of the keys to Jefferson’s success was that he built personal relationships with senators and members of Congress. He says Obama “has not been particularly good at this.”
Every night Congress was in session, Jefferson would invite members to the White House for dinner and managed to forge friendships with even some of his staunchest critics.
“He wanted to weave attachments,” says Meacham. “There’s a wonderful story about a New England Senator from New Hampshire, a federalist, who came in 1803 two years into Jefferson’s term believing Jefferson to be evil incarnate. And he came to dinner so much that by the end of the term they’re exchanging pecan recipes.”