The many years of research and writing that have created this book have left in their wake a multitude of debts to supportive friends, loving family members, inspirational teachers and helpful colleagues and mentors. The starting point for this book was undoubtedly Georgetown Professor James Lengle, whose enthusiasm for presidential electoral politics prompted me to pursue graduate studies so that I might learn more about the subject. The guidance and generosity of Charles Jones, James Ceaser, Steve Finkel and Larry Sabato expanded my initial interest in campaigns to a broader interest in American institutions. The idea for this book, however, emerged from an impromptu meeting with Charles Jones in a Charlottesville bagelry when he off-handedly mentioned that one area in the literature that had gone relatively unnoticed, despite its important implications for governing, was the notion of presidents as candidates.
From that opening bagel to this book, I received a great deal of support from the University of Virginia, the Bradley Foundation, and the Brookings Institution, where I conducted the bulk of my research. While at Brookings I learned much outside the confines of my office from Bob Katzmann, Kent Weaver, Stephen Hess, Bert Rockman, Tom Mann and Pietro Nivola. Research fellows Matthew Dickinson, Charles Shipan and Forrest Maltzman demonstrated a great deal of patience in helping me think through difficult arguments and issues. Additionally, I am deeply grateful to the many former White House and party staff members who generously gave of their time to speak with me, and also