A New York Times bestseller from President George W. Bush’s “most essential advisor” (ABC News).
An inside look at the life of Bush’s most respected aide and confidante, as she balanced her role as one of the most influential women ever to set foot in the White House against her role as a wife and mother.
“The rule of thumb in any White House is that nobody is indispensable except the president,” said The New York Times, “But Karen Hughes has come as close to that description as any recent presidential aide.” Ten Minutes from Normal is the often humorous, disarmingly down-to-earth, and politically fascinating journey of her time in Bush’s inner circle.
As Counselor to the President for his first eighteen months in the White House and as his communications director since he first ran for Governor of Texas in 1994, Hughes was a crucial influence. When he first moved to Washington, Bush told members of the White House staff that he wanted Karen in the room whenever any major decisions were made.
Being a journalist, she was fascinated by politics and inspired by people who sought elective office to improve their communities. When she married and became the instant mother of a nine-year-old stepdaughter, she realized her priorities had changed: Family mattered, and she didn’t want to live as if it didn’t. Thus her life became one of balancing her career ambitions and her deeply felt sense of service and duty with her responsibilities and love for her family.
In various Republican campaigns in Texas, she worked from home with her young son, Robert, beside her. She planned the 1990 Republican State Convention from her driveway while Robert played in the dirt at her feet.
Karen tried to bring the perspective of a working mom to the White House, often asking the question she first learned as a reporter: “What does this mean to the average person?” Her exhilarating life in Washington was unlike anything she had experienced before, yet the lack of balance between her service to the President and country and her service to her family was a daily struggle.
By the spring of 2002, Karen found herself in turmoil. She knew the president needed her, but her family needed her, too. Her son was not happy in Washington; neither was her husband. After much soul-searching, she concluded that she could do a better job of serving the president from Texas than of serving her family from Washington. “I love you, Mr. President,” she told him, “but I have to move my family back to Texas.”
She continued to serve Bush from her home in Austin and laughed about the so-called “balance” she found. When she looked at the wall calendar in her kitchen, she found the State of the Union address side by side with her son’s orthodontist appointments.
Karen Hughes is the bestselling author of Ten Minutes from Normal. A former counsellor to the President of the United States, she served under George W. Bush for his first eighteen months in the White House and as his communications director since… More about Karen Hughes