The New York Times
By Jeremy Peters
August 19, 2012
The White House has granted Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” extensive access to President Obama for an article in the October issue of Vanity Fair.
The magazine confirmed that Mr. Lewis has conducted a series of interviews with the president. But a spokeswoman for the magazine and the White House both declined to comment on the focus of their discussions or what the article will detail.
Generally, Mr. Lewis is said to be writing about leadership, according to someone who knows Mr. Lewis and the president.
It would seem to be something of a risk for the White House – which is highly guarded about allowing journalists access to the president for longer-form articles and books – to agree to let in an author who is known for an exacting and at times unsparing approach.
His writings on the financial industry, for example, have been particularly unsympathetic, even damning. A former bond trader, Mr. Lewis has criticized Mr. Obama’s handling of the financial crisis, saying the administration missed an opportunity to regulate Wall Street more effectively. “It essentially just extended the Bush administration’s approach to the problem,” he said in 2009. “There’s an argument to doing what they’ve done. I don’t think they’ve made it very persuasively.”
That the article will be published so close to the election – and possibly develop into a book like many of Mr. Lewis’s other Vanity Fair projects – seems to make it all the more risky for the White House to invite the author in. He has been spotted on Air Force One and on trips that the president has taken this year to places like Colombia.