They Said This Day Would Never Come

Chasing the Dream on Obama's Improbable Campaign


By Chris Liddell-Westefeld

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The thrilling, unlikely story of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, as told by the volunteers and staff who propelled the longshot candidate to the presidency

In the year leading up to the Iowa caucuses, few thought a freshman senator named Barack Hussein Obama would be able to win the Democratic nomination–not to mention become the most popular leader in the world.

But something was stirring. Hundreds of young people from all over the country began assembling first in Iowa. These “kids” became the foundation of one of the most improbable presidential campaigns of the modern era.

Chris Liddell-Westefeld was one of those kids. He and thousands of other staff and volunteers dedicated every minute of their time, intelligence, and resources to help elect Barack Obama, as what started in the midwest spread nationwide. Drawn from more than 200 interviews with alumni including David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Alyssa Mastromonaco, Dan Pfeiffer, Valerie Jarrett, Josh Earnest, Tommy Vietor, Jon Favreau, and President Obama himself, They Said This Day Would Never Come takes readers deep inside the most inspirational presidential campaign in recent history.
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  • "A readable collective chorus of hopeful voices tirelessly promoting Obama's patriotism, moral clarity, and honorable leadership.... As a campaign diary, the book succeeds in gathering representative perspectives from those who participated in its success.... Adulatory reflections on a historic presidency sure to fuel hope for future elections."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • "They Said This Day Would Never Come tells the story of Barack Obama's historic 2008 campaign through the voices of the people who made it happen, but it's about so much more than one election. It tells a story about the power of everyday people to shape the course of our country and change the world."
    Dan Pfeiffer, cohost of Pod Save America and author of Yes We Still Can
  • "Chris's book reminds us that politics doesn't have to feel hopeless or slimy if we're willing to put in the effort--this is a beautiful and genuinely moving oral history of how young people who believe in something and are willing to actually DO something about it can change the world."
    Amanda Litman, cofounder of Run for Something
  • "The Obama campaign of 2007-2008 in Iowa was a wondrous story, authored by a corps of young activists and people hungry for change. In They Said This Day Would Never Come, Chris Liddell-Westefeld brilliantly captures the spirit of that effort."
    David Axelrod, director, University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN senior political commentator
  • "An amazing read in the words of the organizers on the ground who elected Barack Obama president. If you care about bringing about change, there are lessons in this book for you."
    David Plouffe, former campaign manager and White House senior adviser for Barack Obama

On Sale
Jan 7, 2020
Page Count
256 pages

Chris Liddell-Westefeld

About the Author

Chris Liddell-Westefeld joined the Obama for America campaign in 2007 and went on to spend five years on the Obama White House staff. Since 2014, Liddell-Westefeld has documented the story of the Obama presidency through oral history interviews. An Iowa native, he remains active in political campaigns and currently works as an oral historian in Washington D.C. where he lives with his wife and daughter.

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