West Winging It

An Un-presidential Memoir

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About The Book

The West Wing meets The Office in this fresh and funny exclusive look into President Barack Obama’s years in the White House, directly from his senior writer and former Deputy Director of Messaging.

West Winging It: An Unpresidential Memoir is the personal story of Pat Cunnane and his journey from outsider to insider, from his dreary job at a warehouse to his dream job at the White House. Pat pulls the drapes back on the most famous and exclusive building in the United States, telling the story of the real West Wing with compelling and quirky portraits of the people who populate the place, from the President to the press corps. Pat takes you into the Oval Office, providing a witty insider’s glimpse of that it’s really like—from the minutiae to the momentous—to work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Along the way, Pat draws an intimate portrait of the side of President Obama that few were privy to—the funnyman, the nerd, the athlete, the caring parent. He describes both the small details—the time he watched in horror as the President reached over the sneeze guard at Chipotle—and the larger, historic moments, such as watching the President handle the news of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. In some ways, working at the White House is a lot like every office, and in some ways, it’s like no office ever. Pat recounts the time he accidentally slammed a door on Joe Biden, plotted to have the Pope bless him by faking a sneeze, and almost killed America’s First Dog.

Pat’s story is one of proximity to history, revealing an office where both the historically momentous and the hilariously mundane occurred every day. He brings the White House to life with hysterical, heartwarming, and sharply observed depictions of the President and Vice President. It’s a fun portrait of a remarkable time and an extraordinary President, featuring a bunch of brilliant, quirky staffers bursting in and out of frame. He recounts the behind-the-scene highs and lows of the West Wing, from the elation of 2012 to the despair of 2016.

Filled with sharp observations and exclusive photos, West Winging It is at its core a fish-out-of-water story—only these fish are trying to run the United States of America.

About The Author

Photograph by Koury Angelo

Pat Cunnane was President Barack Obama’s Senior Writer and Deputy Director of Messaging at the White House where he worked for six years in many roles, responsible for everything from traveling with the President across the country and around the world on Air Force One to writing statements, jokes, op-eds, and more in the President’s voice. Pat conceptualized, managed, and co-wrote the President’s appearance on “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jerry Seinfeld, which quickly shattered the series’ viewership records and garnered an Emmy nomination. Pat graduated from the University of Miami Honors School where he studied political science, journalism, and screenwriting. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, where he now works as a writer on the TV series Designated Survivor, starring Kiefer Sutherland. He has written for The New Yorker.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (April 2018)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501178290

Raves and Reviews

"Of all of President Obama's staffers, Pat Cunnane was definitely one of them."

– —Dan Pfeiffer, cohost of Pod Save America and former senior advisor

"...But seriously, Pat tells a funny, moving story about working in the White House that is a must read for anyone who misses having Barack Obama as President.” 

– —Dan Pfeiffer

"As the only human who has worked with Pat in a real White House and now a fake one, I have the authority to tell you to read this book. It's good. And inspiring. And funny."

– —Kal Penn, star of Designated Survivor

"Sharp, funny, and true, West Winging It is a super fun journey for any reader—and for me, a wonderful trip down Memory Lane.”

– —Alyssa Mastromonaco, New York Times bestselling author of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea and former deputy chief of staff

"Pat Cunnane captures the feeling that anyone with the opportunity to occupy a desk in the West Wing should have: astonishment at their improbable good fortune, and awe at the responsibility that comes with it. West Winging It is a fun, poignant reminder that the best part about working in the Obama White House was the people working with you, and knowing that everyone was there for the right reason: to try to do as much good, for as many people, as we possibly could."

– —Jay Carney, former press secretary

“West Winging It is the compelling true story of Pat Cunnane, who proves a talented, funny tour guide from his desk outside the Press Secretary's office. Pat reminds us that the responsibility and privilege of a job in the West Wing should be fun, even if it’s not nearly as glamorous as it looks on TV.”

– —Josh Earnest, former Press Secretary

“With all that’s going on in Washington these days, it’s refreshing to read about the lighter moments inside a somewhat more normal White House.”

– —Rob Reiner, actor and director

“[A] fitfully funny, often earnest insider's look at the Obama era… a warm and observant portrait of what it's like to work for the White House…When he's truly candid, Cunnane nails it.”

– —Kirkus

“A fond look back…has the snappy, sunny vibe of a period that ended less than two years ago but seems like another century.”

– —USA Today

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