Government Girl

Stacy Aab Government GirlGotham teacher Stacy Parker Aab's memoir, Government Girl, was published in January by Ecco (HarperCollins).

The book relates Stacy’s experience working in the Clinton White House, first as an intern, then as a staff member. As an idealistic young woman, she is thrilled to see behind the scenes of the White House and be at the epicenter of an administration that really “cares.” But she also witnesses the darker side of what happens in the corridors of power, including the fallout around one of her fellow interns, Monica.

Here’s a glimpse of the book’s opening:

Okinawa, Japan

The door to the president’s suite stood straight ahead and marked the end of my path. Few staffers had business being inside the president’s suite. I did. I was the presidential advance person in charge of the hotel.

The president had traveled to Okinawa, Japan, for the 2000 G8 Summit. This was the last evening of the trip, and the president and staff were still out for dinner. Down the hallway I went, walking past the rooms of key staffers, each door posted with a paper sign bearing his or her name. Doug Band, the body aide. Sandy Berger, the national security advisor. Donnie Flynn, the deputy special agent in charge (DSAIC). We labeled doors so staffers could find one another easily, per presidential trip protocol.

The president’s door remained unmarked. An agent stood posted outside, the only visual anyone needed to know which room was his. The agent smiled as I approached. I wanted to check the suite pantry. The hotel treated us superbly, so I had little doubt that all of the sodas and snacks had been refreshed. We stayed in a resort hotel, the ANA Manza, that rose up like a white ship on a slip of beach peninsula. Step outside, and you were surrounded by the healing beauty of blue waters, by the air blanched with light and heavy with moisture. Before this trip, I had known Okinawa as the site of the bloodiest battle in the World War II Pacific theater, the Japanese and American forces sustaining more casualties than the civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. I had not known that they slaughtered each other in paradise.

Before arrival, I worked with the hotel and Secret Service to prepare the president’s suite. I arranged for and assigned staff rooms, making sure that every person who deplaned Air Force One, and each support plane, had the right place to sleep—no easy feat, given shifting manifests and sold-out hotels. Other advance people had finite assignments. They finished their events, and they would be “down”—done for the day and not expected to be at anyone’s beck and call. Not me. As the hotel advance person, known as the “RON,” for “remain overnight”—shorthand for the advance person in charge for wherever the president spent the night—I was always on, from the minute the president and his staff arrived till the minute they were wheels up on Air Force One. RONs worked long hours, but I was proud to be part of a small group of advance people considered qualified for the task.

The posted agent let me into the suite. Lamps were glowing, as were overhead lights. I could not see how dark it was outside, for each pair of curtains was closed. But the rooms felt bright, regardless, with their white walls and caramel wood accents. Windows lined the bayside and oceanside walls, and when the curtains were open, the water dazzled and the air swept through the dining room and sitting room in a perfect cross breeze.

“You must hate that there’s balconies,” I had said to my RON agent counterpart on our first walk-through.

“If I have my way,” he said, “he’ll never know there are balconies.”

I wondered if he was joking, or if he planned to sew the curtains shut.

Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins.  Buy Government Girl online from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. For more information on Stacy and her book, visit: