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President Obama offers high praise for Senator Reed in his new book

Obama was joined on a 2008 trip to Afghanistan and Iraq by Reed and Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel, who he described as “two of my favorite colleagues” in the Senate

"A Promised Land" by former President Barack Obama is displayed in the window of a New York bookstore, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020.
"A Promised Land" by former President Barack Obama is displayed in the window of a New York bookstore, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020.Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and the good news is you can catch up on “The Crown” during the two-week pause. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 46,951 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, after adding 921 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 5.8 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 24.3 percent. The state announced four more deaths, bringing the total to 1,288. There were 298 people in the hospital.


I’ll be honest: I mostly bought former President Barack Obama’s new book, “A Promised Land,” to see if he offered a review of the “Death by Chocolate” cake that he once bought from Gregg’s (if he’d asked, I’d have told him the regular layer cake is the way to go).

While it doesn’t include Obama’s view on Rhode Island cuisine, he does offer high praise for US Senator Jack Reed, who accompanied him on visits to Afghanistan and Iraq shortly after he wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

In the book, Obama explains that the nine-day trip overseas trip, which included his famous speech in Berlin, was designed to “not only dispel concerns voters might have about my ability to operate effectively on the world stage but also highlight – at a time when voters were deeply troubled by the strained alliances of the [President] Bush years – just what a new era of American leadership might look like.”

Obama was joined on part of the trip by Reed and Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel, who he described as “two of my favorite colleagues” in the Senate. He refers to Reed as a liberal Democrat who is “slightly built, studious, and understated,” and notes that Reed and Hagel have different personalities.


”What the two shared was an abiding reverence for the US military and belief in the prudent use of American power,” Obama writes. “After almost six years, their views on Iraq had converged, and they were now two of the war’s most incisive and credible critics.”

Obama writes that the bipartisan presence of Reed and Hagel helped deflect criticism that the trip was a campaign stunt, even as he concedes that it was an “elaborate edition on the international stage.”

The trip was deemed a success by reporters around the US, providing Obama a crucial boost as he prepared to take on US Senator John McCain, a foreign policy expert, in the presidential election. And he felt he passed the test.

”Returning from my overseas trip, I felt like an astronaut or an explorer just back from an arduous expedition, charged with adrenaline and vaguely disoriented by ordinary life,” Obama writes.


⚓ My colleague Ed Fitzpatrick has a great profile on incoming Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera, who will be the first Latina mayor in Rhode Island, but will face immediate challenges as she tries to slow the spread of COVID-19 in one of the hardest-hit communities in the region. Read more.

⚓ Governor Gina Raimondo didn’t pull any punches yesterday during her press conference announcing new coronavirus restrictions: “It’s gonna suck,” she said. Read more.


⚓ The state is not making any changes to schedules for elementary or middle schools, but it is recommending that high schools have the majority of their students learn from home beginning Nov. 30. Read more

⚓ Some good news about Rhode Island: The state ranks No. 2 in the country among States With Anti-Corruption Measures for Public Officials (SWAMP) index. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent a round of Happy Birthday wishes to: Courtney HawkinsGeoff Ayoub (47), Bert CrencaSteve Kumins (60), Christopher McDonald (30), Providence Councilman Pedro EspinalAlix OgdenJarrad PlanteHadlee McBurney (4), Thomas Connelly (8), Beryl KenyonDawn BergantinoCatie Joy (31), Caleb Horton, state Representative Joshua Giraldo (34), Kate BrockClay PellErin Aoyama (27), Tony AffigneMike Ritz, state Senator Hanna GalloShannon Donnelly (22), Sue RobbioJoyce Saudade, and Edward Ciocys (he’s in a rock band called “Op Ed”).


 Work: An entertaining and informative look at working from home from my colleague Janelle NanosRead more.

⚓ Health: Pfizer is asking the FDA for emergency approval of the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

⚓ Politics: More than two weeks after the election, President Trump’s campaign has taken to sending love notes to America about how corrupt everything is. Read more

⚓ Business: How some Massachusetts companies are digging deep to address racial inequity at work — and beyond. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ On Sunday at 7 p.m., Common Cause Rhode Island is holding a panel discussion on how to reinvent public meetings in our state. You can register here.

⚓ At 2 p.m. on Saturday, progressives will hold a rally at the State House urging lawmakers to tax the wealthy.


⚓ The Board of Elections meets at noon today, and may certify local election results (not the presidential race or General Assembly races).

⚓ The Providence Preservation Society’s 2020 Symposium is wrapping up, but there’s a great discussion today focusing on what the community wants in Providence.

⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.