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Presidents need prayers: John Dickerson on “The Hardest Job in the World”

Steve Yount, a senior fellow with the Denison Forum, is a former newspaper editor and public-relations executive working with Christian ministries.


The White House sits under a stormy sky
© Bill Chizek/

John Dickerson of CBS News has written a fascinating and most timely book: The Hardest Job in the World: The American Presidency.

Dickerson, who has covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated two of the debates in 2016, thinks the presidency is in trouble. In his words, “It is overburdened, misunderstood, an almost impossible job to do.”

Dwight Eisenhower and Barack Obama said that they faced no easy decisions as president. If they were easy, someone else already would have reached a decision.

Leon Panetta, who served as White House chief of staff, secretary of defense, and director of the CIA, said, “The modern presidency has gotten out of control,” making it difficult for anyone to “get a handle” on the job.

In his conclusion, Dickerson lists eighteen key presidential attributes, likely more than any one person can possess. No wonder that Franklin Roosevelt, when he found out that he had been elected president, prayed that he would be strong enough to do the job.

Roosevelt, of course, had polio and could not walk. But anyone facing “the hardest job in the world” needs our prayers.

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