In investigating the presidential campaigns and early administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, Presidential Campaigns and Presidential Accountability shows how campaign promises are realized in government once the victor is established in the Oval Office. To measure correlations between presidential campaigns and policy-making, Michele P. Claibourn closely examines detailed campaign advertising information, survey data about citizen's responses to campaigns, processes that create expectations among constituents, and media attention and response to candidates.
Disputing the notion that presidents ignore campaign issues upon being elected, Presidential Campaigns and Presidential Accountability contends that candidates raise issues that matter and develop ideas to address these issues based on voter reactions. Conventional disappointment in presidential campaigns stems from a misunderstanding of the role that presidents play in a system of separate institutions sharing power, and Claibourn forces us to think about presidential campaigns in the context of the presidency--what the president realistically can and cannot do. Based on comparisons of the Clinton, Bush, and Obama campaigns and the first years of the subsequent presidential administrations, Claibourn builds a generalized theory of agenda accountability, showing how presidential action is constrained by campaign agendas.