Read The President Is Missing: A Novel Online

Authors: James Patterson,Bill Clinton

The President Is Missing: A Novel (39 page)

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We owe it to our children, ourselves, and billions of decent people throughout the world who still want us to be an inspiration, an example, and a friend to make the most of this second chance.

Let this night be remembered as a celebration of disaster avoided and a rededication of
our
lives,
our
fortunes, and
our
sacred honor to form
our
more perfect union.

May God bless the United States of America and
all
who call it home.

Thank you. Sleep well.

 

A
fter the speech, my approval ratings rose from less than 30 percent to more than 80 percent. I knew it wouldn’t last, but it felt good to be out of the dungeon.

I got some criticism for using the speech to advance my agenda, but I wanted Americans to know what I wanted to do for them and still leave plenty of opportunities for working with the other side.

The Speaker has been grudgingly helpful. Within two weeks, Congress had passed, with bipartisan majorities, a bill calling for more honest, inclusive, accountable elections and providing some funds to transition to nonhackable voting, beginning with old-fashioned paper ballots. The rest of the agenda is still pending, but I am hopeful that with the right compromises and incentives, we can get more done. There’s even been some movement on the assault-weapons ban and a bill to enact truly comprehensive background checks.

The Speaker’s still deciding his next move. He was mad at me for calling him out but relieved that I hadn’t gone all the way by telling America he wanted Vice President Brandt to appoint his daughter to the Supreme Court in return for making her president.

Carolyn Brock was hit with a twenty-count indictment, accusing her in various ways of treason, acts of terrorism, misuse of classified information, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and obstruction of justice. Her lawyers are negotiating a guilty plea, hoping to avoid a life sentence. It is heartbreaking in so many ways—her betrayal of everything we worked so hard to accomplish, the bright future she could have had if she hadn’t surrendered to reckless ambition, but most of all, the impact on her family. There are still times, when I am lost in thought on a tough question, that I will catch myself calling out her name.

Meanwhile, I finally let Dr. Deb give me the protein treatment along with a steroid infusion. My platelet count is comfortably in the six figures. I feel better, and I don’t have to worry about dropping dead if I’m a little late taking my pills. Also, not being shot at is nice.

And thank God my daughter’s back to her own life, breathing easier.

The mainstream media coverage, from right to left, has become more straightforward, not so much because of my speech but because, at least for now, Americans are moving away from extreme media toward outlets that offer more explanation and fewer personal attacks.

I did send someone to see the homeless veteran I met on the street after I went missing. He’s now in group treatment and getting help with finding a decent job and affordable housing. And it looks like Congress will fund an effort to reduce the killing of unarmed citizens, increase police officers’ safety, and set up neighborhood councils to work with the police.

I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is that the country I love has a new lease on life.

At the end of the Constitutional Convention, a citizen asked Benjamin Franklin what kind of government our founders had given us. He replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” That’s a job no president can do alone. It’s up to all of us to keep it. And to make the most of it.

For their invaluable assistance in technical matters, special thanks to John Melton, who served in the 75th Ranger Regiment from 1992 to 1994; to James Wagner; to Thomas Kinzler; and to Richard Clarke, who served four presidents as a security and counterterrorism adviser.

Bill Clinton
was elected president of the United States in 1992, and he served until 2001. After leaving the White House, he established the Clinton Foundation, which helps improve global health, increase opportunity for girls and women, reduce childhood obesity and preventable diseases, create economic opportunity and growth, and address the effects of climate change. He is the author of a number of nonfiction works, including
My Life,
which was a #1 international bestseller. This is his first novel.

  

James Patterson
received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community from the National Book Foundation. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1
New York Times
bestsellers, and his books have sold more than 375 million copies worldwide. A tireless champion of the power of books and reading, Patterson created a new children’s book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: “We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say, ‘PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.’”

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