The Condensed Bob Woodward
Slate reads Plan of Attack so you don't have to.
Page 281: On Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's undersecretary for policy: "I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day."
Condi Rice as Bush's Consigliere
Page 23: "She is not married and has no immediate family; it seemed she was on call for the president 24 hours a day in her West Wing office. ... Tending to the president and his priorities was her primary goal."
Page 127: When Karl Rove worries about the perception in the media that he's meddling in foreign affairs, Bush says: "Don't worry about it. Condi's territorial. She's a woman."
Page 160: Condi dresses down Brent Scowcroft, the former national security adviser, for writing an antiwar editorial in Wall Street Journal. Scowcroft ends his antiwar campaign.
Dick Armitage as Powell's Consigliere
Page 20: Powell and Armitage—whom Woodward describes as a "cross between Daddy Warbucks and a World Wrestling Federation champ"—are best friends. "The two talk on the phone so many times each day that aides think of them as teenagers joined at the hip, committed to sharing absolutely everything."
Page 39: Armitage learns of a forthcoming New York Times story that will paint Powell as exceedingly dovish. He convinces the reporter that the State Department is hip to the Saddam threat. Or, as he later says privately, "Oh, State, they're in the game. They want to get these fuckers."
Page 149: Armitage advises Powell to schedule one-on-one bonding sessions with Bush. Powell reports back, "I think we're really making some headway in the relationship. I know we really connected."
Page 176: Armitage helped Powell revise the portions of his autobiography that concerned his frosty relationship with Dick Cheney. Powell calls the finished passages "relatively truthful but not harmful."
George Tenet's Predictive Powers
Bryan Curtis, Slate's "Middlebrow" columnist, writes for Grantland, Texas Monthly, and Newsweek. Follow him on Twitter.