Heartland Events

Tevi Troy: What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted

The Heartland Institute
One South Wacker Drive #2740
Chicago, Illinois 60606
February 11, 2014, 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM

On February 11, 2014, The Heartland Institute hosted a luncheon lecture with author and presidential scholar Tevi Troy, talked about his new book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.

From Cicero to Snooki, the cultural influences on our American presidents are powerful and plentiful. Thomas Jefferson famously said “I cannot live without books,” and his library backed up the claim, later becoming the backbone of the new Library of Congress. Jimmy Carter watched hundreds of movies in his White House, while Ronald Reagan starred in a few in his own time. Lincoln was a theater-goer, while Obama kicked back at home to a few episodes of HBO’s “The Wire.”

America is a country built by thinkers on a foundation of ideas. Alongside classic works of philosophy and ethics, however, our presidents have been influenced by the books, movies, TV shows, viral videos, and social media sensations of their day.

In What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House former White House aide Tevi Troy combines research with witty observation to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped by popular culture.


About the author

Tevi Troy is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a writer and consultant on health care and domestic policy. He is a frequent television and radio analyst, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, Fox Business, CNBC, and The Jim Lehrer Show, among other outlets.

Troy served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. In that position, he oversaw all operations, including Medicare, Medicaid, public health, medical research, food and drug safety, welfare, child and family services, disease prevention, and mental health services. 

Troy has extensive White House experience, having served in several high-level positions over a five-year period, culminating in his service as Deputy Assistant and then Acting Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. In the latter position, he ran the Domestic Policy Council and was the White House's lead adviser on health care, labor, education, transportation, immigration, crime, veterans and welfare. At the White House, Troy also specialized in crisis management, creating intra-governmental consensus, and all aspects of policy development, including strategy, outreach and coalition building. 

Troy has a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and an M.A and Ph.D. in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin. Troy lives in Maryland with his wife Kami and four children.

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