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The Presidents' Gatekeepers (2013)

Featuring exclusive interviews with all 20 living White House chiefs of staff. Spanning 50 years and nine administrations, it is an unprecedented series that pulls back the curtain on the inner workings of the Oval Office.
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Storyline

He is the president's most powerful advisor and closest confidant. The White House chief of staff shapes the president's agenda, and turns his policies into reality--or disaster. He passes judgment on the president's noblest ideas and his riskiest schemes. "He is the one person besides the president's wife," says Donald Rumsfeld, Gerald Ford's ex-chief, "who can look him right in the eye and say, 'no, you cannot go down that road, trust me, it's a mistake.'" And because he rarely talks about his role--what happens in the Oval stays in the Oval--the chief of staff is the keeper of the president's secrets. Until now. Featuring exclusive interviews with all 20 living White House chiefs of staff and two presidents, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, The Presidents' Gatekeepers explores the fascinating and untold story of this unique fraternity and the presidents they serve. Epic in scope, spanning 50 years and nine administrations, it is an unprecedented series that pulls back the curtain... Written by discovery

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u.s. president | politics | See All (2) »

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11 September 2013 (USA)  »

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A Powerful Fraternity  »

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User Reviews

 
Disappointing
13 September 2013 | by See all my reviews

I was very disappointed with this documentary. Lots of jump-cuts and other dated attempts at looking "hip." 95% form and 5% substance. PBS does this kind of thing so much better. The Discovery Channel should stick to Bigfoot and UFOs in the future. They squandered a wonderful opportunity here. The NYT was spot on in their review. "What is on paper a tour de force of access filmmaking makes quixotic and lumpy and directionless use of that access. The film jumps eras willy-nilly, and never settles on a narrative of how the role of chief of staff has evolved over the years. There is no one way to do the job — there's the cheerful grace of James A. Baker III, or the mercurial flamboyance of Rahm Emanuel — but there is little reflection on what approaches have been more successful than others. This film is content to have done the heavy lifting in hooking its subjects for bluntly filmed talking-head interviews — anything more is gravy. "


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