Stephen (Ryan Gosling) is a hotshot political campaign manager on the presidential trail with Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney). Morris is charismatic, inspirational, and may well be the next leader of the free world. Stephen is idealistic and believes that Morris is all that. The campaign manager (Paul Giamatti) for the opposing camp thinks Stephen should work for them and invites him for a meeting and Stephen turns him down. On the trail, he becomes attracted to an intern, Molly (Evan Rachel Wood), but later discovers that she is Morris' mistress. His image of Morris further crumbles when he finds out that Morris has fathered her baby, and after an abortion, she commits suicide. More sneaky politics surface when Paul (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), Morris' senior political Manager learns about Stephen's meeting with the opponent and fires him for being disloyal. Stephen lets Morris know that he knows about Molly, so Morris does damage control. He offers Stephen Paul's job in exchange for keeping quiet. Stephen comes out a changed man, disillusioned and tainted by the filthy world of politics.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I like how you can be led to believe that Morris is as good as it gets. So when Stephen learns the truth about him, you can feel how crushed he is.
Best scene in story:
When Stephen sees Molly's phone and finds out that it's the Governor texting her.
Opinion about the main character:
It's easy to relate to Stephen's optimism and you can't blame him for seeing the good in people.