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Steve Clemons

Steve Clemons

Posted: February 21, 2010 11:14 AM

Milbank Shows Rahm Lots of Love

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This morning in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank challenges Edward Luce, Leslie Gelb, Jane Hamsher and me on our recent pieces explicating the management and policymaking mess among Barack Obama's core team. (Here is my piece.)

Let's set aside for another post the fact that Milbank's column seems to channel Rahm directly. The piece conveys a detailed knowledge of what exactly Rahm advised Obama to do -- and how exactly Obama allegedly rebuffed Emanuel.

So, Rahm, or Milbank on his behalf, seems to be appealing to President Obama to just listen to Rahm more and all will be well.

But then Milbank jumps on the bandwagon of those he starts his piece by rebuffing, and suggests that the White House dump Gibbs, Axelrod, and Jarrett.

Not even my essay went that far.

This reminds me of a vignette at the tail end of Richard Wolffe's interesting profile of the Obama campaign titled Renegade: The Making of a President in which Emanuel tried to "export" Valerie Jarrett to the U.S. Senate to fill Obama's seat and to pry her away from such constant, intimate proximity to the President.

Seems like via Dana Milbank, Rahm Emanuel is still trying to pry them away.

Today's column starts:

Let us now praise Rahm Emanuel.


No, seriously.

I wondered if there was a foundation in their relationship for this kind of adoration. Well, maybe.

I found this June 2009 profile of Rahm Emanuel by Milbank. Read the whole thing, but here's a bit slug that could explain why Emanuel would send some sizzle Milbank's direction:

For a disciplinarian, Rahm Emanuel was remarkably loose as he sat down to breakfast at the St. Regis hotel yesterday.


On South Carolina's adulterous governor, Mark Sanford: "There's a guy that needed a cigarette."

On talking with his mouth full: "If this was more of a Jewish family, I'd feel fine."

On the woman he wants to run for Senate in Illinois: "She is the 800-pound gorilla here."

Then there was this unusual aphorism coming from a man who worked in the West Wing when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke: "What happens in the Oval Office stays in the Oval Office."

What made this all the more surprising was that President Obama's chief of staff gave this performance at a table with 40 journalists, their tape recorders running, in an on-the-record forum hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note. Clemons can be followed on Twitter @SCClemons

 

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