‘Double Down’ Dishes on Rahm, Daley, and More Chicagoans in the White House
How the mayor, the ex-mayor’s brother, the First Lady, and others got along (or didn’t) behind the scenes.
Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s Double Down, published Tuesday, has already garnered volumes of advance publicity.
Relying on pre-publication leaks, I wrote last week about Bill Daley’s gambit in 2011 to poll and focus-group test a possible swap of Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden as Obama’s 2012 running mate. Today I’m checking on other Chicagoans—warning: Bill Daley makes a return appearance here—who weave in and out of the bestselling (#4 on Amazon) account of the 2012 Obama/Romney battle.
Here’s a sample of the juiciest Chicago-related tidbits that Halperin/Heilemann [hereafter referred to as H/H] collected from the 500 interviews they conducted for the fast-moving, anecdote-packed, behind-the-scenes look at a campaign I thought I had figured out but really hadn’t.
Obama’s long-time message guru, who arrived at the White House with the new President in 2009, described by H/H as recognizable by his “slouch[y] stance” and his “sauce-splattered tie.” Businessmen who felt dismissed by Obama’s team saw Axelrod, H/H write, as “a combination of Trotsky and Rasputin, spouting class warfare on TV.” The President and the First Lady viewed him as alarmingly disorganized, and the President, concluding that Axelrod was “burned out,” ordered him home to Chicago months before Axelrod was ready to leave the White House. According to H/H, Obama, who arguably owed his presidency to Axelrod, “… betrayed little emotion as he ushered [him] out the door.”
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