11 January 2012

Rahm Emanuel vs. Michelle Obama

Wanted to throw y'all a link to a pretty excellent review of Jodi Kantor's new book The Obamas, which paints a portrait of a feud that apparently went on for some time within the White House. Two of the bigger issues that come out (though the whole thing is worth reading):

It was when the jockeying between the two moved into the policy arena that matters grew most complicated. According to Kantor, in the lead-up to the 2010 midterm elections Emanuel and Michelle Obama were at odds over whether the president should give an address on the need for comprehensive immigration reform. The president wanted to do it. The chief of staff saw no point in pushing for legislation that had no chance of passage. The first lady, who had just been confronted by a second-grader in a Maryland elementary school whose mother didn't have immigration papers, felt that ignoring the issue was fundamentally at odds with her husband's own political story.


Perhaps the greatest point of friction between Michelle Obama and Rahm Emanuel involved the push for health care reform. Like several staff members (specifically David Axelrod), the first lady was skeptical of, if not outright opposed to, the backroom deals being cut to advance the legislation, wary that it would tarnish an image her husband had worked years to build. But the president, "his competitive juices stoked and his most important initiative on the line, did not halt his chief of staff's horse trading," writes Kantor.

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