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Rahm Emanuel, Michelle Obama clashed: new book, "The Obamas"

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Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel clashed with First Lady Michelle Obama and offered to resign in February, 2010--when he was White House chief of staff--after a series of self-serving stories, according to a Huffington Post report about a new book, "The Obamas." Mrs. Obama was not enthused about his chief-of-staff appointment.
The book, by the New York Times Jodi Kantor, will be published Jan. 10.

Kantor, according to HuffPost, reports that "Michelle Obama had "doubts" about the choice of Emanuel as chief of staff. Emanuel, in turn, had been opposed to bringing Valerie Jarrett, the Obamas' longtime mentor, into the White House as a senior adviser."
(Emanuel's reservations about Jarrett had been previously known.)

HuffPost on Kantor book: "Emanuel rejected Michelle Obama's efforts to be part of his 7:30 a.m. staff meeting. The administration did not outfit her with a speechwriter for some time. And the first lady's office grew so isolated from the rest of the presidential orbit that aides there began, as Kantor writes, "referring to the East Wing as 'Guam' -- pleasant but powerless."

HUFFINGTON POST CORRECTION: "An earlier version wrongly stated that Michelle Obama wanted to attend the top-staff 7:30 a.m. White House meeting. Author Jodi Kantor reports that the first lady's chief of staff, Jackie Norris, wanted to attend that meeting and was rebuffed by Rahm Emanuel."

And more on the Kantor book via HuffPost:
"Michelle and Rahm Emanuel had almost no bond; their relationship was distant and awkward from the beginning. She had been skeptical of him when he was selected, and now he returned the favor; he was uneasy about first ladies in general, several aides close to him said, based on clashes with Hillary Clinton in the 1990s that became so severe that she had tried to fire him from her husband's administration," writes Kantor.

And more:
"Kantor reports that then-White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was often deployed to push back against the first lady, informing her that she couldn't take a private vacation on a state visit, spend large amounts on White House redecoration, or buy expensive clothes.

And more: Michelle Obama, who came to politics skeptically but saw her husband as someone capable of lofty achievements, lashed out against her isolation. She sent emails to Jarrett when she had complaints about news coverage, which Jarrett would forward to others after removing the first lady's name from them. When she couldn't wedge herself into her husband's schedule, she would send her missives to Alyssa Mastromonaco, the president's director of scheduling. The emails, Kantor writes, "were so stern that Mastromonaco showed them around to colleagues, unsure of how to respond to her boss's wife's displeasure."

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 6, 2012 4:23 PM.

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