A new e-book written by Politico reporter Glenn Thrush and released on Monday outlines the apparent discourse between the White House and Obama's Chicago-based presidential campaign as the two compete with each other on who is going to controls the president's daily message.
Thrush, who covers the White House for the news outlet, interviewed dozens of current and former Obama campaign veterans – many of whom say the bitter in-fighting between senior advisers David Axelrod and Stephanie Cutter reached such a critical point that at one time the two hardly spoke with one another. Most agreed the discourse was causing huge problems in the few short months remaining before election day.
In 2008, the Obama campaign approached the general election contest with Arizona Sen. John McCain with the same no-drama, laid-back style they exercised in defeating then Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. And the "hope & change" message espoused four years ago is almost non-existent in 2012.
But now Thrush is reporting that the 2012 campaign is anything but low-drama. A nervous and anxious Obama is said to be the source of the consternation at times due to a competitive nature he honed early in life.
His under-the-basket, after-the-shot trash talk came back when he asked a Rubio supporter if her man was going to accept a possible vice presidential invitation. When the answer came back in the affirmative, the president replied, "Tell your boy to watch it. He might get his a** kicked."
Yet one of the campaign's most glaring issues came when Vice President Joe Biden prematurely announced his public support for same-sex marriage before Obama wanted to (reportedly a couple weeks before the Democratic Convention in early September).
The misstep caused some friction in the campaign, but mainly between Biden and Obama staffers. It was said that Biden "profusely" apologized to the president, with Obama telling him, "Look Joe, there are people who want to divide us. You and I have to be on the same page from now on. You and I have to make sure that we don't get divided," Thrush wrote in his book.
Another issue that has concerned the Obama campaign team is the effectiveness of the surrogate speakers they dispatch to carry their daily messages. Axelrod and Cutter handle some of the more important Sunday morning talk show slots (an issue that has contributed to the friction among them), but often DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) is given the task of speaking for the Democrats. Her biggest drawback may be that she is too partisan. The DNC chairwoman has a tendency to overuse partisan phrases and terms to the point that Obama strategists feel she may be alienating independent voters.
For example, some in Obama's inner circle commissioned a pollster to rate the effectiveness of those who spoke for the president. Topping the list were former press secretary Robert Gibbs and Cutter. Coming in last was Wasserman Schultz.
Other issues discussed by Thrush are the lack of personal respect Obama has for his GOP opponent and the concern that if Romney is elected in November that the U.S. Supreme Court could have a 7-2 conservative majority within a couple of years.
Obama's Last Stand is available where most e-books are sold.