Book Describes Obama Administration in Turmoil

Sunday, 18 Sep 2011 05:59 PM

By Gary Cohen

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During a week in which President Barack Obama began taking his jobs creation plan on the road and his Democratic Party absorbed blows in the voting booth and from a veteran party strategist came word of an upcoming book which describes an administration in turmoil.

Administration officials are racing to get their hands on Ron Suskind's new book, "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President," according to a Washington Post report.

The book paints a White House that is "dysfunctional and acrimonious" at a time the president is making moves aimed at improving the nation's grim financial picture. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeifer told the Post that books such as this one "tend to take the normal day-to-day activities of governing and infuse them with drama, palace intrigue and salacious details."

book obama administration turmoil"The president made very tough decisions in the most difficult of circumstances, and his team executed those decisions faithfully and tirelessly," the Post quotes Pfeifer as saying.

Some senior officials quoted in the book are backpedaling from comments in Suskind's book. Former communications director Anita Dunn is quoted in the book as saying, "Looking back, this place would be in court for a hostile workplace."

Dunn now says the White House is "not a hostile environment."

Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, is quoted in the book as saying, "I felt like a piece of meat," after being left out of a meeting with top economic adviser Lawrence Summers. Asked to comment on that now, Romer said, "I can't imagine that I ever said this."

Adding salt to the administration's wounds, Democratic strategist James Carville suggested on Thursday that it is time for Obama to "panic" and dismiss much of his staff. On Tuesdsay the GOP scored a major upset in a special election in which Republican Bob Turner won the seat of disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner in a predominantly Democratic congressional district in New York.

That election has raised Democratic Party concerns about whether the president will be able to have the support of the heart of party voters in the 2012 election. The Post report underlines that some Democrats are frustrated by a White House strategy that paved the way for Republicans to dictate which way the wind would blow in Washington concerning the debt crisis.

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