*As calm, cool and collected as we think he is, President Barack Obama is just like us. He gets just as ticked off and emotional as we do. The difference is he rarely reveals this side of himself in public.
But that’s changing, thanks to Obama’s former chief strategist David Axelrod. In his new book, “Believer: My Forty Years in Politics,” as well as statements he’s made promoting the page-turner, Axelrod reveals Obama to be more prickly and emotional behind the scenes away from the public eye.
The following are points Axelrod made about Obama, via U.S. News & World Report:
Obama is bothered by his media coverage: Axelrod told The New York Times, “Look, every president says, ‘I never read that stuff,’ and no president is telling the truth when they say that. It’s only human to be aware of what’s being written and said about you and to be less than happy when you feel like you’re not being treated fairly.”
Obama can have a short fuse, though he hides it from the public: The president called Axelrod a “mother—–r” and stalked out of a meeting after his strategist criticized the president’s debating techniques as Obama prepared for his 2012 debate with Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the book says. “Axe” turned out to be right: Obama did poorly in the encounter with Romney. Obama recovered with a solid performance the next time.
Obama dislikes New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd: The president views her with “contempt,” Axelrod writes, and was “patronizing and disrespectful” toward her when they talked.
Obama dissembles for political reasons: Axelrod writes that Obama hid his real views favoring same-sex marriage in order to help him win the presidency in 2008. At that time, Obama said he supported civil unions instead of same-sex marriage. Obama has argued that his former adviser “mix[es] up my personal feelings with my position on the issue.” But Axelrod told Politico, “I don’t think [the White House] should be annoyed. If you look at what the president said and what I said they are not really that different. The fact is that the president acknowledged that he had frustrations with the gulf between his feelings and his personal views and the position he took publicly. That’s really what I was saying.” Since taking office, Obama has endorsed same-sex marriage.
Obama failed to change Washington: “First of all, there was this expectation that if Obama got elected, the whole world would change overnight and that political combatants would drop their arms and hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ and we’d all march forward together as one big happy family,” Axelrod told the Times. “That was never in the cards….Look, I was very honest about this in the book–by that standard we didn’t achieve what we set out to achieve. We clearly haven’t changed the tone in Washington.”
Obama doesn’t define himself by being president: “I think he relishes the opportunity to be president, but he doesn’t define himself by being the president,” Axelrod told the Times.” Before he ran, I didn’t think he was pathological enough to subject himself to what was required, because he didn’t need to be president. And he agreed with me. When he walks out of that building, I don’t think he’s gonna look back. I think he’s perfectly happy to just be Barack Obama.”