Book: President Obama finds Mitt Romney 'weak,' but fears he could win

9:45 AM, Aug 20, 2012   |    comments
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By David Jackson, USA TODAY

A new e-book details President Obama's disdain for Mitt Romney, but also his fears that the economy could elect his Republican foe.

In Obama's Last Stand, author Glenn Thrush of Politico writes that Obama has told aides "that Romney stood for 'nothing,' " and would use the word "weak" to describe the GOP candidate.

"Too weak to stand up to his own money men, too weak to defend his own moderate record as the man who signed into law the first health insurance mandate as Massachusetts governor in 2006, too weak to admit Obama had done a single thing right as president," Thrush writes in a book available for download today.

But some presidential aides told Thrush that Obama also fears "a nightmare scenario in which Romney beat him, Republicans won both houses (of Congress), and two liberal Supreme Court justices quickly departed the bench."

Aides told Thrush that at times Obama has "a deep uneasiness, bordering on anxiety, that Romney would win and steal credit for all of Obama's hard work."

Obama is confident of a big economic recovery in what would be his second term, and he is determined to prevent Romney from reaping the benefits.

At one meeting, Obama said: "I'm not going to let him win ... so that he can take all the credit when the economy turns around."

We previous reported on how Thrush's book described how Obama's competitive streak fuels his dislike of Romney.

Obama's Last Stand is the latest in a series of e-books on the campaign from the staff at Politico.

Also in the book, according to Politico:

-- President Barack Obama's campaign team, celebrated four years ago for its exceptional cohesion and eyes-on-the-prize strategic focus, has been shadowed this time by a succession of political disagreements and personal rivalries that haunted the effort at the outset.

-- Obama's trash-talking competitiveness, a trait that has defined him since his days on the court as a basketball-obsessed teenager in Hawaii, was on display one night last February, when the president spotted a woman he knew was close to Sen. Marco Rubio in a Florida hotel lobby. "Is your boy going to go for (vice president)?" the president asked her. Maybe, she replied.

"Well," he said, chuckling, according to a person who witnessed the encounter. "Tell your boy to watch it. He might get his ass kicked."

-- Obama personally dispatched senior West Wing aides to Chicago -- led by David Plouffe and Pete Rouse -- to better coordinate operations between the White House and Chicago. He was especially irritated by what he viewed as self-promotion by subordinates -- and fumed that ad consultant Jim Margolis had appeared in a New York Times profile on Obama's negative ad operation. Margolis sent a mea culpa to Obama and the staff, but Obama remained miffed.

-- Vice President Biden's misstep, also in May, in announcing his approval of gay marriage -- which forced Obama to do the same before he intended -- caused greater disharmony in the White House than was reported at the time.

Biden blamed campaign manager Jim Messina for "throwing him under the bus" with the media during the gay-marriage flap -- a charge that turned out to be untrue. In an emotional one-on-one meeting with Obama, Biden apologized profusely and said he'd been betrayed by Obama's aides.

The president tried to calm him down, saying, "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."

 

USA TODAY

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