‘Top Line’ — Drama in the No-Drama White House

By Jonathan Blakely

Mar 8, 2010 3:06pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: “No-drama Obama” has confronted no shortage of palace intrigue gossip of late, with profiles of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior White House adviser David Axelrod suggesting tension at the highest levels of power. It reached the point last week that President Obama himself reminded his senior advisers of the need to be playing on the same team — his team, Lynn Sweet reported over the weekend in the Chicago Sun-Times.
We chatted about it with Sweet — who knows the players in this drama better than just about any reporter in Washington — on ABC’s “Top Line” today. The idea of a split emerging between Emanuel and Axelrod is “just a made up story,” she told us. “They have known each other longer than they’ve known Obama. So they go back and they will be friends after Obama finishes a presidency whether it’s four, eight years — whatever happens to him,” said Sweet, who writes a column for Politics Daily in addition to her work for the Sun-Times. “They might have a disagreement. But the point no one seems to get is that you cannot drive a wedge between these guys. So could they disagree on tactics to take on health care and some other issues? Yeah. Does it mean that there is some problem that means they can’t work together? I don’t think so.” The stories led us to our “Top Line” question of the day: If health care reform fails, who gets more of the blame? Emanuel, often cast as a moderating voice and still major player on the Hill? Axelrod, the messaging maven? Or does the buck stop with Obama himself? Some of our Twitter followers are pining for the crisp days of the presidential campaign. Said @ben_daniels: “I blame Ax. I don't know why [Obama campaign manager David] Plouffe wasn't kept on to do the job he did so well in '08.”  More typical of the responses, though, was a none-of-the-above option: Wrote @carlabond: “Is Congress an option?” Sweet liked the Congress response: “Americans elect a president, not a king, if we’re using the palace metaphor,” she said. “The problem here is that they squandered the time when they had the super-Democratic majority [in the Senate], and … you’re now going into the 2010 election season.” Watch the “Top Line” segment with Lynn Sweet HERE.

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