‘Obama’s Wars’ – Will It Affect the Administration?

By Kate McCarthy

Sep 22, 2010 9:26am

Excerpts from journalist Bob Woodward’s latest book – “Obama’s Wars” – leaked out overnight with reports of infighting, turf wars, and an inside look at the president’s wartime decision making process.

So will this book affect how the public views the Obama Administration?

“I don’t think the public is startled or alarmed by an account of infighting. What I think is striking is that Obama places politics at a pretty high premium in the internal deliberations about [Afghanistan],” Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace told me.

Woodward’s report that Obama said “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party,” when deciding on the July 2011 withdrawal date from Afghanistan is one example – and Wallace said it will play into a greater Obama storyline.

“I think that’s going to play into this narrative, that while he promised change it really isn’t all that different from the politics of previous White Houses,” she said.

The release of the book comes amid a big staff shakeup in the White House. Yesterday brought news that Larry Summers, the National Economic Council director, is expected to leave — the third member to leave the White House’s economic team — and Rahm Emanuel could decide to run for the mayor’s seat in Chicago.

But Democratic strategist Donna Brazile views these openings as opportunities for Obama to bring in people with “fresh ideas.”

“I think the American people would like to see a fresh start on the economy. To bring in perhaps some more seasoned players that can really get down to job creation and how we can turn things around that the president has not been able to address over the last 18 months,” she said.

Wallace points out that staff changes usually matter more to the Washington crowd than elsewhere in America.

“People are worried about the economy, they are worried about their jobs, they are worried about finding new jobs. They are worried about their salaries,” Wallace said on “GMA.” “I think they just want to see government work. I don’t think they could care less about who advises the president – they want to see the president focus on what they are focused on.”

Watch my interview with Brazile and Wallace and then weigh in below.

George Stephanopoulos

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