I can’t help it. I’ve always been partial to Bill Burton who I think did and continues to do an outstanding job in the communications operation of the Obama political franchise.
He only got on my annoyed side once when the Obama campaign summarily executed Rob Malley, one of the most important and thoughtful American deal-crafters in the Middle East, who was advising the Obama campaign on Israel/Palestine matters. As part of Malley’s “real job” at the International Crisis Group, Malley had met Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.
Bill Burton then said not only that Malley was no longer advising the campaign, but “would never advise Obama.”Ouch. That was running the bus over Malley and backing it up and running over him again.
But despite that glitch given the fact that I know Rob Malley is back giving informal advise here and there to the administration, Bill Burton reminded me today why we should all appreciate him.
I liked this exchange at the end of a press gaggle on Air Force One today just before noon while flying with President Obama to Florida:
Q Is President Obama planning on hugging Charlie Crist? (Laughter.)
MR. BURTON: I haven’t talked to him about the specific greeting, but we look forward to seeing all the Florida officials who will be there when we get on the ground.
Q Do we know what the delay was in leaving this morning?
MR. BURTON: It just is one of those deals where Rahm wanted to speak to the President and everything sort of slowed down a little bit.
Q Did Rahm get fired?
MR. BURTON: This is awkward, but, yes, I’m announcing right now that — (laughter.) No.
Thank you, guys.
We need to see more of Mr. Burton at these press gatherings.
— Steve Clemons
Update: The New York Times‘ Jeff Zeleny filed this update on the Obama-Crist hug question in his pool report:
President Obama landed at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., at 12:00 p.m.
A few minutes later, he was greeted on the tarmac by a handful of Florida officials, including Gov. Charlie Crist. There was no ho hug this time, only a handshake, but it lingered about 27 seconds, according to your pool’s count. The president tightly gripped the governor’s hand and clutched his arm. Vice President Biden gathered close for a tight photo of the three – in case Marco Rubio’s campaign is so inclined to use it.
— Steve Clemons