A new E-book out today by reporters at Politico describes an Obama campaign in disarray and sometimes at each other's throats.
More than 2 dozen interviews with current and former staffers on the campaign reveals personal rivalries, lack of coordination between the White House and campaign headquarters in Chicago, and President Obama's own dissatisfaction with how the campaign is being run:
The discord, these sources said, has on occasion flowed from Obama himself, who at repeated turns has made vocal his dissatisfaction with decisions made by his campaign team, with its messaging, with Vice President Joe Biden and with what Obama feared was clumsy coordination between his West Wing and reelection headquarters in Chicago.
The effort in Chicago, meanwhile, has been bedeviled by some of the drama Obama so deftly dodged in 2008 - including, at a critical point earlier this year, a spat that left senior operatives David Axelrod and Stephanie Cutter barely on speaking terms - and growing doubts about the effectiveness of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The e-book, produced as part of a two-month reporting project that included interviews with two dozen current and former members of Obama's team, illuminates how the mood and character of the 2012 reelection effort is flowing from the top - with Obama's own personality and values shaping his campaign just as powerfully as he did four years ago.
This has produced a campaign being animated by one thing above all. It is not exclusively about hope and change anymore, words that seem like distant echoes even to Obama's original loyalists - and to the president himself. It is not the solidarity of a hard-fought cause, often absent in this mostly joyless campaign. It is Obama's own burning competitiveness, with his remorseless focus on beating Mitt Romney - an opponent he genuinely views with contempt and fears will be unfit to run the country.
Then there are revealing vignettes like this one:
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."
Read the entire article for some true insight into the president's state of mind during the campaign.