It’s no secret that despite his support for Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama’s former campaign chief David Axelrod also has been, at times, critical of her.
In the last few months alone he’s complained on Twitter about her “unhealthy penchant for privacy” and mocked her as a “bobblehead” for her habit of nodding repeatedly when she is being praised.
But recently released hacked emails from 2014 and 2015 show just how deeply wounded the Clinton campaign has been by Axelrod’s comments.
Calling him a “headache” who needed to be “neutralized,” Clinton aides even attempted to psychoanalyze Axelrod, suggesting he was finding it “frustrating” that he had not received an appropriate level of public acclaim for helping to elect Obama.
Released by WikiLeaks, the latest cache of emails hacked from Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta’s account were taken with Russian help, according to U.S. intelligence services and Clinton’s campaign.
They show Clinton’s team to be touchy about any criticism of their candidate by Axelrod, who has run the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago since 2013 and is serving as a broadly pro-Clinton commentator on CNN.
In one email sent in December 2014, Clinton aide Philippe Reines noted sarcastic comments Axelrod had made about Clinton on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and added, “I hate to reward bad behavior, but this seems like one headache we could easily neutralize,” suggesting Clinton call Axelrod personally to ask him to lay off.
And in early 2015, Clinton aide Huma Abedin — currently at the heart of the federal intrigue over newly discovered emails on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop — noted that she had spoken with Axelrod to make the peace and that “I sense that he is disappointed that we have talked to everyone else in Obama world except for him and I assured him that (Hillary Clinton) would be in touch soon.”
Abedin added in a follow-up email that the Clinton team “shouldn’t be under any illusions that he will start saying only positive things. He’s not looking for a job in 2016, he sees himself in a different role now and feels he needs to say what he thinks.”
Reines concluded the chain with a catty take on Axelrod’s motivations. “I don’t really know David and don’t really know much about his tenure at the White House — but that won’t stop me from rendering a psychological diagnosis based on next to nothing,” Reines wrote.
“He is one of the people who created a President. The Holy Grail of his profession. Carville, Stephonoplous (sic), Rove. Household name territory. But he never reached that same level of broad national recognition and never joined their celebrity ranks.”
After adding that Axelrod’s brief time at the White House was “likely rockier than known” and that Axelrod “doesn’t seem to be high on the President’s Xmas card list,” Reines made a show of sympathy that it’s hard to imagine Axelrod appreciating.
“It’s gotta be frustrating to have achieved what David did in 2008 but be stuck in a weird limbo where he wants to remain in the game — not just in it but at the top — but can’t find a home,” Reines wrote.
Axelrod declined to be drawn into a war of words Monday morning, telling Chicago Inc., “Everybody’s got a job to do, and mine has been to comment on what I’m seeing.”
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