Sen. Harry Reid’s chief of staff openly criticized President Barack Obama, suggesting he was largely responsible for heavy Democratic losses in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
“I don’t think that the political team at the White House truly was up to speed and up to par doing what needed to get done,” David Krone, Reid’s chief of staff, told the Washington Post in a story published late Tuesday.
Krone described a March 4 meeting in the Oval Office where Senate leaders pleaded with Obama to fundraise for an outside group, as well as transfer them millions in party funds, to help Democrats in the midterms.
“We were never going to get on the same page,” he told the Post. “We were beating our heads against the wall.”
According to the Post, tension between Senate leaders and the White House extended beyond fundraising dollars. Democrats felt they were paying the price for Obama’s glitch-ridden rollout of HealthCare.gov, his handling of the Islamic State and, most recently, Ebola.
“The president’s approval rating is barely 40 percent,” Krone told the Post. “What else more is there to say? . . . He wasn’t going to play well in North Carolina or Iowa or New Hampshire. I’m sorry. It doesn’t mean that the message was bad, but sometimes the messenger isn’t good.”
Problems with the White House apparently reached such a boiling point that Reid’s chief of staff held a meeting with Post reporters to convey how difficult his team thought it had been to work with the Obama administration.
According to Krone, Obama “hid behind a lot of legal issues” when asked to provide support for the Senate Majority PAC.
A White House official, however, attacked Krone in an interview with the Post, accusing him of “complicating things” with their ability to work for the Senate. Officials in the West Wing believed he was behind a summer story leaking unflattering details of a meeting with the president.
Krone responded to the Post saying that the White House “likes to cast aspersions and point fingers at us.”
“No member of the Democratic caucus screwed up the rollout of that health-care Web site,” he added, “yet they paid the price — every one of them.”
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