'Confidence Men' at the White House

Atlantic magazine blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates delves into the dispute over a new book about the Obama White House.

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Christina D. Romer (Getty Images)

The Atlantic Magazine blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates tries to make sense of claims that Ron Suskind, author of Confidence Men, manufactured quotes about the White House -- or of the idea that high-ranking public officials would lie about giving quotes to a journalist. He opens his blog with a New York Times story about the book:

From Ron Suskind's new book:

"The most withering assessments of Mr. Obama in this volume come from bickering former members of his economic team, a team that Richard Wolffe, the author of two books about Mr. Obama, has described as 'the most dysfunctional group of the president's advisers.' Mr. Suskind quotes a former chairman of the National Economic Council under Mr. Obama, Lawrence H. Summers -- who is himself characterized by colleagues in these pages as a bullying know-it-all who acted as a kind of gatekeeper to the Oval Office on things economic -- as saying to the budget director, Peter Orszag: 'We're home alone. There's no adult in charge. Clinton would never have made these mistakes.' 

... Christina Romer, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, is quoted as saying, after being excluded by top economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers at a meeting, "I felt like a piece of meat."  

It's really hard to believe that Suskind would simply manufacture quotes -- almost as hard as it is to believe that high ranking public officials would give quotes like that to a journalist, and then turn around and lie about doing so.

Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' entire blog entry at the Atlantic.

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