(WASHINGTON) — As the election season begins to heat up, new revelations are surfacing about an alleged power struggle in the White House between some of President Obama’s former staffers and first lady Michelle Obama.
In the upcoming book, The Obamas, Mrs. Obama is said to be frustrated with both her role as first lady and the advice her husband was receiving from former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and one-time press secretary Robert Gibbs.
The Obamas maintains that the first lady thought that she should be used more to promote the administration’s healthcare reform agenda, which Emanuel felt was a bad idea. In turn, Mrs. Obama apparently angered Emanuel by resisting his attempts to get her out on the campaign trail during the 2010 mid-term election.
Emanuel eventually left the White House in October 2010 to successfully run for mayor of Chicago.
The book, authored by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, also depicts a strained relationship between the first lady and former White House spokesman Gibbs, who left in early 2011.
In particular, Mrs. Obama was said to be upset with Gibbs’ less-than strong denial of a story that she supposedly told the wife of French President Nikolas Sarkozy that life as first lady was “hell.”
When Gibbs learned of Mrs. Obama’s reaction, The Obamas claims he went off on Valerie Jarrett, a White House advisor close to the president and his wife, and actually cursed out the first lady. Gibbs confirmed the veracity of the story to Kantor but admitted his anger was misdirected.
Another revelation makind headlines is the book claims the Obamas threw a lavish Halloween party at the White House in 2009 — with no less than Alice and Wonderland‘s director and star Tim Burton and Johnny Depp to help decorate — but kept the party secret so they wouldn’t offend jobless Americans. The White House denies a cover-up existed.
Neither the president nor first lady agreed to be interviewed for the book, but Kantor says she interviewed 30 staffers for The Obamas.
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Eric Shultz remarked, “The emotions, thoughts and private moments described in the book, though often seemingly ascribed to the president and first lady, reflect little more than the author’s own thoughts. These second-hand accounts are staples of every administration in modern political history and often exaggerated.”
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