Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Hildebrand Speaks Out



Former Obama campaign adviser Steve Hildebrand had harsh words for his former boss today.

A former senior adviser to President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign criticized a lack of boldness in the nation's chief executive today, the latest sign of unrest among some who worked to elect the Illinois Senator to the nation's highest office.

Steve Hildebrand told Politico's Ben Smith that he was "losing patience" with the Administration and urged the president to be more "bold in his leadership".

In a e-mail exchange with the Fix this afternoon, Hildebrand sought to soften the perceived criticism of his former boss. "My criticism is in large part due to Congress, not the President," said Hildebrand. "When I suggest he use bold leadership, it's meant as encouragement to be the strong leader I know him to be."

Hildebrand said that he remains "as devoted as ever" to the president but added: "When my own party stands in the way of accomplishing our goals, I do get impatient."

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs refused to hit back at Hildebrand for his comments during today's daily briefing, saying only that "we all know and love Steve Hildebrand."

The truth is that Hildebrand's relationship with the Obama White House hasn't been very good for months, and his comments today evoked grumbling among those who had worked in the trenches with him in the campaign.

"We're used to occasional outbursts like this and aren't terribly bothered by it," said one former top campaign adviser who was granted anonymity to speak candidly. The source added, however, that the campaign team remains close knit and "it is disappointing when there is a breach."

Hildebrand, a South Dakota based political operative who managed the campaigns of Sens. Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Tom Daschle (S.D.), was put in charge of the early states for Obama but over the course of the primary campaign his role was diminished significantly. He remained involved in the general election, according to insiders, but not at the senior-most levels.

Hildebrand's comments come on the same day that a group of liberals -- including several former Obama staffers -- rallied outside the White House to urge him to reject any health care bill that does not contain the public option.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 8, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
Categories:  White House  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Cook, Rothenberg See Political Environment Shift
Next: Morning Fix: What Obama Should Say

Comments

so now it's congress's fault that obama has no leadership skills?

COngress is about legislation, not leading American

Obama, who was a lousy legislature (but great at runnig for office) is turning out to be worse at actual leadership

Posted by: newagent99
_ _ _ _

I try to proofread my posts. Sometimes errors abound. However, when did Obama become a "legislature"? I know that the writer probably meant "legislator." Words have meanings.

President Obama is a great leader, albeit not the kind of "go-to-war" leader that most Republicans want. Obama is a "kinder and gentler" politician. President Obama is demonstrating what "Christian" is all about. As has been said, "The Christian right is neither."

I am proud of President Obama. I can always criticize based on my own notion of what should and should not be. If Obama does something in two days, I could criticize why he didn't do it in either one day or three days. I can be the perpetual critic. However, I will criticize the "birthers" and the "death panelists" because they are clearly wrong. Those who spend their days dreaming up conspiracy theories need to get a life. Those who spend their days supporting debunked conspiracy theories need to be outed as the kooks that they are. The "flat-earthers" among us need to have their wings clipped.

Posted by: EarlC | September 9, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

What do you call five million terminally greedy, ethically challenged Republicans at the bottom of the ocean?

==

pogonophoran food?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Patience is a virtue. It has been enjoyable to watch the unraveling of the Republican Party and the fringe right. President Obama is a unique personality. He is much wiser than his years. Indeed, his background coupled with his intelligence is unequaled in our present day. He is a modern "father" of our evolving democratic republic. The Whigs (Republicans) are dying. Mr. Jefferson lives. Yes, Mr. Jefferson lives.

Posted by: EarlC | September 9, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

so now it's congress's fault that obama has no leadership skills?

COngress is about legislation, not leading American

Obama, who was a lousy legislature (but great at runnig for office) is turning out to be worse at actual leadership

Posted by: newagent99 | September 9, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

What do you call five million terminally greedy, ethically challenged Republicans at the bottom of the ocean?
a) A good start.
b) Not enouch.
c) Environmental pollution.
d) All of the above.
The human pond scum of the Republican party have made it abundently clear they have absolutely NO intention of even THINKING about working with the Obama Administration and couldn't care less if this country crashes and burns. They wear the stain of obstructionism like a badge of honor - pretty pathetic.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | September 9, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

What do you call five million terminally greedy, ethically challenged Republicans at the bottom of the ocean?
a) A good start.
b) Not enouch.
c) Environmental pollution.
d) All of the above.
The human pond scum of the Republican party have made it abundently clear they have absolutely NO intention of even THINKING about working with the Obama Administration and couldn't care less if this country crashes and burns. They wear the stain of obstructionism like a badge of honor - pretty pathetic.

Posted by: Bushwhacked1 | September 9, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

He has only accomplished to insult our allies and kiss our enemies' as$es.

==

Do you feel all wriggly an' cooooooool an' stuff talking about "our enemies?"

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

What leadership?

This A hole hasn't led in anything, except reading from a teleprompter.

He's an arrogant college boy leftist who still doesn't have a clue about the economy, foreign policy or much of anything else.

Self promotion and shoveling manure are his strengths.

He has only accomplished to insult our allies and kiss our enemies' as$es. Nothing more.

Posted by: LarryG62 | September 9, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I agree that elimination of pre-existing conditions and an individual mandate are of a piece. S chip pretty much handles 0 - 18 anyway. What has been most interesting to me is the emphasis on health care models where relatively low cost has been combined with high quality care. The Mayo clinic. Grand Junction, CO. There are interesting models out there.

The system we have is broken. For all the paens to family doctors, that's not where the profit has gone. Extending coverage is the right thing to do, though it isn't

I keep coming back to this. We spend 17% of GDP on health care for mediocre outcomes. Life expectancy and infant mortality being two of these. The number I keep hearing thrown around is that roughly 30% of medical treatment is unnecessary. What if those resources were refocused into expanding coverage and improved care?

I've been reading a great book on the medical system called Better by Atul Gawande. I wish every member of Congress would read it. I don't think the public plan will be some panacea. The government currently pays for half the health care in this country. It is enough a market mover to force changes. Of course, it's more fun to make shrill comments about death panels.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | September 9, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Fairlingtonblade, here's a response from a conservative:

Eliminating coverage for pre existing conditions is OK for me, but it is impossible for insurance companies to implment unless it comes with an individual mandate to purchase health insurance from birth. Imagine having the purchase of auto insurance be optional, but require the companies to cover all "pre existing conditions." Simply wait until you have an accident, then pick up a policy. Sure fire formula for bankruptcy.

But the individual mandate is not a sure thing. Just as focus on reform has fixated on some aspects to the various bills to the exclusion of others, there hasn't yet been a good discussion on the constitutionality of a federal mandate to buy insurance. I believe it to be unconstitutional, based on an analysis the WaPo published a few weeks ago. But I could be swayed by a good counter argument (legally --- not emotionally --- based).

I think the entire "health care system" we have is so complex that it would be foolish --- and impossible --- to reform it in one big effort. I support the use of pilot projects and demonstrations in selected states to perfect and implement what works elsewhere, and could work here.

I am cautious however about believing what works in Switzerland or France or Britain could work here the SAME WAY. There are so many factors that shape the operation of a society that it is virtually impossible to construct one by pulling this program or that factor from different societies around the world. If that approach would really work, someone would already have achieved perfection.

Hasn't happened yet, and not likely too happen.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | September 9, 2009 5:00 AM | Report abuse

I hope that tomorrow will be a turning point. Obama has his head on straight which is more than I can say for most congressmen or senators from either party and all Republican Senators save Snowe. If health care is this difficult reforming banking will even be worse.

Posted by: Gator-ron | September 9, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Elected officials have lost control of the medical industry.

The executive? Barak Obama thinks Tom Daschle is worth it (literally) just to talk to. Congress can only pay the people who pay them.

Switzerland is a non sequitur, sorry.

Their little space in time has nothing to do with the USA (except for UBS and the list of names?).

A few years ago I picked up a Swiss guy who had biked down from a high pass (to get his car, seems like cheating to me). When he realized we were going over, worse, to stay in Italy, he was horrified. His case rested on Italians as fat, lazy and poor, in that order.


Posted by: shrink2 | September 8, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

BB, that is like the "oil spot" theory of nation building, hold and secure, establish democracy, let it bloom.

Doctors feeding $$ to themselves is an obvious problem, but why don't we think it is a problem in any other industry? That is called innovative strategy for companies, "bundling product" elsewhere.

America has to decide whether their health care is a commodity, or not. If it is, then parsing the market (aggressive regulation, etc.) is a fools errand.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 8, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I listened to Sen. Grassley on C-SPAN this morning. He's an interesting character. If the mantra of a public option is abandoned, there's room to work. Tort reform is a sop to the right, but there is some validity there. If the snipe hunt for pre-existing conditions is eliminated, we've got a real chance to make a fundamental change. I have posted this multiple times and never received a response from conservatives. We spend 17% of GDP on health care, much more than any other country you would care to name and for worse outcomes. Why not look at other models, say, the Swiss for example? We don't have the best healthcare in the world. Time to learn a little.

My personal view is that doctors owning testing facilities is a greater cost driver than the fear of lawyers. Heck. If neither the doctor nor the patient has to pay for a probably unnecessary test, then the feeling will be what's the harm in ordering it? If nothing else, this process has sparked a national conversation about medical costs. There are islands of excellence. Let them bloom.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | September 8, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen it. But I will when in comes to pay per view.

==

Holding out for Blu-Ray.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 8, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

If it weren't for HRC forcing him into this position during the primaries, Obama wouldn't even be fooling around with healthcare. By all means, damn the (photon) torpedos and full speed ahead.

Posted by: JakeD | September 8, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The old expresssion is lead, follow, or get out of the way. For those who have decided to find the 4th way (stand in the middle of the road), there is only one logical response. Run them over. If Democrats are turned out of office for doing what they said they would do, fair enough. If they do nothing, they'll definitely be run out of office. Ramming speed, Mr. Sulu.

==

Reconciliation speed, Mr. Obama

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 8, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

The old expresssion is lead, follow, or get out of the way. For those who have decided to find the 4th way (stand in the middle of the road), there is only one logical response. Run them over. If Democrats are turned out of office for doing what they said they would do, fair enough. If they do nothing, they'll definitely be run out of office. Ramming speed, Mr. Sulu.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | September 8, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse

He said,

"When the stimulus works, the economy and especially jobs begin to rebound, and everyone has some kind of health care, 2010 will be a bad time to try to run on the republican's platform, and at this late date it is totally out of the question that the republicans could rewrite the platform, or take any plausible credit for the recovery. Since it IS the economy, stupid, and health care is one of everyone's greatest economic worries, getting party line victories on the primary questions can't hurt the winning side, and Republicans grousing about BHO's lack of bipartisanship will only help remind the electorate of just what a bunch of whining losers the GOP has become."

Republicans are now anoxic scum, the red tide of politics. The problem with everyone else is we don't just take the time to ignore their political party to death, before we fight with each other forever.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 8, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

That's what he said.

Posted by: JakeD | September 8, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

So, CC, the problem here is "name-calling," huh?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 8, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Of course, you also promised to never post here again if "chrisfox8" was banned, so I won't hold my breath.

Posted by: JakeD | September 8, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Haven't seen it. But I will when in comes to pay per view.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 8, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to quote you:

"I'm looking for another discussion board myself, koolkat. Know any good ones?"

Posted by: drindl | September 8, 2009 11:55 AM

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/morning-fix/morning-fix-kennedys-no-go.html

Posted by: JakeD | September 8, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"see, e.g., Goebbels."

Inglourious Basterds - excellent movie

Posted by: DDAWD | September 8, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

drindl:

I thought that you were looking for a new blog to comment on? Don't waste any time here, PLEASE!!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 8, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Good quote, joe...thanks.

Posted by: drindl | September 8, 2009 7:51 PM
____________
Fired up...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 8, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Good quote, joe...thanks.

Posted by: drindl | September 8, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Time's Joe Klein's take: BHO has made some "rookie mistakes," out of excess civility toward opponents, but they're easily correctable:

Excerpt:

"Well, we survived August, which is good news. It was not a month that will be recorded in the Enlightened Discourse Hall of Fame. In fact, it was a national embarrassment — not just the steady stream of misinformation about the nature of President Obama's health-care proposals, but the racism — both overt and opaque — the death threats, the imprecations (calling someone a Nazi is evidence of the evil of banality), the idiots bearing assault rifles at presidential events. As the lunatics took over the asylum, the President's poll ratings dropped, and the chances for a truly bipartisan health-care-reform effort vanished, if they existed in the first place. Consequently, we have had a back-to-school fusillade of advice for the President from my columnizing peers — and an effusion of premature crowing from conservatives about the collapse of the Obama presidency."

Full story:

http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,1920050,00.html

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 8, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!! Less than eight months in and already yearning for a fictional lib as President of the United States? That didn't even happen until post-Lewinsky (end of his SECOND term) for Bill Clinton. Priceless!

Posted by: JakeD | September 8, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

"Let Bartlett (Obama) be Bartlett (Obama)."

That's the answer.

Numerous folks in O-Nation are calling on BHO to stop the "civility" (as Joe Klein called it in Time this week) and just go for it. Pultizer Prize winner (but not Fix pick?) Gene Robinson echoed that theme today in the Post: standing on the center line, rather than picking sides, is unwise and dangerous.

Gene Robinson: "The rule among politicians in Washington used to be that when the provincials become restless, as they are now, the safest thing to do is run to the center. But as this sour and unsettled summer ends, the political center looks like the white line running down the middle of a busy street -- a foolish place to stand and an excellent place to get run over."

Full GR column:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/07/AR2009090702068.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Why negotiate with folks on health care or anything else who say publicly they will vote against anything you support, who say their main goal if for you "to fail"?

And for goodness sakes, hit back at least once a week--the Jackie Robinson period is officially over.

When you have trouble pushing back on fake controversies such as speech-to-kiddies-gate (derided as a commie plot by the teabaggers) and Skip Gates-gate (why apologize for questioning why a friend was falsely arrested in his own home?), you must consider revamping your communications team. Let ex-journalist Linda Douglass step in or bring one of the Kalb brothers (Bernard and Marvin) out of retirement as spokesman. The daily WH press conferences are doing you no favor.

As the fictional Bartlett did--after he, too, fell into one of these ruts where he foolishly tried to placate his opponents-- make a list of your campaign promises and then tell your staff to go for it.

And, Mr. President, if you think having a cable station run daily programming (Hannity, Beck, etc.) amounting to an endless bigotry-laced political attack ad against you doesn't have an effect over time, you're very wrong, see, e.g., Goebbels. Better start re-thinking your oppositon to the Fairness Doctrine or at least get Mark Lloyd at FCC working on something darn close.

As Joe Klein said, it's early and these problems can be corrected. But like the commercial said, if you don't know, you better ask somebody.

"I serve at the pleasure of the President." -- Josh Lyman.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 8, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama has tried, almost beyond reason, to be available to work with the Republicans should they actually want to do anythimg but campaign for John McCain in 2008. They decided early on that that was a sign of weakness and could use that weakness to return to power.

When BHO writes off the intransigent opposition and starts working with his party and those few republicans whono longer care about partisanship, he can get a great deal accomplished, AND reasonably claim that HE kept his side of the promise to try to bring a less confrontational atmosphere to Washington D. D.

It took patience to get here, and maybe he was just a little TOO patient, but now when he passes his entire platform on party line votes, it will be seen by about everyone but Republicans as simple necessity.

When the stimulus works, the economy and especially jobs begin to rebound, and everyone has some kind of health care, 2010 will be a bad time to try to run on the republican's platform, and at this late date it is totally out of the question that the republicans could rewrite the platform, or take any plausible credit for the recovery. Since it IS the economy, stupid, and health care is one of everyone's greatest economic worries, getting party line victories on the primary questions can't hurt the winning side, and Republicans grousing about BHO's lack of bipartisanship will only help remind the electorate of just what a bunch of whining losers the GOP has become.

Posted by: ceflynline | September 8, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Hildebrand may have helped Obama get noticed, but didn't get him elected. And his current role in the administration is...?

I'm not saying his criticism is sour grapes, necessarily, but perhaps his style is not the one Obama has chosen to go with so far. It takes no genius to expect that Obama is planning to amp up the leadership on health care tomorrow. It is mere opportunism to express that opinion now, to claim credit for giving good advice.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 8, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

He speaks for a lot of us. Obama tries to hard to get along with everyone and he should stop trying to get along with the GOP. He doesn't need their votes and they're only interested in standing in the way and getting back into power by doing harm to their constituents.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 8, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Someone might want to explain to Hildebrand that these positions are one of the main reasons Tom Daschle is FORMER Sen. Daschle. I'm pretty sure Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, Mary Landreu, Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson, Tim Johnson, Max Baucus, John Tester, Byron Dorgan, Kent Conrad, and others will tell you those stances won't get them another term. You can include Harry Reid and Arlen Spector on that list as well

Posted by: TexasProud1 | September 8, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the additional comments on the Hildebrand Saga.

Posted by: JakeD | September 8, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company