HuffPo has a leaked copy of former "car czar" Steven Rattner's new book Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry which bears the dubious honor of being the first "kiss-and-tell" book to emerge from the Obama administration. The book evidently glosses over Rattner's own troubles with the SEC that created just enough heat to send him back to the comfort of "private life." Instead Rattner focuses on dishing the behind-the-scenes dirt in the Obama White House where we find a community organizer "out to get" the auto industry - what a shock.
Here are a few choice bits from The Huffington Post's preview:
- When Obama was told of the plan to pay GM CEO Rick Wagoner a $7.1 million severance package after Obama ordered that he be sacked, Rattner writes: "Suddenly I felt that I was indeed in the presence of a community organizer..."
- Rattner describes presidential political adviser David Axelrod coming to car meetings armed with poll data to support the takeover and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel identify Congressmen in whose districts large Chrysler facilities were located.
- "[Obama's economic team] veered dangerously close to having the government take control of the two most troubled banks, Bank of America and Citigroup."
- "If his team had linked arms with the outgoing administration, as President Bush's advisers had proposed, billions of dollars could well have been saved."Rattner says Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual dictated Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's schedule, public appearances and staff selections.
- He says Obama economic advisers Larry Summers and Austan Goolsbee and FDIC Chair Sheila Bair as enemies who slowed down decision making with infighting
- Rattner said Obama was frustrated with the auto companies from the start: "Why can't they make a Corolla?" he has Obama asking.
Rattner reserves some of his harshest criticism for Sheila Bair, the respected head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, accusing her of getting in the way of a deal between GMAC and Chrysler Financial by stubbornly pursuing her own agenda and even lying to Tim Geithner.Ironically, Obama gave a small press conference today surrounded by the team of Bair, Geithner and Clueless Christina Romer who has yet to be replaced. Evidently desperate Democrats demanded he start talking about the economy, "We did the mosque, Katrina, Iraq, and now Middle East peace?" said a Democratic strategist who works closely with multiple candidates and spoke on the condition of anonymity. "And in between you redo the Oval Office? It has become a joke." Be careful what you wish for Dems, as if Obama stammering his way through questions like "any regrets in hindsight about calling this “Recovery Summer”? might somehow save Democrats this fall. I don't think so.
Noting that her reputation was as "a sharp-elbowed, sometimes disingenuous self-promoter," Rattner claims that Bair -- depicted as having "an unsmiling, sour demeanor" -- kept pushing her concerns about the capitalization of GMAC because she wanted to extract her own deal for the FDIC, specifically Treasury's support for legislation increasing the agency's credit line at Treasury for its deposit insurance fund from $30 billion to $100 billion.
Rattner says that his team agonized over Bair's demand that the legislation be passed by Congress before she would agree to help GMAC, adding that he expected her to back down only when it became clear that she might become the public face of GMAC's paralysis and Chrysler's demise.
He claims that Bair would duck Geither, with her office once saying she was on a plane "when in fact she wasn't" and that she wanted a letter from the Treasury Secretary, thanking her for assisting in the auto rescue effort.