Washington — A source close to President Barack Obama tells Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward that the President has begun to chafe at his inability to get away from the job, even at his vacation retreat on Martha’s Vineyard.
“He’s become short with his staff and sometimes refuses to take urgent calls from Cabinet Officials and world leaders,” says the source, who provided the following unauthorized transcript of a recent high-level meeting to Woodward:
OBAMA: Why are we having this meeting? I’m here to relax.
EMANUEL: Sir, our party is in open revolt, health care is a debacle, Holder has declared war on the CIA, and Russian troops have occupied the Aleutians.
GIBBS: Your Presidency is on the edge of a cliff, sir. You need to act.
OBAMA: Fine. I can’t even take a few days off without the world going to hell. All right, pass the word to Democratic party rebels: buck me and I’ll visit your district in October 2010 and stump for you until your numbers approach single digits. Health care: blame Hillary for making such a hash of reform in ’93 that it’s still radioactive today. What else? I’ve got a golf date in five minutes.
AXELROD: The CIA? Nobody knows if you sicced Holder on the Agency or he’s going off on his own.
OBAMA: I haven’t talked to Eric in months. He may very well be doing what I want.
JARRETT: The Russians, sir?
OBAMA: Issue a statement that I’m sorry if past grievances have led them to land troops on our territory.
MICHELLE: We’re on vacation. Tell that man with the whatsis, the nuclear “football,” to stop following us around. You hear me, Barack?
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel acknowledged that the officer carrying the nuclear codes had been sent back to Washington. “It doesn’t matter,” said Emanuel. “Under no circumstances will this President ever be provoked enough to retaliate with nuclear weapons against anybody for any reason. Morally, he’s comfortable with that.”