May 8, 2021

"Everybody’s strength is their weakness, in politics as in life... [Biden's] strength is he’s always spoken his mind. There’s a genuineness to that."

"There’s also a danger. In politics as in sports, you want to maximize your principal’s strengths and minimize his weaknesses. They’ve effectively maximized his earnestness and decency. They’ve not allowed him to be in situations where he can stray.... I was frustrated [not being able to book Biden for an interview]. But stepping back from my own selfish interests, I understood and admired their discipline. They were going to control his interactions. Their job is not to serve us. Their job is to serve him.

Said David Axelrod, quoted in "How the White House Polices Language in Washington" by Olivia Nuzzi (NY Magazine). After that quote, Nuzzi adds:

This reminded me of something William Safire once wrote describing how the administration of George H.W. Bush had screwed him over to neuter a damaging story: “What a joy it is to see really professional media manipulation.” 

Another quote from Nuzzi: 

During the Trump years, it was amusing how often it was possible to report with a straight face that the president said one thing while the White House said another, as though he was just some guy who happened to hang around there. But this odd dynamic persists into the Biden era.
That's terribly funny, the idea of the President as just some guy who happens to hang around in the White House. What if it's always been like that and the odd thing is that it took Trump to make us see?

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