Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ali vs. Patterson (by res ipsa loquitur)

I am catching up on my New Yorkers, which have been piling up since early January. Yesterday, I finally got to the Ken Auletta piece about Obama and the media from the January 25th issue. Ninety percent of it was stuff everyone's heard ten thousand times before, but one passage in the other ten percent struck me:

Axelrod, who was Obama's media consultant and consigliere in [the 2004 Illinois Senate] race, as he was in 2008, wrote a memo on November 28, 2006, while Obama was deciding whether to run for President or stay in the Senate. In the memo, which was revealed by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson in their book, "The Battle for America 2008," Axelrod warned of the disturbing questions that journalists would ask: "This is more than unpleasant inconvenience. It goes to your unwillingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism. At the risk of triggering the very reaction that concerns me, I don't know if you are Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson when it comes to taking a punch. You care far too much what is written and said about you."

Axelrod sounds like a valuable advisor (at least in a campaign context). I wonder if he's thought about changing the date on the memo and resubmitting it to his boss since.

(also posted at Rising Hegemon)