I just published an article at The Daily Beast on White House Counsel Gregory Craig’s resignation.
For the record, I am an admirer of Greg Craig’s. I think that Craig is one of the few people on the progressive side of things who has a deep grasp of the complexities of America’s GITMO problems hatched by the last administration. In my view, he is the White House lawyer tasked with closing GITMO, not the PR machine and political operator who was supposed to seduce Congress in permitting detainees to be moved into the justice and prison system of the United States. The President and White House Chief of Staff were AWOL when it came to laying the political groundwork for what Craig was tasked with doing.
Beyond the GITMO drama, I think that something else quite disconcerting has happened in the White House that was not happening during the Obama campaign.
The manner in which Greg Craig was undermined by leaks by senior White House colleagues seemed to have the President’s tacit approval — and this was something according to David Plouffe’s new book, The Audacity to Win, would never have happened during the campaign.
In a “Team of Rivals White House”, what happens when character assassination and leaks from within are given tacit support from those who hold the keys to the White House?
Here is the first part of “The Assassination of Greg Craig“:
Gregory Craig, White House counsel to President Obama and national security advisor to Obama during the presidential campaign, resigned his post this past Friday. But when rumors broke Thursday of his imminent departure, Craig had not written his farewell note and may not have planned to leave – yet.
Since the summer, word had been leaking that Greg Craig’s days were numbered and that Obama campaign legal counsel Bob Bauer would be moving in to take Craig’s spot. But the situation seemed similar to the leaks about National Security Adviser Jim Jones’ supposedly tenuous hold on his job–which were either untrue, or turned around by Jones’ performance. The leaks about Craig also seemed unfounded–especially in light of direct statements from the White House that the statements were untrue and that he was not departing.
Some observers are now calling this incident the Obama team’s first assassination by leak.
Such intrigue and innuendo stand in sharp contrast to the internal vow of key stakeholders in Barack Obama’s campaign, as reported in David Plouffe’s insider account Audacity to Win–whom he says vowed not to allow “@#%holes” and leaks and the blame game to disrupt any aspect of their campaign. When problems arose or mistakes were made, the president and his team were forthright and dealt with each other directly and confessed their sins, when they committed them, to the public.
The rest can be read here.
– Steve Clemons
Update: Marc Ambinder has more well researched context on the back story of Gregory Craig’s situation in the White House, which doesn’t change the dynamic of ‘assassination by leak’ but does explain why Greg Craig was out of favor beyond the GITMO explanation — which made no sense on its own. — Steve Clemons