Obama aides say president now has personal ‘genuine disdain’ for Romney

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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For President Barack Obama, it’s now personal.

A new book cites Obama aides saying the president has a “genuine disdain” for Mitt Romney.

“One factor made the 2012 grind bearable and at times even fun for Obama: he began campaign preparations feeling neutral about Romney, but like the former governor’s GOP opponents in 2008 and 2012, he quickly developed a genuine disdain for the man,” author Glenn Thrush writes in the soon-to-be released e-book “Obama’s Last Stand.”

Thrush — a reporter for Politico, which published book excerpts Sunday — writes that Obama’s feelings for Romney are different from how he personally felt about other Republican opponents on the Hill, and about other campaign rivals in the past.

“Obama, a person close to him told me, didn’t even feel this strongly about conservative, combative House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Hill Republican he disliked the most,” Thrush writes. “At least Cantor stood for something, he’d say.”

“When he talked about Romney, aides picked up a level of anger he never had for Clinton or McCain, even after Sarah Palin was picked as his running mate. ‘There was a baseline of respect for John McCain. The president always thought he was an honorable man and a war hero,’ said a longtime Obama adviser. ‘That doesn’t hold true for Romney. He was no goddamned war hero.’”

Thrush writes that “scorn stoked Obama’s competitive fire, got his head in the game, which came as a relief to some Obama aides who had seen his interest flag when he didn’t feel motivated to crush the opposition.”

This sentiment is very different, also, to what Romney publicly says about the president. “I don’t think the president’s a bad guy, I just think his political philosophy is entirely wrong.”

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Alex Pappas