• “It would be foolish to suggest that this hasn’t been a rough year and it also true that many of the people who are there — all splendid people — but they have been there for a very long time. You constantly need to refresh your team to order to move forward in the presidency, and this is certainly a recognition of that.” — David Axelrod, a former Obama senior adviser, on the administration’s decision to bring former Clinton aide John Podesta aboard as a presidential counselor.
Podesta has emerged as something of a second-term specialist. Now 65, he presided over the final three years of Clinton’s presidency, including the impeachment trial. He also headed Obama’s 2008 transition team. The word in Washington is it’s about time Obama made a move like this.
• “We’re making really good progress, we’re getting close, don’t have a timeline for you as of yet.” — Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican, on ongoing budget talks with Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat.
If the Ryan-Murray team come up with a deal that both sides can approve, then they will have accomplished what a slew of big-time pols have not over the years, including officials with last names such as Obama, Biden, McConnell and Cantor. Politico points out that it’s an unusually fertile time for a deal. With so much of the press’ attention focused these days on Obama’s troubles, Ryan and Murray have had space to work out an agreement. Any announcement of a deal is expected next week.
• “It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you, to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion and generosity and truth. He changed laws, but he also changed hearts.” — Obama speaking Tuesday at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.
Well said, Mr. President. Now if you could only apply it to your relations with Congress.
• “Can you believe it: Obama taking selfies at the Nelson Mandela memorial.” — conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh criticizing Obama for taking a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt during Mandela services Tuesday.
Oh, c’mon, Rush, settle down. You’d criticize the president for eating waffles for breakfast.