A new book claims that Michelle Obama and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emannuel were at daggers drawn during the first years of the Obama administration and their clash came to a head during the battle for immigration reform.
"The Obamas," a new book by Jodi Kantor of The New York Times deals with the first few years of the Obama administration and the pressure on the president's marriage.
Barack and Michelle had many heated discussions about the immigration issue the book says as both she and Emmanuel tried to gain the president’s ear.
Matters came to a head with Emmanuel when Michelle Obama was deeply committed to comprehensive immigration reform but Emanuel wanted to sideline the issue believing it had no chance of passage.
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Both fought for the president’s ear on the issue.
Michelle Obama was especially moved by meeting a second grader in a Maryland school who told her that her parents had no papers and were illegal.
Michelle won out in the battle for the president’s priorities and Emmanuel knew from that time on his period as Chief of Staff was ending.
According to author Kantor, the president’s speech on the topic was a bust.
"His impassioned remarks faded almost as soon as he gave them," writes Kantor. "The media and others were puzzled -- why this, why now? ... Obama became quietly furious at his team for not giving the address more support, for not delivering the one he had wanted in the first place or talking it up more in the press. The first lady fumed, too: she took it as more proof that her husband's advisers were poorly serving him ... The speech incident confirmed her worst fears, and by that point, several aides said, Michelle was bluntly telling her husband that he needed a new team."
The book also recounts that Emmanul was immediately wary of Michelle Obama because he had previously clashed with First Lady Hillary Clinton during the Clinton administration.