David Axelrod, Obama’s alter ego, has written in his new book about Obama's disdain for Dowd, claiming she belittled him in her columns. “No one got under his skin more than Maureen” Axelrod writes in “Believer.”
Dowd must be doing something right. The daughter of an Irish-born father and Irish American mother is an equal opportunity offender. Presidents from Bill Clinton on have made no secret of their dislike. Hillary Clinton is said to be not a fan either.
George W. Bush christened her “the viper” and now it appears Obama can't stand her writing either.
All of which goes to show she is probably getting it right.
It is somewhat surprising in the Obama case given that her February 2007 column on David Geffen deserting Hillary in the 2008 presidential race was a critical moment in the rush to Obama’s side by leading Democrats who had not moved towards Obama until that point.
Dowd dismissed the Obama claim telling the Huffington Post that, “The idea that I punished him for giving me his opinion is not true and plays into an unfortunate stereotype of women, the Furies swooping down."
Here is what Axelrod wrote: “Maureen Dowd, the talented but tart columnist for the Times, was traveling with us and was granted a brief interview with Obama. When we brought her to the front of the plane for the interview, however, Obama proceeded to blister her for a previous column she had written.
“No one got under Barack's skin more than Maureen, whose penchant for delving into the psyches of her subjects was particularly irritating to the self-possessed Obama. Normally polite under any circumstances, he was patronizing and disrespectful to Maureen in a way that I had rarely seen.
“This was not well received by Dowd who, like most journalists, was accustomed to firing off salvos, yet decidedly uncomfortable when fired upon herself. After that awkward encounter, she seemed to take particular delight in psychoanalyzing Barack and belittling him in print, which only deepened his contempt.
“Maureen, who is as gracious and loyal to her friends as she is rough on the high and mighty, would become a friend of mine in Washington, which became a minor source of tension with Obama. ‘Why are you friends with her?’ he would demand after Maureen sent one of her acid darts his way."