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Rahm Emanuel, hero or goat

Politico also gets into the fray:

"In his spare time, the White House chief of staff and his allies have sought to defend Emanuel against a growing chorus of critics who blame him for nearly everything that has gone wrong in Obama's first year.

"One of the more surprising details to emerge from this back and forth is that Emanuel's allies are letting it be known around town that he never wanted to make it the administration's top priority for Year One. That may come as a surprise to Democrats on the Hill who've been lobbied relentlessly by Emanuel to get a bill done -- and fast. . . .

"For all his reputation as a tough guy, Emanuel is the consummate media schmoozer and speaks freely to friendly Fourth Estaters. That's why many Emanuel critics pounced on a Sunday column by Dana Milbank of The Washington Post defending Emanuel -- and criticizing his reputed rivals, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Robert Gibbs."

Joe Scarborough, meanwhile, says "it certainly sounds like Rahm was leaking like a sieve to Dana Milbank."

Really? Would Emanuel be that heavy-handed? Couldn't this be Dana's own analysis? I put the question to Milbank, who has already said Rahm wasn't the source and that they haven't talked lately.

In an exclusive interview with Media Notes, Milbank said: "Why is everyone treating this as if it's some Deep Throat thing? It was out there waiting to be said. . . . It's something I've been gathering string on for the last six weeks or so. . . . You can't expect the principals, whether you're writing favorably or unfavorably about them, to be terribly honest about it. They're self-interested."

But that's less interesting than a search for the mystery leaker.

Health Care Diagnosis

Some upbeat signals in the press on Obama's signature issue:

"On the eve of President Obama's planned healthcare summit," the L.A. Times reports, "Democratic lawmakers are increasingly confident that they can resurrect their sweeping overhaul legislation after weeks of uncertainty about whether they could overcome the unified opposition of Republicans. . . .

"At the same time, Democrats in the Senate are rallying behind the use of a bare-knuckle legislative procedure known as budget reconciliation to push through a separate package of healthcare measures to satisfy liberal Democrats in the House."

But the Washington Times says it may not be so sweeping: "Top House Democrats on Tuesday left open the prospect of President Obama's comprehensive health care overhaul failing and passing pieces of it, a process already being used to try to repeal health insurance industry antitrust protections."

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