The Pete Rouse era began shortly before noon on Friday. And quickly, the White House started feeling the difference.
Rouse, ushered in as interim White House chief of staff by Obama in the East Room, called his first senior staff meeting for that afternoon - and scheduled it to last just 10 minutes. It is typical Rouse, advisers said: swift and to the point, without leaving room for people to show off or hold endless debates.
"Okay, first things first. I'd like to thank you all for bringing me on board. We'll see if we can get this flaming wreck of an administration out of the ditch that Axelrod and Emanuel drove it into. Lessee... ...Okay: Step one: Someone run over to Kinkos and see if we can't come up with a better forgery. Try to leave the Photoshop file footprints out of it for once, okay? And we can't have those smelly ol' birthers pointing out the obvious fact that the seal doesn't actually say anything. It's a dead giveaway. ...Hmm, what else... ...Oh: I advise that you get off King's ticket receipts. This isn't playing very well for you people. Listen closely as I spell it out for you: HE. IS. IN. THE. RIGHT. YOU. ARE. IN. THE. WRONG. Ipso facto, his audience will be on his side, not ours. And since his audience is our audience, that means that you have delivered our own audience to him. Stop doing that. It's almost like you people don't know the first thing about how things play in politics. The best you can hope for now is to appear to be gracious losers. Do try at least to win that small victory, okay?"