As noted here yesterday, former Obama car czar Steve Rattner, in a Politico piece, lashed out at Ron Suskind, depicting Suskind's book on bad times in the Obama White House as a "drive-by shooting" of President Obama and his staff. That hardly seemed in the spirit of President Obama's pious call, in his much-touted Tucson memorial speech, for people to speak in a way "that heals, not wounds" .
Joe Scarborough called Rattner out on the matter on today's Morning Joe. But Rattner blithely batted away Scarborough's depiction of "drive-by" as "harsh" and "rhetorically inflammatory." Video after the jump.
Watch Rattner blow off Scarborough's criticism. You'll also hear Mika Brzezinsk, with an exasperated "please," dismiss Joe's calling out of Rattner.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: I need to ask Steve a question here. Steve, you know, I am, as you know, it may be it's just because I'm sort of passive, I'm flatliner, very Zen. And you look at me and --
STEVE RATTNER: I think most people would describe you that way. I agree. That's definitely a good way to think about you.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Even-tempered, predictable.
SCARBOROUGH: I'm even tempered. So, I've been talking about keeping calm and carrying on, and avoiding rhetorical flashes. But you had a column yesterday where you accused--in Politico I believe it was--where you accused Mika's dear friend --
SCARBOROUGH: Ron Suskind, of a, quote, of committing a quote "drive-by shooting" of the President of the United States. That is awfully hostile, and if I may say so, it goes against the president's very call for civility in this country.
RATTNER: Well, I didn't think the book was particularly civil. The book basically portrayed a White House of a dysfunctional president, a dysfunctional economic team, anti-women, a whole thing. And all I tried to do was say look, I was there for six months, I was there every day. Maybe this stuff was going on, but it was not the White House I saw. I saw a calm, carrying on, to your point, decisive president.
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: What do you mean by "drive-by shooting" of the president?
RATTNER: Well I meant that he took things that people said to him for their own interests without really confirming them, without really putting balance into it. And I think there was a lot of people who spoke to him who got sort of rewarded by being treated well, and others who didn't who got rewarded by not being treated very well.
SCARBOROUGH: It did seem harsh, to me. It did seem like a harsh assessment. Just follow my guide, though, in the future. Just keep calm and carry on. I think drive-by shooting, I think that was rhetorically inflammatory. That's all I'm going to say.
SCARBOROUGH: And I think we can move on now and talk about important matters.