Was the Tanden nomination a returned favor?
Why did Ron Klain push the Biden administration to take such an unnecessary risk?
Jeff Stein and Seung Min Kim, writing for the Washington Post, report that White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain has been the driving force behind Neera Tanden’s nomination for the Office of Budget and Management. And on the way, they mention a point of trivia that seems like it’s worth reflecting on:
After serving as Biden’s chief of staff during the Obama administration, Klain was brought in as a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
As you may recall, this was not entirely a drama-free transition. Klain seems to have had significant difficulty winning the trust of the Clinton campaign, which still considered Biden a potential threat and seemed to think of him as a potential defector; for example, as Politico noted at the time, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta complained that Klain’s “problem is always whether he can be loyal.”
But as Podesta also noted in the same email, he vouched for Klain — which presumably played a major role in him landing a position with Clinton. And Klain was clearly grateful to him for the favor:
Thanks for inviting me into the campaign, and for sticking with me during the Biden anxiety. You are a great friend…I’m glad to be on Team HRC, and glad that she had a great debate last night. Thanks John.
So Podesta takes a big risk and helps a key Biden guy land a position in Clintonworld. And now, five years later, that same Biden guy has taken a big risk to help a key figure in Clintonworld — and a close Podesta ally — land a position with Biden. Do you see what caught my attention?