Jim Messina, you may have heard of him. He runs the Obama campaign and signs his fundraising emails in the manly, last-name-only manner normally associated with successful athletes and military generals of note. Montana. Aikman. Phelps. Patton. MacArthur. Leonidas. You get the idea.
Messina has been engaged in a longstanding effort to make sure that he doesn’t have to name people he meets with to discuss Obama administration policy, or keep any records of the meetings he holds.
A House Energy and Commerce Committee report out Tuesday is stocked with emails sent from private addresses and meetings scheduled away from the building to avoid official record. Among these are several sent to a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist by Messina, then President Barack Obama’s then-deputy White House chief of staff, making promises about language for the health care reforms despite the resistance of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the measure.
“I will roll [P]elosi to get the 4 billion,” Messina wrote Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) lobbyist Jeffrey Forbesfrom his personal account just days before the Affordable Care Act cleared Congress in March 2010. “As you may have heard I am literally rolling over the house. But there just isn’t 8-10 billion.”
Madame Pelosi will undoubtedly be delighted to hear that she was “rolled” for a fistful of billions by the nebbish Messina. If this were a Republican administration, she would immediately launch into a “This White House is demeaning to women!” riff, but it’s a Democrat White House, so she’ll clam up, at least publicly.
The White House’s hapless spokesman, Jay Carney, was asked about Messina’s possibly illegal and very non-transparent tactic today. As usual, Carney had nothing useful to say other than to offer up a pathetic screen that will undoubtedly fall apart within a day or two.