|"You know, Phil. I'm human just like you."|
Rahm is not used to being confronted face-to-face interview style where he can't sneer, give a glib answer, and walk away. Phil Ponce basically asks him why he is such an asshole (Ponce doesn't use those words of course) and Rahm struggles for words. He tries to force a smile -- they've prompted him to smile more, to be a softer, gentler Rahm -- but his mouth just doesn't seem to stretch that far. He's just not a self-aware guy and all the coaching by Axelrod's people can't change that.
After denying the Guardian report that Chicago PD has an off-the-books, secret interrogation spot at Homan Square ("We follow all the rules... Everything's done by the book."), Rahm is asked about the PARCC test fiasco.
He's lost. Non-responsive. I can't really blame him on that one. He's an education know-nothing and his own schools chief Byrd-Bennett has ordered that full PARCC testing be put off for a year, blasted the testing process and called the PARCC test “unproven.” All Rahm can do is mutter something about how the test needs improvement. He admits, "We haven't even gotten the results back from last-year's tests." But you can tell he's going to cave to Arne Duncan and Rauner's guy Meeks on this one and give the test anyway ("There is a serious financial and that's what we have to weigh"). What?
Then comes Ponce's asshole question. Why do so many Chicagoans hate you? Actually, he asks, "Do you need to tweak your style?" Rahm hesitates, trying to remember the prompt on this one. He remembers how all politicians are taught to respond when asked about their weaknesses. You say something like, "My strength is also my weakness. I care too much." Or something like that.
You know, Phil. I'm human like you are. [good one]. Your strengths...my strengths are my weaknesses just like everybody else. I am a hard driver who tries to get things done and that's my strength and my weakness... I can also be so pushy [making shameful face] that I'm not listening. I rub people the wrong way and make people think I'm not listening. So my strength is my weakness.Okay, you're strength is your weakness. We get it. But the question still remains. Why, with all that PR money in your war chest, and with the bloated staff of spinners coaching you, are you still the most hated man in Chicago? I think it just a visceral, populist and democratic response to little emperors. Chicagoans just don't like 'em.
Funniest comment...1% says he had "phone exchanges" with Chuy Garcia. Ponce asks about the nature of those calls. 1 replies that they hadn't really talked: "He left a voice mail...I called him. But we have to get back to each other."