"That 49 percent chance of failure could devastate Obama's presidency, weaken Democrats heading into the fall midterm elections and trigger an even fiercer, more debilitating round of finger-pointing inside the administration," writes Peter Baker of the Times, in a profile of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
As the health care debate continues to drag on, Emanuel has become a punching bag for the left and the right, Baker writes. He is perceived as the person in the White House who aggressively but pragmatically pursues congressional votes for the president's agenda. His intensity even prompted resigning Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) to call him "."
Not everyone is convinced of Emanuel's effectiveness, however. Emanuel could have done more to sway Democratic lawmakers to support the president's plan, one unnamed Democratic congressman told Baker: "We need a little less ballerina and a little more L.B.J.," he said. "For all the reputation of being able to bust knee caps, we haven't seen nos turned to yeses."