All About Bob: A Beat Sweetener

You may know Robert F. (“Bob”) Bauer as Gregory Craig’s successor as White House counsel. But, really, who is Bob Bauer? Because he sounds to die for, in Mike Allen’s telling (way dreamier than that Craig guy). If you don’t heart Bob Bauer already, you’ll be totally seduced by Allen’s Politico profile today.

Michael Calderone, Allen’s former Politico colleague, once explained the art of the “beat sweetener” as follows:

[R]eporters reach out to the men and women who might become their sources over the next four years — then slather them with glowing profiles suitable for framing in their mothers’ bedrooms.

Mrs. Bauer, you’ve got yourself a framer!

So, about Bob.

Bob is, Allen writes:

“a trusted top lawyer”

“more diplomatic” than “the blunt Gregory Craig who spent much of his tenure in the doghouse”

”involved in virtually every major West Wing decision”

“the quieter half of one of Washington’s top power couples”

What’s more, Bob

“already knew many of Washington’s most sensitive secrets”

“has seen it all”

“does it his way: He has one of the West Wing’s most cluttered offices”

“also wrote books on campaign finance”

“loves baseball so much he bought an iPhone just for the Major League Baseball app after getting a demonstration from CNN’s Ed Henry at last year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner”*

“got a rare break from work for three days…to see his Orioles in spring training”

“scored points internally by retaining a well-liked deputy counsel”

Speaking of scoring points internally…

But you don’t have to take Allen’s word for it. Consider how other people (named, and, when simultaneously bashing Greg Craig, unnamed) gush about Bob. Bob:

”…speaks for the president” whereas “when Greg [Craig] said something, you didn’t know whether or not he was speaking for himself”

is “not combative or ideological”

“does the job as a lawyer’s lawyer, not pushing his own agenda”

“fits in the no-drama-Obama culture extremely well”

“has represented virtually every significant Democrat in Washington” and yet is “unassuming”

has “won so many people’s trust and confidence here”

“has a great sense of humor and can leaven a tough situation with a joke”

“gets things done in a low-key kind of way”

A trusted, diplomatic, quietly-powerful, experienced, plugged-in, point-scoring, book-writing, no-drama, hard-working, joke-telling baseball fan with the president’s ear and an adorably cluttered office? What’s not to love?

And yet, not everyone loves Bob.

*Surely one of the most Politico Politico sentences in recent memory.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.