Weather Updates

Sneed: Beltway book knocks politicos including Jarrett, Axelrod, Kirk

storyidforme: 51845960
tmspicid: 19247132
fileheaderid: 8737643
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: August 10, 2013 6:23AM

The Chicago grind . . .

Grind ’em up!

The latest Beltway blather, a book of tweaks and thwacks at Washington insiders, titled “This Town,” serves up a few knocks to at least three Chicago politicos: White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod and Sen. Mark Kirk.

◆First up! Author/New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich claims Valerie Jarrett is the subject of a White House memo giving staff talking points about the role of the first family’s best friend, who loves traveling with her Secret Service bodyguards.

The memo is enough to make one gag. To wit:

◆“Valerie is the perfect combination of smart, savvy and innovative.”

◆“Valerie has an enormous capacity for both empathy and sympathy.”

◆“Valerie expects people to work their hearts out for the President and never forget where you work and the magnitude.”

◆“Valerie is someone here who other people inside the building know they can trust. (need examples.)”

(Betcha former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley will get a chuckle out of that!)

◆Second up: Leibovich claims former U.S. Rep./Dem presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich was “unamused” when Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk tells him before a TV appearance, “You need some makeup, Dennis. Heavily need it.”

◆Third up! Leibovich also dinged David Axelrod, Obama’s former top strategist, for hitting up journalists who covered him for donations to charity. (Axelrod’s wife, Susan, co-founded Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy and their beloved daughter, Lauren, suffers from the disease.)

Batter up!

Ding dong! Axelrod, a former Chicago newspaperman, has a few choice words for Leibovich’s criticism of his charitable pursuits.

◆Quoth Axelrod to Sneed: “I’ve seen epilepsy destroy lives, and I’ll solicit and gratefully accept support from anyone willing to help. The idea that journalists have to check their humanity at the door is bewildering to me.”

Ray’s way . . .

So why is Axelrod smiling? Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who just left the Obama administration, is joining the Board of Advisers of Axelrod’s brainchild: The University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

Royal baby blab . . .

Bla bla tra la la: Sneed can now definitely state wowee wowee that the royal baby’s title will be His Royal Highness Prince or Her Royal Highness Princess (whatever) of Cambridge.

◆Cradle twaddle: Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first child is expected Saturday amidst the scrum of press engorging St. Mary’s Hospital in London, where its dad was born. The baby will be born a few months before the latest diaper data: Zara Phillips, the royal with the pierced tongue that married rugby star Mike Tindall, is also preggers. Put that in your tiara!

A hero’s tail . . .

Leo may not be a lion, but he’s one helluva dog.

◆Translation: As the last and only dog in the K9 unit of the Illinois Conservation Police, Leo the lab, 11 and gray of muzzle, received a special retirement plaque recently honoring his outstanding service.

◆Backshot: Statewide cutbacks led to the retirement of all of Leo’s peers, and age led to Leo’s pink slip . . . but not before he and handler Officer Holly Vadbunker averaged 30 to 40 drug arrests a year.

◆Upshot: Toby, a German shepherd, is now working with Holly.

◆Buckshot: Alas, Leo is having retirement blues. “He’s a little anxious when I go to work every day without him,” Vadbunker said. “He’s not really thrilled [with being left at home].”

The clout couple . . .

Must be nice to be Jay-Z and Beyonce:

◆According to his Twitter, Jay-Z doesn’t have to wait in doctors’ office waiting rooms.

◆And Beyonce doesn’t have to wait for po’boys: Beyonce had New Orleans’ famous Parkway Bakery po’boys delivered to her after her concert in the Crescent City over the weekend. Parkway never delivers, but they made an exception.

Sneedlings . . .

Tuesday’s birthdays: Tom Hanks, 57; Fred Savage, 37, and Courtney Love, 49.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.