Allen told a Politico audience about the Chicago mayor’s plan to vacation with his family in Cuba. Emanuel, who conveyed this information to Allen privately, was livid. He dressed Allen down on stage, in a painfully public way.
I’m as tickled as everyone else, but I’m not sure it’s quite sunk in how rich and frankly unflattering a moment this was for political media.
We can infer that Allen and Emanuel were schmoozing backstage, in a way that Emanuel clearly understood to be off-the-record reporter-greasing, but that confused Allen, who’s lost his sense of where the line between reporting and socializing/networking should be drawn. And perhaps vice-versa.
But it gets better because Allen also doesn’t seem to have a clear sense of the information’s real news value. This wasn’t just a breach of Emanuel’s privacy, but also a revelation that could potentially have more serious political implications, because vacationing in Cuba is still illegal. There are, of course, ways to travel to Cuba legally, and then to essentially enjoy your stay as if on a regular island vacation, but the spirit and the letter of the law cuts against purely recreational travel there, a la the Emanuel Family Getaway.
So Emanuel is probably more mad that Allen exposed his assumption that the rules (admittedly dumb rules) don’t apply to him. Republicans at the RNC are distributing video of it, and not, presumably, because they think Emanuel looks bad for scolding a reporter.