Mike Allen on What He Thinks Was Behind Rahm Emanuel’s Anger Over Cuba Question

Clever diversion?

There’s been a lot of breaking-the-fourth-wall action in the Politico Playbook of late, the most recent of which occurred just this morning in response to an incident featuring Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, during a live Illinois Playbook Breakfast in Chicago on Wednesday.

Allen devoted the entire opening of Playbook to explain what exactly went down before and after Allen asked Emanuel about plans to take his children to Cuba for the holidays.

Here’s the moment in question, in which Emanuel gets “heated,” “flips” or per Allen, “blows his stack,” angry at Allen for disclosing what Emanuel believed to be private information.

In Playbook, Allen begins by explaining what prompted the initial offstage conversation about the mayor’s holiday plans, an exchange that is a regular part of Allen’s live event tool belt, used to elicit some harmless color out of his subjects at the end of interviews.

In his dissection of the incident, Allen thinks it was calculated political theater on the part of Emanuel, a diversionary tactic to shift away from the heavy criticism the mayor has been receiving for how he’s responded to the Chicago Police Department’s attempt to cover up the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

“He instantly, correctly deduced that his scolding would have people buzzing about Cuba instead of cop shootings. I talked to the mayor afterward and he was fine: He said it was his wife, Amy Rule, who would be mad, not him,” wrote Allen.