Speed Reads

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Harry Reid's former aide mocks Paul Ryan for 'fluff and glitz' appeal

Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's one-time deputy chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, skewered House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday for only having "demonstrated talent for two things: slickly rebranding GOP policies that help the rich and hurt working people [and] integrating himself with powerful and influential people."

Jentleson, who now works as a senior strategic adviser for the progressive public policy group, the Center for American Progress, went on:

Because [integrating himself with powerful and influential people] includes the press, [Ryan's] credentials for speaker were widely accepted as a given. Few asked whether he really had the skills. That's a generalization — in private, many reporters questioned whether Ryan was up to the job. But there was little public questioning. In the hierarchy of skills for a successful Hill leader, public salesman ranks relatively low. For Ryan, it was a main selling point. Many of the stories about why Ryan would be a good speaker cited the fact that he would go on TV a lot. That should have been a red flag. A leader's most valuable resource is time, and TV is time-consuming. It's less time spent listening to members, organizing, planning [...] Ryan's appeal for a VERY HARD job was always based on fluff and glitz, not a record of leadership or accomplishment or requisite skills. [Twitter]

Ryan is reportedly the focus of the White House's frustration over the GOP health-care bill failing to get the support of moderate Republicans as well as the conservative House Freedom Caucus members. While the White House still expects to force a do-or-die vote Friday afternoon, many keeping track of "no" votes have found the Republicans do not have sufficient support just yet, although there is still time for that to change.

As for Jentleson: He's kicking back to watch what happens. Jeva Lange