President Barack Obama has today demonstrated his commitment to bipartisanship by appointing former rival John McCain as his top domestic aide in the West Wing.
The Republican Senator for Arizona and former presidential nominee was said to be resisting a job with the new administration in order to maintain his independence, but when offered control of the White House catering and housekeeping budget he felt unable to refuse, according to close friends. Fellow Senate Republican Lindsey Graham explained McCain's motivations. "John's sense of duty is such that even though he was hoping for something at Cabinet level such as Defense or Veterans Affairs, any post in the administration would have been hard to turn down."
McCain has already started work and is wowing the White House staff with his authentic Vietnamese food and fully serviced late night poker games. Obama is said to be listening closely to the Senator's views on Middle Eastern table etiquette and how it can be used to improve the productivity of lunchtime meetings.
McCain will be a key ally and serve as a 'bridge' between Obama the liberal president and the more conservative White House service staff. While they may insist on tucking him into bed with sheets and blankets, Obama's willingness to stretch out on the Oval Office sofa with a sleeping bag or quilt is something that he will need his butler's support on.
There are fears however, that McCain's maverick tendencies could create problems. An Obama campaign insider, who is now working in the State department, told us that the new President's eating habits could be a source of friction.
"Barack likes egg whites and bacon for breakfast and rarely has anything else. McCain is famous for his unpredictability and his desire to shake things up. What if he wakes up to find the yolks left in, a slice of toast, or even a serving of sausage instead of bacon? These are the kinds of things that can make the difference between a good day and a bad day."
McCain has no such concerns though. In an interview with the Washington Post he insisted he would remain his own man and be upfront with Obama over disagreements. "The president and I got to know each other pretty well on the campaign trail and dined together several times. I'll be watching him closely and if I think he needs anchovies on his pizza to boost his Omega 3 or an extra glass wine to help him sleep, I won't be afraid to tell him."
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