Ed Rendell and His Bitches

Why is the most important Philadelphian of the past 25 years eating microwave dinners at home alone with his golden retrievers? Because a man’s life changes. That’s why

In fact, he goes on, “Would I trade all the jobs to be chief of staff to President Clinton? In a heartbeat.” Ah, yes, Hillary. Ed is dead serious about leading her team. He brings it up to her frequently, even though she’s said she has no interest in running again. But Ed thinks that if she leaves the Obama administration after the first term and gets a little downtime, her mind will change: “I can’t believe that if she gets a year of rest under her belt, she wouldn’t want to do it in 2016.”

As for running for president himself, Ed says that for a long time, he didn’t believe he had what it took. “I got to know Bush Sr., and he was a man of uncommon grace. Not necessarily intelligence, but grace I don’t possess. Then I got to know Bill Clinton very well, and I found him to be a man of incredible intelligence.”

Lately, though, as he looks at the emerging­ field, Ed’s starting to wonder if he underestimated himself. “I know Governor Barbour. I know Governor Pawlenty. And no offense to those guys—they’re decent, honorable men. But with my experience, and my judgment, and my energy, I’m better equipped to be president than they are.”

The conventional wisdom has always been that Ed would never run because of skeletons that might emerge in a long national campaign. I don’t ask about the skeletons, but he does say it’s the idea of running for president that turns him off. “I just don’t have the desire for two, two and a half years of my life to be campaigning across the country. But as I said to Chris Matthews once, if I woke up and found I was president, I wouldn’t resign.”

THE FINAL APPOINTMENT of the day is with Felix Rohatyn, the renowned investment banker, diplomat and author. Forty-five minutes before the meeting, as Ed waited to do a video interview with one of Bloomberg Media’s websites, he seemed to flag for the first time all day. He closed his eyes, and I wondered if he’d fallen asleep. Then he said softly, “My power has waned.”

Now, though, sitting with Rohatyn, a slight, white-haired man of 83, Ed is energized again, no doubt because of the subject he’s discussing: infrastructure. Highways, bridges, rail lines—Ed can’t get enough of it. But that’s the thing about him, isn’t it? While one part of Ed is all F-bombs, doggie sex and women without teeth, another part of him could outwonk anyone in America.

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  • Amanda

    A story about Ed Rendell is usually not appealing to me. The title and first few sentences drew me in and I couldn’t stop reading. Although it’s not Shakespeare, I loved every word of it it…especially the title!

  • Diana

    That picture is the most disturbing thig I’ve ever seen.

  • Mandy May

    I loved reading this story. The writer managed to turn an article which would normally be boring into something funny and intriguing. After reading the story I have a new perspective on Ed Rendell…and his bitches!