Water Wings and the Sauna

The new White House Chief of Staff is a triathlete and defends his sport rather aggressively.

From Fortune Magazine:  “In off-camera chitchat with the shirt-sleeved lawmakers, Bush takes note of Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel’s deep tan, prompting the 46-year-old Emanuel to boast about the miles of swimming and biking in his triathlon training schedule. Testosterone oozes into the humid air space between the two men. Bush invites Emanuel down to Texas to do some real biking. “So I said, ‘I’ll make you a deal, Mr. President. I’ll bike if you swim.’ Now he didn’t exactly say swimming was a wussy sport, but you could tell…. So I said, ‘Mr. President, Laura can put your water wings next to the lake. You can have your water wings.’ ”

At that point you might think this graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet-a man whose office features sunset photos and who has the mellow chords of David Gray playing on his iPod-would leave well enough alone. But Emanuel is hard-wired to go for the jugular: Politics Chicago-style are part of his DNA. So he sharpens his drill bit on the leader of the free world. “I said to him, ‘You’re not one of those tribathletes, are you, Mr. President? You know-steam, sauna, shower?’

“And Bush goes, ‘That’s g-o-o-d.’ “

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