“Klain, Get Me Rewrite”: Before he became White House chief of staff, Klain’s byline was on a column for a student newspaper.

From a politico.com story by Theodoric Meyer, Alex Thompson, and Daniel Lippman headlined “Klain, get me rewrite!”:

White House chief of staff RON KLAIN thinks the Cabinet has too many people. He believes tax hikes are “much needed” but talking about them can be “kryptonite” for Democrats. And he thinks voters should never, ever pick a candidate in a primary based on “electability.”

Or at least that’s what Klain, newspaper columnist, believed.

Before he became chief of staff to President JOE BIDEN, Klain dabbled in op-ed writing. He had a Bloomberg View column from 2011 to 2012 and wrote dozens of columns for The Washington Post during the Trump administration. Well before then, his byline was on a column called “The Saxa Syndrome” for Georgetown University’s student newspaper.

He apparently preferred working in the White House to a future in the Washington press corps. But, along the way to that discovery, he penned a few columns directly relevant to the job he holds now.

Klain lamented in Bloomberg View in 2011 that the White House Cabinet Room had grown so crowded that secretaries now had to “climb over a chair arm, or squeeze their rump past a colleague’s face, to reach their seat.”

“The awkward seating problem illustrates a bigger point: The modern Cabinet has grown too large to be an effective tool to help run the federal government,” Klain wrote….

Fast forward a decade and Klain is now a member of the Cabinet — and it’s even bigger. President JOE BIDEN’s Cabinet has 25 members, the largest in history. They have not yet needed to cram into the Cabinet Room, but it’s only a matter of time….

Klain’s columns from 2011 and 2012 are particularly notable given that Biden is now facing some of the same issues the Obama administration was then, including whether or not to raise taxes on the rich and how to sell infrastructure investment.

In one October 2011 column, he warned Democrats that proposing tax hikes could come with “severe” political consequences. Arguing that billionaires should pay a higher tax rate than their secretaries was not necessarily a winning argument, Klain wrote….

The White House said in a statement that Klain works “to implement the policy agenda and priorities of President Biden and Vice President Harris. Columns from decades ago as a college student or a private citizen have literally no impact on the Biden-Harris agenda today.”

Some of Klain’s political advice, however, was dead on.

Months before RICK PERRY’s “oops” debacle in a Republican primary debate derailed his 2012 presidential campaign, Klain urged Perry’s team to focus “on making sure he doesn’t make major gaffes” during the debates. Klain also argued that Obama should root for MITT ROMNEY to win the 2012 GOP primary because “Romney’s privileged upbringing, Wall Street career, and tone-deaf statements (like boasting that his wife owns multiple Cadillacs) will alienate” working-class voters in the general election.

Elsewhere, Klain more closely resembled a classic political pundit, in that his takes aged terribly.

In a 2008 piece for The New York Times headlined “Anything But The E-Word,” which ran shortly after Biden dropped out of the presidential races after placing fifth in Iowa, Klain decried voters’ misplaced focus on “electability.”

“When I was supporting Senator Joe Biden earlier this year, I often had people say to me, ‘I think Joe Biden would be a great president, but I won’t vote for him, because he can’t win,’” Klain wrote

“[C]hoosing a candidate based on ‘electability’ is almost always futile,” he added.

Twelve years later, Klain was advising Biden’s campaign, which couldn’t stop talking about Biden’s electability, even putting polling results in ads during the primary. That message helped make him president.

Klain’s college columns are more entertaining but a bit less pertinent to his current activities.

In one of them, he satirically argued that President JIMMY CARTER was secretly working as “an agent for the South in its effort to ‘rise again.’” In another, he described going with his future wife to an ROTC military ball as someone “from a strong anti-military background” and finding that the people there “weren’t all that different from you and I.”

But Klain did develop some sources as a student reporter that would prove relevant to his future career. A Feb. 28, 1980, story in The Hoya reports that current White House senior adviser MIKE DONILON “handily” lost that year’s election for student government president. The byline: Hoya Assistant News Editor Ron Klain.

“I’m going to pass on commenting on my writing as an 18 year old,” Klain wrote in a text to Transition Playbook. “But fun fact: when I became news editor of the Hoya in April of 1980 my deputy was [New York Times tech columnist and podcast host] KARA SWISHER.”

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