In his memoir, “Power Forward: My Presidential Education”, Love reveals how forgetting Obama’s briefcase in 2007–which contained the candidate’s wallet and keys–led to an “incredulous” Obama.
“The plane was airborne, the bag was missing, and I proceeded to have a full-blown panic attack,” Love writes. “Sweat began to bleed through my clothes. My heart raced like a cornered rabbit. In my head I prayed he wouldn’t notice, that I’d have time to find the bag and by some miracle get it back to him before he realized it had vanished.”
Love almost got away with losing the bag by having someone recover the briefcase and send it to the campaign manager in Columbia.
“When we landed in Columbia, I was feeling a modicum of relief, believing maybe disaster had been averted, maybe this would all resolve without any drama, and it was precisely at that moment that the candidate turned to me and said, ‘Hey Reg, where’s my bag?’ I went with, ‘It’s on its way.’ ‘ What do you mean ‘on the way? ‘ he asked. ‘It’s coming from Florida,’ I said. ‘You left my briefcase in Florida,’ he stated, incredulous.”
According to Love, the worst thing about Obama’s anger is that it’s mostly under the surface.
“The silence, felt worse than being reprimanded,” Love writes. “As we rode to the Columbia campaign headquarters without another word passing between us I thought, That’s it, I’m fired. I kept hoping he would break the tension and yell at me.”
Obama held his tongue and didn’t address the issue until they arrived in Columbia. He took Love into a private office, where the candidate’s right hand man was calmly told to get his act together.
“Listen, Reggie, I think you’re a great guy. But, (Obama paused and leaned forward) if you’re not up to doing this job, I can get someone else to do it. You have one job and if I have to worry about all this stuff, then you’re not making it easy for me to do myjob,” Obama told him.
That wouldn’t be the last time that Love would inspire Obama’s anger, but it is possibly the best example. On another occasion, an angry Obama just walked away from Love and told a staffer to deal with him.