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The White House's legislative-affairs staffers all gulp in unison.

"He's serious," one of them gasps, and is hushed by Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

Daley stares you down. He's a tough Chicagoan, an imposing figure when he stops playing nice. Menace hangs in the air. Growing up in Ohio, you've come across his type before.

"Take it or leave it, John," Daley says through gritted teeth. "No games. This is it."

Do you:

  • Tell Daley you're to be called "Mr. Speaker" or nothing at all (Go to Page 8)
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Chris Good and Alex Hoyt

Chris Good is an associate editor and online politics writer for The Atlantic. Alex Hoyt does story research for The Atlantic and illustrations for TheAtlantic.com.

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