Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel "begged" President Obama to pursue an incremental approach to healthcare, according to a new book.

Jonathan Alter writes in "The Promise" that just as townhall fury was heating up in the summer of 2009, Rahm urged the president to abandon plans for comprehensive reform and instead focus on insuring women and children first.

Via Greg Sargent:

"I begged him not to do this," Rahm admits to Alter. But according to the book, Obama overrode Rahm's advice, privately taking a bit of shot at Clinton by telling advisers that he hadn't been sent to the White House to do "school uniforms."

After Obama had made his decision, Rahm threw himself into getting the President's plan passed and worked almost nonstop on it, the book reports. It also goes into more detail than previously known about the dramatically scaled down health reform plan Rahm urged Obama to pursue instead -- something advisers derisively called "the Titanic plan" because it insured women and children first.