November 9th, 2008
12:50 PM ET
9 years ago

Emanuel brushes off 'hyper-partisan' charges

Rep. Rahm Emanuel says he will help Barack Obama work in a bipartisan way.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel says he will help Barack Obama work in a bipartisan way.

(CNN) - Rep. Rahm Emanuel insisted Sunday that he would help President-elect Barack Obama work in a bipartisan fashion, brushing off criticism that he would be a “hyper-partisan” chief of staff.

“President Obama is very clear, as you look at his career, both in the state senate, U.S. Senate, and the campaign, that we have to govern in a bipartisan fashion,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“The challenges are big enough that there's going to be an ability for people of both parties, as well as independents, to contribute ideas to help meet the challenges on health care, energy, tax reform, education,” he said.

Obama announced last week that he had chosen Emanuel to be his chief of staff.

The Republican National Committee put out a press release shortly thereafter that said, “Obama’s Broken Promise: After promising change, Obama selects hyper-partisan wedded to special interests.” Minority Leader John Boehner called Emanuel an “ironic choice” for a president-elect who promised to “govern from the center.”

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, however, agreed with Democrats and called Emanuel a “wise choice.”

"Rahm knows Capitol Hill and has great political skills. He can be a tough partisan but also understands the need to work together. He is well-suited for the position of White House chief of staff," the South Carolina senator said.

Graham said he and Emanuel worked together during the presidential debate negotiations, and "when we hit a rough spot, he always looked for a path forward."

Emanuel, who has a reputation as a tough political infighter, is credited with helping Democrats take control of the House in 2006.

He was elected to the House in 2002 and is the fourth highest-ranking member of the chamber's Democratic leadership. He worked on President Clinton's first presidential campaign and served as a White House adviser to Clinton.

The Chicago politician said Sunday that it will take a joint effort from leaders of both parties to tackle the challenges facing the country.

“Because the challenges … whether on the national security front or on the economic, are looming large, and they're going to require both parties and leaders of both parties, as well as independents, to offer up ideas to how to meet those challenges,” he said.

Emanuel also said he thought Sen. John McCain would be a “partner” in working to solve those problems.

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Richard Rohde

    Excuse me, wasn't Emmanuel on the Board of Directors of Freddie Mac? I know that has been reported on the ONN or MSDNC. What ever happened to Charlie Rangel and his tax cheating? What has Pelosi done about William Jefferson? Where is the investigation of ACORN? Where is the investigation of Charlie Schumer and the collapse of IndyMac? Where is the investigation of Hussein's birth certificate. Seems like a lot of stuff being swept under the carpet by our "fair and unbiased" media and the Democratic Socialist Party.

    November 9, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  2. Julian

    To Richard Rohde

    Don't you think its about time you stop trying to divide the nation and come together and worry about the issues instead of worrying about things that won't help your family future.

    November 9, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Sean Chong

    Sounds like GOP are a bunch of crying babies, politics come before knowledge and good for this country. Who did GOP pick as their "Democrat" to reach "across the aisle"? Moreover, this is the first pick for Obama, more will follow. Just one pick, and the GOP starts crying foul. Imagine... imagine..... their slogan "Country First"....... more like "Party First"... to ME!

    November 9, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. nation said

    maybe you missed it Richard. The nation just said resoundingly NO to the radical rightwing and their sink-throwing delusions.

    November 9, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. mary

    What comes around goes around. Republicans set the bar.Anything short of lying to go to war and rewarding the outing a CIA agent with a pardon, is just not that big of a deal.

    November 9, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. George

    Richard, I suggest you stock up on food and ammunition and retreat into your home where you will be safe. You can come out, maybe, on Jan. 20, 2017. I know that I would feel safer and better if you did so.

    November 9, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. tushyadev jadunundun

    yeah and the same one f mc cain adviser lobbied for them as well...give us a break....and get over it...the repulican lost

    November 9, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Andre

    wow, talk about bitter! Not even sworn in and already this guy is desperately looking for something to impeach obama on. this is what happens when you believe in a party that seeks only to divide and distract. you cant get past it.

    If the media wasn't 'fair and unbiased' do you know what was? the vote.

    November 9, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Sue

    You have to understand Rahm, there is still a contingent of folks out there who cast judgment on people based on very little information... so until these crtics realize their own personal issues, then you will remain a partisan in their eyes. I am thrilled that a half of our nation gets it though – that's a good start, now let's focus on the other half by increasing education in this country.

    November 9, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. tushyadev jadunundun

    and you idiot...Hawaii is part of the USA....Mc Cain was not even born on American soil ...he was born in Panama...and get used to this name ..Presdient Barack Hussein Obama.....u will have to live with it for the next 8 years....yeah u saw well 8 years

    November 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. greg

    Haven't we had enough division. Let's move on Richard, please. A good majority of people Democrats and republicans alike know the Republican party has lost it's way. In 2000 they reached out to all people and they managed to speak to my issues.I'm black and also a democrat in a southern state but, I voted republican that year. Since then they stopped what was successful which in my opinion was to have people focus on similarities not differences. That was made so clear in this election.

    November 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Lyndon,CA

    More Fascist Diatribe by the Repubs.

    November 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Stacy from Loudoun County VA

    The RNC needs to stop worrying about "sour grapes" and focus in helping solve some of the nation's problems. Emmanuel is a tough customer that knows how to get the job done. If you ask me, that is what the country needs more of these days. If the RNC is going to do this for every selection that P.E. Obama makes, then they might as well go back home and just wait two years.

    November 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Dave

    Just like the RNC who issued a condemning missive an hour after Obama made his first appointment, here's a hyper negative comment from a guy who just doesn't get it. The hate rhetoric lost; Obama won . The Republican Party has lost because they were negative, corrupt, swept Bush's Constitution dumpling and illegal wiretappi9ng under the rug, I'm sure THAT kind of sweeping under the carpet is OK with you.

    The vote proves it. call him Hussein all you a matter of fact, let me:

    Mr Rohde: Barack Hussein Obama is your President. Live with it.

    November 9, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Lee, Ann Arbor, MI

    He can say it, but his ACTIONS prove it. He is partisian.

    November 9, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. KLEE

    Richard Rohde; please!! – ACORN has been cleared – a non issue as is the bogus non-issues you bring up like brith certificates etc. get your own birth certificate if you want a birth certificate. If Lindsey Graham Republican from South Carolina is comfortable working with him – that's great! Wants to work with John McCain – this is about putting the country and citizens first NOT innuendos and mis-information – we had enough of that "trash" during the election drama.

    November 9, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. virginia for obama

    Don't you just love touch short people. Rahm Emmanuel is the bomb.
    He will be a great chief of staff because he don't take any @#$% that's why the Republicans are mad.

    You Go!!! R.E. You the man.

    November 9, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. Corey

    I worked at Fannie Mae a decade ago. Doesn't make me a criminal, a thief or unpatriotic, right?|

    Those institutions have been around since 1930s so nearly everybody in DC is connected to it in some form or another. Being part of Fannie Mac and/or Freddie Mac doesn't warrant needless allegations of corruption.

    November 9, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. YayObama

    Richard Rohde:

    You can investigate all the people and organizations you want, but at the end of the day Obama still won by a landslide and he's our next president of the US woooohoooo!!!! Get over it and embrace it!!

    November 9, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. ran

    People get behind this team and don't let those who do not want change get a voice. Now is the time for us to get our country back and working for us all.

    A new day has come upon us and we need to seize it and make the most of it.

    November 9, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Tim

    Emanuel is all about promoting liberalism and the Democrat Party. He can't just re-invent himself now.

    November 9, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. ruty

    Richard Rohde get a life. You sound like a sore loser or just a plain loser.McCain lost, thank God, get over it.

    November 9, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Michael watching from Canada

    Emanuel is making it clear that his new role for the next President is more important than any partisanship that he has demonstrated in the past. In accepting Chief of Staff, he has agreed, in principle, that Obama's vision for change is most important to America and the world.

    And for those who are still caught up in the silly notion that Obama's policies are socialist, how would you describe Bush's economic stimulus in Spring, Bush's $700B bailout, Bush's rescue of Lehman Brothers, Bush's rescue of AIG, and Bush's buyout of other banks?

    November 9, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. G.R.I.T - Girl Raised in the South

    To Richard: Get over it. No one showed up to vote with an drivers' license that said he was Mickey Mouse, those applications were separated out of the stack and handed over to the elections agency as the law requires ACORN to do. William Jefferson cannot be kicked out by Pelosi or Reid or anyone else. He has not yet had a trial and been adjudicated guilty or innocent. Stevens on the other hand was adjudicated guilty. Still can't kick him out, either. The birth certificate has been investigated and is real. President-elect Obama is a citizen. As a side note, even if he was born in Kenya, his mother was a U.S. citizen, therefore he would be as well.

    By referring to our new President as "Hussein" you have made your ignorance, racism and intolerance obvious. I don't even know why I wasted my time typing this.

    November 9, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Barbara in NC

    Richard Rohde – I can smell your prejudice. It's putrid.

    Educate yourself – anyone born to an American is American. McCain was born in Panama Canal Zone. Unamerican? No. McCain and Keating 5 started the de-regulation.

    For God's sake – grow up.

    November 9, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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