November 9th, 2008
12:50 PM ET
5 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. Joe - Chicago, IL

    When I think of how the republicans behaved for the last eight years, "Bi-partisan" is not one of the words that comes to mind. President-elect Obama is giving every indication that he's going to take the high road and be bipartisan, despite the fact he has a huge mandate compared to his predicessor. But he's not going let the RNC be a bunch of unreasonabl whiney children, hence Emanual.

    November 9, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Anubis

    Do the republicans not get it? I mean how stupid are Republican strategists?

    WE AMERICANS ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE FINGER POINTING AND BLAME GAME. TAKE THE PRESIDENT ELECT ON HIS WORD AND LETS MOVE FORWARD. ATTACKS ARE ONLY DIGGING YOU IN A BIGGER GRAVE WITH INDEPENDENTS LIKE MYSELF. SO WHAT IF HE IS PARTISAN. WE GAVE REPUBLICANS THE BLANK CHECK IN 2000 THEY NEEDED TO MOVE THE COUNTRY FORWARD IN THEIR VISION. WELL WE AS CITIZENS HAVE SAID ITS WAS THE WRONG DIRECTION NOW WE WILL GIVE IT BACK TO THE DEMS AND SEE WHAT THEY CAN DO. BOTTOM LINE YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE!

    November 9, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. KPLT G

    The 56 million people who voted for McCain should "cash out" of the economy. No spending, no investing and work less.

    The will ensure that the economy cannot support a tax hike.

    Operation "CASH OUT"

    November 9, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Beth

    Amy–perhaps you are the one that needs therapy and needs to learn how to use spellcheck....putting your blog in BOLD just shows how immature you are....research a bit and you might learn something. your blog has no basis....Just a bunch of nothing.....You were probably one of the ignorant left wingers who knew nothing about politics or researching candidate-just vote from the CHANGE mentality.....check out change.gov and join in your movement and will see how you are in four years.....

    November 9, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Shannon

    I'm a Democrat, and this man is a hyper partisan, and by his selection, it proves Obama is not going to keep his word about uniting the country. Harry Red's comments about Lieberman show he has no intention of working together. I went third party because I knew Obama would never walk the walk, he is all talk. His vote for FISA and his support of the Cheney energy bill prove that. His word means nothing, his flip flop on public financing shows that. It's going to be think my way, or get out, you've all been had Obama supporters.....how long before you admit it. There's already talk, that we won't be pulling out of Iraq anytime soon.

    November 9, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Badger

    To offwallst,

    In 20 years, half of the repubs will be dead from old age. The party of division is dying.

    November 9, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. Gordon, Payson, Az

    >>The Republican National Committee put out a press release shortly thereafter that said, “Obama’s Broken Promise

    The die hard Repubilicans are so pathetic.

    November 9, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Healing through Justice

    For those of you spouting "hater, negative this, positive that, you lied, you're cool"

    WELCOME TO THE "ROBUST DISCUSSION" THAT IS A DEMOCRACY.

    It'nt it cool ; )

    God bless you, stay informed, aspire to communicate clearly and intelligently.

    November 9, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Ken

    Where is the change? Obama said that he was going to be different kind of President, and yet his first choice is a long time Washington insider. I don;t see the change there.

    I hope that Obama is going to make better choices in his cabinet in the future. We, the American people to have the best of the best, regardless of there party affiliation.

    I am tired of hearing about how the other Democrats are jogging for a position in Obama's cabinet. A good example is Richardson, who I believe that he should remain as Governor.

    November 9, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Rick

    The main stream media is quietly beginning to admit that they dont know who this guy is:
    Now that is very scary!!

    November 9, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Jill

    This is to all those folks who are going to "treat" Obama the way the far left "treated" Bush. Do you really think that Bush did a good job and was good for this country?

    Why not do what your parents and grandparents did for this country – Support it and make it better for your children. Your most important allegiance isn't to your party – it is to your country. You act like you want this country to fail so that you can say I told you so.

    November 9, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Marie

    Paula, you asked how Obama has broken his promise. Well, let's start with his vote for FISA. When he was running for the nomination he was against it, and as soon as he got the nomination he voted for it. A Democrat who voted to give our government the right to spy on us. Maybe you agree with that, I don't, and I would never support anyone who did.

    Second, he signed a pledge to accept public financing of his campaign. He went back on HIS WORD, and backed out, in doing so, set back reform of Washington DC forever.

    Please learn the facts before giving your candiate credit for something he's not, and that would be a man who keeps his promises. As a Democrat, I think FISA is one of the most despicable acts ever to be perpetrated on the American people. Maybe Obama supporters don't believe in the constitution, I do.

    November 9, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Andrew

    Mike, Syracuse NY, shows you how much you know. If Harris and the corrupt individuals on the supreme court would not have intervened Gore would have won in 2000. Florida did the recount afterward and Gore won in every scenario. The country is in deep trouble, if the republicans become obstructionists they will be punished even further.

    November 9, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. KLEE

    I have just had a thought......that the folks posting such negative & vile comments - this is really the only place they have to keep their non-viable comments going – their family and friends don't want to listen to them – so they keep showing up here repeating themselves over and over - and nobody can see their face and they have the ability to hide themselves in these blogs and they get so much attention because they know what buttons to push....maybe we need to try a little reverse physicology here!

    November 9, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Susan, NC via LA

    Didn't think I'd say this, but thank you Lindsey Graham!

    November 9, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. MARYANN Oswego IL

    Hillary better be somewhere in the NEW CABINET...she stepped down (pushed out) She got on board and won FLORIDA for OBAMA...Hillary knows how to get things done with democrats and republicans.......I better see STRONG WOMEN in this cabinet.......it should not be the OLD BOYS CLUB

    November 9, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Jersey John

    Rahm Emanual is to the Dems as Newt Gingrich was the the GOP: very good, very intelligent, and very partisan. That said, this appointment alone does not set a partisan tone. I look forward to the President-Elect's promised bipartisanship in other areas. It was President Bush's partisanship, more than his policies, that created the situation our country is in today. We need bipartisan leadership to get us out.

    November 9, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Michelle

    "President Obama is very clear, as you look at his career, both in the state senate, U.S. Senate..."

    Yes, you would see that he was present, but not making any decisions.

    November 9, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Finally!

    To the Repubs: Lead, follow, or get out of the way. Well, maybe just follow or get out of they way. The leadership thing didn't work out.

    Give Obama a break. He has made ONE appointment so far. I think it's much better than the Palin pick.

    November 9, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Lynn in NM

    Wait a minute! He is a "tough partisan" and "tough political infighter"? That can't be. The only thing the Dems are "tough" on is the Republicans. Other than that, they are loving, peaceful, and speak French. There must be some mistake. Obama would not appoint anyone that's "tough".

    November 9, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Joseph in tx

    don't be stupid Jay. You're being a typical Republican just jumping at Emanuel (who i very highly doubt you even knew about until this week) over some random little fact the GOP is escalating into something. Did it ever occur to you that he might have understandably gotten frustrated with all the poor excuses of Congressmen in the House?

    I mean, the majority of Republican representatives ARE Republicans because they're misguided conservatives that get their support from OTHER conservatives and rant about lower taxes and things and act like children when the people who actually know something about running a government, rather than baseless and disproven ideologies, are trying to get things done. So yeah, grow up.

    November 9, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Darrell

    Karl Rove, Jr.

    It looks like Obama and Co. have abandoned the change and hope of bi-prtisan promises for political power and expediency.

    Congratulations to all the dopes who voted for him and his fellow Chicago-mobocrats.

    And to all the liberal whiners who berated Karl Rove for being partisan, way to break the mold...hypocrites.

    November 9, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Aaron from MN

    Rahm Emanuel will take his orders from Obama. He is a professional and will get things done. He will be partisan when Obama tells him to and non-partisan when Obama tells him so. As president, the last thing that you would want is a weak chief of staff.

    As for people talking about the mortgage crisis. Most people have no one to blame but themselves. You must always look out for YOU. Would you trust a car dealer to look out for you? Why would you trust a real estate agent who just wants their 6%? Other problems were loan fraud with the consent of the borrowers (no-doc or low-doc loans?, please)

    November 9, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Larry the Cable Guy

    Congratulations to America

    Congratulations to President Elect Barack Hussein Obama and First Lady Michelle.

    Well Done

    Hope Springs Eternal for the World
    A Canadian

    November 9, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. Joseph in tx

    Hey Mike, did it ever occur to you that maybe democrats would actually consider what Republicans have to say if they weren't always acting like children? It's been less than a week since Obama won and all anyone ever hears from Republicans is "zomg 4 years of hell!" and when asked why all they say is "higher taxes, socialist, terrorism, russia, etc" and other bs things.

    Whenever a Republican suggests a good idea instead of just mindlessly and childishly voting against everything the Big Bad Democrats push forward, i'm sure Obama will listen. He HAS talked about working with McCain, after all, seeing as McCain is one of the few Republicans that isn't a retarded social conservative that treats the Democrats like the anti-christ.

    November 9, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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