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. Uncle Sam

    John McCain for a cabinet post!

    November 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Gambi

    Is there anyway you can impeach Limbaugh and Hannity?

    November 9, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Don B. from Texas

    If possible I think Rahm should be as open and aggressively inclusive as Bush's chief of staff was. Oh but! Oh well, if that happened we really would have a repeat of the "last eight years".

    I believe Rahm knows what President-elect Obama wants and will deliver. This election was indeed about change and hope. And if the American people do not get it this time, it will seek it again next time

    November 9, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. joyce

    To Beth and Jay:
    You two are idiots. Nuff said!

    November 9, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. pam

    Dear 30-m-PA-Democrat-voted McCain

    Let me tell you something. People cannot pay the mortgage because they lose their jobs. If Democrats want to help low-income people have houses, what is wrong with that? These people could afford the mortgage for several years and why they have to stop paying now.

    November 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. chelseafran

    Personally, I think he made a great choice. Anybody who can make both parties go "Oh crap" will make a great COS.

    And for Richard Rohde: Didn't you get the memo last Tuesday? Angry old men are SO over!

    And where are all of the investigations of the Republican/Bush Administration wrongdoers? We'll be waiting a very long time to see all of the rats flushed off this sinking ship, I think.

    But anyway, hope is a miraculous thing. You should try it some time.

    November 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. virginia for obama

    This is to Truth Hurt. . . . You really really need to get a life. Also get some 21st century education. Go travel the world or something or better still go catch a ferry or take a bus ride across the country. Just get out of Mayberry RFD for God Sake.

    November 9, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Ann,

    It appears after reading all these comments, the invective hurled at you if you say anything but glowing praise for Obama is staggering. If Democrats expect co-operation from republicans then they better get over the hatred they spew towards the other side as well. You can't even get over hurling insults to those who say they still preferred Hillary. If Obama expects to work co-operatively then he better get his own supporters on board first.

    November 9, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. California Gold

    S Callahan, your post should be mandatory reading for all. Well said.

    November 9, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Joseph Nigg

    "Country First" (instead of party first) is a great slogan. Let's all give it a chance to succeed. As in horse-pulling contests, it will take an elephant and a donkey to pull equally at the same time to move the load.

    November 9, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Blue balloons

    Obama is a liberal democrat, and I say that in a good way. What's he supposed to to Republicans? Line his entire staff with conservative republicans? Already you are complaining about his selection of Rahm and possibly Kerry. I'm pretty sure Dick Lugar and Hagel will be offered positions, and they are republicans. But the more "you people" (I used one of your expressions) stand in the way of progress and complain with bitter remarks, the more unlikely it will be that we will offer staff positions to republicans. Maybe you should rechannel that angst you seem to have into finding a way of giving the GOP a new image makeover. You've got 4 years, so you better get started.

    November 9, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Mizz (I)

    to Rohde
    I don't even know why I would respond to such an idiot bigot nut job? Prez Elect Obama is an American last I checked Hawaii is a state. He is intelligent (something obviously you would know nothing about)! He will pick the best people to help us move forward. He will be your president too! My hope is that he gets the Healthcare fixed so that you can get the much needed mental help! Actually you might consider moving to a country like Iran were your hate and ultra right type of thinking would be better served. Bye to you

    November 9, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Carl Justus

    We have a republican that likes to tell the country they are all Christians, yet they do not act like Christians. The very first day that Obama that Emmanual accepted the chief of staff they started JUDGING HIM and saying what he will do. We have eight years of them saying one thing and doing another.

    Maybe if the republicans would read the Bible they like to say they believe in they would understand that they have already judged Emmanual and my Bible says the judgment you give is the judgment you get, so either they are lying about believing in the Bible or they are not reading it or not being able to do the things it says we should do.
    We are saved by Faith, and that not of ourselves, but the gift of God, not or works lest any man should boast. James says we should show our faith by our works.

    November 9, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. nyc homeless conservative

    Because this is a liberal website I quess anyone who even questions the "Great One" will get treated like good old joe in ohio.
    It is time to say hello to the fairness doctrine and goodbye to the bill of rights "THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH"

    November 9, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. IDSkinner

    We're all doomed!

    November 9, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. brad

    How many of you have ever been hired for a job, and then we're attacked constantly about that job before you even started?

    Give him at least a year. If he's blowing it in your mind, then feel free. But give him a year.

    November 9, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. IDSkinner


    November 9, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Retired Patriot

    My respect for you will go off the charts if you stand up against Pelosi and Ried.If you rise above the far left wing i will vote for you next time.Good luck

    November 9, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    You guys still haven't learned who Obama is? Didn't he blow your minds during the election process? He won overwhelmingly! And I can not believe that you nuts are still underestimating this guy? What is wrong with you? Once again, he going to have to show you people what he his made of. So, sit back , relax, don't comment, keep your mouths closed because he going to give you guys another Barack-A-Shock! You republicans are just guttens for punishment! I guess hell has to freeze over before you guys recognize tha Obama is the MAN! And you can not mess with the MAN! The world loves him! His approval ratings is already at 67 percent and he is not even in office yet! Don't hate, congratulate! He's your president tooo!

    November 9, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. Karen Beaumont, TX

    Emanuel is tough. He is perfect for the chief of staff job. Obama needs someone he can trust. Extremely important that he feel comfortable with whoever he appoints for this. Wise choice. I am sure he is putting much thought into the other positions. By the way, the FEMA director needs to be a cabinet position.

    November 9, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. liz


    CNN dont post like you always do.

    November 9, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. RyanD.

    Forget bi-partisanship. That would only work if the GOP had any honor or tact, but they don' its time to cram our agenda down their throats like they did in 2000+. Maybe something will get accomplished.

    November 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Lois

    Republcans are against this choice? And you wanted Palin to be VP? Are you people SERIOUS?

    November 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. IDSkinner

    Hey, we all want him to succeed. Not speaking for the 55,000,000 that DIDN'T vote for him, I believe that the "Change We Need" isn't the change we need. Overwhelming in electoral, but not in popular vote, referring to an earlier post. This remains a democracy and MANY of us, including me, have not been happy with the last administration. I also voted for Clinton for both terms, but BO is very suspect to me and many I speak with.

    November 9, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. trying to be reasonable in West Virginia

    Stop the pseudo psychoanalysis about the Emanuel appointment. Obama and crew aren't even in office yet, so your indignant prognostications about Rahmbo may be placed where the sun doesn't shine.

    And talk about hypocrisy! After Rove's despicable record and Palin-the-Pitbull's OH-SO-BIPARTISAN persona (NOT!), whining about stuff Emanuel MIGHT do seems a bit hysterical to me.

    I think OBAMA MUST govern from the center if he wants to get the right things done, so I hope that the leftists of the Democratic party do back off. That said, Republican whining is (for now, and I bet far into the future) just a waste of oxygen.

    November 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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