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. Danny, OH

    Richard Rohde, your party lost. Stop Whining and get over it. Most Americans are going to remember the last 8 years for the rest of their lives.

    November 9, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. hi

    Richard Rhode, we can see that you are still better with the outcome o the election. Live or die, the people of US has spoken. You can either agree to work along or you die in your bitterness.

    Yes we can.

    November 9, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Mook from Canada

    Hey Richard Rohde, whose stange van is that parked up your street?better close your curtains and lock your doors, it's the evil democrats waiting to snatch you to keep you quiet about all those hidden conspiracies.

    November 9, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Andre

    Change takes time peoples ... it does not happen overnight. Rome after all was not built in a day!

    It was expected that some of President Obama's cabinet will include ole croonies of capitol hill.

    The Republican party needs to engage in constructive critisism and refrain from opposing for opposing sake ... thats what it seems like so far anyways.

    November 9, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. 30-m-PA-Democrat-voted McCain

    Richard, you are correct. I guess you can think of it this way. The Democrats will be cleaning up after themselves. They helped cause the financial crisis by pressuring banks to give loans to people who coulnd't afford them. They got us into this mess and now it's up to them to get us out of this mess. At least we hope. Hope and change!! lol

    November 9, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. icfantv

    I think Boehner is just crying sour grapes. As he's the minority leader he has to help his party save face in any way they can and so instead of embracing the fact that we'll have a Democratic congress and white house, he's going to cry like a baby and use every decision made by Obama in a negative tone. As Obama campaigned on, that's not change, that's more of the same.

    It seems that the only time some old-school politicians are happy is when they're complaining about something the other side did.

    Oh, and Richard, Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, was being paid $15K/month up until the day Fannie/Freddie were taken over by the government. I mean, let's call a spade a spade here.

    November 9, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. Ije

    Dear Richard Rohde.. Take your bitterness elsewhere. Move on... Try and work together to resolve the huge Economic disaster looming. Sen John McCain did not win... Get over it and help get the Country back on track.

    November 9, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  8. Grant

    Who cares if he is hyper-partisan? The Republican's are going to complain about every choice just like the Democrats did with Bush. But lets get down to it. We have already seen what the Republican's can do, and that was flushing us down the toilet. So lets pick some strong democrats, and see what they can do.

    November 9, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  9. joebloe

    Here it comes. Let us all remember Rush Limbag's "Days Held Hostage" from Clinton's time as president and the hyper-bitter "no Democratic idea is a good idea" from the Republicans in Congress. Personally I say "go with that" since it worked so well these last 2 elections.
    But if they would truely like to fix the problems in this country, why don't we all put partisan BS behind us and work to find solutions, not more problems.
    We can see what happened with ACORN, AND get rid of voter purges and other voter disenfranchisement. Let us not hide from solutions that benfit ALL Americans.

    note to Richard: you might want to let your conspiracies go, you kinda sound like a conspiracy "nutjob". When your side can win on the issues that affect all Americans, all the power to you!

    November 9, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Melissa

    I think the GOP need to knock off the scare tactics. I'm very sick of it. Just let the man do his bloody job instead of point fingers all the time.

    November 9, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    Richard Rohde

    I see that you are still in campaign mode, I feel sorry for you and your inability to move on. Poor Richard and his conspiracy theories, now you are starting to sound like those people who believe Bush planned the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At least one of the issues you raise has already been debunked, Obama's birth cert is genuine, try for more info. As for the other issues, try doing some actual research but wait a minute! I forgot you are so distrusting of media you're probably not likely to believe it no matter the source. Look at Richard, shooting the messanger but not the message.

    November 9, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. Rob

    So long Republican Party. I would say if was fun so but that would be a lie so I won't. Look on the bright side Richard. You could always move to Alaska. They still have Stevens and Palin for now at least.

    November 9, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. offwallst


    November 9, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. ines

    John Boehner is just making himself look really bad. All the negative backlash the McCain-Palin ticket brought back on the GOP, Boehner is just raising his hand to take more of it on. Way to go down with the GOP, Boehner..

    November 9, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Watermann

    Without having any idea of how president-elect Barack Obama is going to build his cabinet etc, John Boehner is already spreading this old fashioned and useless scrap around. It seems that they still don`t understand.

    November 9, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. mitch

    right-winger's appear to be sore losers. what happened to 'country first'? oh yeah, it was just a campaign slogan to them.

    November 9, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Harry, IL

    Rahm, you are wrong. How can you be bi-partisan when you have been so partisan all along. Do you want to change your skin now. Barack himself has radical views in his heart. No way. We can expect all agenda from left. I think Jeremiah Wright and others should join you. We cannot forget the campaign you fought misleading people. Let the fun begin. American people are watching how you can satisfy everybody based on your agenda. It cannot happen because you (Barack) have no experience whatsoever.

    November 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Anne Hamil

    Anyone who has studied Rahm Emmanuel knows that he is driven first and foremost by a commitment to "getting it done". The WSJ article on him published this weekend also clearly indicates he believes a President should prioritize living up to the promises of their campaign, in this case Obama strongly communicated a need and a will to move forward in a less partisan, more unified manner. I have no doubt this bright Chief of Staff will be pushing an agenda of unification and getting things done. He's no ideologue, he is incredibly pragmatic, much like the President he will serve. It's a great fit.

    November 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  19. facts are facts

    The right wing might just as well get over it they lost and thier right wing agenda is gone by the way of the dodo bird............It's over!

    People elected Obama for change and change is not center or center right it left and as far left as he can go. Once Americans get to experience life under policies and legislation designed to look after the majority of the citizens they will never go back to conservatism.

    The GOP and to some degree even the Democrats have brainwashed the public into believing their existence depends on right wing legislation but when people see how detrimental this has been to their lives they will never go back to the Republicans. Don't hold back Obama go for it and give America a chance.

    November 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. Michael Evette

    Richard, that's sad you still bring up Obama's birth certificate. He is "President-elect" already. Nobody can get that far without being a US citizen. Research it. And the use of words like "Hussein" and "Socialist" that spark fear into the uninformed American's mind, that's another lame attempt to use scare tactics and fear to sway people's opinions. Frankly, I think it's flat out wrong that you continue to echo what the Republican party tried to use to win the presidency in a time that requires everyone, both rationale and dogmatic partisans, to focus on our common values and set aside our ideological preferences. Yes continue to question and challenge everything, but do some research before making your ignorance known. I hate to see smart people using their knowledge for their or their party's own agenda at the expense of the greater good of this country.

    November 9, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Dan from Philly

    Emanual was a great choice. He's tough and that's good.

    November 9, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. w.l. jones

    When I were young my teacher taught liberalism were a interlecteral person. It appears he is well verse not only in Leberal Art but how thing is done in government.

    November 9, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Loletha

    People the change that has come is God’s will, stop the rhetoric and remember who's watching over all of us. (GOD)
    This country is not just black and white, its Asian, Hispanic, black, white we live in a multi-racial country of all races. I truly believe this is a message Our Lord and Savior is opening our eyes up to see.

    Let's humble ourselves unto the changes the Lord has sent

    November 9, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Linda from AZ


    Get educated and get out of the house into the real world. Everyone has always had pity for the fools of this world.

    November 9, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. hi

    30m from PA. I guess the answer to your suggestion is " Were you better in the last eight years than Bill Clinton's economic boom years?

    All of you Joe the Plumber that are owning back taxes, go get a life. You candidate has lost with a huge margin. You can criticize all you want, but that would't change anything.

    Shame on the republican party for putting us in this mess. You guys do not have the moral right to criticize the Obama administration. He is trying to clear the mess you all created.

    November 9, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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