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. shar

    Richard-how sad for the people around you that you are stuck in a hate warp. It is people like you who create hatred and division among Americans. Guess Palin would't consider you a "true" American. Get a grip, buck up, and move forward.

    November 9, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Tom in Delaware

    Somebody name me just one point this guy has ceded to a Republican, then I'll believe that he's not hyper-partisan.

    "Never mind what a man says...look at what he does."

    November 9, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Lani in Los Angeles

    It's called the black tax people. Everything Obama does will be scrutinized and criticized. Not because he a liberal but because he's black.

    Fortunately, he is not motivated by public opinion.

    Republicans, get over yourselves. You lost. Now deal with it.

    November 9, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. carol

    Can you Republicans just get over the fact that you lost this election.....the better man won the Presidency, simple as that.
    They keep going on about how President elect Obama......that feels so good to say that....is not going to change because of some of his appointments so far!!!
    He will choose capable, intelligent people for his cabinet......would you prefer he choose folks off the street like McCain's favourite man "Joe the plumber"......get real for heavens sake.
    Is he not ALLOWED to use some of the people he already knows because they aren't "totally new".......what kind of idiocy is that.....by change he means in policy and the way things are done, not just NEW FACES!!!
    I guess though we will have to expect more of this nonsense from the Republicans a while yet, and I expect they will also want everything that they messed up for the past 8 years fixed by JAN 21ST 09.
    This country chose the right man to bring this country together and sort out the problems we have.....we need to be patient though and remember Rome wasn't built in a day, it will take a good long while I'm sure, but together we'll get there.

    November 9, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Medvedev

    Does anybody think that Obama can change whole America in 4 days? Come on guys...It's just ridiculous. I think that Rahm Emanuel is a right choice. So you need a good fighting dog to fight with old wolves from both parties. We just should wait a little.

    November 9, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. Alice Wilson

    Can't we all just get along??

    Nothing ever gets done when people are negative and bitter.

    Let's all just pull together to get this country back on track.

    November 9, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Tom

    What do you Republicans expect, for Obama to select Joe the Plumber as his chief of staff

    November 9, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Ken Sawyer

    This will not be the last broken Obama promise to govern forn the center.

    November 9, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. The view from up here

    Well, it seems that both sides are still at the same old game. As a life long Canadian & political junkie I would like to bring a more balanced view to the charge & counter charge being hurled around this site. Point 1: Obama is "President Elect." He can do very little until GWB is finished. He can appoint his team & talk about his ideas but that is it until he is in Control. SO the right should take a chill pill. Point 2: The only way to succeed is to govern from the center. Contrary to the opinions of the far right & left the center is neither weak or foolish. Only those with great insight can take a wide variety of views & meld them into a policy for the majority. Point3: The idea that Obama is a left wing, socialist radical is nonsense. Fisrt off most people who use that word as a weapon wouldn't know what it means if it ran over them. Obama is no commisar from the Kremlin of the 70's or 80's. Right now the US is in a huge mess. Only the federal Gov't is in a position to bring groups together & provide oversight to fix that which is very broken. We have had a medical system paid for by the gov't for more than 40 years. Yes we have lineups & the system is only now being repaired after years of budget cuts. However, all Canadaians enjoy healthcare & the child mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world. There are more uninsured Americans than there are Canadians. Give that a thought

    November 9, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. JJ in NY

    CHANGE ?

    I guess the chickens are coming home to roost. Obama has to cowtow to the lefty liberals, and picking has-beens like Risch and Emanuel is like a Clinton redux. I guess this is payback for hillary's 16 millions, and now Obama is just another Clinton puppet .

    November 9, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Anne Hamil

    The GOP became a far right party ages ago. Therefore it is understandably that they cannot help but call anyone closer to the actual center a "leftist". But enough Americans are sick of living under the suffocating ideology of the far far right, which is a form of ideological extremism that is highly intolerant of the ideas or needs of anyone closer to the center or the very very very few people in America who aren't afraid of embracing their more left leaning beliefs. America isn't supposed to be an fascistic, intolerant society. At the very least, being liberal allows one to acknowledge, consider and respect difference, even different perspectives put forward by right-leaning groups and individuals. Being on the American right does not afford the rights and respect to anyone outside of their narrow, rigid hardline beliefs. No country can survive such intellectual suppression.

    November 9, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. CT

    Rohde: Shutup

    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Lin lin

    Indeed; the GOP needs to do a self – evalution- all they do is throw slime(why else would L.Graham) state what he did. I would focus on redefinng what the GOP is supposed to beabout – becuase rigt now they are very much in danger of exstinction

    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Anne Hamil

    The GOP became a far right party ages ago. Therefore it is understandable that they cannot help but call anyone closer to the actual center a "leftist". But enough Americans are sick of living under the suffocating ideology of the far far right, which is a form of ideological extremism that is highly intolerant of the ideas or needs of anyone closer to the center or the very very very few people in America who aren't afraid of embracing their more left leaning beliefs. America isn't supposed to be an fascistic, intolerant society. At the very least, being liberal allows one to acknowledge, consider and respect difference, even different perspectives put forward by right-leaning groups and individuals. Being on the American right does not afford the rights and respect to anyone outside of their narrow, rigid hardline beliefs. No country can survive such intellectual suppression.

    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. New Day

    I love this pick. I think Rahm will keep Dems and Reps in focus. As a congressman, he was partisan but, his job here is to get Obama's agenda through congress. The fact that there are so many partisans against this pick is proof that its a good idea.

    November 9, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Alex

    I don't know why Emmanuel has a reputation as a hyperpartisan or an ideologue. This is a guy who, in 2006, angered many in his own party when he recruited people who are opposed to abortion and gun control to run as Democrats in conservative congressional districts.

    President elect Obama needs a do-er who's not afraid to piss off anybody to get stuff done. Rahm is perfect for that role and an outstanding example of what a manager should be like.

    November 9, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Paul

    It's great to see all the sour grapes from the right wing on here. Please keep it up... we need to hear your voices, day after day... and your whining will only further serve to marginalize you while the 'real americans' move ahead with solving this great country's problems - which are largely the result of policies that originate wiht, yes, RONALD REAGAN. Bonzo himself.

    November 9, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. DJ

    wow, talk about hyper-partisanship. an awful lot of it is contained right here in the commentary. Right wing and Left wing crazies playing the blame game. Why don't you take an honest look at where we are as a country and how we got there instead of toeing the party line and spewing hateful rhetoric?

    I certainly hope This Chief of Staff can move beyond partisanship to help the next President in a way which will benefit ALL Americans.

    November 9, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Meka

    To Truth Hurts:

    President Obama, is walking into a 'Lions Den' (thanks to the Bush Administration). President Obama will require–The Best that America has to offer. Like Emmanuel, or not . . . President Obama has proven that he has the "Best Judgement, Best Logic, and the Best Organization" that America has Witnessed.

    Get over yourself, and put those Negative Energies to rest!

    November 9, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. deb

    hey "truth hurts"

    the second barack was announced as the new president, change started. perhaps you should watch some of the video of the entire world celebrating.

    November 9, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Bobby

    Obama is already having a positive effect on the economy. Gun sales are booming!!

    November 9, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. trish, nc

    There go thus funny Republicans again - the crew that locked out Capital Hill Democrats, delivered reports to them at the 11th hour to be voted on, treated the Dems as though they were illegitimate step-children.....OUTED A CIA AGENT....

    HA - yes, THAT'S THE PARTY now screaming for fairness and bipartisanship.

    Excuse me while I chortle and chuckle.

    Obama is a far better man than anyone who is now crying foul, and he will live up to his word.

    November 9, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. JImmy boy

    a lot of people thing that getting bipartisan work is good...i dont i think the GOP should be kicked out...we let them rule for too long...i really do not care what they have to say

    November 9, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Bonnie Haynes

    Are you kidding Richard? do you think these people care about the truth. Of coarse not! they only like to call people names. And of coarse it is always something personal.do you think onn cares if they tell the truth? Just listen to the one sided Larry King.He always has 3to1 on his show But let's face it what else from onn. Let the dumbacrats try if they make a mess and they will it will be a long long time before they get another chance. They are a little too haughty. And believe me They will mess up. Obama is my president now and I will never wish anything but the very best for him and my beloved country. I ony wish the dumbacrats had been half as decent to Bush!!!!!!

    November 9, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    America doesn't have much time to "get it together" now. If we don't and very soon we are going to lose our status as the world's greatest power (if we haven't already).

    Already since Obama's win and McCain's lost I have heard Republican pundits whining and complaining about what a terrible future we will have under an Obama administration.

    Well, folks, let me tell you what a real PRO has to say! Someone who has BEEN THERE!

    My mother is a very sharp and healthy 96 year old woman. She says Obama will be the best president for America in her lifetime.

    My mom is a retired (at age 85) businesswoman, after which she was on her city council for two terms. I think she knows what she is talking about.

    November 9, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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