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. KJL

    It's not surprising that Emanuel scares the Republicans. They have dumbed down their leaders, and smart Democrats are a threat they aren't equiped to deal with.

    November 9, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. republicans hate america

    who cares if he's far left we've had to swallow the far right now for 14 years and they have been wrong on everything get over it already! you were given an opportunity for your stupid ideas to be heard and they failed miserably. we are now not going to give you a place to participate just because you clowns think its fair.

    November 9, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Ken Sawyer

    Lets bow down and follow the leader to where ever it is we are going.

    November 9, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    Dear GOP,

    I can guarantee you that despite what you deserve, you will be treated well by this administration. Obama will keep his word and listen to you even though when you were in charge you listened to no one.

    November 9, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. jt

    This guy is a Washington player who plays the same old politics.. He is a smart guy but he plays the same game.

    No Change on this choice..

    I am interested to see the change that Obama promised.

    He said he is going to change Washington. So far he has paraded bunch of Washington players.

    He is going to get rid of lobbyist. I think Rham knows this guys.

    Or maybe Obama was just saying things to get elected.

    November 9, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Seth, Nebraska

    This is directed towards "offwallst":

    Number one, turn caps lock off. It isn't a difficult key to find on the keyboard. Typing in all caps does not in fact make you seem more important, in reality it makes you look like an idiot. Proper use of the period helps as well.

    Number two, the fact that you say Regan is the best president we've ever had totally negates any validity that you may or may not have had. Keep spewing your conservative garbage, it won't help. You had your time and now it's up.

    Emanuel is a fantastic choice. He has been around the block more then a time or two and he knows how to get things done.

    November 9, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |



    No wonder the GOP lost.

    We're sick of your divisiveness. Do your research before you post your inane comments here.


    Moderator, sleeping on the keyboard again ,eh?

    November 9, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  8. Karen

    Richard Rohde: "Hussein" will be our president instead of "CAIN" the murderer, who, incidentally, also worked with ACORN. Whatever you think, this is a democracy and Obama won.

    November 9, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Mac in Nova Scotia

    Her it comes. Probably every cabinet appointment that President Elect Obama makes will be attacked from Republicans and others. If he appointed Jesus Christ as Chaplain they would complain about that too. Obama is the next President and unless you are ready to work with him then you really don't care much for your country.

    November 9, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Texas Teacher

    Michael Evette... .it's not sad, it's IGNORANT!

    Some of these republicans are too stupid to open their minds to facts! How can we expect them to decide who is best to run this country. Thanks be to the Creator that many are waking up to this fact! Think for yourselves, People, don't be sheep like Richard who cannot think for himself. It is pure ignorance to allow anyone to lead you over the nearest cliff with lies, slander, and attacks... instead of substance and plans for policies that will bring about change.

    This is why I post my comment before I read the others.... as soon as I start reading, I am appalled at the nonsence the other side is still spewing!

    Get a life, Right Wing Fanatics.... pull that ring out of your noses and stop being led around by the ropes of the Limbaughs, McCain/Palins, Glen Becks, Lou Dobbs, and their ilk!

    November 9, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Steve Gill

    It is now time to be patient and see what actually happens. Though the specter of Emmanuel could be seen as partisan, this is not the time to judge how Obama will govern. The direction and the philosophical approach from the top has a great influence on subordinates. Obama has shown great ability to propagate his philosophy through his organizational structure. My observation is that Obama is not a highly partisan politician.

    He is not president yet and though he will not have the luxury of the traditional honeymoon period, he does deserve a little patience on our part; let him actually preform as president before the judging begins.

    November 9, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. A doer not a naysayer

    Please Folks....We will never get together in our government or our
    policies if we say we can't. Can't is not a word that should be used
    in any phase of our life if we want to progress, grow and succeed.

    November 9, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. tom

    I am a Democrat and voted Obama--however-if he is too partisan, too left wing , he will be a one term President. He has an opportunity to bring fresh ideas to a country in great distress. Hopefully his chief of staff understands the true need for bi-partisanship. But if he does not, the ultimate responsibilty falls on the President who will set the tone.

    November 9, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. nate

    Is this where I can get a membership to the Richard Rohde fan club? LMAO...

    November 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. Jay

    Another thing as well, if any of you Democrats expect us conservatives to unite behind YOUR president, think again. We are just not going to forget the 8 years of hate and divisiveness from the Democrats and the left. You just don't forget 8 years of hatred and act like it never happened. If you really think we are going to just forgive and forget that hatred and we are all going to break bread together under Obama, you can forget it. We have every intention of treating Obama the exact same way your side treated Bush.

    November 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Raphyel Rosby

    Its funny...some super-republicans are calling it Obama's Recession. Its very funny how Bush made it his point not to refer to it as a recession, but as soon as we have a president elect, it is a full blown recession all of a sudden. You know, no matter what someone says or tries, the super-republicans will never listen to anyone except the voices in their own heads, and its useless to try to reason with them.

    November 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Beth

    Please understand there is only President now....Obama has not been sworn in yet.....He may think he is President now, but he is not.....Yes, I am democrat who voted Republican now....I looked at the qualifications of Obama and community organizer did not cut it....Yes, we will give him four years-get out your pocket books and get your check ready for the government as they want your help...spread the wealth remember--when he starts putting his Chicago thugs on his committees and such get ready for the socialism to be in your backyard......The problem was many people did not research any of the candidates 'they voted anything but Bush mentality' and never read about the real Obama. It wont be long and he will show his true colors.....Enjoy in your glory-–as it will be short lived.....Listen to Biden-–we will be tested and I for one am scared if the Community organizer will even know what to do...

    November 9, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. DW

    Interestingly the success or failure of the first leg of Obama's presidency may in large part be determined by whether or not the Republican constituency actually decides to stop with the partisan sniping and allegations and actually tries to help return this country to greatness, or if they stay mired in the politics of anger and fear (thanks, Bush administration)

    Choice is yours, Republicans. But remember, please: you absolutely could have had this election and you shot yourself in the foot with a totally erratic campaign and an outdated message.

    It's to the point in all honesty where I just don't want to listen to anything coming out of the Republican Party. Just, no. It's all the same stuff. I'm a moderate who might realistically have voted either way but the Republican message is just horrible right now. You really do sound like part of the problem. I'm being nice by telling you this, I'm really trying to: Stop with the negativity or you're going to keep killing yourself as a political voice to huge, huge chunks of the voting populace. You're sounding nasty and vindictive and nobody wants any of what you're selling.

    November 9, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Becky, Midwest

    Of course he does! What do you expect from this guy, to admit his past mistakes? Please! He and those just like him are part of the problem. There will be no change in Washington DC. Politics as usual, when you use the same old politicians.

    November 9, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  20. Sad just sad

    Judging from the comments in this particular story, it seems we are a LONG way from bi-partisanship.

    There are a few conservatives here who still haven't gotten over the loss throwing invective and there are also alot of liberals here positively gleeful in sticking it to the other side.

    All of this started just from the choice of Rahm Emmanuel. Say what you want, but I'm not seeing ANY bi-partisanship anywhere here.

    November 9, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Dixon

    Richard Rohde: I doubt there is room for anything under the rug after Chaney's VP time. We will be finding garbage under his rug long after he is gone. All of your name calling will not change the fact that Barack is the nations pick. In fact it seems the world is much happier with our choice this time around. Maybe we can repair some of the damage done by the past administration. As for you, the name calling days to win the White House are over.

    November 9, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. JO-ANN


    Don't even try it!!! Just wishful thinking on your part...Obama won fair & square!!! Hi Hater!!!!

    November 9, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Sean Chong

    Well, of course, the GOP is expecting Obama to chose Karl Rove and Donald Rumsfeld for his cabinet to "reach" across the aisle. GOP rarely complain about themselves being the divider, when Sarah Palin mentioned the "Real" America, the "more patriotic" America, and she once said "I will choose the right idea than the party". Obama has already said that George Bush policy is failing America, so I don't think he will chose many GOPs. The right solution may not be a bi-partisan one. Obama's change is about a change to the entire America, and not just Washington. Mccain's change is restricted to the White House, Senate and Congress.

    November 9, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Dem for McCain

    I hope John McCain is considered for an Obama cabinet position (if he choses to accept).

    That would be a win-win, would show Obama truly believes in unity.

    November 9, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Ryan

    To 'charlie in maine' – so the GOP will be well treated by the Obama administration? Then in the first week (not even a week) as President -elect, Obama makes a snide remark about a 90 year old former first lady and hires a Chief of Staff who has sent a dead fish to someone who had offended him and has stood before fellow Democrats and wil stricking a knife to table, whilst mentioning Republican's names, followed by "dead!"

    Change? I think not. More like, politics to the extreme same.

    November 9, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
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