March 25th, 2010
07:42 PM ET
4 years ago

Rahm doesn't get a thank you, but he does get a high five

(CNN) – He may have not have received a public thank you from President Barack Obama after the health care bill was signed into law earlier this week, but White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN he earned his own private high-five from the president.

In his first interview since Obama enacted the health care bill into law, Obama's top-aide told CNN's Wolf Blitzer he wasn't bothered his boss didn't include his name among the many who were thanked for the passage of the legislation during the high-profile signing ceremony Monday.

"I didn't do this so I would get thanked at the signing or anything else. Let me say this, if that's the question," Emanuel said. "You should know the night that it passed, or the day it passed, he and I - he came by, gave me a high five.

Emanuel, a former member of the House Democratic leadership, is among those widely credited with corralling key votes ahead of the bill's narrow passage Sunday night.

"I have no doubt of my role in this and I feel quite good about that sense of it," he also said.

In the wide ranging interview set to air on The Situation Room Thursday, Emanuel also wouldn't give a timetable on how much longer he would remain the White House Chief of Staff - historically among the most stressful jobs in Washington.

"I am going to make this decision - the president and I will make it," he said. "He can make it anytime. My intention is to continue to work and serve here."

Emanuel is seemingly unfazed by Republican threats to repeal the health care reform legislation.

"I think that we've had a long debate in this country about health care - this year alone, over a year," he said. "But it's been a big debate, not just this year - about how best to reform health care. I think that is important now to implement this correctly and make sure that the benefits get to the American people."

Hoping to move past health care, Emanuel said the administration will continue to focus on a number of priorities, including job creation and education.

"If you go back to the president's speech at Georgetown, he laid out four things that were part of the new foundation - health care reform; access to college education, the funding for that, which is part of this legislation as well," he said.

Emanuel also singled out the recent Supreme Court decision easing campaign finance restrictions as a subject the president plans to address.

"There's legislation moving both in the House and Senate to make sure that we deal with a lot of the loopholes that were left in that decision by the Supreme Court which allow corporate money to run rampant over our campaign," he said.

Story updated with additional quotes at 6:20 p.m. ET


Filed under: Health care • Popular Posts • President Obama • Rahm Emanuel
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Bubble of Sanity

    Rahm is the Karl Rove/Dick Cheney of this administration. I have no problem with President Obama, as I did not with Bush. My problem is with the evil puppet masters that stand behind these men, pulling the strings.

    March 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Cindy

    Actually, it was a high 4-1/2.... lol

    Congrats Mr. Emanuel! You done good!

    March 25, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Rob Johnson

    That's more than you deserve, Rahm.

    Your abrasive personality and old-school politics have been an albatross around Obama's neck from Day One, and this health care bill passed in spite of your arm twisting, not because of it.

    March 25, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Speed

    My friend Rahm will serve HIS friend, The President, as long as The President wants him there.....not one minute longer, not one minute less.

    If any of you pundits don't have that in your head by now, quit your job and give your boss my phone number. Show me where the washroom is and I am ready to report for duty.

    March 25, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Mr. President ... Hire Rachel Maddow

    OK Rahm,

    Now that the media pressure is off you, PLEASE go back to your focus on smaller legislative victories.

    The Administration will benefit from being able to point to a LONG LIST of accomplishments in 2012.

    March 25, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Kevin Dillon

    It is proven that it takes very little to provoke violence in those prone to acting out in this manner. This rhetoric is surely a good fuse for that. Palin, McCain et al can deny it all they want but I hope in their hearts (if they have one) they take responsibity for the outcome.

    March 25, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Moab

    He needs some love for all the cajoling, arm breaking, and bribing that he has perfected. Head of a crime family or Chief of staff for Obama are one on the same.

    March 25, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Spirit of America

    He should give him a pink slip instead. Why is a dual citizen runing the White House? I thought this was an American institution.

    March 25, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. Doug,lib jersey

    Left and right, speak your mind on health care and the goverment take over of our lives and rights, but please refrain from conducting any Rahm Emanuel lib lib tactics. thank you.

    March 25, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  10. Oregon

    Rahm Emanuel wouldn't need this kind of reassurance. Everyone already knows he's a key player.

    March 25, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Not Blue, Not Red, but Purple

    Rahm should be shown the door!

    March 25, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. VICTORY

    Good job Rahm-bo.

    March 25, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Steve

    I can see it now, Obama and Rahm doing the chest bump in the Oval Office.

    March 25, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. TCM

    what a slime-bag. It's a shame our country has to be represented by the likes of this little monkey.

    March 25, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Texas Jack

    OH what a pair. A non citizan meets with another non-citizan while they high five in the White House. Oh Woes is us dumb Americans who stands by and does nothing to stop this atrosity.

    March 25, 2010 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When you're the best at what you do, you don't need praise and Rahm is the best at what he does.

    March 25, 2010 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Don Judson

    He is doing an exceptional job in the 2nd most stressful job in Washington (okay, maybe 3rd after the President and Senate Majority Leader). My recommendation – take a two week summer vacation regardless of which crisis are brewing and recharge your batteries; WE NEED YOU THERE!

    March 25, 2010 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. dan smith

    Heil Obama. When will he start having Acorn rounding people up and putting them in Concentration Camps? It's only a matter of time now, he's already violated the Constitution, and he has plenty of left wing nuts that will follow him.

    March 25, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. ib

    He gets a high five while the taxpayers and senior citizens get the blank word that Biden used.

    March 25, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. Mike

    After the 2012 election the two of them can give high five's on the way out of the White House.

    March 25, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    Probably Obama is not pleased to see Emanuel talking about a high five when he found enough Democrats that could be 'convinced' ( wink wink) to give ObamaCare their vote. High fives are more like when you win a game or something. That's not the public face he wants for this bill. It's tough enough to convince Americans that their taxes going up and their insurance costs going up and their health care getting lousier all at once is a good thing.

    March 25, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    I, for one, greatly appreciate Mr. Emanuel's efforts on behalf of the American people. We all knew going in he's quite the colorful character; but then again, we also knew we'd need his toughness and tenacity.

    Keep up the good work, Sir – and I hope you stick around!

    March 25, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. geoffrey

    Notify me of the updates.

    March 25, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  24. Walter

    Thank you, Rahm. Now, is that better? What trivia!

    March 25, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Good job Rahm. Keep up with the pace...

    March 25, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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