March 25th, 2010
07:42 PM ET
8 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. Sandy

    Thank you Rahm!

    March 25, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. gt

    good job.. just dont let biden ...use the f bomb to say how happy he was...biden is a idiot...with a poddy mouth

    March 25, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Like all good patriots, you don't do it for praise, you do it because it's your job and for the love of your country.

    March 25, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Adam

    The chief of staff usually undertakes a behind-the-scenes roll, and it would be unusual for any president to include a member of his staff in a series of very political thank-yous to members of Congress and the Cabinet. People rarely realize how important and powerful the chief of staff is, and Rahm Emanuel, already relatively high-profile for the job, is clearly a strong-willed occupant of the position, but that wouldn't make it likely for the president to recognize him.

    March 25, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. michael

    im a staunch democrat rahm realy man i cant see why your even in the democratic party , can you explain to us why , or is becouse the rebublican party is so extream right that all the moderate repubs have joind the democrats .beouse i class rahm as a moderate republican , he vary close to the corprets and loves to carry out their wishes .rahm your a corpetist , an a sellout .and you almost destroyed obamas presidency .all rahm does if fight the progressive of the democrats , rahm guess that makes you a retard , he never fights the right or the republicans , rahms a wimp .

    March 25, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. dan smith

    You know your a COMMUNIST when Castro agrees with you as he just did with OBAMA.

    March 25, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. dan smith

    Just another Left Wing Communist.

    March 25, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. Rahm can't possibly be surprised

    No "thank you" ?
    No surprise.
    Egomaniacs like obama think only of themselves.
    Praise nor thank no one.
    Share the spotlight with no one.
    What an ungrateful self-centered ass Obama is.
    The whole country is waiting for him to go down in flames and humiliation. Except perhaps for his lapdogs in the Senate who will soon be booted out.

    March 25, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. Eric


    Sorry, can't think of much anything else to say about him.

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

    High Five Rham!!

    March 25, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. blake

    Lie Lie Lie thats all you do

    March 25, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. cspurgeon

    Cmon wolf..quit looking for headlines...

    March 25, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. Susan L.

    Or as President Obama said at a roast of Rahm Emanuel, "a high four and a half." Referring, of course, to his middle finger which was partially removed in an accident when he was younger.

    March 25, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. tina

    You had the President's Chief of Staff on and asked about a pen? Sir, with all due respect, it's time for you to retire.

    March 25, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Charlie in Maine

    Atta Boy Rahm keep up the good work.

    March 25, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Susan Tarvin

    He's a stand up guy, doing some heavy lifting, and not expecting to get name recognition for what he did. Kudos.

    March 25, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Albo58

    What a Martin Borman-like worm!

    March 25, 2010 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. reACTIONary

    He deserves a high five. And Nacy desrves a high ten! Good work team – you pulled it off!

    March 25, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  19. richard

    a joyous occassion will make you forget all who made things possible sometimes. i was wrong for calling for this man's scalp when i did not know the facts. that mr. emanuel was over ruled on a couple of issues by the president. i questioned who was the prez listening to? i belived it was rahm but when i read huff post and found out it was the prez who superceded him on where the terror trials should be held and the guantanmo closing etc. rahm iam sorry........ you are the grease the keeps the wheels turning.

    March 25, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. question

    How can there be so much celebration to a bill that most polls showed america to be in opposition of or had little understanding of how it would affect them.

    Quality Leadership would have found a way to pull both sides together in a compromising bill. This bill did nothing but cause greater divide in America. How much was lost in this so called victory?

    March 25, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Frank

    Good job Ramm. You are the unsung hero but there are many. Your stock continues to rise out here. Thanks again.

    March 25, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. Obama the Socialist Liar

    Hurry, Hurry November.

    March 25, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. A. Goodwin

    Rahm Emanuel is a hard worker – and he deserves more credit than he is usually given. He might seem a bit abrasive, but the guy is working is a$$ off for the Country, and we owe him big time for all that he has all ready accomplished!

    March 25, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. Fitz in Texas

    With an ego as big as Rahm Emanuel you can bet your last penny he was unhappy his boss forgot to thank him.

    March 25, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. Ramses

    The whole Democratic team should be thanked for all their efforts. Thank you Rahm one million times. We will see, the Democrats will win Big during the next 6 years & the Republican party (RP)down in the pits. I love it. RP is a Hypocritical party. HC is the third big thing that has happened during 100 years in the US & HC will be the greatest for the 21 st Century. Celebrate.

    March 25, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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