(CNN) - Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's chief of staff, is known as a force of nature who efficiently navigates the back halls of Congress to get exactly what he wants.
He is an aggressive political animal who has been known to punctuate his arguments with the F-bomb. Most agree it's not because he's an angry man - it's just part of his foul-mouthed repertoire.
Emanuel's colorful reputation is regularly the subject of Obama's quips. Obama joked at the White House Correspondents Dinner this year that Mother's Day was a difficult holiday for Emanuel because "he's not used to saying the word 'day' after 'mother.' "
But there's so much more to Rahm than his mouth.
Washington (CNN) - With six days to go until a crucial mayoral primary in the District of Columbia, a new survey suggests Mayor Adrian Fenty is fighting for his political life.
A Clarus Poll released Wednesday evening indicates that challenger and D.C. City Council Chairman Vincent Gray leads Fenty 45 to 38 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, with 14 percent undecided. Gray's seven point advantage is within the poll's sampling error. Since Democrats dominate elections in the city, the winner of the September 14 Democratic primary will be considered the overwhelming favorite in the November general election.
The Clarus poll follows by eight days a Washington Post survey that indicated Gray held a 13 point advantage over Fenty among registered Democratic voters and held a 17 point margin among those likely to vote in the Democratic contest.
According to the Clarus poll, Gray, who jumped into the race in late March, leads Fenty by a 62 to 17 percent margin among African American voters, with Fenty holding a 68 to 22 percent advantage among white voters. Fifty-five percent of the survey's sample was African American and 38 percent was white. The Washington Post poll also indicated a large racial divide.
(CNN) - While some Democrats appear ambivalent about President Obama's usefulness on the campaign trail this election season, former President Bill Clinton clearly remains a hot commodity.
His most recently announced trip will take the former president to Ohio next week to make appearances on behalf of that state's embattled governor, Ted Strickland.
The former president will appear at campaign rallies and fundraising events in both Cleveland and Columbus next Tuesday, Strickland campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith tells CNN.
Washington (CNN) – "America's Toughest Sheriff" Joe Arpaio passed on running for governor earlier this year, but the Arizona lawman who has become a national figure for his tough stand on illegal immigration is not closing the door on a presidential run in 2012.
Arpaio, the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County, heads to the early presidential proving ground of New Hampshire Sunday to headline the Nashua Republican City Committee lunch.
"I am honored by this invitation to speak to the largest local Republican Party organization in the great state of New Hampshire," Arpaio said in a statement. "As a native New Englander, I'm looking forward to visiting this state that historically chooses who our next President will be."
Chad Willems, Arpaio's political adviser, said that the sheriff is "not going back to test the waters," but did acknowledge that "People just don't go to New Hampshire if they are not interested in these things."
Washington (CNN) - Despite President Obama's accusation Wednesday that Republicans are holding middle class income tax cuts "hostage" by tying them to an extension of tax cuts for wealthier Americans, the reality is several Democratic senators also oppose allowing President Bush's tax cuts for higher earners to expire.
Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut have each publicly expressed concern about the impact of raising taxes, even on the well-to-do, during an economic downturn.
"The general rule of thumb would be you don't want to do tax changes, tax increases...until the recovery is on more solid ground," Conrad said recently, summarizing their view.
(CNN) – Minority leader Mitch McConnell is cautiously optimistic that he will lead a "larger group" than he does now after the November midterm elections, but stopped short of saying the Republicans will definitely win back the majority in an interview that will air on CNN's John King, USA at 7 p.m. EST.
"I think we can safely say is the wind is at our back and we're going to be very, very competitive," McConnell told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
"Number one, we will not lose a single Republican incumbent senator in November. Number two, we have five open Republican seats, including here in Kentucky. We will win all those. And, we are competitive in the following places where there are Democratic Senators: California, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Dakota, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and probably in Connecticut and maybe West Virginia. …And we will win a number of them, and we will be a more influential group in the next congress," McConnell predicted.
But McConnell acknowledged that the makeup of the Republican Party in the next Congress will be diverse, especially if many of the conservative-leaning Tea Party candidates who have won state primaries make it to Washington.
(CNN) - I’m sitting at my computer watching a woman in Arizona shuffling through an array of firearms and emptying clip after clip into the desert. Terrorist? No. Tactical forces specialist? No. Republican candidate for Congress? Bet your sweet Beretta she is. And she’s not the only one packing iron as we head into this hell for leather midterm election.
We’ll get back to the would-be Laura Croft of Capitol Hill in a minute.
Washington (CNN) – Tim Kaine, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, kicked off the 2010 campaign season Wednesday morning in Pennsylvania, lambasting the Republican Party and Minority Leader John Boehner in a highly partisan speech.
Kaine's address stuck to a script likely to be repeated by Democratic office seekers all over the nation as the midterm elections approach, as he ticked off the legislative accomplishments of President Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress.
But Kaine did go after House Minority Leader John Boehner, saying he is already "measuring the drapes."
TOPICS: Senate race in California, Florida and Kentucky; governor race in California and Florida