(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.
(CNN) - The head of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team said Sunday that the incoming administration is conducting an extensive review of President Bush's executive orders.
Asked about reports that the transition team already has identified a number of areas where Obama could issue executive orders as soon as he takes office, John Podesta said he would not "preview decisions that [Obama] has yet to make."
"I would say that as a candidate, Sen. Obama said that he wanted all the Bush executive orders reviewed and decide which ones should be kept and which ones should be repealed and which ones should be amended, and that process is going on. It's been undertaken," Podesta said Sunday on "Fox News."
Podesta pointed out that there is a lot the president can do without waiting for Congress, and voters can expect to see Obama do so to try and restore "a sense that the country is working on behalf of the common good."
"I think that we're looking at - again, in virtually every agency to see where we can move forward, whether that's on energy transformation, on improving health care, on stem cell research," he said.
Podesta, chief of staff under President Clinton, is president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank that he founded.
Podesta said Sunday that preparations for Obama's transition have been in the works since early August.
(CNN) - In the final hours of campaigning, Sen. Barack Obama is urging his supporters to "be my ambassadors" and "close the deal."
In these last three days, we can't afford to slow down or sit back or let up ... not now, not when there's so much at stake," Obama said at a late rally in Springfield, Missouri, his third stop on Saturday.
Sen. John McCain told voters Saturday afternoon that despite being down in the polls, "we're coming back."
"When I see this kind of support, when I see this momentum, when I see this great support, I know we're gong to win," he said in Perkasie, Pennsylvania.
McCain on Sunday was focusing on Pennsylvania, with rallies scheduled in Wallingford and Scranton. Following his Pennsylvania events, he was expected to travel to New Hampshire for a town hall meeting in Peterborough.
Obama leads McCain by 7 points in Pennsylvania, 51 to 44 percent, according to CNN's latest poll of polls. The state has 21 electoral votes at stake.
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday that Sen. John McCain was now "owning up to the fact that he and George Bush actually have a whole lot in common."
"Just this morning, Sen. McCain said that, actually, he and President Bush - 'share a common philosophy.' That's right, Colorado. I guess that was John McCain finally giving us a little straight talk," Obama said at a rally in Denver.
Obama was referring to McCain's Sunday interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." NBC's Tom Brokaw pointed to a review of McCain's record, which showed he voted with Bush 92 percent of the time.
"So it's a little hard for the public to separate you from this administration, isn't it?" Brokaw said.
McCain highlighted times he has broken with the current administration, saying, "So do we share a common philosophy of the Republican Party? Of course.
"But I've stood up against my party, not just President Bush, but others; and I've got the scars to prove it," he said. "Do I respect President Bush? Of course I respect him. But I pointed out we were on the wrong track in a whole lot of ways."
Obama said Sunday that in the final days of campaigning, voters can expect from the McCain campaign "the same kind of politics that we've seen over the last eight years. It's a politics that is more about tearing your opponent down than lifting your country up."
"We're not going to let George Bush pass the torch to John McCain," Obama said.
Update: McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds released the following statement in response:
“Barack Obama can’t name a single issue or philosophy on which he’s opposed the Democratic-controlled Congress – not one. John McCain opposed President Bush’s wasteful spending policy, his Big Oil energy policy and his efforts to grow the federal government by 40% – Obama supported Bush on all three," Bounds said.
(CNN) - Despite his sagging poll numbers, Sen. John McCain said Sunday that he is "very happy with where we are" and very proud of his campaign.
"We're doing fine," the Arizona senator said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We are very competitive in many of the battleground states."
CNN Election Tracker: Take a look at the latest polling across the country
McCain brushed off polls that show him trailing Sen. Barack Obama, saying those numbers are "all over the map."
"Those polls have consistently shown me much further behind than we actually are. It all depends on the voter turnout ... we're doing fine. We have closed in the last week." he said. State-by-state polling
Obama leads McCain by 8 percentage points (50-42 percent), according to CNN's latest average of national polls.
McCain also spoke out against recent criticism of his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin.
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday tried to paint Sen. John McCain as a candidate who is out of touch with the middle class.
peaking about Friday's presidential debate, Obama accused McCain of not addressing working families.
"We talked about the economy for 40 minutes, and not once did Sen. McCain talk about the struggles that middle class families are facing every day," Obama said at a campaign event in Detroit, Michigan.
The economy took the lead in Friday night's presidential debate, as both candidates highlighted their plans to bring the United States out of what some are describing as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
McCain on Sunday brushed off Obama's latest line of attack, saying he has "bigger things to worry about."
"Who does he think I was talking about when I said 'people on Main Street'? Who did he think I was talking about, about the necessity of helping the American taxpayers and income - and Americans who are out there working and trying to keep their jobs?" he said on ABC's "This Week."
"I've got bigger things to worry about than that."
(CNN) - Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain said Sunday they would probably vote for the government's proposed bailout legislation once they check out the final details.
Congressional lawmakers announced early Sunday they made "great progress" toward reaching a deal on the White House's proposed $700 billion bailout plan.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, said the final plan will be a compromise that includes some of the original Bush administration proposals and elements demanded by congressional negotiators.
In an interview Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," Obama said he had not reviewed the language of the latest proposal, but he said if the core principles he put forth were incorporated into it, his "inclination" would be to vote for it.
The Illinois senator said the final deal must include strong oversight, make sure taxpayers share in any gains when the market recovers, provide relief for homeowners, and make sure taxpayers' money does not go toward any executives' bonuses.
Obama told CBS that it appears those principles have been included, and if that is the case, "my inclination would be to vote for it, understanding I'm not happy about it. We should have never gotten into this place in the first place."
(CNN) - Now that Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain have their first presidential debate out of the way, the focus turns to their running mates.
Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin will face off Thursday at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
There's a lot of anticipation surrounding the VP debate because Palin has remained largely on script in her first month on the campaign trail.
Watch: Europe reacts to U.S. debate
While Biden has a well-earned reputation for impetuous and brutally honest remarks, he's also a long-time senator with decades of experience in the public eye.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the 65-year-old Delaware senator is well versed on foreign policy.
Biden has done nearly 100 interviews since being picked as Obama's VP on August 23.
Palin, on the other hand, did her third interview with a national television network last week. On Wednesday, she held her first media availability with her traveling reporters.
(CNN) - As the candidates try to win over undecided voters, both Republicans and Democrats are pushing a message of change.
CNN's latest "poll of polls" shows Sen. John McCain leading Sen. Barack Obama 47 percent to 46 percent.
Monday's poll of polls shows that 7 percent of voters are undecided - enough to push either candidate over the top.
With the election less than two months away, the candidates have limited time to sway undecided voters who hold the election in their hands.
According to John Avlon, author of "Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics," independent and swing voters are looking for a break from the Bush administration.
"What they're looking for in this campaign is a candidate who's going to end the hyper-partisanship in Washington and who's going to have credibility on reducing spending, but also sort of the antidote to the Bush administration," he said on CNN's "American Morning." "They've been - instead of fiscally conservative - fiscally liberal and socially conservative, and that's the opposite of what independents and swing voters want."
Change essentially means new people and new policies, said Bill Schneider, CNN's senior political analyst.
"It's exactly the theme that people want for this year after eight years of the Bush administration," he said. "But the big puzzle in this election is - what's the best way to get that?"
(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama’s lead in national polls has shrunk to one point, according to CNN’s latest “poll of polls.”
Sunday’s poll of polls shows Obama leading John McCain 44 to 43 percent.
Obama held a three-point lead in Saturday’s poll of polls. The senator from Illinois was leading McCain 45-42 percent.
"All of the surveys included in our national polling average were conducted at least in part during the Republican Convention," noted CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib. "It's still too early to know exactly how much of a bounce McCain has received. That said, the daily tracking numbers indicate that the [Sarah] Palin pick has clearly energized the GOP's base. We have an extremely tight race for the White House on our hands."
CNN’s most recent poll of polls consists of three surveys: CBS (September 1-3), Gallup (September 4-6), and Diageo/Hotline (September 2-4). The poll of polls does not have a sampling error.
The Republican convention took place last week in St. Paul, Minnesota. Democrats held their convention during the last week of August in Denver, Colorado.