November 9th, 2008
12:50 PM ET
11 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. Simmy

    He's got a tough skin, the kind needed for Washington pit bulls, and those already complaining. President Obama knows what he is doing, and I would hope that you McCain Spoilers find your way back to Hannity's(Fox's) blog ASAP! There were only a few of you before the election results came in. After President Obama's victory, you began coming out of the woodworks like roaches! Please go away!

    November 9, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. David

    I for one look forward to 4 years of governing from the center...which might be hard seeing as how Barry selected a hyper-partisan

    It's funny...8 years of trying at every opportunity to undermine Bush and now we all have to be "bi-partisan" and help Obama

    As for all these people talking about a "stunning record breaking landslide" win for Obama; it was actually a very average election, on par with the Bush-Clinton race

    We've had enough division. For years we tried to undermine and destroy Bush and republicans

    Can't we all work together and support Obama?


    November 9, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Peter

    Rahm will be fine, and remember, John Boehner's words are worth as much as my socks, nothing

    November 9, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Pat Pa.

    To Richard Rohde
    It's about time you woke up and smelled the coffee. Most of the " stuff " you are trying to make issues are not issues at all. Please do some research and stop being so angry about things that are not true. Go into FactCheck or TruthorFiction or Snopes, or some of the other links that can help you, because you really do need some help.

    Obama is President Elect and thank God he is.

    November 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Glenn Martin

    I work very hard for my money and I am not rich. But for Obama to take it from me and give it to many across the board who do not come close to deserving or needing it, the concept goes way against the principles of this country, Julian. So can't we all just get along and have a love-in, I am afraid we can't accept Obama who re-wrote the Constitution and promises 95% if the people gifts and good tidings. We are rapidly becoming the USSR, United State Socialist Republic.
    That's not good for your children, is it, i.e. stifle hard working and committment?

    November 9, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. hometowndemocrat


    Reagan was the best president in us history?

    You should pick up a history book and read it one of these days. He should have been impeached for the whole Iran Contra Affair.....look it up.

    November 9, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. Peggy

    If the political world talks to each other and treats each other like the bloggers on this website, we are all in trouble. I voted McCain...and he lost. Obama is my president now too. We all have to work together and stop this "us against them" outlook. It it continues, we are all doomed. Please stop the insults!

    November 9, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Cosmogrl

    I just want to say for whoever is against Barack Elect Obama has to just came out of a coma or fell and hit there head because first of all let him atleast become president or even smell the White is so crazy to me however one is all on his back and Bush been office for 8 yrs and still there, He is the one who got us into this mess and no one is on his back. I just want to say that this Man here Obama is hand made and sent by the Grace of GOD and if u have any problems with him confront the Lord because he truly was a Blessing sent from HEAVEN so u need to get on your knees and Thank the LORD for sending OBAMA our way....Such Perfect Timing.....

    November 9, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Paul

    Rahm is the man!
    A solider who dd ballet... If you wont dance to the tunehe sure as heck goin to blow u off.

    blissful deadly!!!

    November 9, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Amy






    November 9, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. MaryK

    To the people who still insist that Pres. Elect Obama was not born in the US, for god sake's that has been proven false a million times. And ACORN's problems did not affect the outcome at all. But by all means, keep spouting that stuff, it has served you well in 2006 and 2008!!!

    November 9, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. David

    On foreign affairs, Rahm Emanuel is an Israeli agent with a Zionist agenda against the Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims. His influence will only worsen American relations with that part of the world.

    November 9, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. Fair and Balanced

    R Rohde..

    "Excuse me, wasn't Emmanuel on the Board of Directors of Freddie Mac? I know that has been reported on the ONN or MSDNC. What ever happened to Charlie Rangel and his tax cheating? What has Pelosi done about William Jefferson? Where is the investigation of ACORN? Where is the investigation of Charlie Schumer and the collapse of IndyMac? Where is the investigation of Hussein's birth certificate. Seems like a lot of stuff being swept under the carpet by our "fair and unbiased" media and the Democratic Socialist Party."

    MY DEAR FRIEND..You are officially in LALA land.. ACORN?????
    electoral count 364 vs 164 (or whatever) and you are worried about acorn?

    November 9, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Former Republican in TX ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Okay– to the first poster who continues questioning Obama's birth certificate. Here's the news for you, Richard. THE STATE OF HAWAII HAS ISSUED A STATEMENT CERTIFYING THAT OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE IS 100% LEGITIMATE. HE WAS BORN IN THE STATE OF HAWAII. So get over it, Richie. He was born in Hawaii which IS in the United States.
    If you want to nitpick, he##, McCain was born in Panama and everybody knows it. But ya know, we do understand that his Dad was in the service, so we're not harping that "he wasn't born in the U.S." even though he wasn't.
    That Obama birth certificate stuff is such whiney juvenile cr**. Grow up, get over it.

    And BTW, calling him Hussein is pretty childish too.

    If you want to "investigate" something– try checking out all the secret executive orders GWBush signed during his "reign". You might be really surprised... and upset.

    November 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Bobby

    If the views of many who contribute to these blogs are anything to go by, God help us. We will never be united, regardless of who the President is.

    November 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. glendower

    Anyone who brings up the baloney about Obama's birth certificate immediately loses any credibility. What nonsense. That means you, Rohde.

    November 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. observer

    Sound like some people is not really against Obama but more towards Democrats as the whole.

    Opinions may differ but it should not be such that it end with lose-lose situation. If some Republicans think that there are better options, voice up. But remember that it is not only you have opinions. You may suggest. You can't decide.
    Reason: 1. You are not elected by people to have such authority.
    2. Your opinion may not be the BEST after considerations.

    Respect the decision of the elected leader and accept it. Let him prove that he can do the job. If he can't, he will have to pay the price in the next election.

    November 9, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. jowi681

    The Democratic "socialist" Party? Give me a break. Who was the party that marshalled the "need" for government aid/ownership of banks, insurance companies, and money market accounts? It was the "free marketeer" conservatives. Notice I did NOT say Republicans because they have more sense. The neocon conservatives and their bankrupt "regulation is slavery" theory brought us to the worst financial situation since the Great Depression, and that Great Depression was the product of "conservative" free market philosophy in 1929. 1929 and 2008, two bankrupt results by the same bankrupt philosophy. And, all you care about is a birth certificate. Idiots.

    November 9, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. Jeff

    One thing no conservative has mentioned about Mr. Emanuel is that he's half-Israeli by birth and VERY committed to that country's well-being. Funny, because many people–including Joe the Doofus–intimated that Barack Obama's Presidency would lead to Israel's destruction.

    Looks like one talking point has been taken away from the Extreme Right, so they're starting in on another.

    November 9, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  20. MaryK

    R. Rohde – What would you do about the Senator from Alaska, the convicted felon, actually convicted by a jury of his piers, in a court of law. Why don't you mention him, should he be allowed to keep his office, he was actually found guilty of breaking the law. But I don't hear any you expressing outrage at him.

    November 9, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Marie in California

    I understand Emanuel is brutal.....even sent a dead fish to a pollster he disagreed with. Do we need this in Washington?

    November 9, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Susanne

    we have so many lazy slobs in this country they truly believe that Obama will take from the rich and give it to the poor. The one that promises the most will be the winner. He had 650 Million Dollars to spend, did you see him giving a dollar to the poor?
    A brother of his in Kenya is living on 1 Dollar a month, his aunt is living in the slum in Boston! wow what a great example!
    Liberals are great on spending other people's money, NEVER their own. We get what we deserve and it won't be good!

    November 9, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. drew, chicago il

    Rahm represents all that is evil and vile in politics. He is a thug. A bully. And a partisan hack. That Obama would pick him for anything shows Obama's true agenda.
    Just wait and see, Rahm is out for Rahm.

    November 9, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    it is amazing how all of a sudden everyone is barking about Obama's appointments but when Bush stole the election TWICE no one appeared to question anything. hmmmm WHY IS THAT??????

    November 9, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. maurice

    well said ann the democrats are if not more guilty of spewing poisen. the election is done let obama atleast prove or disprove his worth.

    November 9, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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