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. larry sinclair

    I find it extremely funny that all you a##holes want to work together now that a Democrat has won office. But for the last 8 years you been bagging on Bush every chance you had!!! Now the will of the people has spoken for President, for anti gay marriage ammendments, and for affirmative action initiatives. And the only people I see not following the will fo the people are the left winged democrats out protesting in the streets because the didnt like the vote. I am republican and i wish obama the best, i hope he can do something positive for this country but come gay love crowd get over it, THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!!

    November 9, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. nguoinhaque

    Susan, just make it clear, Obama said he will take money from the rich to give to the poor. He did not say his money nor his party's money, nor his relative's money. So, who is rich or who works hold your pocket tight . For the poor or lazy slobs, dream on.

    November 9, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  3. wow

    I loolve alol the solur grapes comments. The dems cried for the last 8 years!! They alsol have been bitter and vicious for 8 years...unreal. And the country is split...the votes where the same as 2004..except reversed...BUsh got 63 millioln in 2004...this time obama got it...and the loolser got 57 milion

    November 9, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. Salvador Ruiz

    Hey, right wingers, the election is over, you got slaughtered, get over it. you voted and we voted, we won this time.
    Lokk at what you put us thru for the past eight years, have you no shame. you just wanted to do it again, but it did not work.
    Now, you need to stop trying to tell PRESIDENT OBAMA, who to select for his cabinet and how to run the country. He will do it his way, just like Bush did it his. But I already know, that President Obama is a "TEAM PLAYER", which is something you don't know anything about., becasue you have never had a team
    Clebrate your new president, He will do us all proud
    In the name of Jesus (I'm saying that), Amen

    November 9, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. ECONOMICS 101

    To all repubs and conservatives:

    you guys all have a brain,just get out of the market close up your businesses and layoff your employees ,and put the proceeds in tax free funds.I am sure all your financial planners are advising you to do this.On another note be grateful that no repub is in charge of this mess now.
    you guys will most likely be in power 4-6years from now anyway.So please step aside and give him a chance to prove you wrong

    November 9, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. sick n tired

    Shut up republicans and take your proper place in the political food chain! The people have made their choice and you lost GET OVER IT!!

    November 9, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. STL-Veteran

    Hey Susanne,

    Why don't you give your dead beat relatives 20% of your income and see what happens to it. Last time I checked Liberals were also required to pay taxes as well...oh that's right you conservative small business owners like to skim off the top and do everything in cash so it can't be tracked. Just ask anyone that own's a bar or resturant 10% of the top in the back pocket and oh we are barely breaking even...go tell your sob story to your shrink!!!!!

    November 9, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. Beth


    If you are a so called lawyer....I should have figured another crook in America......Lawywers are the lowest of the low....Stealing from anyone they can find......go figure.....I would not even admit I am lawyer....You are the joke of America and of all professions.
    Go find someone to steal from!!! No wonder you are on the Obama team.

    November 9, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. imobro

    please do some research folks. politicians have to account 4 every penny they spend. they CAN NOT GIVE IT TO THE POOR, RELATIVES, i don't know it all but the donated money is watched kept, many politicians have gotten in trouble for misuse of funds. there are LAWS regarding campaign money and they have 2/b followed.

    November 9, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. damaris

    I ignorantly voted republican based on their conservative views on abortion and gay rights and not looking at what else was at stake. I proudly voted for Obama and Biden because they opened my eyes to all the issues. No doubt he is intelligent and that gives me comfort in trusting he will chose his cabinet members wisely.

    November 9, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. CB

    You guys are so stupid. Stop jacking off while posting and get a life

    November 9, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. Theresa

    To Beth and everyone else out there: Enough is enough with name calling and insults. If you don't like living in a democratic nation, move.
    Go Obama!! You make us all proud.

    November 10, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. Nab

    Obama is the must qualify person in the both party to lead us through this hard period of time. The votes support this 100%. He is very smart and brilliant. Just wait and see, the change is coming to the best for the US and the WORLD, but it will take some time because the damage is hug. Just think one time before you make your comment. Do you think the person who does not know that Africa is a continent will make a good president of the USA if something happed to McCain, I mean come on!!!! Not THAT Dumb.

    November 10, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
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