March 25th, 2010
07:42 PM ET
12 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. phoenix86

    He should get 5 years in jail for the fraud levied on the American taxpayer by way of ObamaCare. Since CNN won't report it, people should watch CNBC and see the real cost of ObamaCare.

    March 25, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. Tell the Truth

    Wolf Blitzer is trying to cause trouble between President Obama and Rahm Emanuel. Blitzer is very TRANSPARENT. Why don't you discuss the racial threats that republicans are making? REAL NEWS!

    March 25, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. Willie Crear, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    I wouldn't offer this up if I felt that Rahm Emanuel didn't have a very well developed sense of humour, but in his case, it would have to be a High 4-1/2.

    March 25, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. annie against biased news

    What was that – a huge monetary bonus or a bunch of dead fish to threatened fellow demmies with?

    March 25, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. kas

    Thug of thugs. ...Rahmbo and his brother Ezekial Mengele MD.
    Obamassiah is too busy on the campaign tour to worry about Rahmbo.
    In fact, while he runs around wasting time and money, he has managed to ignore Iran's threat, insult Isreal and does'nt seem to give a hang about binLaden. He'd rather spew nonsense about the threats actual taxpayers pose to his agenda.\
    despicable..all of them.

    March 25, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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