President-Elect Barack Obama has made his first significant decision, selecting Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff:
CHICAGO (AP) — Barack Obama said Thursday that fellow Chicagoan and former Clinton administration aide Rahm Emanuel will serve as White House chief of staff. “No one I know is better at getting things done,” Obama said of the hard-charging congressman.
The No. 4 Democrat in the House, Emanuel quoted Obama’s campaign slogan in saying he was leaving a job he loves for one reason: “I want to do everything I can to help deliver the change America needs.”
The selection of a chief of staff is a key first step in building his administration. So, why choose Emanuel?
In selecting Rep. Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff, President-elect Barack Obama turned to someone who has made a quick fortune as an investment banker, earned a six-figure fee to sit on the board of a troubled government-sponsored mortgage company, and became a top recipient of Wall Street campaign cash in Congress, public records show.
“This is an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington,” House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said in a statement.
Newsweek’s Katie Paul had this to add:
What’s the best way to play good cop? Get a really hard-core bad cop. That’s precisely what Barack Obama did Thursday in his first move as president-elect, selecting notoriously pugnacious Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel to serve as his chief of staff. “No one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel,” Obama said in announcing his pick.
That’s one way of putting it. Emanuel, 48, has developed a reputation as a fierce taskmaster since his days as a Clinton White House operative, so much so that even his mother reportedly calls him “Rahmbo.” He once sent a rotting fish to a pollster who rubbed him the wrong way, and he seems to delight in wagging his partially lopped-off middle finger at rivals (the result of a teenage meat-slicing mishap). “He’s got this big old pair of brass balls, and you can just hear ’em clanking when he walks down the halls of Congress,” Paul Begalatold Rolling Stone back in 2005, after serving with Emanuel on Clinton’s staff.
Rahmbo. I like the sound of that! With all the financial troubles facing the country, Emanuel would appear to be an ideal choice for chief of staff.