Rahm Emanuel Dismisses 'Hyper-Partisan' Charges
Barack Obama's designated chief of staff responded Sunday to Republicans' criticisms that he will engage in tough, partisan politics once in the White House.
FOXNews.com | November 9, 2008
Barack Obama's designated chief of staff -- responding to Republicans' concerns that his tough, partisan approach might run at odds with Barack Obama's administration -- said it's up to the new president to set a bipartisan "tone."
Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, appearing Sunday on ABC News' This Week, dismissed such charges by saying Obama will maintain his pledge to govern in a bipartisan manner.
Last week, the Republican National Committee put out a press release calling Obama's choice of Emanuel, "Obama's Broken Promise" because the Illinois politician has a reputation for being "hyper-partisan."
And Republican House leader John Boehner called Emanuel "an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center."
Emanuel responded to the GOP's criticisms, saying, "President-elect Obama is very clear... that we have to govern in a bipartisan fashion."
"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.
"That is the tone. That is the policy. And that is exactly how we're going to go forward," he added.
Emanuel was a political and policy aide in Bill Clinton's White House. Leaving that, he turned to investment banking, then won a Chicago-area House seat six years ago. In Congress, he moved quickly into the leadership. As chairman of the Democratic campaign committee in 2006, he played an instrumental role in restoring his party to power after 12 years in the minority.
Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of Obama's transition team, also defended Emanuel from charges that he will act as a "hyper-partisan" chief of staff.
"Tone starts at the top, and I think that President-elect Obama has made it clear that he wants an administration that is--that reaches out, that's bipartisan, that works in a collegial way," Jarrett said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.
"There's no one who can hit the ground running faster than Rahm Emanuel. He embraces President-elect Obama's philosophy. He's going to do an outstanding job," she said.
In offering the post of White House chief of staff to Emanuel, Obama turned to a fellow Chicago politician with a far different style from his own, a man known for his bluntness as well as his single-minded determination.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.