It’s Rahm. (Probably.)


Early last year, Ryan Lizza punched out a dope profile in GQ of Rahm Emmanuel, the foul-mouthed Congressman and power broker from Illinois. Just before the 2006 midterms that gave the Democrats back the House, Lizza asks Rahm a fairly boilerplate question about their prospects.

“So how many seats do you think you’re going to win?”

Rahm flashes the impatient stare that is a cross between contempt and pity, followed by a sigh and a long, uncomfortable silence. I brace myself for the tirade—or the freeze-out. He’s been known to meet reporters for lunch or dinner and, if they fail to impress, spend the meal ignoring them. And within the first forty-five seconds or so of our first interview, he called me a fucking idiot—though I soon learned I wasn’t special in that regard. James Carville, Rahm’s pal since their days together on the 1992 Clinton campaign, later told me not to sweat it: “Everybody is a fucking idiot to Rahm.” Not even Bill Clinton is spared. When I ask the former president what is the bluntest thing Rahm has ever said to him, he tells me, “It’s unprintable.”

Now ABC is reporting that Obama has formally offered Rahm a spot as his chief of staff. But will he take it?

Emanuel, a knowledgeable source tells ABC News, has not yet given his answer. The sharp-tongued, sharp-elbowed, keenly intelligent veteran of the Clinton White House is said to have ambitions to some day be Speaker of the House. But he also has a keen sense of “duty.”

Today on “Good Morning America” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos reported Obama likes the fact that Emanuel “knows policy, knows politics, knows Capitol Hill” and has told associates that Emanuel would “have his back.”

There is a tentative plan to announce Obama’s chief of staff this week.

(As a completely random aside: Rahm’s equally caustic brother, Ari Emmanuel, is a movie agent, and the inspiration for Jeremy Piven’s character on Entourage.)

13 thoughts on “It’s Rahm. (Probably.)

  1. shani-o November 5, 2008 at 10:53 am Reply

    I think this would be a great pick. Rahm is awesome. And oddly hot.

  2. G.D. November 5, 2008 at 11:00 am Reply

    Daschle’s name was bandied about for awhile; my hatred for that dude is real and pure.

    Care to handicap the rest of the Administration? Summers in Treasury? Hagel as SecDef?

    With Obama and Biden no longer in the Senate, what happens to Foreign Relations?

  3. quadmoniker November 5, 2008 at 11:10 am Reply

    G.D. I’m also curious to see who will replace Obama and Biden in their Senate seats.
    I go for Summers in Treasure, Hagel at SecDef, and Powell in the administration in some way. There will be more Republicans than we would imagine. Samantha Powell will also be on the foreign policy team. Greg Craig somewhere. Goolsbee will be econ advisor.

  4. G.D. November 5, 2008 at 11:13 am Reply

    Yeah, I think Goolsbee is a definite. When he endorsed, Powell said he wouldn’t seek out a job in the administration, but out of deference to Obama he couldn’t turn one down. (Shades of Biden?)

  5. shani-o November 5, 2008 at 11:34 am Reply

    I’m pretty sure Biden’s kid is going to take his seat.

    Rice as NSA, Richardson as secretary of state (which, boo), Kennedy as UN Secretary… where do you think JJJr will fit in?

  6. G.D. November 5, 2008 at 11:37 am Reply

    Condi Rice as NSA? What?

    Kennedy who?

    JJJr will take over Obama’s Senate seat in Illinois.

  7. shani-o November 5, 2008 at 11:38 am Reply

    Susan Rice. And Caroline.

  8. G.D. November 5, 2008 at 12:02 pm Reply

    So, it looks like Corzine is being vetted for Treasury. On the shortlist for State: Kerry, Lugar (a Republican, but Obama’s homie) and your boy Bill Richardson.

  9. Grump November 5, 2008 at 12:11 pm Reply

    As if this election couldn’t get any more “West Wing”, Rahm reminds me of a younger version of Leo.

  10. shani-o November 5, 2008 at 12:22 pm Reply

    Lugar doesn’t want it. He’s said very firmly that he’d rather stay in the senate, working on bipartisanship. I’d much prefer Kerry over Richardson.

  11. ladyfresshh November 5, 2008 at 4:03 pm Reply

    btw timesonline is doing the same

    shani-o they are with you on the kennedy pick:

    wow at ari

    also which Jon Favreau are they referring to because the person i’m thinking of can’t possibly be 26

  12. shani-o November 5, 2008 at 4:06 pm Reply

    LF- I feel vindicated! Obama’s still-wet-behind-the-ears speechwriter is also named Jon Favreau.

  13. scott November 5, 2008 at 5:43 pm Reply

    I’ll give Emmanuel his due, however if Obama really wants to be the bridge builder he claims, I’m not sure he is right for the job.

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