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11-05-08, 08:01 PM #1
In his first move as President Elect, Barack Obama names Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of Staff
WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama pivoted quickly to begin filling out his new administration on Wednesday, selecting hard-charging Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel as White House chief of staff while aides stepped up the pace of transition work that had been cloaked in pre-election secrecy.
Several Democrats confirmed that Emanuel had been offered the job. While it was not clear he had accepted, a rejection would amount to an unlikely public snub of the new president-elect within hours of an electoral college landslide.
With hundreds of jobs to fill and only 10 weeks until Inauguration Day, Obama and his transition team confronted a formidable task complicated by his anti-lobbyist campaign rhetoric.
The official campaign Web Site said no political appointees would be permitted to work on "regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration."
11-05-08, 08:05 PM #2
Today’s breaking news about Florida Congressman Tim Mahoney paying off his mistress for $121,000 begs a very important question: What did Rahm Emanuel know and when did he know it?
11-05-08, 08:05 PM #3
February 14, 2008
Read More: Parties
Rahm Emanuel just a heartbeat away from having a heart
Last night. OK.
The Washington Press Club dinner is the beginning of the end of sorts. Every year it officially marks the start of Prom season, ala the rubber chicken circuit, which for us packs countless “black tie optional” dinners in a span of 2 months with the same people. Most times in the same place, even. Alas, not the point.
Let’s just set the scene for you a bit: The dinner for last night is a traditionally long dinner. Lot of press.
Lots of congresspeople. You sit in the Ritz ballroom and you eat your entire dinner before the speakers even start. The speakers for last night — and, mind you, a lot of congressional people turn it down when asked because it’s almost a fail-fail situation — were Rep. Rahm Emanuel and Sen. John Cornyn. They were introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi who was resplendent in emerald green and Sen. Mitch McConnell, who was resplendent in his own special way, respectively.
People try to be funny. Sometimes it works. Like in Rahm’s case. Most of the time it doesn’t — like in McConnell’s and Cornyn’s case. It’s not entirely their fault — they’re just not funny people.
In the outskirts of all this going on, there are occasionally celebs that go to this thing. Like one. No more than two if you count the reigning Miss America. Possibly three if you add in the tiara. Last night the celeb was Ted Danson — who is shockingly lankly, almost lurky? He was a guest of CQ. And people did try and talk to him but mostly, they stick with the inside Washington rule and talk to each other and just merely gawk at Danson and remark on his “natural-looking” bright white hair.
And so reporters mingle with their peers and staffers mingle and congresspeople look shockingly out of place and uncomfortable until its time to leave. Unless of course they’re Rahm.
The theme of last night’s dinner, even before it started, was Rahm rocks. We passed by him in ballroom and asked what his best joke was, and he demurely replied, “I don’t know.” To his defense, there were a lot to choose from.
Chris Matthews emceed and really tried to be charming. You could tell he tried to smile and be nice and attempted to temper the audience when they got unruly with things like: “This is Hardball.” And a growing more agigated: “Please. Please. Please.” But mostly he was uncharacteristically quiet.
Rahm rocked it. Without question. People think finding funny entertainment for such things is amiss — new rule: Go for Rahm every time. Some of his best lines:
* “Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I want to mention a woman who’s here with me tonight and the love of my life — Nancy Pelosi.”
* “I tell my wife I love her — she says I’m likable enough.”
* “Valentine’s Day is when Dick Cheney fantasizes about waterboarding.”
* Of the Clinton Days: “Back then, stimulus and package had a whole different meaning.”
* ”I’ve spent more alone time with Bill than Hillary.”
* On fellow speaker John Cornyn: “If you called central casting and asked to send a senator, they’d send you, John. If you asked for a terrorist, they’d send me.”
* Fred Thompson: “He had an interesting take on No Child Left Behind. He married one.”
* Rudy Giuliani: “He bypassed Iowa. He bypassed New Hampshire. He bypassed 2008!”
Then he went on a campaign for “Rahm for Vice President” complete with a video montage which included Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Ray LaHood and James Carville. It ended with: “Rahm for vice president — Just a heartbeat away from having a heart.” A roar of laughter there followed.
McConnell then took the podium, introducing Cornyn. His opening line, which was meant to be funny, but since McConnell doesn’t carry funny well, it was just flat: “I’d like to thank Harry Reid for opening up his home to us and Nancy Pelosi for providing the flowers.”
Rough. But if Rahm had said it — a roar of laughter guaranteed.
McConnell recovered with this joke: “We have a New York senator born in Illinois, and an Illinois senator who was apparently born in a manger.” That received a hearty 10-second laugh. Even McConnell quipped “You liked that one, eh?”
So, eventually Cornyn popped up to the mic.
He really truly didn’t stand a chance — there was no way out. You almost felt bad for him before he even stepped on stage.
But, for bland Cornyn, he was as funny as he was ever going to get. He did the typical mock himself jokes — “The president calls me Corndog,” “The president said I could vote anyway I wanted,” and he did have a great joke about rival/fellow Texan Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison:
“As a relative newcomer to the Senate, some of you may not know me very well. Of course those who have been here a while may recognize me as someone who got his start on Capitol Hill like so many others ... as one of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s purse boys.”
But in the end, it was Rahm’s night.
Rep. Roy Blunt, almost in the way, right smack dab on at the bottom of the stairs that lead you to the ballroom, talking to someone.
Penguin No. 2 — Sen. Carl Levin — is standing near the wall, giving a TV interview. (Shenanigans feels as though MPAA Chair Dan Glickman, Levin and the late Rep. Henry Hyde all have similar Penguin-from-Batman-esque traits to them.)
A very smiely Rep. Chris Shays in brown scuffed up loafers, glad handing lots of reporters.
Car alarm inventing, gun-loving Rep. Darrell Issa jumping from his table and rushing up to someone speaking to Nancy Pelosi, throwing his arm around them, and chatting for a bit.
The speaker’s press secretaries (Brendan Daly and Drew Hammill) and the Minority Leader’s press secretary (Michael Steel) seated side by side.
An incredibly nice and gracious Sen. John Sununu introducing himself with a mere, “Hi, I’m John.” (For the record, he said “John” even if he sounded like “Don.”)
A very tall and dapper Sen. John Thune standing up talking, looking regal. And somewhat out of place.
Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee “mmm hmmming” every chance she got. Especially when Rahm noted he was known for being a jerk.
“I knew I'd arrived in Washington when Helen Thomas played me in a skit in the Gridiron Dinner. Do you remember, Helen? I do. " — Speaker Pelosi in her remarks.
CNN’s D.C. Bureau King David Bohrman speaking of the late CNN-er Fran Lewine at the podium: “I think she realized I wasn’t full of shit.” Pause. “C-SPAN, I’m very sorry for that.” Pause. “It’s cable!”
Sen. Lamar Alexander was the first to leave that we noticed, around 9 p.m. (smartly?) before the speeches started, though he said he'd had a lovely time.
Darrell Issa bolted at 10:02p, the second Rahm ended.
Lamar Alexander’s chief of staff Tom Ingram spotted talking to US News’ Paul Bedard at the bar.
Miss America having a receiving line of sorts, for folks who wanted pictures.
Guy No. 1: “The guys from the Wire are here!”
Guy No. 2: “Awesome!”
Guy No. 2, to a third party: “I’ve never seen ‘The Wire.’”
Ted Danson looking lost. Overheard: “Ted Danson scares me.”
11-05-08, 08:36 PM #4
An old Clinton aide... Huh...
Sounds like "More of the same" then "Change" heading toward Washington to me.
Pick #1 and in the first 24hrs to boot.
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
Since Jan. 2009
11-06-08, 01:46 AM #5
Lol - yeah a warmed-over Clintonite.
if I was a Democrat, I'd call that "Rolling back the clock", not "Change" - Maybe Hillary won after all
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