Now that he's President-elect Barack Obama's new chief of staff, according to various Nov. 6 media reports, will Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., face the same scrutiny Karl Rove did when he was named Bush's deputy chief of staff? More importantly, will the media take note the tie Emanuel had to the now taxpayer-owned, failed government-sponsored enterprise Freddie Mac?
Emanuel, who was a senior adviser for former President Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s, was appointed to the board of Freddie Mac upon his departure from the Clinton administration.
"Clinton's going-away gift to Emanuel was a seat on the quasi-governmental Freddie Mac board, which paid him $231,655 in director's fees in 2001 and $31,060 in 2000," Lynn Sweet wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 3, 2002.
Appearing on MSNBC shortly after 1 p.m. EST with anchor Andrea Mitchell, The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein rebuked House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for drawing a legitimate criticism of President-elect Obama's choice of what he described as the "sharp-elbowed" Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as his White House chief-of-staff (see video embedded at right, transcript is below page break).
Mitchell dismissed as "warfare" and Brownstein hit as "reflexive partisanship" Boehner's rather mild statement:
This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center.
But it's not just Republican partisans who are noting Emanuel's hard-nosed, partisan politics. As the Reuters news wire noted in a November 5 article, "Emanuel would bring [a] tough edge to White House job":
NBC political analyst Chuck Todd offered the Quote of the Day in the first few minutes of Today on Thursday, comparing incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to the legendary American generals Patton and MacArthur [
**UPDATE*** With Audio Link
WLS AM 890 in Chicago hosted an in studio visit from ABC newser George Stephanopoulos this morning in the 8:30 segment. Host Don Wade played an interesting Dick Morris sound clip for Stephanopoulos and then asked for his response. That is when Stephanopoulos came right out and said "Dick is a liar." There was no equivocation, no weasel words, just a straight out "liar."
The discussion was focusing on Obama's request to Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois), a former Bill Clinton senior advisor, to become the new Obama chief of staff. Host Wade was questioning Stephanopoulos as to how the candidate of "change" could go back in time to an old Clinton hack and asked if Emanuel was a good choice for the position.
Just in time for the new James Bond movie, Chris Matthews has earned himself a new moniker: Odd Job. Matthews says he sees his job as a journalist as doing everything he can to make the Obama presidency a success.
Appearing on "Morning Joe" today, Matthews was reluctant to criticize Rahm Emanuel's kabuki dance over accepting Obama's offer to be chief of staff.
The "Hardball" host (and presumptive candidate for U.S. Senate from PA) was equally unwilling to see the Emanuel episode as evidence of a lack of planning and discipline in the nascent Obama administration. Matthews eventually explained why.[H/t multiple NB readers.]
Beware the tendency for media liberals to paint the new Team Obama as a surplus of centrists. Just after 8:30 on CNN's American Morning, Frank Sesno declared that Rep. Rahm Emanuel, projected as Obama's chief of staff, is seen as "on the center to center-right." But that's not what his congressional voting records suggest.
Imagine that Chris Matthews was interviewing the former head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, someone who helped engineer the election of a Republican House member after the incumbent Dem had been caught in a sex scandal. Now imagine that same Republican was currently stuck in a sex scandal of his own, and just that afternoon a credible report emerged that he might drop out of the race. What are the odds Matthews wouldn't have raised the new scandal with the former RCCC chairman? About as good as Keith Olbermann suddenly endorsing McCain-Palin after tonight's debate, you say? Agreed.
Yet when Matthews had Rahm Emanuel on his show this evening, the Hardball host failed to raise the matter of Tim Mahoney with Emanuel, the hyper-partisan Dem and former DCCC chairman. This despite the Politico's report that Mahoney might be dropping out, he who won Mark Foley's seat after the Republican was forced out of the race in 2006 after sordid details emerged of his text messaging with male House pages.
There was one amusing moment: after defending William Ayers as a "distinguished professor," Emanuel balked at calling him a "good guy" on the grounds he didn't know him. Right.
View video here.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, listen carefully. That sound you hear is the slow falling of electoral delegates, of superdelegates, to Barack Obama. Seven more came aboard today. So with Obama way ahead in elected delegates, now trails Hillary Clinton by only four-and-a-half superdelegates. It didn't help Clinton when her long-time supporter and U.S. congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois called Obama today "the presumptive nominee" of his party.
As Snagglepuss flashed on the screen, Matthews wondered out loud: "does Hillary have an exit strategy at this point?"
View video here.
It has become infinitely clear that America's media are deeply concerned former President Bill Clinton's recent antics on the campaign trail threaten Hillary's chances of winning the White House.
Not only was this subject addressed at length on the Sunday political talk shows, but also Newsweek's senior editor Jonathan Alter wrote an article Saturday amazingly titled "Leading Democrats To Bill Clinton: Pipe Down."
While you check that link to verify my veracity - believe me, I won't be offended! - Alter began (emphasis added throughout):
Illinois Democrat Rahm Emanuel and California Republican Duncan Hunter appeared on CNN's American Morning Monday to discuss the Iraq War and anticipated address from General David Patraeus. CNN's John Roberts questioned the congressmen.