The Republican National Committee wasted no time licking their Election Day wounds to blast President-elect Barack Obama’s choice of Chief of Staff.
RNC Operatives and other Republicans say Obama’s decision to tap Rep. Rahm Emanuel for the position is an indication of a “broken promise" of bipartisanship and civility.
Emanuel, a hard-knuckled former Clinton advisor, is well-known for his ruthlessness and penchant for foul language. There are at least two newspaper accounts of Emanuel employing the “f” word in high-pressure situations. One of them was with a conversation with Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The GOP, however, takes issue with more than his style. Republicans also complain about Emanuel’s close ties to Wall Street, pointing out that Emanuel once earned $16.2 million as a former investment banker and about his position as a board member of Freddie Mac, a quasi-government agency largely faulted for the current mortgage crisis.
Like Obama, Emanuel has compiled a hard-left voting record in Washington. He currently has a 4 percent rating from the American Conservative Union and has consistently voted in favor of higher taxes, regulation and liberal social issues.
“This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center,” said House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio).
Part of Emanuel’s ascent to power in the House is due to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In 2005, then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi appointed Emanuel to become Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Committee. He was a very successful fundraiser for the committee and is widely credited with helping the Democrats win a majority in the 2006 elections.
Obama lauded Emanuel's financial services experience in a statement about the appointment. "Rahm spent several years in the private sector, where he worked on large and complicated financial transactions," Obama said. "That experience, combined with his service on the committees on Ways and Means and Banking, have given Rahm deep insights into the challenging economic issues that will be front and center for our Administration."