This shouldn’t be a surprise, as George Stephanopoulos served with Rahm Emanuel in the Clinton White House. Nevertheless, Stephanopoulos makes some good points as he praises Barack Obama’ selection of Emanuel as Chief of Staff.
He brings a lot of strengths to the office.
He knows the White House. He served there for six-and-a-half years under President Clinton.
He knows Congress. He’s been a member of Congress now for four terms and risen to the number four Democratic leadership position on Capitol Hill.
He knows policy and he knows how to drive policies through the bureaucracy.
He’s also loyal. Obama has told associates he believes he’s “got his back.”
He’ll be a strong presence in the White House.
Emanuel has centrist instincts and understands the dangers of moving too far in one direction in part from the Clinton experience.
There’s been commentary from some Republicans arguing Emanuel is too partisan. But he’s also made a point of reaching out in the House to Republicans and building bridges. He’s had a series of bipartisan dinners over the last several years to build bridges with Democrats and Republicans.
He likely understands that successful presidencies build those centrist coalitions.
This makes sense. Emanuel is tough and abrasive at times, but Obama will set a clear tone for his White House. Emanuel will be a huge asset in managing Obama’s agenda in the House. He helped recruit many of the more moderate members, and he has an excellent relationship with Nancy Pelosi. He’s smart and talented, so he’s a great addition to the team.
Stephanopoulos also reports that “Obama chief strategist David Axelrod has accepted the position of Senior Adviser in the White House.” Axelrod ran a brilliant campaign, and he’ll be a great asset in the White House as well.