Rahm Emanuel

Infobox Congressman
name =Rahm Emanuel

date of birth=birth date and age|1959|11|29
place of birth =Chicago, Illinois
state = Illinois
district = 5th
term_start =January 3 2003
preceded = Rod Blagojevich
succeeded = Incumbent
party =Democrat
religion = Judaism
spouse = Amy Rule
children = Zacharias Emanuel
Ilana Emanuel
Leah Emanuel
occupation=political assistant, policy researcher
alma_mater=Sarah Lawrence College, Northwestern University
residence= Chicago, Illinois

Rahm Emanuel (born November 29 1959) is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 2003, representing ushr|Illinois|5|, which covers much of the north side of Chicago and parts of suburban Cook County.

Emanuel was chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2006 elections. After the Democratic Party regained control of the House, he was elected as the next chairman of the Democratic Caucus. He is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Leader Steny Hoyer and Whip Jim Clyburn.

Emanuel is noted for his strong partisan style and his fundraising prowess.Fact|date=August 2008 He is the co-author, with current Democratic Leadership Council President Bruce Reed, of the 2006 book, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America". He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition.

Early history

Emanuel was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1959. His father, the Jerusalem-born Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a pediatrician and was a member of the "Irgun", a Zionist paramilitary organization in the 1940s.cite news
title = The Picture and the Spin
author = Leon T. Hadar
publisher = Journal of Palestine Studies
pages = Vol. 23, No. 2 (Winter, 1994), pp. 84–94
url = http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0377-919X(199424)23%3A2%3C84%3ATPATS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y
Retrieved on Feb. 12, 2007] cite news
author = Walsh, John
title = The Book of Rahm
publisher = CounterPunch
date=October 24, 2006
Retrieved on Feb. 12, 2007] cite news
title = The Brothers Emanuel
author = Elisabeth Bumiller
date = June 15, 1997
publisher = New York Times
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9E0DE1DF173FF936A25755C0A961958260
Retrieved on Feb. 12, 2007] His mother, Martha Smulevitz, worked as an X-ray technician; she was the daughter of a local union organizer,cite news|title=The Enforcer| publisher=Rolling Stone| author=Joshua Green| url=http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/8091986/the_enforcer/ Retrieved on Jan. 3, 2007] and would herself become a civil rights activist; she was also once the owner of a Chicago-area rock and roll club. The two met in Chicago in the 1950s.Hendrix, Steve [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/21/AR2006102101049.html Fighting for The Spoils] "The Washington Post", October 22, 2006] Emanuel's older brother, Ezekiel, is a noted oncologist and bioethicist, and his brother, Ari, is a high-powered talent agent in Los Angeles and inspired Jeremy Piven's character Ari Gold on the HBO series "Entourage". Rahm himself is also the inspiration for the character Josh Lyman on The West Wing. He also has a younger sister named Shoshanna, fourteen years his junior.

When his family lived in Chicago, he attended Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School (a Jewish day school). After his family moved to Wilmette, he attended public school: Romona School, Wilmette Junior High School, and New Trier High School. Emanuel was encouraged by his mother to take ballet lessons as a boy and is a "graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet". He won "a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet" but turned this down to attend Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school with a strong dance program.cite news| title=Rahm Emanuel: Rejuvenating the hopes of House Democrats| author=Nina Easton| publisher=Fortune|date=October 2 2006| url= http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/02/8387515/index.htm Retrieved on Jan. 3, 2007] He graduated from college in 1981, and went on to receive a master's degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985. While still a student at Sarah Lawrence, he joined the congressional campaign of David Robinson of Chicago.

Career as political staffer

He began his political career with the consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action. He went on to serve in a number of capacities in local and national politics, initially specializing in fundraising for Illinois campaigns and then nationally.

Emanuel worked for Democrat Paul Simon's 1984 election to the U.S. Senate, was the national campaign director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1988, and then was senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M. Daley's victorious campaign for Mayor of Chicago in 1989.

During the 1991 Gulf War, Emanuel was a civilian volunteer in Israel, rust-proofing brakes on an army base in northern Israel.Roger Simon, "The man who would be George: Rahm Emanuel, centrist of the universe", "New Republic", February 3 1997 (vol. 216 no 5 p17)]

He joined then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's presidential primary campaign in 1991, serving as the campaign's Director of Finance. Emanuel insisted that Clinton schedule a lot of time for fundraising and greatly delay campaigning in New Hampshire. After much dispute within the campaign about the issue, Clinton eventually agreed, embarking on an aggressive fundraising campaign across the nation. The fundraising paid off later, providing the campaign a vital buffer to keep buying television time as attacks on Clinton's character threatened to swamp the campaign during the New Hampshire primary.

Clinton's most serious primary rival, Paul Tsongas (the New Hampshire Democratic Primary winner in 1992), later withdrew, citing a lack of campaign funds. Richard Mintz, a Washington public relations consultant who worked with Emanuel on the campaign, spoke about the soundness of the idea: "It was that million dollars that really allowed the campaign to withstand the storm we had to ride out in New Hampshire [over Clinton's alleged relationship with Gennifer Flowers and the controversy over his draft evasion during the Vietnam War] ."cite news|url=http://www.ujc.org/content_display.html?ArticleID=68298 |title=Newest Jewish U.S. Representative Makes Instant Impact|publisher=JTA|author=Eli Kintisch Retrieved on January 2 2007] Emanuel's knowledge of the top donors in the country, and his rapport with potential donors within the Jewish community helped Clinton amass a then-unheard-of $72 million.

Following the campaign, Emanuel became a senior advisor to Bill Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998. In the White House, Emanuel was initially Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. He was a leading strategist in the unsuccessful White House efforts to institute universal healthcare and many other Clinton initiatives.Guardian Unlimited (2006). [http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1944305,00.html Former ballet dancer turned political fixer] . Retrieved November 11, 2006.]

One of his proudest moments during the Clinton Administration "was an event that touched his political sensibilities and his personal ties to Israel: the 1993 Rose Garden signing ceremony after the Oslo accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Rahm directed the details of the ceremony, down to the choreography of the famous handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat."

At this point of his political career he was known for his intensity. Notably, he reportedly told British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "This is important. Don't fuck it up," prior to Blair appearing in public with Clinton for the first time after the Lewinsky scandal emerged. Emanuel is said to have "mailed a rotting fish to a former coworker after the two parted ways." On the night after the Clinton election, "Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Dead! ... Dead! ... Dead!' and plunging the knife into the table after every name." His "take-no-prisoners attitude" earned him the nickname "Rahm-bo".

In 1998, Emanuel served on the Chicago Housing Association board and was repeatedly accused of undermining fair and affordable housing for low-income minorities. Opponents cite incidents during which Emanuel left concerned citizens meetings in which Section 8 housing destruction was authorized to talk on his cell phone or take early lunches. He has never publicly commented on his CHA years.

People who worked with Emanuel at that time "insist the once hard-charging staffer has mellowed out." He left the White House to accept a well-paid position in investment banking at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in Chicago, where he worked from 1999 to 2002 and reportedly earned US$18 million. [cite news | last=Easton | first=Nina | title=Rahm Emanuel, Pitbull politician | date=September 25, 2006 | publisher=Fortune | url=Rahm Emanuel, Pitbull politician]

Congressional career

Emanuel represents Chicago's North Side, and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. He received 78% of the vote in this Democratic stronghold in the last election.

Emanuel's call to cut off Dick Cheney's executive branch funding of $4.8 million after Cheney asserted he did not fall within the bounds of orders set for the executive branch helped prompt Cheney's office to back down from the claim. [Mike Allen, "Dems force Cheney to flip-flop on secret docs", "Politico blog", June 27 2007, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0607/4679.html]

Election in 2002

The US House seat in the 5th District of Illinois was previously held by Rod Blagojevich, who chose not to run for re-election, but instead successfully ran for Governor of Illinois. Emanuel chose to run for this seat.

His strongest opponent of the seven other candidates in the 2002 Democratic primary — the real contest in this heavily Democratic district — was former Illinois State Representative Nancy Kaszak, who had unsuccessfully opposed Blagojevich in the 1996 primary. The most controversial moment of the primary election came when Edward Moskal, president of the Polish American Congress, a political action committee endorsing Kaszak, called Emanuel a "millionaire carpetbagger who knows nothing" about "our heritage." Moskal also falsely charged that Emanuel had dual citizenship with Israel and had served in the Israeli Army.Jodi Wilgoren, "Ethnic Comments Rattle Race for Congress", "New York Times", March 6 2002.]

Emanuel brought together a coalition of Chicago clergy to denounce the incident. He recalled, "One of the proudest moments of my life was seeing people of my district from all backgrounds demonstrate our common values by coming together in response to this obvious attempt to divide them." Moskal's comments were denounced as anti-Semitic by many, including Kaszak. Emanuel won the primary and easily defeated Republican candidate Mark Augusti in the general election.

Emanuel supported the October 2002 joint Congressional resolution authorizing the Iraq War, differentiating himself from all nine other Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional delegation (Sen. Richard Durbin, Reps. Bobby Rush, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Bill Lipinski, Luis Gutiérrez, Danny K. Davis, Jan Schakowsky, Jerry Costello and Evans) elected in 2002. [cite news |author=Long, Karen |title=Issues important in 5th District |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_widesearch=yes&p_multi=FHJB&p_product=PGHB&p_theme=pghb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_field_label-0=Section&s_dispstring=Title(Issues%20important%20in%205th%20District)%20AND%20section(all)%20AND%20date(all)&p_field_advanced-0=title&p_text_advanced-0=(Issues%20important%20in%205th%20District)&xcal_numdocs=20&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no |format=paid archive |work=Franklin Park Herald-Journal |date=October 30 2002 |page=5]

DCCC chairman

Emanuel was named the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2005. Prior to his work for Clinton, Emanuel had been an employee of the Committee, which principally serves to recruit candidates for the House and to raise funds to assist both new candidates and incumbents from the Democratic party in an effort to gain Democratic representation in the House.

He declared that in his new role "winning is everything", and he urged Democratic candidates to adopt more centrist positions. Emanuel was known to have had disagreements over Democratic election strategy with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Dean favored a "50 state strategy", building support for the Democratic Party over the long term, while Emanuel believed a more tactical approach, focusing attention on key districts, was necessary to ensure victory. [cite news | last=Allen and Bacon Jr. | first=Mike and Perry | title=Whose Party Is It Anyway?| date=June 4 2006 | publisher=Time | url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,1200740,00.html]

Ultimately the Democratic Party enjoyed considerable success in the 2006 elections, gaining 30 seats in the House. Emanuel has received considerable praise for his stewardship of the DCCC during this election cycle, even from Illinois Republican Rep. Ray LaHood who said "He legitimately can be called the golden boy of the Democratic Party today. He recruited the right candidates, found the money and funded them, and provided issues for them. Rahm did what no one else could do in seven cycles." [cite news| author=Wil Haygood| publisher=Washington Post|date= November 9, 2006|page=C05| url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/08/AR2006110802239.html|title=Democratic 'Golden Boy' Rahm Emanuel, Basking In the Glow of Victory Retrieved on Jan. 3, 2007] Nevertheless, some of the 2006 victories came in areas that had trended strongly Republican in recent years (such as Nancy Boyda's defeat of Jim Ryun in Kansas) vindicating Dean's idea as well.

Emanuel still is close to Bill Clinton and as the chairman of the DCCC talked strategy with him at least once a month.cite news| title=Rahm Emanuel: Rejuvenating the hopes of House Democrats| author=Nina Easton| publisher=Fortune| date=October 2 2006| url= http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/02/8387515/index.htm Retrieved on January 3 2007] He declared in April 2006 that he would support Hillary Rodham Clinton should she pursue the presidency in 2008. However, Emanuel's loyalties came into conflict when his home-state senator Barack Obama expressed interest in the race; asked in January 2007 about his stance on the Democratic presidential nomination, he said: "I'm hiding under the desk. I'm very far under the desk, and I'm bringing my paper and my phone." [cite news| author=Mike Dorning| publisher=Chicago Tribune| date=19 January 2007|url= http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0701190131jan19,1,2183324.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed|title=Rahm Emanuel's Great Loyalty Test Retrieved on 21 January 2007.]

House leadership

After his role in helping the Democrats to win the 2006 elections, Emanuel was believed to be a leading candidate for the position of Majority Whip. Nancy Pelosi, who became the next Speaker of the House, persuaded him not to challenge Jim Clyburn, but instead to succeed Clyburn in the role of Democratic Caucus Chairman. In return, Pelosi agreed to assign the caucus chair more responsibilities, including "aspects of strategy and messaging, incumbent retention, policy development and rapid-response communications". [cite news| author=Hearns, Josephine.|publisher=The Hill.| title=House Dems strike leadership deal.|date=November 9 2006| url=http://www.thehill.com/thehill/TheHill/News/Frontpage/110906/deal.html Accessed January 21, 2007.] Caucus vice-chair John Larson remained in this role instead of running for the chairman position. [cite news | last=Babington and Weisman | first=Charles and Jonathan | title=Reid, Pelosi Expected to Keep Tight Rein in Both Chambers | date=November 10 2006 | publisher=The Washington Post | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/09/AR2006110901764.html]

Political views

During his original 2002 campaign, Emanuel "indicated his support of President Bush's position on Iraq, but said he believed the president needed to better articulate his position to the American people." Inspired by his pediatrician father, one of the major goals he spoke of during the race was "to help make health care affordable and available for all Americans."

Emanuel has maintained a 100% pro-choice voting record and is generally liberal on social issues. He has aligned himself with the Democratic Leadership Council and the party's centrist wing, but is not among its more conservative members.

Rahm Emanuel endorses the United States Public Service Academy Act. Emanuel is one of the more prominent members endorsing the act.


Speculation has been raised regarding the connection of Emanuel's Congressional election success to convicted former Chicago water department boss Don Tomczak. [cite news | last=Kass | first=John | title=Emanuel makes a point of airing peeve | date=November 22, 2006 | publisher=The Chicago Tribune | url=http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-0611220202nov22,1,7207743.column] There is no evidence of any involvement by Emanuel in Tomczak's illegal activities.

The newspaper "USA Today" reported in late January 2007 that Emanuel failed to disclose that he was an officer of a family charity [http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-01-28-pelosi_x.htm] , a violation of law requiring members of Congress to report non-profit leadership roles.

Committee assignments

*Ways and Means Committee
**Subcommittee on Health
**Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures

Electoral history

Personal life

His father, a pediatrician still practicing near Chicago, immigrated to the United States from Israel and spoke Hebrew with his son, when Emanuel was a boy. He is the brother of Ari Emanuel, a prominent talent agent and founder of the Endeavor Agency.

Emanuel lost part of his right middle finger to a meat slicer while an employee at Arby's as a teenager.

Emanuel's wife Amy Rule, a graduate of Wharton School of Business, was non-practicing before converting to Orthodox Judaism around the same time as her wedding. [ [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-0611120215nov12,1,2323509.story?page=6 The House that Rahm Built - chicagotribune.com ] ] They are "active members of a modern Orthodox congregation, Anshe Shalom, in Chicago". Amy is “heavily involved with the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.” They have three children, son Zacharias and daughters Ilana and Leah. The children attend "the Conservative Jewish day school, which Emanuel himself attended as a child". Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, is quoted as saying: "It's a very involved Jewish family"; "Amy was one of the teachers for a class for children during the High Holidays two years ago." Emanuel has said of his Judaism: "I am proud of my heritage and treasure the values it has taught me." Emanuel's family lives on the North Side of Chicago, in the North Center neighborhood.Hillel Kuttler, "The view from the top", Jerusalem Post, ( [http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/jpost/access/64159319.html?dids=64159319:64159319&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jul+1%2C+1997&author=Hillel+Kuttler&pub=Jerusalem+Post&edition=&startpage=07&desc=The+view+from+the+top original article abstract] ), July 1 1997]

Emanuel trains for and participates in triathlons.

From work earlier in his career, Emanuel considers Mayor Richard M. Daley, Senator Paul Simon and President Bill Clinton to be his professional mentors. He considers his personal mentors to be his father and mother. [ cite news |last= Ammeson |first= Jane |title= The Smart Strategist |publisher = Chicago Life | date = 2007-08-14 |url = http://chicagolife.net/content/interview/The_Smart_Strategist ]


Bradley Whitford's character Josh Lyman on NBC television series "The West Wing" is said to be based on Emanuel.

He made a cameo appearance at the same restaurant as Josh Lyman in the 7th season episode "The Wedding."Fact|date=October 2007

His first name, Rahm, means "high" or "lofty" in Hebrew. His last name, Emanuel, means "God is with us."

He has advised colleagues not to appear on the popular television show "The Colbert Report". [The Colbert Show, Stephen Colbert calls Rahm Emanuel out on the pressure, poking fun at Emanuals missing finger in return. June 04, 2007, Minute 11]



*Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America", PublicAffairs Books of Perseus Books Group, August 2006, ISBN 1586484125. [http://www.readtheplan.com/ Information from publisher.]

External links

* [http://www.house.gov/emanuel/ U. S. Congressman Rahm Emanuel] official House site
* [http://www.friendsofrahmemanuel.com/ Friends of Rahm Emanuel] official campaign site
* [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Rahm_Emanuel Profile] at SourceWatch Congresspedia
* [http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/e/rahm_emanuel/index.html Collected news and commentary] at The New York Times

*Bendavid, Naftali "The Thumpin': How Rahm Emanuel and the Democrats Learned to Be Ruthless and Ended the Republican Revolution", Doubleday (May 8, 2007), ISBN 978-0385523288

*Hendrix, Steve [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/21/AR2006102101049.html Fighting for The Spoils] "The Washington Post", October 22, 2006
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1944305,00.html Profile: Rahm Emanuel] "The Guardian", November 10, 2006
*Bendavid, Naftali [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-0611120215nov12,1,2323509.story?coll=chi-news-hed The House that Rahm Built] "Chicago Tribune", November 12, 2006
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6808381 Democratic Caucus Chair Rahm Emanuel] "NPR Fresh Air from WHYY", January 11, 2007, 20-minute interview
*Baer, Susan. " [http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/7712.html Three Brothers: The Emmanuel Family] ", "Washingtonian", May 1 2008.

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