The campaign took its toll on Emanuel. His hair turned whiter and he lost 14 pounds. (Tribune caption)
Ruthless, savvy and profane, DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel played perhaps the largest single role in orchestrating 28 House victories for the Democrats last week. The Chicago Tribune used unprecedented backstage access over the course of the campaign to craft this gripping portrait of a master in action.
... Democrats had never raised enough money. Emanuel, a savvy fundraiser who shaped those skills under Richard M. Daley and Bill Clinton, yelled at colleagues and threatened his candidates into generating an unprecedented amount of campaign cash.
Democrats had a history of appeasing party constituencies. Emanuel tore up the old litmus tests on abortion, gun control and other issues. With techniques that would make a Big Ten football coach blush, he recruited candidates who could mount tough challenges in some of the reddest patches of America.
Democrats had blanched at hardball. Emanuel, jokingly called “Rahmbo” even by his mother, muscled weaker Democrats out of races in favor of stronger ones, and ridiculed the chairman of his own party.