Just a day after winning the presidency, Barack Obama has started hiring. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, one of the architects of the Democrats’ congressional majority, is in line to be chief of staff. Sen. Chuck Hagel, the anti-war Republican, could be named to a Cabinet post, while Sen. John Kerry is said to be after the secretary of state job.
According to news reports citing anonymous Democratic officials, Emanuel has accepted the job, but his office won’t confirm that. AP explains: “While it was not clear he had accepted, a rejection would amount to an unlikely public snub of the new president-elect within hours of an electoral college landslide.”
Update: Emanuel says he’s thinking about it, weighing his sense of duty against the demands of family. He has not, it now seems, accepted the position.
Other names mentioned for possible cabinet posts include Colin Powell (defense or education) and Robert Kennedy, Jr. (EPA).
It is said that Obama should pick a cabinet as quickly as possible, given America’s many crises, but that he should select his chief of staff first. With those two pressures in mind, Emanuel’s decision delay, while understandable under other circumstances, puts Obama in a difficult position. It is not a good sign that the man who would keep his White House running smoothly would begin his tenure with a few bumps.
Update 2: CNN has another source confirming Emanuel took the job and they quote him, crying, saying “I am happy that my parents are still alive to see their middle son become the chief of staff for a historic figure in the White House—the first African-American president. ... It means a lot to me.”
Update 3: Obama is said to have chosen Emanuel because he “wants a bad cop so he can be good cop 90 percent of the time.”
AP via Google:
If Emanuel accepts, he would return to the White House where he served as a political and policy adviser to President Clinton.
Several Democrats also said Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was actively seeking appointment as secretary of State in the new administration.
Rahm Emanuel has had an interesting life. A successful political operator, he served as the inspiration for “The West Wing” character Josh Lyman, while his brother Ari is the basis for Ari Gold in “Entourage.”