December 29, 2008
In Washington, where big personalities create even bigger legends, Democrat Rahm Emanuel has achieved mythic status.
He throws cells phones. He once sent a dead fish to a pollster who displeased him. At a dinner to celebrate Bill Clinton’s 1992 election, Emanuel repeatedly stabbed the table with a steak knife, shouting the names of his political enemies. Journalists have trouble quoting him, because his routine utterances are replete with profanity. . .
Emanuel’s political intensity has a darker side. His numerous contacts with disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office to push various candidates for Obama’s open Senate seat put him inside the lines of an unseemly political scandal.
The Obama transition team last week cleared itself of wrongdoing in the matter, but it’s unlikely that its report is the last word on the federal government’s wide-ranging public corruption investigation.
“Part of his portfolio is dealmaking, being sure people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson said of Emanuel. “The assumption is that Obama’s team will stay clean in this, but if there’s a stumble, it will be in Rahm’s shop.”
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