Report claims Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to quit after midterm elections
Update: Emanuel traded favors with Blagojevich
NBC Chicago reports, “President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, then a congressman in Illinois, apparently attempted to trade favors with embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich while he was in office, according to newly disclosed e-mails obtained by The Associated Press.”
Emanuel agreed to sign a letter to the Chicago Tribune supporting Blagojevich in the face of a scathing editorial by the newspaper that ridiculed the governor for self-promotion. Within hours, Emanuel’s own staff asked for a favor of its own: The release of a delayed $2 million grant to a school in his district.
The 2006 discussion occured with Blagojevich’s top aide, Deputy Gov. Bradley Tusk, and doesn’t appear to cross legal lines; Emanuel couldn’t speed up the distribution of the funds. But it offers a peek at ties between two high-profile Illinois politicians Ã¢â‚¬â€ one now the president’s right-hand man, the other facing years in prison if convicted of political corruption.
Discussion of the exchange could come up at Blagojevich’s corruption trial, currently under way in Chicago. Blagojevich, who is accused of plotting to profit by selling an appointment to Obama’s former Senate seat, also tried later that year to use the school grant in an extortion attempt against Emanuel, according to federal prosecutors.
Reasonable doubt? Prior Obama hit piece by same author contained no sources
A London publication claimed early Monday that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is expected to resign in six to eight months, likely after the mid-term elections.
“It is well known in Washington that arguments have developed between pragmatic Mr Emanuel, a veteran in Congress where he was known for driving through compromises, and the idealistic inner circle who followed Mr Obama to the White House,” The Telegraph reported, citing an unnamed Democratic strategist as their story’s source.
The paper continued: “His abrasive style has rubbed some people the wrong way, while there has been frustration among Mr Obama’s closest advisers that he failed to deliver a smooth ride for the president’s legislative programme that his background promised.”
Emanuel was recently embroiled in controversy when it was reported that he’d called liberal activists “fucking retarded” for objecting to the administration’s health care overhaul. The remark prompted some Republicans, such as Sarah Palin, to call for Rahm’s resignation.
Could they be close to seeing their wish granted?
Maybe not: There are reasons to doubt the Telegraph story’s credibility, namely in that the paperÃ‚Â does not draw a direct line between its source and the White House.
“Secondly, theÃ‚Â Telegraph is a right-wing paper that has published allegedly unsubstantiated stories about the Obama administration in the past,” noted Raw Story correspondent Sahil Kapur, blogging for True/Slant. “Take for exampleÃ‚Â this one, written in March by Alex Spillius Ã¢â‚¬â€ the same author of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Rahm story Ã¢â‚¬â€ which boldly announced, ‘Barack Obama threatens to withdraw support from wavering Democrats.’
“That one didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even purport to have sources Ã¢â‚¬â€ named or anonymous Ã¢â‚¬â€ it simply made the assertion, out of nowhere, that Obama was blackmailing Democrats and threatening to strip his support for them in the November elections to get their votes on the health care bill.”
By and large, the Telegraph‘s piece features merely the speculation of a single anonymous source.
In spite of this, hours after publication the Emmanuel resignation story appeared on Fox News, The New York Daily News, Jerusalem Post, New York Magazine and Haaretz, all of which cited the Telegraph‘s report, offering little to no analysis.