Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009

Rahm Emanuel

For a President who claimed to represent a new type of politics, Rahm Emanuel was certainly a surprising choice for chief of staff — he's a hard-cussing, old-school-campaign knife fighter and pragmatic congressional arm twister who plays to win. In the first year of the new Administration, the former No. 4 House Democrat has made his mark, overseeing an initial blitz of legislative achievements, including the $787 billion stimulus package and climate-change legislation in the House. His hallmark, beyond the salty language, has been a willingness to embrace the realities of legislative compromise. As Democratic Representative John Conyers of Michigan recently said in regard to health care, "That is essentially what Rahm Emanuel has said: Just give us anything, and we will declare victory."

— Michael Scherer