“Obama the brand” says we need change in Washington; “Obama the man” picks Rahm(bo) Emanuel, a Chicago-trained, Washington insider as his first pick.
Political resume: 1980s, starts with Illinois Public Action Council: runs House Democratic field operations. Fund-raiser for Sen. Paul Simon, Mayor Daley campaigns. Launches alliance with media strategist David Axelrod, his key adviser.
1990s, starts his opposition research firm. 1991, joins the Bill Clinton presidential campaign, moves to Little Rock, Ark. Saves Clinton by raising millions while Clinton is dogged by the Gennifer Flowers scandal.
Clinton White House years: Rewarded with job as White House political director in January 1993. Demoted by June. Resurrected by taking on NAFTA (with Bill Daley), other policy projects. Escapes controversy during impeachment. Leaves White House in 1998, never having to hire a lawyer. Clinton loyalist.
Chicago: Returns to Ravenswood, makes millions as an investment banker in a few deals; tapped by Clinton for a plum spot on Freddie Mac board; Daley appointee on CHA board. Wins House seat in 2002 with help of Daley Machine. Daley loyalist.
Congress: Came in with a running start because he knew Dem leaders from Clinton White House and was seen as a fund-raiser who could work the elite donor network. Demands seat on Ways and Means Committee as price for taking on political job; chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The best quote: “He’s as cold-blooded as I need him to be to make the decisions.” — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Emanuel, May 27 National Journal.