Rahm Israel Emanuel ( //; born November 29, 1959) is an American politician who serves as the 55th Mayor of Chicago. A member of the Democratic Party, Emanuel was elected in 2011, becoming Chicago's first Jewish mayor.
Born in Chicago, Emanuel is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Northwestern University. Working early in his career in Democratic politics, Emanuel was appointed as director of the finance committee for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. In 1993, he joined the Clinton administration, where he served as the Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and as the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy before resigning in 1998. Beginning a career in finance, Emanuel worked at the investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co. from 1998 to 2002 and served on the board of directors of Freddie Mac.
In 2002, Emanuel ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives vacated by Rod Blagojevich, who had resigned to run for Governor of Illinois. Emanuel won the first of three terms representing Illinois's 5th congressional district, a seat he held from 2003 to 2009. During his tenure in the House, Emanuel held two Democratic leadership positions, serving as the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2007 and as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus from 2007 to 2009. After the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama appointed Emanuel to serve as White House Chief of Staff.
In October 2010, Emanuel resigned as chief of staff to run as a candidate in Chicago's 2011 mayoral election. Because of questions over his eligibility to run for mayor, Emanuel's candidacy was initially rejected by the Illinois First District Appellate Court, though he was later found eligible to run in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Illinois. Emanuel won with 55% of the vote over five other candidates in the nonpartisan mayoral election, succeeding 22-year incumbent Richard M. Daley.
- 1 Early and personal life
- 2 Career as political staffer
- 3 Career in Finance
- 4 Congressional Career
- 5 White House Chief of Staff
- 6 Works
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External Links
- 10 References
Early and personal life
Emanuel was born in Chicago, Illinois. Emanuel's father, Benjamin M. Emanuel, a Jerusalem-born pediatrician, was a member of the Irgun. His mother, Martha Smulevitz, was the daughter of a Chicago union organizer. She worked in the civil rights movement and owned, briefly, a local rock-and-roll club. She is now a psychiatric social worker. The two met in Chicago in the 1950s. Emanuel's older brother Ezekiel is an oncologist and bioethicist, and his brother Ari a Hollywood talent agent. Though executive producer Lawrence O'Donnell has denied it, the character Josh Lyman in The West Wing is said to be based on Rahm Emanuel. He has an adopted sister, Shoshanna, 14 years his junior.
Emanuel's first name, Rahm (רם) – high or lofty in Hebrew – is the namesake of one Rahamim (surname unknown), killed in the 1940s fighting for the outlawed Zionist group Lehi. The surname Emanuel (עמנואל), adopted by the family in honor of his father's brother Emanuel Auerbach, killed in Jerusalem during a skirmish with Arabs, means God is with us. Sources conflict as to whether the family changed its name in 1933 or 1938. 
When the family lived in Chicago, Emanuel attended Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, a Conservative Jewish day school. After his family moved to Wilmette, he attended public schools: Romona School, Wilmette Junior High School, and New Trier West High School. He and his brothers attended summer camp in Israel, including just after the 1967 Six Day War.. At some point during his high school years, while working at an Arby's restaurant, Emanuel severely cut his right middle finger. He sought medical attention only after suffering severe infection as a result of the wound, resulting in the partial amputation of the finger.
He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981, and went on to receive a master's degree in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985. While still an undergraduate, he joined the congressional campaign of David Robinson of Chicago.
Emanuel's wife, Amy Rule, converted to Judaism shortly before their wedding. They are members of Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel, a Modern Orthodox congregation in Chicago. They have a son and two daughters; the older two attend the same Conservative day school Emanuel himself attended as a child.
Emanuel is a close friend of fellow Chicagoan David Axelrod, chief strategist for the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign. Axelrod signed the ketuba, a Jewish marriage contract, at Emanuel's wedding, an honor that goes to a close family friend or relative.
Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation is quoted as saying: "It's a very involved Jewish family"; "Amy was one of the teachers for a class for children during the High Holidays two years ago." Emanuel has said of his Judaism: "I am proud of my heritage and treasure the values it has taught me." Emanuel's family lives on the North Side of Chicago, in the North Center neighborhood.
Emanuel is known for his "take-no-prisoners attitude" that has earned him the nickname "Rahm-bo." Emanuel is said to have "mailed a rotten fish to a former coworker after the two parted ways." On the night after the 1996 election, "Emanuel was so angry at the president's enemies that he stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting 'Dead! ... Dead! ... Dead!' and plunging the knife into the table after every name." However, by 2007 his close friends were saying that he has "mellowed out." Stories of his personal style have entered the popular culture, inspiring articles and websites that chronicle these and other quotes and incidents.
Career as political staffer
Emanuel began his political career with the public interest and consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action. He went on to serve in a number of capacities in local and national politics, initially specializing in fundraising for Illinois campaigns and then nationally.
Emanuel worked for Democrat Paul Simon's 1984 election to the U.S. Senate, was the national campaign director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1988, and then was senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M. Daley's victorious campaign for Mayor of Chicago in 1989.
At the start of then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's presidential primary campaign, Emanuel was appointed to direct the campaign's finance committee. Emanuel insisted that Clinton schedule a lot of time for fundraising and greatly delay campaigning in New Hampshire. Clinton agreed and embarked on an aggressive fundraising campaign across the nation. The fundraising paid off later, providing the campaign a vital buffer to keep buying television time as attacks on Clinton's character threatened to swamp the campaign during the New Hampshire primary.
Clinton's most serious primary rival, Paul Tsongas (the New Hampshire Democratic primary winner in 1992), later withdrew, citing a lack of campaign funds. Richard Mintz, a Washington public relations consultant who worked with Emanuel on the campaign, spoke about the soundness of the idea: "It was that [extra] million dollars that really allowed the campaign to withstand the storm we had to ride out in New Hampshire [over Clinton's relationship with Gennifer Flowers and the controversy over his draft status during the Vietnam War ]." Emanuel's knowledge of the top donors in the country, and his rapport with potential donors within the Jewish community helped Clinton amass a then-unheard-of sum of $72 million.
Following the campaign, Emanuel became a senior advisor to Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998. In the White House, Emanuel was initially Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. He was a leading strategist in the unsuccessful White House efforts to institute universal healthcare and many other Clinton initiatives.
One of his proudest moments during the Clinton administration "was an event that touched his political sensibilities and his personal ties to Israel: the 1993 Rose Garden signing ceremony after the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization ("PLO"). Emanuel directed the details of the ceremony, down to the choreography of the famous handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat."
Career in Finance
After serving as an advisor to Bill Clinton, in 1998 Emanuel resigned from his position in the Clinton administration. He then became an investment banker at Wasserstein Perella, (now Dresdner Kleinwort), where he worked until 2002. In 1999, he became a managing director at the firm’s Chicago office. Emanuel made $16.2 million in his two-and-a-half-year stint as a banker, according to Congressional disclosures. At Wasserstein Perella, he worked on eight deals, including the acquisition by Commonwealth Edison of Peco Energy and the purchase by GTCR Golder Rauner of the SecurityLink home security unit from SBC Communications.
Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac") by then President Bill Clinton in 2000. His position paid him $31,060 in 2000 and $231,655 in 2001. During the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) later accused the board of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention." Emanuel resigned from the board in 2001 when he ran for congress.
Election in 2002
After working in investment banking, in 2002 Emanuel pursued the U.S. House seat in the 5th District of Illinois previously held by Rod Blagojevich, who chose not to run for re-election, but instead successfully ran for Governor of Illinois.
His strongest opponent of the seven other candidates in the 2002 Democratic primary — the real contest in this heavily Democratic district — was former Illinois State Representative Nancy Kaszak, who had unsuccessfully opposed Blagojevich in the 1996 primary. The most controversial moment of the primary election came when Edward Moskal, president of the Polish American Congress, a political action committee endorsing Kaszak, called Emanuel a "millionaire carpetbagger who knows nothing" about "our heritage". Moskal also charged that Emanuel had dual citizenship with Israel and had served in the Israeli Army. Emanuel's father was an Israeli immigrant. Emanuel did not serve in the Israeli army, but was a civilian volunteer assisting the Israel Defense Forces for a short time during the 1991 Gulf War, repairing truck brakes in one of Israel's northern bases.
Emanuel brought together a coalition of Chicago clergy to denounce the incident. He recalled, "One of the proudest moments of my life was seeing people of my district from all backgrounds demonstrate our common values by coming together in response to this obvious attempt to divide them." Moskal's comments were denounced as anti-Semitic by many, including Kaszak. Emanuel won the primary and easily defeated Republican candidate Mark Augusti in the general election. Emanuel supported the October 2002 joint Congressional resolution authorizing the Iraq War, differentiating himself from all nine other Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional delegation (Sen. Richard Durbin, Reps. Bobby Rush, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Bill Lipinski, Luis Gutiérrez, Danny K. Davis, Jan Schakowsky, Jerry Costello and Lane Evans) elected in 2002. In his first term, Rahm Emanuel was a founding member and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Serbian Caucus.
In 2006 Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass reported he had a newsroom confrontation with Emanuel over Kass’s continued speculation that Emanuel only won his 2002 election because convicted former Chicago water department boss Don Tomczak sent in his employees to work for Emanuel. He also speculated that Mayor Richard Daley’s “underlings” who were sentenced to federal prison for organizing “patronage armies” also helped Emanuel.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman
The position of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman (DCCC) was assumed by Emanuel after the death of the previous chair, Bob Matsui. Emanuel led the Democratic Party's effort to capture the majority in the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections. After Emanuel's election as chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Chris Van Hollen became committee chair for the 110th Congress.
While he was chairman of the DCCC, Emanuel was known to have had disagreements over Democratic election strategy with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Dean favored a "50 state strategy", building support for the Democratic Party over the long term, while Emanuel believed a more tactical approach, focusing attention on key districts, was necessary to ensure victory.
Ultimately the Democratic Party enjoyed considerable success in the 2006 elections, gaining 30 seats in the House. Emanuel has received considerable praise for his stewardship of the DCCC during this election cycle, even from Illinois Republican Rep. Ray LaHood who said "He legitimately can be called the golden boy of the Democratic Party today. He recruited the right candidates, found the money and funded them, and provided issues for them. Rahm did what no one else could do in seven cycles."
Emanuel declared in April 2006 that he would support Hillary Rodham Clinton should she pursue the presidency in 2008. Emanuel remained close to Bill Clinton since leaving the White House, talking strategy with him at least once a month as chairman of the DCCC. However, Emanuel's loyalties came into conflict when his home-state senator Barack Obama expressed interest in the race; asked in January 2007 about his stance on the Democratic presidential nomination, he said: "I'm hiding under the desk. I'm very far under the desk, and I'm bringing my paper and my phone." Emanuel remained neutral in the race until June 4, 2008, the day after the final primary contests, when he endorsed the eventual winner Obama.
Emanuel was able to easily win re-election to the House, defeating Republican candidate Tom Hanson. Open Secrets reported that Emanuel "was the top House recipient in the 2008 election cycle of contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms and the larger securities/investment industry".
After his role in helping the Democrats to win the 2006 elections, Emanuel was believed to be a leading candidate for the position of Majority Whip. Nancy Pelosi, who became the next Speaker of the House, persuaded him not to challenge Jim Clyburn, but instead to succeed Clyburn in the role of Democratic Caucus Chairman. In return, Pelosi agreed to assign the caucus chair more responsibilities, including "aspects of strategy and messaging, incumbent retention, policy development and rapid-response communications". Caucus vice-chair John Larson remained in this role instead of running for the chairman position.
After U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that he did not fall within the bounds of orders set for the executive branch, Emanuel called for cutting off the $4.8 million the Executive Branch provides for the Vice President's office. 
During his original 2002 campaign, Emanuel "indicated his support of President Bush's position on Iraq, but said he believed the president needed to better articulate his position to the American people". One of the major goals he spoke of during the race was "to help make health care affordable and available for all Americans".
Emanuel has maintained a 100 percent pro-choice voting record and is generally liberal on social issues. He has aligned himself with the centrist wing of the Democratic Party, the Democratic Leadership Council.reference required
Emanuel frustrated Chicago peace activists who lobbied his office to reverse course on the Iraq war.  In the 2006 congressional primaries, Emanuel, then head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, made national headlines for engineering a run by Tammy Duckworth - an Iraq war veteran with no political experience - against grassroots candidate Christine Cegelis in Illinois' 6th District. Expedited withdrawal from Iraq was a central point of Cegelis's campaign; Duckworth opposed a withdrawal timetable. 
In June 2007, Emanuel condemned an outbreak of Palestinian violence in the Gaza Strip and criticized Arab countries for not applying the same kind of pressure on the Palestinians as they have on Israel. At a 2003 pro-Israel rally in Chicago, Emanuel told the marchers Israel was ready for peace but would not get there until Palestinians "turn away from the path of terror".
In his book, Emanuel advocated a three-month compulsory universal service program for Americans between the ages of 18 and 25.
White House Chief of Staff
On November 6, 2008, Emanuel accepted the position of White House Chief of Staff for Barack Obama. After Emanuel submits his resignation of his congressional seat, the Governor of Illinois must set the date for a special election within five days, and the election must take place within 115 days.
Reaction to appointment
Some Republican leaders criticized Emanuel's appointment because they believed it went against Obama's promises to make politics less divisive, given Emanuel's reputation as a partisan Democrat. Republican Lindsay Graham disagreed, saying: "This is a wise choice by President-elect Obama. He's tough but fair -- honest, direct and candid."
Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said that the choice indicates that Obama will not listen to the wrong people regarding the U.S.-Israel relationship. Some commentators opined that that Emanuel would be good for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process because if Israeli leaders make excuses for not dismantling settlements, Emanuel will be tough and pressure the Israelis to comply.
Palestinians and Arabs expressed dismay at Obama’s appointment of Emanuel. Ali Abunimah of the Electronic Intifada said that Obama’s appointment of Emanuel sent the signal he would not be taking a “more balanced, more objective, more realistic advice that could change the course from the disastrous Palestine-Israel policies of the Bush and Clinton administrations.” Emanuel said that Obama did not need his influence to "orientate his policy toward Israel".
Emanuel's 81-year old father was quoted as saying, "Obviously, he will influence the President to be pro-Israel. Why shouldn't he do it? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floor of the White House." Although political analysts said that as a veteran Democratic congressman Emanuel should not be held responsible for everything his father says, Emanuel apologized to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee which had asked for such an apology, stating "From the fullness of my heart, I personally apologize on behalf of my family and me. These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family." An Emanuel spokesman said Emanuel offered to meet with Arab-American community representatives in the future."
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