In or Out: Rumors Swirl Around Obama Enforcer Rahm Emanuel

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A report in the Sunday edition of London's Daily Telegraph quoted unnamed sources as saying that Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has tired of the "idealism" of some of the president's closest advisors and that he plans to step down from his position by the end of the year. The salty-tongued former congressman has denied the story as, "B.S." But what could it mean for Obama if the reports are true?

  • Jim Geraghty of the right-leaning National Review doesn't find the news of Emanuel's possible departure far-fetched, due to the nature of the job. "Chief of staff to the president has to be one of the more stressful jobs in Washington, and in this administration, Rahm's expected to be the enforcer, the deal broker, the air-traffic controller, the referee, the bad cop, the arm-twister, the leg-breaker, the eyeball-gouger, the hitman, the body-disposal crew, and the ballerina all at once. Burnout? This man blows his stack more regularly than Old Faithful."
  • Jonathan Alter of Newsweek says not to believe the hype; Rahm's not going anywhere. Yet. "The truth is this: Emanuel has said publicly and privately for months that if Rich Daley doesn't seek reelection (which he will determine at the end of the year) for mayor of Chicago, Rahm will move back home and jump in the race. But he continues to enjoy Obama's full confidence and he has no political problem with the thrust of Obama's decisions.  In fact, he has been very much a part of them."
  • Ed Morrissey of the conservative blog Hot Air thinks that the selection of Emanuel's successor will say a lot about the future of Obama's political prospects. "The question of who replaces him will set the tone for the rest of Obama’s presidency.  If he selects someone with more subtlety and diplomacy with both parties on Capitol Hill, then Obama may attempt to move back towards the center in a Clintonian fashion.  If he picks another ideologue, expect the Obama presidency to run completely off the rails in its final two years."
  • Josh Marshall of the left leaningTalking Points Memo is skeptical of the article's sourcing. " First, I have no idea if or when Rahm is going to resign. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he did. But, and it's a big 'but', if I had a nickel for every big scoop on American politics published by one of the big UK dailies that turned out to be nonsense and based on nothing, well ... I'd be a rich man. And that takes a lot of nickels."
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