Rahm Less Partisan, More Powerful

Obama's no. 2 tones down trademark partisanship
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 25, 2009 11:30 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama’s chief of staff has a reputation as a feisty, vicious partisan, but he’s trying to tone it down as he takes a central role in the White House, writes Mark Leibovich in the New York Times. Never far from his boss, Emanuel is more “chief” than “staff,” unlike his predecessors. Weighing in on countless decisions, the ex-congressman is "arguably the second most powerful man in the country."

A few days into his new job, “I think he’s beginning to morph himself into the Obama image," says the new transportation secretary. “I’m not yelling at people; I’m not jumping on tables,” notes Emanuel. He once said Republicans “deserve a two-by-four upside their heads,” but lately, he’s been a key bipartisan “ambassador,” Leibovich writes. Lawmakers of both parties have his cell phone number, and he always has the president’s ear.