Dispatches from Chicago

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Apparently, Rahm has accepted the chief-of-staff job, no really this time – at least we think. Robert Gibbs will be Obama’s press secretary. And Fortune.com reports that Larry Summers is in the lead for Treasury Secretary. Tomorrow Obama will meet with his economic advisors and hold his first press conference as president-elect, where we think he’ll make more staffing announcements. So far this transition is going at lightening pace compared to Clinton, who didn’t make his first appointments until Dec. 10, 1992, and George W. Bush didn’t name Andy Card his CoS until early January, though that process was obviously delayed by the recount.

Also, Obama and Michelle will visit the White House Monday at the invitation of George and Laura. “Michelle and I look forward to meeting with President Bush and the First Lady on Monday to begin the process of a smooth, effective transition.  I thank him for reaching out in the spirit of bipartisanship that will be required to meet the many challenges we face as a nation,” Obama said in a statement just sent out. 

Update: Obama and Rahm’s full statements on the appointment after the jump:

“I am pleased to announce that my good friend, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, has agreed to serve as my White House chief of staff. I announce this appointment first because the Chief of Staff is central to the ability of a President and Administration to accomplish an agenda.  And no one I know is better at getting things done than Rahm Emanuel.

“During his seven years in the Clinton White House, Rahm was the point man on some of the most difficult issues, from the passage of landmark anti-crime legislation to the expansion of health care coverage for children. In just six years in Congress, he has risen to leadership, helping to craft myriad important pieces of legislation and guide them to passage. In between, Rahm spent several years in the private sector, where he worked on large and complicated financial transactions.  That experience, combined with his service on the committees on Ways and Means and Banking, have given Rahm deep insights into the challenging economic issues that will be front and center for our Administration. Though Rahm understands how to get things done in Washington, he still looks at the world from the perspective of his neighbors and constituents on the Northwest Side of Chicago, who work long and hard, and ask only that their government stand on their side and honor their values. The son of an Israeli immigrant, Rahm shares a passionate love for this country, and has devoted much of his life to its cause.

“His decision to accept this position is a wonderful reflection of that commitment, for it is not easy to give up the significant position he holds today as chair of the House Democratic conference.  The post he has accepted also will require more time away from Amy, and their children, Zach, Ilana and Leah, which I know is painful and difficult.

“I appreciate his friendship.  And I, and all Americans, should be grateful that Rahm is once again answering his country’s call,” said President-elect Barack Obama.


Statement from Congressman Rahm Emanuel

“I know what a privilege it is to serve in the White House, and am humbled by the responsibility we owe the American people.  I’m leaving a job I love to join your White House for one simple reason – like the record amount of voters who cast their ballot over the last month, I want to do everything I can to help deliver the change America needs.  We have work to do, and Tuesday Americans sent Washington a clear message – get the job done

“I have loved the time I spent in the House, both the successes and the setbacks, and I am grateful to the people of the Fifth Congressional district who sent me to work on their behalf. I was proud to serve on a leadership team with Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. They have taught me invaluable lessons—even a few lessons in humility, believe it or not.

“I want to say a special word about my Republican colleagues, who serve with dignity, decency and a deep sense of patriotism.  We often disagree, but I respect their motives.  Now is a time for unity, and Mr. President-elect, I will do everything in my power to help you stitch together the frayed fabric of our politics, and help summon Americans of both parties to unite in common purpose.

“It has been almost 150 years since Americans turned to a proud son of Illinois as their President.  Early in his first term, Abraham Lincoln said, “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

“Today, once again, our country is piled high with difficulty, and Americans have put their trust in President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden to think and act anew.  And Mr. President-elect, I promise that your White House will do everything in our power to rise to the occasion,” said Congressman Rahm Emanuel.