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Eye Opener: Rahm Emanuel on '60 Minutes'

By Ed O'Keefe


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Eye Opener

Happy Monday! White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel thinks things in Washington are just fine, thanks.

"Washington can deal with these issues," Emanuel said on Sunday's "60 Minutes." "If you didn't think it could, you wouldn't get out of bed at 5 in the morning to go attack the day. I fundamentally believe America's set up to deal with this," he said.

Pressed by Katie Couric (in the video above) about the growing perception of a broken capital city, Emanuel said: "You can get bipartisanship to get certain things done. Sometimes you will have differences, and that's not a negative. Just because there's politics or principle difference doesn't mean it's a negative. It means we have fundamental, philosophical policy differences. That's what elections are about. That's what governing's about."

Some other tidbits from the interview, many of them well-known to close White House observers:

-- Emanuel works through a to-do list each day and spends three or four minutes with the president at the start of each day. They speak later on during their daily "wrap up," he said.

-- In an effort to spend time with his young children, they join him for his 5:15 a.m. swim at least twice a week. "That's considered family time," Emanuel said.

-- The work schedule is "seven days a week, constant. And even at night, you're never really calm sleeping," he said. "No matter how exhausted, you're not calm. You're never kinda off."

-- During the presidential transition he met with 13 former chiefs of staff. Dick Cheney told him, "Keep your eye on the vice president. Not to be trusted." Donald Rumsfeld told him, "You're not indispensable. Pick your successor early on."

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Cabinet and Staff News: Mother-in-Law in Chief Marian Robinson has warmed to the White House. The CIA seen as more aggressive, thanks to Leon Panetta. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gets an earful from Vladimir Putin about trade. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. delivers a forceful rebuttal against conservatives who say lawyers who formerly worked for Guantanamo detainees shouldn't be trusted to work in the Justice Department. Stewart Udall, former congressman and last surviving member of JFK's Cabinet, died Saturday at age 90.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
U.S. military buildup angers Guam: Residents fear the construction of a new U.S. Marine Corps base will overwhelm the island's already inadequate water and sewage systems, as well as its port, power grid, hospital, highways and social services.

In choosing its battle names, the military must know its target audience:
A great report on how the Pentagon picks the names of its military operations.

Airbus manufacturer may bid for Air Force tankers: The European consortium that manufactures Airbus planes said the Defense Department has indicated it would welcome a proposal from the firm for the contract, worth as much as $40 billion.

Contractors complain insourcing tactics unfair: Several large contractors say the Defense Department is approaching its insourcing program in an ad hoc fashion by insourcing the wrong positions and, in some cases, trying to poach employees from contractors.

FEDERAL RESERVE:
Bernanke presses case for Federal Reserve oversight of small banks: Top officials are waging a public campaign to convince lawmakers that their long-standing authority to regulate banks around the country -- including small and midsize ones -- is integral to keeping the central bank attuned what is going on across the U.S. economy.

FCC:
FCC steps closer to rulemaking on cable-broadcaster disputes: The agency on Friday sought public comment about whether it should consider so-called "retransmission consent" rules to prevent fee disputes from resulting in blackouts of popular channels.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
Federal employee groups cautiously back health care bill: The American Federation of Government Employees is concerned about the tax on high-cost health care plans included in the legislation, but "strongly supports the bill."

Senators press OMB to issue expansive definition of ‘inherently governmental': Specifically, jobs involving the evaluation of contractors, preparation of budgets, development of policies and the interpretation of regulations should be considered "inherently governmental," and thus not able to be outsourced to contractors, they said.

A little secret about Obama's transparency: The current administration, challenged by the president to be the most open, is now denying more Freedom of Information Act requests than Bush did.

HOMELAND SECURITY:
Agency sought $111,930 for FOIA information: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notified the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse on March 4 about its charges for fulfilling the watchdog group's Freedom of Information Act request. The agency also told TRAC that it must come up with a deposit of $55,965 within 30 days.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT:
Key appointees at Treasury used as pawns in unrelated legislative battles: For more than a year, appointees have been blocked at times by various Republican senators. Until now, their reasons for thwarting the Treasury have been largely unknown beyond the halls of Congress.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 22, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

I think requiring your children to get out of bed at 5:15 AM to help feed your enormous ego and sense of self-importance is abusive. Let's hope the fatigue and high blood pressure quickly combine to force an early retirement. This is not the kind of person who should be close to the levers of power.

Posted by: sheehanjc | March 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I agreed with him. I thought the point of what he said is right on...that just because all Republicans are against the Democrats does not mean Washington is broken but Washington is working the way it is supposed to be working with one group opposing another group and the process is working itself out

Someone has to win and lose.

Posted by: Bious | March 22, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

"to help feed your enormous ego and sense of self-importance"??

What an odd mind. How do his early mornings with his kids translate into what you posted? I would say it's illogical thinking, but really I don't see any evidence of thinking at all - just partisan sniping.


And Christ knows we need LOTS more of that, eh America?

I'm betting if Emanuel said it's very hard to find time to spend with the kids and hardly sees them you would find a way to whine about that too.


Posted by: lquarton | March 23, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

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