Transcript: Gibson Interviews Rahm Emanuel

The irony of that is, as you know, as a senator, the president, at that point a senator, had actually -- one of the first pieces of legislation he passed was to deal with, in fact, a flu epidemic and to have the resources. You know, part of a presidency, those are the challenges that you -- you know, you run with an agenda to deal with the problems that are facing the country, or the opportunities, and then things happen while you're a president that will also give it definition.

GIBSON: But it comes to the question that you see so many historians -- you went back to the old presidencies. It comes back to the question you see so many historians asking on this 100-day milestone, if it is that, and that is, he ran on change, but is he trying to change too much, too soon?

EMANUEL: Well, first of all, you know, that's -- I'm going to leave that to the historians. The question is -- I suppose it gets back to your first question, and that is the question about these 100 days that are illustrative or could be is, are we going to make sure that in the next 100 days, that they're as productive, as we think they are, they need to be for the American people.

Did we solve their problems in dealing with credit cards? Did we deal with waste throughout the government and start to attack it? Did we start laying the foundation to control costs in health care?

And that's every 100 days, or whether it's every 200 days. We've got to take that measure. And are we making progress for the American people?

I think what we can extract from the first 100 days is that this is a president who is not afraid to meet the challenges. I've always said that the best kind of metaphor is the president has a very open hand, but a firm handshake. And I think people realize that he wants his goals, he'll set goals, he'll take different roads to solving that problem, but he won't give up on the fact that we've got to solve those problems.

GIBSON: You're as close to this presidency as anyone. His feeling of greatest satisfaction so far? His feeling of greatest frustration so far?

EMANUEL: Well, I don't -- first of all, that's for him to say. I mean, we've had conversations about different moments and, you know, Charlie, here's -- in a day, you have an up, and in a day you have it down. That's also true within this frame that we're looking at in 100 days.

There were ups, there were downs. There are peaks, there are going to be valleys. There are going to be more of them.

I think he takes stock of the fact that I think anybody -- I mean, I haven't worked here before -- that we work at a unique place. We have a unique responsibility that the American people have entrusted us.

The president knows that this is a moment in time, kind of a moment of truth, a make-or-break moment for the American people. And I think there are good points in a day, bad points, good points in 100 days.

Are we doing what we need to do? He knows there will be good days ahead and there will be bad moments ahead. But the fact is, you let those peaks and valleys roll.

Did you learn something? Did you make an improvement in what we need to do? And do we ever take our eye off the ball of where we have to go, what we have to get done for the American people?

GIBSON: He campaigned saying that he wanted to bring about a sort of post-partisanship in Washington...

EMANUEL: Yes.

GIBSON: ... ending the bitter divisiveness of the city. How's that working for you?

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