This Week Transcript: Rahm Emanuel

The following is a transcript of George's interview with President-elect Barack Obama's incoming chief of staff Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., and the "This Week Roundtable on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" Nov. 9, 2008.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS) The day after his barrier-breaking win, President-Elect Barack Obama went to work.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS) After a trip to the gym, his first piece of business, convincing Congressman Rahm Emanuel to sign on as chief of staff. The hard-charging veteran of Bill Clinton's White House worried the job would take a toll on his family and his ambition to become the first Jewish House Speaker. But he couldn't say no to his new president and old friend. Obama says Rahm gets things done.

Rahm Emanuel

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS) Privately he adds that Rahm's got his back. At a roast three years ago, Obama joked about it.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA (PRESIDENT-ELECT) Rahm studied ballet for years. In fact, he was the first to adopt Machiavelli's 'The Prince" for dance. It was an intriguing piece. As you can imagine, there were a lot of kicks below the waist.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS) And Congressman Rahm Emanuel joins us this morning from Chicago. Congratulations, Congressman.

REPRESENTATIVE RAHM EMANUEL (INCOMING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF) Thank you. I wish you played the rest of that tape.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS) Well, we might get back to it later. But let's begin, you know, you've also received some praise from Republicans. Senator Lindsey Graham said you were a wise choice. But the Republican National Committee also put out this press release.

This Week (11.09.08)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS) They said "Obama's broken promise after promising change Obama selects hyper-partisan."

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC NEWS) The Republican leader in the House, John Boehner, said "this is an ironic choice for a president-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil and govern from the center." Your response?


Oh, President-Elect Obama is very clear, as you look at his career both in the state senate, US Senate and the campaign, that we have to govern in a bipartisan fashion. And if you look at the way his campaign is run and also the ideas, he has always said that we have to be bipartisan. The challenges are big enough that it's going to be an ability for people of both parties as well as Independents to contribute ideas to help meet the challenges on health care, energy, tax reform, education. So that is the tone, that is the policy and that is exactly how we're going to go forward and he has said it for us.


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