GQ: Kiss the Ring
In This January 2007 Report, GQ Examined Rahm Emanuel's Critical Role in the Democrats Taking Over the U.S. House in 2006.
So how many seats do you think you're going to win?"
Rahm flashes the impatient stare that is a cross between contempt and pity, followed by a sigh and a long, uncomfortable silence. I brace myself for the tirade -- or the freeze-out. He's been known to meet reporters for lunch or dinner and, if they fail to impress, spend the meal ignoring them. And within the first 45 seconds or so of our first interview, he called me a [expletive] idiot -- though I soon learned I wasn't special in that regard.
James Carville, Rahm's pal since their days together on the 1992 Clinton campaign, later told me not to sweat it: "Everybody is a [expletive] idiot to Rahm." Not even Bill Clinton is spared. When I ask the former president what is the bluntest thing Rahm has ever said to him, he tells me, "It's unprintable."
Instead, though, Rahm leans in close and gestures like he's trying to start a car that just won't turn over. He rotates his right hand, the one that's missing half its middle finger, and laments that the new Bush strategy has blunted the Democrats' momentum. Republicans are still in danger, but the wave he'd been hoping for is looking more and more far-fetched. He makes a sound like a faulty car ignition: "Kshhhh, kshhhh -- both sides are stuck," he says.
Instead of a national referendum on Bush and on Washington corruption, it looks like Rahm and his lieutenants will be forced into a race-by-race dogfight, which means they're going to have to get dirty. Or dirtier