Much of the political universe was centered on President-elect Donald Trump’s initial visit and meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday.
Eight years ago, the same type of meeting unfolded between then-President-elect Barack Obama and then-President George W. Bush. Heavily involved was Rahm Emanuel, who had been picked to serve as Obama’s White House chief of staff, though it had not yet been announced publicly.
Hacked emails from John Podesta, who co-chaired Obama’s transition team and served as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman, show Emanuel’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering on the Obama-Bush meeting. In one of the emails, posted in recent weeks by WikiLeaks, Emanuel complains about a draft of the press statement Obama’s transition team was prepared to release about the meeting.
“I don’t see how this carries us very far,” Emanuel wrote about the brief statement acknowledging the meeting took place and little more. “It is so devoid of detail and will lead to a lot of freelancing by the press. That’s the danger.”
Emanuel long has fashioned himself as a messaging master, even teaching a class at Northwestern after leaving the Clinton White House titled, “The Presidency and the Press.”
Obama’s transition spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, responded to the 2008 email sent from Emanuel’s congressional campaign account by writing, “My direction is that Obama doesn’t want to be prescriptive.”
Robert Gibbs, Obama’s 2008 campaign spokesman and first White House press secretary, weighed in with the final say, disagreeing with Emanuel. Gibbs concluded if any additional detail needed to be given to reporters it could be done so “on background” and not in an official statement.
“He just didn’t want to punk POTUS,” Gibbs wrote of Obama, using the abbreviation for president of the United States to refer to Bush. (Bill Ruthhart)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Emanuel is back from meetings in Washington, D.C., and plans a Veterans Day event and a school ribbon-cutting.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner will attend Veterans’ Day events in Springfield and Champaign.
*Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the Democrat who defeated him on Tuesday, will meet for a "sandwich summit" photo op at Manny’s (formerly a "beer summit" at the Billy Goat Tavern).
*City clerk field thins: Northwest Side Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno has dropped out of the running for city clerk, and said whomever Mayor Rahm Emanuel appoints should be prepared to run for election in 2019, rather than simply retiring with a pension based in part on the office’s $133,545 salary.
Moreno, 1st, who has on occasion butted heads with the Emanuel administration, said he pulled his name from consideration to finish state Comptroller-elect Susana Mendoza’s term so he could keep his “political flexibility and independence.”
“If you get appointed by the mayor, you need to be ready to really stand with him,” Moreno said. “To get appointed by somebody, then turn around and disagree with him on issues, that’s not me.
“And the person who takes this job shouldn’t just be planning to ride off into the sunset in a few years,” added Moreno, in apparent reference to some older officials who have thrown their hats into the ring.
Moreno insisted his decision wasn’t based on the fact there was little chance Emanuel would pick him from the field of Hispanic politicians who hope to become clerk. Mendoza was elected comptroller Tuesday over appointed Republican Leslie Geissler Munger, leaving Emanuel to choose who will fill a clerk’s office that has been led by a Latino since 2006.
Four other Hispanic aldermen have announced they want the mayor to consider them for the office that runs the city’s vehicle sticker program and will be instrumental in the planned rollout of municipal ID cards for undocumented immigrants. State Sen. Iris Martinez is also interested in the job, and Emanuel is said to be considering Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz as well.
Ruiz on Thursday said he was surprised to hear he was on the mayor’s list. “It’s not something I sought out, but it’s something I’m now considering,” he said.
The partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath said he has “always enjoyed public service,” but was not sure he wanted to give up his 20-year law career to dedicate himself to it full-time. Ruiz said he had not spoken to Emanuel about the possibility. (John Byrne)
*Nightmare on Trump Plaza for county health care?: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said some bad dreams could be in store for county taxpayers if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on his pledge to repeal Obamacare.
Since 2010, the county has reduced the local taxpayer subsidy to the county Health and Hospitals System to about $111 million from $400 million, mostly through the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, she said.
Repeal of the entire act, including the Medicaid expansion provisions, would “be a nightmare for us,” Preckwinkle said Thursday.
“I’m hopeful that upon reflection, the Republicans decide to tweak the program rather than eliminate it. It’s easy to say things on the campaign trail. It’s hard actually, when you have to govern, to make the decisions.” (Hal Dardick)
*The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson will talk to Julie Vahling, associate state director with the AARP, on potential changes in electrical rates. In addition, there’ll be a post-election political round-table featuring Bob Secter, director of investigations for the Better Government Association; David Yepsen, retired director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University; and Pat Brady, former chairman of the state Republican Party. The "Sunday Spin" airs from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN 720-AM.
Follow the money
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.