For Immediate Release
Who is Rahm Emanuel?
An IT professional in the Chicago area, Cegelis ran as the Democratic nominee for Congress against longtime incumbent Henry Hyde in 2004, winning an unexpected 44 percent of the vote. After Hyde announced he would be retiring, she attempted to run again in 2006, but Emanuel -- then head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- backed a Democrat less critical of the Iraq war, Tammy Duckworth, who defeated Cegelis in the primary. Duckworth ended up losing in the general election.
Cegelis said today: "Emanuel has never backed off from his initial support of the invasion of Iraq; he says even knowing everything we know now, he'd still back it. I fear that slating Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff in a sense cancels out the message from Barack Obama that the Iraq war was something we should not have fought in the first place." See "Democratic House Officials Recruited Wealthy Conservatives."
Abunimah is author of the book One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.
Swanson is co-founder of After Downing Street and Washington director of Democrats.com, which is not affiliated with the Democratic Party. He said today: "Reuters quoted Republican strategist John Feehery happily predicting that Emanuel 'is going to spend most of his time cracking Democratic heads, getting them to move from the left to the middle.' It's a reasonable prediction, because Emanuel has spent the past two years doing that on various issues, most notably Iraq. As chair of the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] in 2006, Emanuel directed campaign funding overwhelmingly to the more pro-war Democratic candidates and recruited opponents to run against promising anti-war candidates like Christine Cegelis and Jerry McNerney.
"In January 2007, as chair of the Democratic Caucus when the 110th Congress took office with the clearest anti-war mandate in national history, Emanuel spoke to the Washington Post, which reported: 'Don't look to Emanuel's Democrats for solutions on Iraq. It's Bush's war, and as it splinters the structure of GOP power, the Democrats are waiting to pick up the pieces.' For two full years, 'Emanuel's Democrats' maintained that ending the war on Iraq would require passing legislation, when in truth they could have simply stopped funding it, a conclusion reached by a hearing chaired by Senator Russ Feingold. Their pretense that legislation was needed, allowed the Democrats to blame the war on Republican senators' filibuster power and presidential vetoes. Those excuse may be gone now, but my concern is what we've learned about Emanuel's priorities."